26 late-stage UK tech companies join Future Fifty

Parveen Dhanda, March 7, 2018 8 min read

This article was originally posted on the Tech City UK website.

We’re excited to announce the new cohort of 26 late-stage companies joining our Future Fifty programme today! Some of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies have been chosen and we can’t wait to begin working with them.

Future Fifty gives these 26 fast-growing companies immediate access to a valuable peer network; expert-led classes and workshops designed to take their businesses to the next level; and a higher profile amongst the wider tech ecosystem. Future Fifty companies represent some of the country’s most exciting growth stage tech businesses, while changing the sectors that they operate in fundamentally. Companies join the Future Fifty for two years, so these 26 will join 24 of last year’s experienced participants.

This year’s programme welcomes 5 alumni companies from other Tech City UK programmes. Trouva, Paddle, Firefly and EDITED join having previously completed Upscale, our 6-month Series A-stage growth programme, for fast-growing UK tech companies. BigChange Apps make the step up to Future Fifty, having been crowned one of last year’s 10 Northern Stars, at a pitch competition final in Manchester, for tech companies who have raised under £2m and are based in the North of England.

The 26 new companies:

Data, Analytics & Cybersecurity: Darktrace, Semafone, Zappi, OpenSignal

Fintech: LendInvest, OakNorth, Checkout.com, Ixaris

Digital Advertising & Marketing: Captify, Infectious Media

Enterprise Software: Paddle, CloudSense

SaaS: BigChange, UKCloud, Biosite Systems, Click Travel, Masabi, Egress Software Technologies, EDITED

EdTech: Firefly

App & Software Development: Featurespace, Memrise

eCommerce & Marketplace: SIMBA, Trouva, MPB.com, SportPursuit

The History of the Programme:

The 26 late-stage companies this year are joining a larger network of Future Fifty companies and alumni, now totalling 127.

Of those that have been through the programme since 2014, Future Fifty’s track record now includes:

  • Five IPOs on the London Stock Exchange
  • 23 M&A’s of which 7 in the last year, including MatchesFashion.com (acquired for estimated $1bn), JustGiving (acquired $120m) and Shazam (acquired $400m).
  • Over $5.5bn raised in funding, including $1.7 billion in 2017
  • The companies have created 27,000 jobs around the world, demonstrating the extent to which tech is rapidly creating jobs and wealth throughout the UK, and have offices in 59 countries
  • A string of alumni companies that are household names including Just Eat and Zoopla.


Parveen Dhanda, Programme Lead for Future Fifty at Tech City UK, said: “We’re delighted to welcome 26 new exceptional high- growth companies onto the Future Fifty programme for 2018, and to welcome back 24 of last year’s experienced par ticipants. The Future Fifty class of 2018 includes companies from right across the UK, operating in sectors as diverse as cutting-edge fintech solutions, and innovative music hardware. But all these companies face common challenges in scaling their teams and operations, and share an ambition to build world-beating global digital businesses.

“The Future Fifty will get access to some of the world’s leading innovators and experts in the form of our advisors and partners, and join a powerful network of the UK’s fastest-growing late-stage digital businesses, working to grow further, faster, together.”

Gerard Grech, CEO, Tech City UK, said: “In the tech sector, small and growing businesses are providing high-quality jobs, employment to more than a million people and great career paths. Future Fifty helps 50 of the UK’s most promising businesses to accelerate their growth and shows how Tech City UK, soon to be Tech Nation, can connect ambitious people and companies across the country.

“By sharing knowledge and expertise Tech Nation can help these exciting businesses build faster and compete on the world stage. The prize for backing ambitious tech companies is huge: average salaries are almost £51,000, 44% higher than the average non-digital salary and the digital tech turnover of the UK is now worth £170bn and increasing all the time.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “Congratulations to all those selected to join this fantastic scheme which aims to help some of the UK’s brightest and most innovative digital businesses expand.

“We’re working hard to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, filled with high-skilled, well-paid jobs of the future.”

Julia Fowler, COO and co-founder of EDITED, said:

“We moved across the world to start our retail technology company and we love being part of London’s supportive and ambitious tech community. The Future Fifty programme will give us both practical and creative inspiration. It is also fantastic recognition of what our brilliant team have achieved so far.”   

Martina King, CEO, Featurespace, said:

“Featurespace has been recognised for our disruptive, world leading risk product and international customer base.  Our machine learning fraud detection is protecting our clients and their customers from real-time fraud attacks. Recognition as a Future Fifty company – on behalf of our progress with our team and customers – is thrilling.”

Poppy Gustafsson, co-founder of Darktrace, said:

“We’ve admired the Future Fifty alumni over the recent years and are incredibly excited to be joining the 2018 cohort. The UK has an amazing tech community and talent and we are delighted to be working with many of them over the next two years.”

Christian Owens, CEO and Founder of Paddle, said:

“It is a real honour to be part of Future Fifty. At Paddle, we are on a mission to become the best in the world at what we do, and to demonstrate that the UK does indeed play host to the talent and ambition required to create world leading technology companies. Joining the Future Fifty, alongside a group phenomenal companies, is a real stamp of quality for us.”

Stan Laurent, Partner at Highland Europe

and Future Fifty judge, said:

“What an exciting cohort of innovative businesses joining the Future Fifty programme this year! They are a real testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and ecosystem in the UK. Congratulations

New companies statistics:

  • 31% companies based outside London
  • 15% companies with female founder/co-founder
  • Average company age: 8 years
  • Average number of employees: 140+
  • 69% Business to Business companies
  • 15% Companies addressing both consumer/business markets
  • 15% Consumer-facing companies
  • 11% Female board members

New companies:

  1. BigChange Apps is the paperless way to plan, manage, schedule and track any mobile workforce.
  2. Biosite Systems provide integrated solutions designed to help manage, monitor and maximise safety and security on construction sites.
  3. Captify powers decisions globally through search intelligence.
  4. Checkout offers online payment solutions and consultative services to help companies grow and become greater.
  5. Click Travel reduce the cost and complexity of business travel management through the use of technology.
  6. CloudSense enables leading organizations worldwide to sell more, launch faster and reduce costs by providing seamlessly connected, digital-first customer experiences.
  7. Darktrace uses machine learning and AI algorithms to detect and respond to cyber-threats across diverse digital environments.
  8. EDITED help fashion retailers have the right product at the right price at the right time by giving the most important people in those businesses the information they need to beat the market.
  9. Egress Software Technologies provides an on-demand collaboration service to enable businesses to share information securely.
  10. Featurespace uses anomaly detection to analyse complex behavioural data in real-time for fraud and risk management.
  11. Firefly is the online tool that brings together teachers, students and parents.
  12. Infectious Media partners with global brands to deliver effective and efficient media campaigns.
  13. Ixaris enables businesses to profit from the payments they make.
  14. LendInvest develops technology that alleviates pain points in the mortgage application journey, making the process of getting a mortgage simpler, faster and more efficient.
  15. Masabi is the London-based global leader in mobile ticketing and innovative fare collection for public transport, turning user’s smartphones into both ticket machine and ticket in cities around the world, enabling best-of-breed Mobility-as-a-Service.
  16. Memrise enables you to learn a new language with games, humorous chatbots and over 30000 native speaker videos.
  17. MPB.com have revolutionised the experience of selling unwanted photographic equipment, offering a market leading price, hassle free selling process and instant payment.
  18. OakNorth is a UK bank that provides fast, flexible and accessible debt finance (from £500k to £20m) to small and medium-sized enterprises.
  19. OpenSignal is a mobile analytics company modernizing how the wireless industry measures network performance.
  20. Paddle offers software companies a single platform that solves every part of the software sales process.
  21. Semafone provides software to contact centres so they can take personal data securely over the telephone.
  22. SIMBA are disrupting the global sleep market with their direct-to-door omnichannel retail model and award-winning one-type-fits-all hybrid mattress.
  23. SportPursuit showcases the best specialist sports and outdoor brands in week long sales at prices that are not available anywhere else.
  24. Trouva is the destination for shopping the world’s best independent shops, enabling customers to discover homeware and accessories you cannot find elsewhere.
  25. UKCloud is the power behind UK public sector technology. It provides a wide range of the multi-cloud platforms for the exclusive use of organisations within the public and healthcare sector in the UK.
  26. Zappi is the most transformative, automated platform for buying cost-effective research services at lightning speed.

Existing companies

  1. Azimo is an online international money transfer service that allows people to send money to any internet-connected device in over 190 countries.
  2. Blis uses location data technology to create audiences for advertisers.
  3. Bloom And Wild provides flower delivery through the letterbox.
  4. Carwow is the most convenient, stress free way to find and buy a new car.
  5. ClearScore is a company that provides free access to credit scores and reports.
  6. Condeco helps companies manage their meeting and office spaces more effectively.
  7. Ebury is a financial services company that helps small and medium enterprises grow internationally with foreign exchange, business lending and cash management solutions.
  8. EposNow is a point-of-sale software and hardware provider that automates small business banking.
  9. Festicket is an online marketplace to discover and book musical festival experiences.
  10. Gousto provides innovative recipe boxes with pre-portioned ingredients packaged and delivered to the door each week.
  11. Interact intranet provides intranet software and professional services to help companies solve internal communication and collaboration challenges.
  12. Kano creates computers and coding kits for all ages.
  13. LoveCrafts is an online community and marketplace for the crafts sector.
  14. MyUnidays connects brands and services to a verified audience of students around the world.
  15. Onfido is an identity verification platform that helps over 1,000 companies ensure their customers are who they claim to be.
  16. Receipt Bank automates small business bookkeeping.
  17. Roli is a music technology company that makes a modular music creation system that opens up new possibilities for musical expression.
  18. Tails is an online pet nutrition service that makes and delivers tailormade food for an individual dog’s unique diet and nutritional needs.
  19. Thread is an e-commerce company that uses human stylists and machine learning to help men dress well without going shopping.
  20. ThreadsStyling is a company reinventing luxury goods commerce for the Snapchat generation.
  21. SpitfireAudio provides virtual instruments to composers and producers to produce and earn royalties on quality musical samples.
  22. Superawesome powers a kid-safe digital media ecosystem with products that are designed for kids’ data privacy requirements.
  23. SwoonEditions is an online furniture brand that works directly with suppliers to provide better quality products at a better price than traditional retailers.
  24. TrakGlobal is a telematics company that uses embedded devices to gather data and manage driver risk.

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