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The UK continues to hold the top spot as Europe’s tech startup incubator. The tech ecosystem of London alone is was valued at $314bn in 2022; tied second in the world with New York City, after Silicon Valley. Despite headwinds like Brexit, the pandemic and now rising inflation, the UK remains a great place for tech startups to set their sails. In this article, our team at Bure Valley Group highlights 8 exciting early-stage companies to investors which illustrate some promising trends currently going on in the sector.
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Founded in 2016, Multiverse was set up to provide high-quality apprenticeship programmes to young people across the UK. The company has gone from strength to strength, and last year it broke the record for the UK’s largest EdTech venture round – attracting investors such as the Chairman of Microsoft, John W. Thomson. Recently in June 2022, Multiverse raised $220m in Series D funding – bringing its total value to $1.7bn (twice the valuation 8 months ago).
One of the keys to any business’s success is effective management of staff. Beamery was set up in 2013 to help companies provide better hiring and retention processes via tech-driven solutions – in particular, its AI-powered Talent Platform. The business raised $2m seed funding in 2016-17, followed closely by a $5m close in Series A funding. It went on to secure $28m in Series B funding two years later, with a $138m achieved in Series C last year.
#3 10x Banking
Increasingly, consumers are happy to conduct their banking affairs completely online (e.g. via mobile apps). One company that is disrupting the industry is 10x Banking, which claims to offer the most powerful cloud native banking platform. Founded in 2016, the company has grown to the point where its platform is now available in four of the world’s key markets. In June 2021, it announced $187m Series C funding and followed this up with the appointment of three senior sales and marketing leaders in early 2022. To date, the company has raised $252.5m and holds out great potential for future global expansion.
#4 Quell Therapeutics
Quell Therapeutics is seeking to be the world’s leading engineered cell therapy company. Set up in March 2019, the company was founded with initial series A financing totalling £35m. More recently, Quell has raised $156m in oversubscribed Series B financing to advance its “Treg” platform which aims to address medical conditions driven by the human immune system. This business operates in the pharmaceutical sector, which brings its own unique opportunities and risks for investors.
Tide is a growing fintech company based in London, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Hyderabad (India). Its now 800-strong team seeks to offer a specialised, digitally-based bank account for sole traders, small businesses and scaling businesses. It is currently used by 400,000+ businesses and has raised over £150m in funding to date from investors such as Goodwater and SBI Holdings. Their latest funding was raised on Jul 12, 2021 from a Series C round.
Another interesting fintech company, Pollinate’s team came together in 2017 to re-imagine merchant acquiring for NatWest, later forming as a company in 2019 to offer banks, merhants and consumers a powerful, non-intrusive and flexible “data/decisioning engine” which enables SMEs to made quick, easy payments and allows banks to harness the power of user data. In 2021, Pollinate announced closure of a $50m Series C funding round including the likes of NatWest Group and Mastercard. It has raised a total of $218m to date.
Much talk has been made of the UK’s need to upgrade its internet infrastructure. Netomnia was set up in 2019 to offer “ultrafast full fibre connectivity” to homes and businesses across the UK, helping the country in its transition to full fibre. The company is part of the government’s £5bn “Project Gigabit” programme to help bring faster internet to remote areas of the UK. Recently, in April 2022, the company secured £295m in funding to roll out a “multi-gigabit” broadband network to more areas. This follows an injection of £123m in November 2021, brining the total funding to date up to £418m.
#7 Cambridge Quantum Computing
Founded in 2014, Cambridge Quantum offers leading quantum computation solutions in a wide range of sectors including chemistry, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The company has raised a total of $72.8m in funding over 7 rounds, with the latest on 8 Dec 8 2020. Significant milestones include their development of “lambeq”; the world’s first toolkit and library for Quantum Natural Language Processing (QNLP), which converts sentences into a quantum circuit – a hugely useful tool for text mining and language translation.
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