Deliveroo, the upmarket food-delivery group, and the Crowdcube crowdfunding site are among 15 firms tipped as potential stars of the UK’s digital economy by Tech City UK, a government-backed organisation.
The companies have been inducted into the Future Fifty programme, which aims to support fast-growing tech firms and help them to the next stage.
London’s role as a leading centre for financial technology groups is highlighted by the fact that there are three companies from the sector among the graduating companies – Crowdcube, iwoca and Fund Apps.
Not all of the new entrants are based in the capital. This year’s additions include Brandwatch, a data and analytics group in Brighton, and the Floow, a Sheffield-based telematics company.
Gerard Grech, Tech City UK’s chief executive, said: “Britain’s digital industry continues to defy expectation. From fintech [financial technology] to online shopping, cybersecurity to gaming, the Future Fifty companies reflect the diversity of our fastest-growing sector. In a rich and varied marketplace, these entrepreneurs are united by global ambition and enormous potential. The digital businesses joining the Future Fifty programme are a window into the future of the digital economy.”
The elevation of 15 new companies marks the end of the road for another 15 which have been on the programme since the beginning in 2013. They are said to have graduated and therefore have left the programme.
The graduates include Unruly, the digital advertising group that was bought by News Corp for £114m; Naked Wines, which was bought by Majestic Wines for £70m; Hailo, a smartphone app used by black-cab drivers in their increasingly bitter battle with Uber; and Funding Circle, an online marketplace that lends to small businesses and was valued at more than $1bn (£670m) during a recent fundraising.
Since the programme was founded, the Future Fifty companies have raised a total of £791m and operate in 170 countries.
Tech City UK was set up to support tech start-ups as many British businesses struggle to gain access to funds compared with their US counterparts.
In an effort to make it more attractive for tech companies to float in the capital, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) established the high growth segment in 2013. Its rules allow for companies to have a smaller free float of shares (just 10% compared with the norm of 25%).
Only two companies have made use of these rules, Just Eat and Matomy, while others, such as King Digital Entertainment, maker of Candy Crush Saga, secured a $7.1bn float in the US instead last year (it has since been bought by American company Activision for $5.9bn). There is still a view that US markets are happier to take a longer-term view of a company’s profits potential.
The LSE says four UK-based technology companies floated in London in 2015, led by Sophos Group, which raised £405m, and Softcat, which raised £176.4m.
This article was written by David Hellier, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 16th December 2015 17.17 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010