Tech Nation welcomes 31 fast-growing tech companies from across the UK into its Upscale growth programme
- 31 companies have today been accepted into Tech Nation’s Upscale growth programme for fast growing mid-stage scaling tech companies
- Nearly a quarter of the companies selected come from healthtech, and a sixth are edtechs, following a bumper year for these sectors
- These companies’ success reflects the wider growth of the UK’s mid-stage scaling tech companies (at Series A), which have raised $2.7bn in the first half of 2021 (Jan-June) alone – an all time record – up from $2.4bn in the whole of 2020
12th October 2021: Tech Nation, the UK’s leading growth platform for tech scaleups, today announces the 31 mid-stage scaling tech companies that have been accepted into Upscale 7.0 – the seventh iteration of the Upscale programme, which supports the UK’s fastest-growing mid-sized (Series A) tech companies to overcome common growth challenges and scale faster. 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 success of these 31 companies – which have an average growth rate of 250% – reflects the strength of the mid-sized market overall, which is growing faster than ever across the board, with mid-stage scaling tech companies (at Series A) having raised $2.7bn in 2021 so far – an all time record – up from $2.4bn in 2020. The top three fastest scaling sectors are fintech (the fastest scaling sector), then healthtech and then transport tech.
The UK currently has 136 tech ‘futurecorns’ (fast-growing tech businesses set to achieve a $1bn+ valuation) in the pipeline, demonstrating the rapid growth of UK tech as companies innovate to solve social, economic and environmental challenges.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “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.”
Nearly a quarter of the new cohort companies specialise in healthtech
Healthtech is one of the sectors experiencing the strongest growth in mid-stage UK tech companies, with Series A stage companies in the UK having raised $674mn in 2021 so far, up 66% from $404mn in 2020 and up 69% from $398mn in 2019. UK healthtech as a whole received $5.6bn overall investment in 2021, more than double its investment in the whole of 2020 ($2.5bn) and 2019 ($2.4bn). Much of this growth capital is being deployed to hiring in these scaling firms, driving job vacancies, and providing opportunities in tech for candidates with a range of tech, clinical and non-tech skills.
Seven of the companies joining Upscale 7.0 specialise in healthtech, and are focussed on transforming modern physical and mental health care. Nourished, a Birmingham-based, female-founded healthtech scaleup, has developed a patented 3D printing technology for producing printed vitamins, while London-based healthtech Birdie is using machine learning to reinvent elderly care so that our aging population can live healthily and happily at home for longer.
Companies transforming mental health care include Healios, which has built a comprehensive virtual clinic (covering multiple complex specialist assessment and psychological intervention services) to empower children, young people and families affected by mental health and neurodiverse conditions, while HelloSelf uses AI to provide customers with personalised therapy, coaching and psychological advice.
5 of the new Upscale cohort are edtech companies – a sector which is rapidly growing in the UK
In the UK, edtech investment has also reached new heights – increasing from $113mn in 2020 to $319mn in the first half of 2021. This is largely a result of edtech companies’ procurement cycles having been massively reduced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The edtech companies in Upscale 7.0 reflect the wide variety of emerging edtech solutions in the UK – which aim to improve the way students learn at schools and Universities, encourage children to learn with their families at home, and even improve how professionals approach self development at home and in the workplace.
One edtech company joining the Upscale programme is Glean, which has developed a note-taking solution to improve learning from classes, lectures, and other educational environments, along with Kidadl, which specialises in ‘family edutainment’. Kortext 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 across the UK
Over a third (11) of the companies in Upscale 7.0 hail from outside of London, with 2 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.
Upscale 7.0’s mission
The six-month government-backed Upscale programme was designed to support and scale the most promising mid-stage tech companies in the UK – at a critical stage of growth.
Companies accepted into the Upscale programme will receive over 60 hours of support at world-class coaching sessions (delivered by over 20 expert scale coaches), attend networking events with key stakeholders, peers, corporates and investors, and have access to a range of online resources, designed to tackle fundamental scaling challenges around culture, talent, international expansion and financing.
Empowering all of the scaling companies in the new Upscale cohort is at the core of Tech Nation’s mission to fuel the growth of tech scaleups who are helping us create a stronger economy, society and future.
Tech Nation is pleased to announce that Cooper Parry, Cooley and Silicon Valley Bank will be Programme Partners for this year’s Upscale programme and will provide invaluable support, expertise and insights to the Upscale 7.0 cohort.
Liam Ward, Upscale Programme Lead at Tech Nation, said: “I’m delighted to welcome all of these ambitious, fast-growing tech scaleups to the Upscale programme this year. 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.”
Check Warner, Partner at Ada Ventures, Co-founder of Diversity VC and Upscale 7.0 judge, said: “The depth, breadth and diversity of this year’s Upscale cohort is indicative of the positive evolution of the UK’s startup and scaleup ecosystem. It’s fantastic to see a third of the cohort with female founders or co-founders, and companies represented from Yorkshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Upscale programme is going to supercharge these companies to the next stage of hyper growth, which is great news for investors, founders and the economy as a whole.”
Onur Aydogan, Venture Manager at Oxford University Saïd Business School/Creative Destruction Lab Oxford, Mentor at CERN Student Entrepreneurship Programme (CESP), and Upscale 7.0 judge, said: “It is truly amazing to see the range and diversity of this year’s Upscale cohort. Indeed, I am equally delighted to see companies represented from different locations of the UK, including the North of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. We believe these companies are at the right stage and time to take this amazing opportunity to accelerate their growth plans. Cohort companies will have the right help and support they need in the Upscale programme on their journey to become superstars of the UK economy. I have no doubt that the innovations and technologies Upscale companies are working on will not only make an impact in society but will continue to create hundreds of jobs in the UK.”
Divinia Knowles, Leadership Coach, Startup Advisor, Ex-COO of Pact & Mind Candy and Upscale 7.0 judge, said: “Having been a judge for the last few Upscale cohorts, it is fascinating to see how the range and diversity of these brilliant and disruptive companies continues to grow. The Upscale 7.0 cohort is a great demonstration of this. It is enormously inspiring to see these companies innovating across different sectors that have such an impact on people’s lives, health and wellbeing. The Upscale programme is a brilliant opportunity for these companies to come together, learn and scale effectively. I can’t wait to watch their progress.”
Mandeep Singh, Co-founder and Former CEO of Trouva and Upscale 7.0 judge, said: “Judging this year’s Upscale cohort was a very difficult task. The competition was fiercer than ever, which is testament to the tremendous growth of the UK tech ecosystem, and how important technology has been during the Covid-19 pandemic. A huge congratulations to the companies that have made it. As an Upscale alumni myself, I know first-hand how the programme can help springboard these companies to their next stage of growth.”