The new participants in the Tech Nation Upscale initiative have an average growth rate of 250%, with mid-stage scaling tech companies (at Series A), generally, raising $2.7 billion in 2021 so far – an all time record – up from $2.4 billion in 2020.
The top three fastest scaling sectors are Fintech (the fastest scaling sector), healthtech and transport tech.
This is a critical time in every scaleup’s journey, as around 60% of companies that raise pre-Series A funding fail to make it to Series A or beyond.
The UK currently has 136 tech ‘futurecorns’ (fast-growing tech businesses set to achieve a $1 billion+ valuation) in the pipeline, demonstrating the rapid growth of UK tech as companies innovate to solve social, economic and environmental challenges.
“I’m delighted to welcome all of these ambitious, fast-growing tech scaleups to the Upscale programme this year,” said Liam Ward, Upscale programme lead at Tech Nation.
“The impact these companies’ innovative solutions are already having on people’s lives across so many industries is evident from their combined revenue of over £90 million, and it’s fantastic to see investors taking note of the potential these tech companies have not only to scale but to transform every corner of society for the better.”
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries commented: “It’s fantastic to see so many fast-growing scaleups creating wealth and well-paid jobs up and down the country.
“Through organisations like Tech Nation, this government is helping people across the UK get the skills they need to work in this fascinating industry and supporting businesses with pro-innovation policies so they can continue to grow and thrive.”
New DCMS minister Nadine Dorries opens London Tech Week 2021
Nearly a quarter of the companies selected come from healthtech, with UK-based Series A stage companies in the space having raised $674 million in 2021 so far, up 66% from $404 million in 2020.
UK healthtech as a whole received $5.6 billion in overall investment in 2021, more than double its investment in the whole of 2020 ($2.5 billion), with much of this growth capital being deployed to hiring, driving job vacancies and providing opportunities for talent with a range of tech, and non-tech skills.
Nourished, a Birmingham-based, female-founded healthtech scaleup, has developed a patented 3D printing technology for producing printed vitamins.
London-based healthtech Birdie, meanwhile, is using machine learning to reinvent elderly care so that our aging population can live healthily and happily at home for longer.
Companies focusing on mental health care include Healios, which has built a comprehensive virtual clinic to empower people with mental health and neurodiverse conditions, while HelloSelf uses AI to provide customers with personalised therapy, coaching and psychological advice.
Elsewhere in the Upscale 7.0 programme from Tech Nation, five of the new cohort are edtech companies – a sector which is rapidly growing in the UK, with investment increasing from $113 million in 2020 to $319 million in the first half of 2021.
This representation reflects the wide variety of emerging edtech solutions in the UK, which aim to improve the way students learn at schools, universities and at home, as well as improve how professionals approach self development.
Kortext, meanwhile. has built a digital platform for universities to share learning materials with students, and Learnerbly has built a workplace learning platform for businesses to help employees accelerate their personal and professional development.
Fast tracking growth outside London
Over a third (11) of the companies in Upscale 7.0 hail from outside of London, with two companies from Scotland (Edinburgh-based Amiqus Resolution and Cyan Forensics), and one from Northern Ireland (Belfast-based TriMedika).
Notably, a third (10) of the latest cohort companies have female founders or co-founders.