New wave of UK banking pioneers takes centre stage in Tech Nation’s Future Fifty Programme

Reports | South East | Technology

Tech Nation, the UK network for ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs, today reveals the 24 dynamic, fast-growing, late-stage technology companies selected to join its prestigious Future Fifty cohort in 2019.

Future Fifty, established in 2013 to champion and support British tech businesses as they scale up their operations nationally and internationally – offering a window into the UK’s digital future. The programme supports these companies in creating jobs and opportunities across the UK, and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.

In just seven years, Future Fifty has already built a network of more than 100 alumni businesses – including Deliveroo, Farfetch, Skyscanner, Made.com, Shazam, Just Eat and dozens of other household names.

Companies chosen to join the latest Future Fifty cohort must have gained considerable traction within their chosen markets and shown the potential to become global technology leaders of tomorrow.

Today’s announcement comes as the UK records another bumper year for VC investment – attracting $7.9bn in funding in 2018 – and closes the gap on the US for exits of venture-backed companies, according to the latest data from Tech Nation/Dealroom. UK sales, IPOs and mergers were worth $40bn, putting it ahead of every other European country.

The rate of successful exits of venture capital-backed companies is one measure used by investors and commentators to calculate the success of a tech sector. The UK continues to be the most attractive destination in Europe for VC, attracting 1.8 times more investment in 2018 than France, and 1.6 times more than Germany. Over the last five years, it has been the biggest source of successful company exits in Europe, with sales and IPOs worth $119bn.

The Future Fifty 7.0 businesses reflects key trends in UK technology sectors. Fintech – currently attracting very high levels of investment – is an especially strong presence, with 10 out of 24 on the list offering technology-driven financial services. Other sectors represented include: Hardware & Internet of Things, Cyber Security, Software as a Service, Digital Media, Marketing & Adtech, Data Analytics, Ecommerce, and Healthcare. Around 60% of the ventures target B2B sales.

Significantly, the cohort reveals geographical diversity. Five of the new businesses are headquartered in regional cities: Cambridge, Bristol, Glasgow, Nottingham, and Watford. The programme extends over 24 months, and the companies coming on board in 2019 will be joining 26 businesses from the previous (2018) cohort.

The Success of Future Fifty

Since its launch in 2013, 127 businesses have taken part in the Future Fifty programme and the list of alumni includes some of the highest profile names in the technology sector, such as Skyscanner, Deliveroo, Funding Circle, Transferwise, and Just Eat.

The programme has an enviable track record of helping young and new entrepreneurs fulfil their ambitions. In this years cohort 72% of founders taking part have been first-time entrepreneurs.

Future Fifty alumni have been strikingly successful at raising funds. Figures compiled by Tech Nation indicate that companies participating in the programme between 2013 and 2018 have raised a combined $8bn via VC funding and capital markets. The sums raised each year have grown steadily over the lifetime of the programme, from $199m in 2013 to $2.5bn last year. In addition to a total of 29 M&A/trade sale deals, nine of the Future Fifty alumni have successfully taken their companies to market via IPOs (Initial Public Offerings).

This Year’s Cohort

  • Fintech: Aire (London); Blockchain (London); Currencycloud (London); MarketInvoice (London); Monzo Bank (London); Nested (London); Quantexa (London); Starling Bank (London); Revolut (London); Salary Finance (London)
  • Data Analytics: Behavox (London)
  • Ecommerce and Marketplaces: Bizuma (London)
  • Hardware Devices and Internet of Things: Bulb Energy (London); M Squared Lasers (Glasgow); Reach Robotics (Bristol)
  • Digital Entertainment: Culture Trip (London); Mediatonic (London)
  • Software as a Service: Ensek (Nottingham); Kimble Applications (London)
  • Cyber Security: Garrison Technology (London).
  • Biotech and Healthcare: Ieso Digital Health (Cambridge).
  • Adtech and Marketing: GlobalWebIndex (London).
  • Enterprise Software: Perkbox (London); StarLeaf (Watford).

The programme is supported by partners, Barclays and Macfarlanes, who offer their expertise to aid the companies’ growth via roundtables, open hours and thought leadership. Barclays support ranges from bespoke operational banking, capital and funding, and supporting founders as they seek exit from the business.

Macfarlanes help with raising new funds, planning for an initial public offering and international expansion, as well as, with their ongoing operational needs with regards to competition law compliance, tax, immigration, anti-trust and GDPR compliance.

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State For Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The UK has a fantastic track record of producing globally successful tech companies and I’m pleased to see another diverse and impressive group of firms in Tech Nation’s 2019 Future Fifty Programme.

“The list highlights the underlying strength of our digital economy and emphasises its huge potential. We are doing all we can to make sure this vital industry continues to grow and our young businesses are given the right support to thrive.”

Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: “London’s tech and innovation sector is world-leading, and tech is also flourishing in other cities across the UK. The important thing now is to give our tech companies the best possible chance of sustained success – and the Future Fifty programme is playing a key role in that.”

Parveen Dhanda, Future Fifty Programme Lead at Tech Nation, said: “The companies we’ve selected are established in their chosen markets and are at the point where they can look forward to scaling up rapidly. These are incredibly talented and visionary entrepreneurs. The peer connections and access to global experts that is on offer will help them fully deliver on their potential.”

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