A Mid and East Antrim firm has been named Northern Ireland’s most innovative technology company.

Cemetery software firm PlotBox, based in Ballymena, topped UK media outlet BusinessCloud’s inaugural ranking which was decided by a combination of expert judging panel and a public vote which attracted more than 3,000 votes.

The top 50 list features Northern Ireland heavyweight companies Kainos and First Derivatives, ranked at number five and 19 respectively.

Set up by husband and wife team Sean and Leona McAllister, PlotBox is a cloud-based death care management solution that facilitates cemeteries in operating to world-class standards. 

It is the world’s first solution to fully integrate two previously separate functions – software and mapping.

They have since grown the firm from just three employees to over 40 worldwide.

Leona McAllister, the firm’s chief commercial officer, said the team was “over the moon” to be named the most innovative tech company in Northern Ireland.

“There is a fantastic culture of innovation right across Northern Ireland so to be named the most innovative really speaks volumes, especially as we’re still a relatively young company,” she said.

Mrs McAllister outlined how something seen as a traditional industry has evolved: “With a shortage of burial land within the UK, the entire death-care industry is having to innovate within the digital space. We’re seeing this through digital transformation projects, the G-cloud framework and an increased need for cyber security services.

“We have grown fast and have high ambitions for continued growth.”

Commenting on the news, Councillor Peter Johnston, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, said: “This is fantastic news for one of our very own homegrown companies. Considering the reputation and stature of the other Northern Ireland firms listed, I wish to congratulate Sean, Leona and the wider PlotBox team on what is certainly a remarkable achievement.”

Graham Whitehurst, Chair of Mid and East Antrim’s Manufacturing Task Force, said: “This is another example of an indigenous company who has continued to play an important role in our local economy. Although not a manufacturing company, the focus on digitisation and the culture of innovation displayed by Plotboxis reflected across all sectors in Mid and East Antrim and it is fantastic to see themrecognised on a national level.”

The expert judging panel was comprised of Gary Davidson, Northern Ireland Entrepreneur Engagement Manager at Tech Nation, Anne Dornan, Enterprise Network Manager at QUBIS, Simon Bailie, Chief Executive of Digital DNA, Kim Johnston, Vice President UK and Ireland at Q Agency, and Jonathan Symcox, Editor of BusinessCloud.