North East Tech 50 winner Partnerize has been hailed as a tech business with substance which is changing the face of commerce.

Partnerize is a partnership automation company that helps leading global brands track, report, and pay partners who help them drive revenue and business leads.

Founded as Performance Horizon in Newcastle in 2010, Partnerize moved aggressively into the United States market three years ago and processes more than $6 billion in partner sales annually.

A panel of independent judges and the general public voted Partnerize the No.1 tech company in its region in our North East Tech 50 ranking for 2019.

Co-founder and CEO Mal Cowley told BusinessCloud: "We're thrilled to receive this honour.

“The North East is a great place to work and has been a fantastic location for recruiting people with technical expertise.

“We are very proud to have built this truly global business with Newcastle at its heart."

The North East Tech 50 ranking in full

Chief marketing officer Jim Nichols is based in San Francisco but says the beating heart of the business will always be in Newcastle.

“Marketing is fundamentally changing and I think partnerships will be at the centre of that business transformation,” Nichols told BusinessCloud.

“It really is a global business, but one operating from the North East: this business in Newcastle is really changing the face of commerce, whether it's in the US, Australia, Japan or, of course, in the UK.

“Europe was the strongest region for the company perhaps three years ago, when the US really started growing quickly as our team established here. Now the US is the largest region, but the heart of the company is still Newcastle.

“The US is a larger eCommerce market than the UK so success here is quite important. But the company's never lost sight of where it's from.

“There's just a spirit in the North of England of focusing on big dreams and making them happen. That could be just an American's perspective from outside looking in; but it was a big part of the appeal for me about this company.”

Partnerize employs around 225 people. Almost half of them are based in Newcastle, with the rest spread around various global locations. Its tech team operates out of the North East, with some development also taking place in London.

Its SaaS-based AI-powered partner automation platform helps companies drive better results through rich, real-time business intelligence and tools that help automate every aspect of partnerships.

It counts 63 top retailers, 11 international airlines, eight of the world's largest telecoms and more than 200 other global brands among its clients.

Last year Partnerize raised $9m in a funding round led by GP Bullhound, taking its total investment to $39.5m.

Asked about its chances of becoming a unicorn – a tech company worth more than $1bn – Nichols said: “Sometimes when I hear the word unicorn, it makes me think of companies that have a lot of hype, but don't have the substance behind them.

“The great thing about Partnerize is that it operates as both a tech company and a business that is currently processing £500m in partner payments a year.

“Partnerize has that substance, as well as a mission that feels right and appropriate.”

The North East Tech 50 ranking in full