Tech Nation, the UK network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, has revealed the 30 companies joining its prestigious Upscale programme for the UK’s most exciting and fastest growing scaleup tech companies.
Now in its fifth year, the Upscale 5.0 cohort reflects the maturity of the tech landscape in the UK with considerable growth in key company statistics. Most of the companies on the programme have already raised a Series A round, and the average raise has increased from £4.2m in 2017, to £7.2m in 2020. Average revenues have also increased by 64% from £1.1m to £1.8m over three years, while the average number of employees when joining the cohort has grown by 48% from 31 to 46.
Some of the biggest success stories of UK tech, such as Monzo, Bulb, Improbable and Bloom & Wild, have been through the programme, and the 30 new companies represent the next generation of digital household names.
This cohort reflects just a small part of the UK tech scaleup ecosystem – in total, there are almost 5,000 UK tech scaleups which add £17.2bn to the UK economy and employs almost 200,000 people. UK scaleups outperformed their peers in 2019, with companies raising £10.1bn, more than France (£3.8bn) and Germany (£5.4bn) combined, and are spread right across the UK.
The Upscale programme is designed to support the UK’s leading scaleups by tackling the leadership challenge in UK tech. A recent report by Zenger/Folkman found that management and leadership skills are lacking in just over half of all leadership teams, and organisations that invest in developing leaders are 2.4 times more likely to hit their performance targets and almost double their profits.
Upscale sessions include addressing how to scale yourself as a leader, and how to scale internationally. The programme aims to create a peer-to-peer network of companies on their scaleup journey, and includes sessions led by tech entrepreneurs from some of the UK’s most successful companies, including Nilan Peiris, the VP of Growth at Transferwise and Will McInnes the CMO at Brandwatch. Companies are selected through a judging process of tech entrepreneurs and established VCs, including Anthony Fletcher, CEO of Graze and Cherry Freeman, CEO, Lovecrafts as well as entrepreneurs who have gone through the programme themselves, such as Aron Gelbard, CEO of London-based Bloom & Wild.
30% of companies joining the programme are from outside of London, and are based in: Manchester, Cardiff, Cambridge, Leeds, Brighton, Belfast and Newcastle. Companies hail from all different tech sub-sectors – showing the depth and breadth of technology in the UK today. 17% of companies on the programme this year are in the healthtech sector, 17% are in SaaS and 17% are in E-commerce. Cloud computing, fintech, legaltech, AI, edtech, proptech, tech for good and adtech are also represented on the programme.
While E-commerce and SaaS are evidently still pivotal to UK tech, the makeup of the programme also represents the rise of companies applying technology to societal issues, including healthtech, which has seen an increase in scaling companies of over 473% over the last decade in the UK.
Speaking about the announcement Digital Minister Matt Warman said: “The UK has a fantastic track record of producing globally successful tech companies and this is another strong group of firms that will benefit from Tech Nation’s Upscale programme. It highlights the strength and diversity of our digital economy with startups in fintech, retail and recruitment. We are doing all we can to ensure the tech sector gets the support it needs to thrive.”
Mike Jackson, Entrepreneur Success Director, Tech Nation commented: “As we enter our fifth year, the Upscale programme has built an incredible network of alumni, including UK unicorns Monzo and Improbable. The network has a wealth of experience to share with the cohort, reflected in our judging panel and programme sessions. I’m excited to welcome this year’s companies onto the programme which helps to tackle key challenges founders face, wherever they are based in the UK.”
Eileen Burbidge, Partner, Passion Capital added her thoughts saying: “Working closely with and investing in mid stage tech companies through Passion Capital, I have seen first hand how valuable Tech Nation’s Upscale programme is to the UK tech ecosystem. Providing know-how for founders who are going through a key stage of growth, the programme passes on specific and timely knowledge through generations of founders. I’m particularly pleased to see the funding landscape maturing, reflecting the growth of the UK tech sector as a whole and the expertise of the founding teams.”
The cohort are:
Introducing the Upscale 5.0 cohort
allplants – London – @allplants
allplants deliver delicious meals straight to your door, making plant-based living easy, convenient, delicious, and on people’s schedules. Created so both people and the planet can thrive, allplants meals are chef-prepared, flash frozen and totally plant-based.
AMPLYFI – Cardiff – @amplyfitech
AMPLYFI is using AI and machine learning to revolutionise global business intelligence and market research. Their learning platforms unlock the entire internet to generate unprecedented business insights through groundbreaking products. AMPLYFI analyse both the surface and deep web to help businesses proactively plan for future disruptions.
Arctic Shores – Manchester – @arctic_shores
Flying the flag for diversity, inclusion and equality, Arctic Shores makes the recruitment process more engaging, objective and fair. Using data-driven psychometric tests that combine neuroscience, AI and game technology, they try to eliminate bias when it comes to hiring and promoting people and look past the CV, focusing on potential rather than just experience, background or seniority.
Chattermill – London – @chattermillAI
Revolutionising the customer experience, Chattermill uses AI to help large organisations understand and improve how they interact with their consumers. Chattermill analyses customer feedback at scale and automatically identifies specific recommendations for how their clients can continuously deliver better services and products to their customers.
Eagle Genomics – Cambridge – @eaglegen
Helping companies make more accurate and credible scientific claims, Eagle Genomics’ uses machine learning to transform raw data into actionable insights that drive scientific decision making. Improving brand perception and research and development processes, Eagle Genomics’ unique expertise gives insights that enable quick assessment of product potential, mitigate risks and reduces time to market.
eporta – London – @eporta_
The leading B2B platform for interior design professionals worldwide, eporta has transformed the $700bn per year interior design industry. eporta’s platform helps interior designers, property developers, architects, hospitality owners and more, to power their projects and design seamlessly.
Everledger – London – @everledgerio
Tackling issues of verification and piracy, Everledger’s technology creates a secure and permanent digital record of an asset’s origin, characteristics and ownership on their private blockchain. This transparency helps industries respond to growing expectations for sustainable, verifiable sourcing.
Farewill – London – @farewill
Changing the way the world deals with death, Farewill helps the UK sort out legally binding wills and probate from the comfort of their own home, quickly, easily and sensitively, while removing the expense and hassle of seeing a solicitor in person.
Florence – London – @WeAreFlorence
Connecting the care industry, Florence is the marketplace for flexible staffing in the care sector. With Florence, care homes can fill their vacancies with the perfect workers, whilst nurses and carers are empowered to take control of their working lives.
Kheiron Medical – London – @kheironmedical
Helping doctors find breast cancer earlier and more accurately, Kheiron Medical works with radiologists, and uses data and machine learning to build products that help breast radiologists in their daily practice. Improving accuracy in the field, it also addresses a growing global workforce shortage.
LandTech – London – @LandTechUK
Revamping the world of property development, LandTech helps you find land, get through planning and raise funding in a more streamlined, convenient way. With over 1,500 clients, of which 80% are SME property developers, to date they have added an additional 10,000 homes to the UK housing market.
Lexoo – London – @Lexoo
Providing corporations with a true alternative to traditional global law firms, Lexoo delivers next generation legal services by combining tech, process and a network of over 1000 former BigLaw lawyers in 70 countries. Work is delivered to a higher standard, more quickly and at roughly 50% of the cost.
Neurovalens – Belfast – @neurovalens
Aiming to transform the world of neurology, Neurovalens wants to treat global neurological health issues by influencing the brain and nervous system using safe and non-invasive technology. This technology aims to replace drugs as the first-line treatments for obesity, diabetes, insomnia and anxiety.
Oddbox – London – @OddboxLDN
Over ⅓ of farmed fruit and veg goes to waste either because they’re surplus to requirements or don’t make strict supermarket requirements on shape, size, or colour. Oddbox helps reduce this structural problem in the industry. With every medium Oddbox, an average of 7 kgs of veg is saved from going to waste, as well as 14 kg of CO2 emissions (the equivalent of 35 miles in a car) and 1,722 litres of water (the equivalent of 12 showers).
Panintelligence – Leeds – @panintelligence
Delivering data solutions that enhance ways of working, Panintelligence’s predictive analytics and data visualisation software is designed to be white-labelled by software vendors, who use it to accelerate their roadmap. Based in Leeds, they have over 100 partners across all verticals and 200,000 users globally.
Peanut – London – @peanut_app
Empowering women all over the world to unite, Peanut is a social network for women, connecting them through their experiences with fertility and motherhood. It enables women at similar life stages to meet, connect and form meaningful communities.
Pimberly – Manchester – @pimberlypim
Changing the game in SaaS, Pimberly delivers an immersive, hyper personalised, omni-channel product experience for millions of products. Made for Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management, it’s used by manufacturers, distributors and retailers to market and sell products across multiple sales channels.
Plum – London – @withplum
Helping over 500,000 people in the UK grow their money, Plum is an AI assistant that boosts your bank balance. It works by using automation to save, switch bills and invest in a personalised way. With the help of Plum, savers can be £186k better off over their lifetime.
Seatfrog – London – @Seatfrog
Fancy an upgrade? Seatfrog is the travel app that is here to make upgrading your seat amazing. Seatfrog’s mission is to take every journey beyond the ordinary, and it’s starting by helping passengers live a little more, with a simple, honest and stress-free way to upgrade their seat.
SeedLegals – London – @seedlegals
The world’s first and only automated legal service for funding rounds, SeedLegals make it super easy for startups to raise investment and manage company equity at a fraction of the cost of traditional service providers. No paper. No law firms. No accountants. Everything’s done digitally on their platform. Launching back in 2016, today they are the largest closer of funding rounds in the UK.
SoPost – Newscastle – @sopost
SoPost helps brands run the most powerful product sampling campaigns in the world, with a focus on relevance, data and analytics. SoPost gets physical trial products into consumers’ hands through media campaigns, influencer partnerships, and content. It works with hundreds of brands including L’Oreal and Estee Lauder, and sends one sample every couple of seconds.
Spirable – London – @spirable_hq
Generating personalised, data-driven brand videos at scale, Spirable works with world-leading brands to increase engagement and conversion. Videos are personalised to an individual level, enriched with data from live data-feeds, and delivered through social channels and CRM platforms.
ThoughtRiver – Cambridge – @ThoughtRiverCI
ThoughtRiver solves a fundamental problem for lawyers: you simply don’t know which part of a contract to focus on without reading it all. Pre-screening technology automates the review process by reading the contract, answering key legal questions and then serving up detailed advice and guided remediation within Microsoft Word.
Thriva – London – @thrivahealth
Health tracking made simple, Thriva helps you find out what’s happening inside your body with a simple finger-prick blood test. Samples are reviewed by an NHS approved lab, and a doctor walks you through your results, giving personalised advice on your health. Regular testing enables customers to keep track of how their lifestyle decisions actually affect them internally over time.
TrustedHousesitters – Brighton & Hove – @Housesitting
Empowering thousands of people to travel while pets stay happy at home, TrustedHousesitters enables the mutual exchange of house and pet sitting. In return, trustworthy house and pet sitters can often find luxurious homes to ‘sit’ for free. From villas in Tuscany, apartments in NYC, to beach houses in Caribbean, with members in over 100 countries, this is the largest house and pet sitting platform globally.
Tyk – London – @tyk_io
Tyk is an open-source API Gateway that is fast, scalable and modern. Powering microservice platform enterprises across the globe, with offices in London, Singapore and Atlanta, and team members in 20+ countries. Out of the box, Tyk offers an API Management Platform with an API Gateway, API Analytics, Developer Portal and API Management Dashboard.
Vidsy – London – @vidsyhq
Powering mobile video ad creation for the world’s leading brands, Vidsy’s technology and global community of 6,000+ vetted creators and fully managed services, empowers brands to intelligently transform their digital advertising for an ever-evolving world of mobile video.
WhiteHat – London – @WhiteHatGB
Diversifying the world’s future leaders, WhiteHat is building an outstanding alternative to university. It works with some of the world’s best employers to identify, hire, and develop diverse talent through apprenticeships. Every apprentice gets access to a thriving on and offline community and an individual coach to help ensure they’re successful in their chosen career.
Zen Educate – London – @ZenEducate
Moving away from inefficient recruitment agencies, Zen Educate is an online platform that matches teachers with available supply teaching roles in schools. An accredited social enterprise, Zen Educate aim to save the education system £100s of millions a year.
Zencargo – London – @zencargoltd
Helping the world’s fastest-growing businesses turn their supply chains into a competitive advantage, Zencargo collects real-time data on the progress of each product and acts as a single version of truth for teams to uncover insights and opportunities. Expert consultants use these learnings to create, implement and iterate bespoke solutions that increase revenue, optimise working capital, control costs and reduce environmental impact.