November 2021: a month in review with Tech Nation CEO

Gerard Grech, December 1, 2021 5 min read

It’s been another busy and exciting month for us at Tech Nation, as we’ve now kicked off all 6 of our growth programmes for the best and brightest tech scaleups across the UK – from fast-growing early-stage companies to the UK’s tech ‘futurecorns’ and ‘unicorns’, who are increasingly spread out across all areas of the UK.

As the United Kingdom Prime Minister said in his speech at the CBI Conference last week – shortly before his visit to one of our amazing Future Fifty cohort company Tharsus – “the wonderful thing about our more than 100 tech unicorns is they are dispersed now far more evenly across the whole of the UK than the tech unicorns of some of our rival competitor economies.”Indeed the Economist covered this just a few weeks ago. Read the article here.

Here are a few of the exciting things that these inspiring, diverse companies – and Tech Nation – have been up to recently:

1. Climate tech is powering the UK’s race to zero

The start of this month marked the beginning of COP26; an important time for reflection on what we can – and must – do as individuals, businesses and nations to address the global climate emergency. Our own Net Zero team have put together this piece on the key takeaways from COP26, which I’d highly recommend giving a read.

Following the launch of our Net Zero Report 2021 at the start of this month, we were delighted to have an opportunity to attend the COP26 conference up in Glasgow and showcase some of the incredible companies in our latest Net Zero cohort, for our Forget 2050 event in partnership with Net Zero Now.

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Following the exhibits, our Entrepreneur Engagement Manager Elizabeth Corse hosted an inspiring panel on the future of climate tech and what more needs to be done to scale the sector, as 40% of the technologies we need to reach net zero are shockingly yet to reach mass market.

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SolivusMagwaySpheraTredEAVSourceFul and Oxwash were the Net Zero companies exhibiting at the event, and it was remarkable to see the tangible difference the impact their innovations – which range from electric van-bicycle hybrid vehicles, to the world’s first fully green debit card, to carbon removal tech – is having on the UK’s carbon emissions. To quote our Chair Stephen Kelly in his recent podcast with Dell Technologies, “it’s great when you can combine a high-growth company on a mission with a great social purpose as well.”

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Sourceful was one of the exhibits at COP26 from our Net Zero 2.0 cohort. They are an all-in-one platform for sustainable sourcing.

Our Libra programme lead, Abi Mohammed, also spoke at COP26, at The Estée Lauder Companies UK and Ireland’s fascinating panel on how ‘the virtual world can cost more than IRL in the context of climate change’, and how we can work together to ensure our future hybrid/remote working lifestyles can be as green as they are convenient.

That same week, our Head of Insights George Windsor spoke at our ‘Scaling Climate Tech’ event in partnership with BNP Paribas and Arctic Basecamp (hosted in a very unique ‘arctic basecamp’ venue!), alongside some more of our amazing Net Zero companies – Earth BloxCATAGENThe Tyre CollectiveXamplaBxSourceful and ACT Blade – who spoke on their climate technologies, emissions reduction potential and visions for the future.

Meanwhile, I was invited to speak on Green TV alongside the CEOs of Sourceful and MagWay and Nyolbolt. I was blown away by my fellow panelists and what they are doing. You can see the panel here.

Back in London, we also held our Becoming Net Zero Cross-Programme Session, which saw tech scaleups from all of our different growth programmes coming together to learn how to start measuring and lowering their carbon emissions.

It’s amazing to see the tech sector working together to save our planet, but there is still so much more work to be done. If you are a tech company and you haven’t yet signed the Tech Zero Pledge, I urge you to visit the Tech Zero website and find out more about how you can help.

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When you join Tech Zero, you commit to measuring your scope 1-3 emissions and set an ambitious net zero target by the end of 2021 – and we promise we’ll give you a helping hand along the way! We’ve even created this Tech Zero toolkit to demystify climate jargon and make it easier for you to start measuring your carbon emissions and setting a net zero plan. By joining forces, we can make faster progress to net zero. Let’s save our planet together!

2. UK scale-ups target South East Asia

In other news, we were excited to announce our latest International growth programme cohort earlier this month; 22 of the UK’s most ambitious tech scaleups, all looking to accelerate their expansion into international markets, which is a top priority for hundreds of scaleups across the nation.

3. Welcoming the best and brightest tech talent into the UK

What’s more, we announced the launch of our exciting new programme for the best and brightest talent coming into the UK; Thrive. Thrive was designed specifically for global tech talent moving to the UK to work in our tech sector who want to accelerate their introduction into the ecosystem, and we’re excited to help even more inspiring tech founders and new hires adjust to living and working in the UK. If you’re thinking of moving to the UK or have a number of colleagues moving to the UK to join your company, please head to our website to find out more about the programme, or to begin your application today.

4. In the world of Lawtech

This month, our LawtechUK panel has again been busy hosting the Inaugural Legal Data Steering Group meeting to develop a manifesto for open data in the legal profession. The Steering Group includes BT, the Open Data Institute and the Government Legal Department, and aims to tackle the issues around legal data sharing and collaboration in the legal sector.

5. A big month for UK fintech

As I mentioned in my last update, throughout November, our Fintech Delivery Panel (FDP) have been running a month-long campaign, “Finclusion 2021”. Dedicated to exploring how fintech can help tackle issues of financial exclusion, the programme has included webinars and workshops with partners including Atom Bank, Monzo, Newcastle University, Fintrail, Natwest and Fair4All Finance . You can watch the launch of the campaign – recorded live – here. It’s been truly inspiring to see some of the ideas and initiatives which have been born out of these incredible events.

In a couple of days’ time, we’ll be concluding the Finclusion campaign with a socially-purposed ‘Hackathon’ with a mission! Powered by NayaOne, this hackathon will be a unique opportunity to help solve real-world problems which so many people face everyday, from coping with the financial shocks of a cancer diagnosis to preventing the poverty premium meaning those with less often pay more for insurance. Find out more about how to get involved here.

6. Coming up 

We’re very much looking forward to our upcoming Advance courses, a series of cohort-based, expert-led training courses curated and designed by Tech Nation and our chosen partners, which will provide entrepreneurs, founders and business leaders with the opportunity to learn to tackle the biggest challenges in their scaling journeys – from hiring and talent, to accessing finance, to international expansion. You can find out more and register your interest here (if you haven’t already!)

Last but not least, we’re all anticipating the big reveal of the 55 incredible Regional Winners of our Rising Stars competition next month – which recognises and celebrates the best and brightest tech startups from across the UK – 5 from every region. Look out for the 12 Days of Scaleups again at the start of December, where we’ll be introducing you to each region’s winners day by day!

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