Announced! TechRound’s Top 23 Scale-Up Companies – TechRound

What is a Scale-Up?

A scale-up is a company that has passed the start-up stage, proven their business model and is now ‘scaling up.’ After all, you can’t be a startup forever right? But you can still embody the startup feel and style.

what is a scale up

When Does A Start-Up Become a Scale-Up?

Scale-ups are companies which have passed the start-up phase, some of which are now over 5 years old. They are now growing their proposition and have effectively demonstrated a proof of concept.

A scale-up maintains the culture of a startup, being bright and exciting, with a fast-growing team and innovation at the centre of what they do.

With a keen eye on the startup and scale up industry in the UK, TechRound has ranked their top 23 scale-up companies to look out for (ranked in no particular order).

directlyapplydirectlyapply

Founder(s): Dylan Buckley & Will Capper

Website: https://directlyapply.com/

DirectlyApply is the job discovery platform that ensures that anyone can find the job they want. It lets job seekers match their interests and abilities to thousands of roles from companies that are currently hiring, and offers them powerful tools to help with their search, including a free resumé builder, diversity and inclusion checker, and job application tracker. Founded in 2018, DirectlyApply is levelling the playing field. It is the world’s only search engine for jobs you can apply to directly.

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Its founders Dylan Buckley and Will Capper have had to forgo lucrative sources of revenue as they felt working with these types of partners would be detrimental to the experience of their users. Although it is hard to give up any income source when you are just starting out as a business, they believe focusing on job seeker experience is key to their continued growth.

Despite lockdown and the fall in available jobs, DirectlyApply experienced rapid growth over the last 12 months, seeing revenue jump by 1,400 percent. The platform, which directly connects jobseekers to the roles they want, has introduced more than 30 major features, while jobseeker traffic has risen 2,150 percent from last year. Commercially, the platform focused on supplying candidates within delivery, logistics and supermarket retail, playing its part in helping to fill ‘key worker’ positions that kept the country going as COVID-19 spread.

2. Etch Community

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Founder(s): Tom Frame & Shelly Frame

Website: https://www.etchuk.com/the-etch-community

Earlier this year, leading digital transformation business, Etch, launched a new initiative, Etch Community.

The firm, who have offices in London, Southampton and Cape Town, have a 60-strong team of some the industry’s most-talented digital professionals. This number is growing rapidly, as the Etch Community continues to gain momentum.

The collective is a network of freelancers who are nurtured by Etch, without boundaries, as if they are one of the permanent team. Designed to give digital professionals a platform to grow, and a place to belong, Etch Community is redefining self-employment and the agency model. A powerful partnership for future-thinking professionals, Etch Community is built on the principle of collective intelligence and the belief that, together, you can go further, faster.

The collective was formed as Etch’s response to ‘scaling-up’. As the client roster has grown, so too has the breadth of projects; the firm realised that the flexibility, speed of delivery and quality of work provided by specialists, who can be instructed for specific projects on an ad-hoc basis to support the permeant members of staff, resulted in both happier clients and a healthier bottom line.

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The benefits are two-fold. Members of the Etch community benefit from extra revenue; a considerable commission structure is in place for any news leads generated, more work; Etch and its partner network are always looked for skilled talent to deliver outstanding work for clients spanning the financial services, healthcare, hospitality and tourism sectors, and accelerated growth; whether it’s personal, professional or business growth, the Etch Community gives its members multiple opportunities to learn and develop, helping them to deliver the best work of their career, surrounded by the industry’s top talent.

As one of the first businesses in the south of England to pioneer remote working, Etch was operationally prepared for the advent of the pandemic and the new working landscape. The founders and management team adapted and embraced their approach to help foster a thriving and prosperous culture for its team. Fundamentally, it is such forward-thinking that has allowed Etch to scale up through its community and emerge from lockdown stronger – and busier – than ever.

3. GoStudent

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Founder(s): Felix Ohswald & Gregor Müller

Website: https://www.gostudent.org/en

The EdTech scale-up, GoStudent, provides 1:1 video-based tuition to learners aged 6-19. The company, founded in 2016 by the then 21 year-old Felix Ohswald and his friend, Gregor Müller, was devised to ensure that every student has access to motivated and engaging tutors.

Felix realised the need for such a service first-hand, when he was doing his master’s degree in Quantitative Finance. He’d become the go-to person for his brother’s classmates who were struggling with their maths studies – he was happy to help, and word spread. Felix was surprised by just how many students were reaching out to him, and worried that it seemed as though they lacked support and had lost enthusiasm for the subject. It was this that led him to found GoStudent – a space where students could be connected with the right tutor for them – ensuring that their excitement for learning is nurtured, and their true potential unlocked.

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Just five years into its journey, GoStudent made the leap from start-up to scale-up, securing a €205M Series C in June 2021, a valuation of €1.4B and becoming Europe’s first EdTech unicorn. Impressively, this series C came just a year after the company’s 2020 Series A and early 2021 Series B.

To date, GoStudent has raised €291M and is operational in more than 16 markets. The company employs more than 600 staff and works with more than 6,000 tutors. By the end of 2021, GoStudent aims to be present in over 20 countries across the globe, increasing its team to more than 1,000 employees and 10,000 tutors as it pursues it’s goal of becoming the number 1 global school.

4. Residently

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Founder(s): Tom Allason & Sam Phillips

Website: https://residently.com/

Residently are a rapidly scaling proptech empowering renters to own the way they live.

Residently’s super-app gives renters the power to make an offer for a property, complete referencing and contracts in one place and even switch on their wifi and utilities for their move-in date. The in-built Residently marketplace also offers everything renters need; like moving services, cleaners, furniture hire and even painters and decorators.

Once in their new home, the app is used to raise maintenance requests, and to find information about their property; and eventually, even extend their lease if desired. Residently are developing the tools to make moving home a one-click experience.

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Operating in the $2T home rental and services market, Residently partners with agents/realtors, property managers, and institutional owners to bring its service to renters.

Their focus on creating the best in class renter experience is validated by our industry-leading NPS of 67 and Trustpilot rating of 4.8 (96% excellent by residents).

Through their focus on delivering an easy and rewarding experience for renters, Residently is helping their partners grow consumer mindshare and positive sentiment, leading to longer-term loyalty and cost reduction.

With their market fit established we are now in a strong position and valuation for our larger scale-up Series A with some of the most world-renowned VC’s already on board; and for their international expansion into the US.

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5. Fitbakes

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Founder(s): Ella Rauen-Prestes

Website: https://www.fitbakes.co.uk/

“I want to do for cakes what Halo Top did for ice cream”, said Ella Rauen-Prestes, founder of Fitbakes. “Cake is ingrained in the culture of the UK. It’s seen as an essential item that doesn’t even have VAT on it. But my mission is to give consumers a healthier choice.”

The nutritionist started the company in 2018 on her kitchen table in the Cotswolds, recognising that there was a huge gap in the market for indulgent treats that are high in protein and contain no sugar.

Ella has just launched a crowdfunding campaign with Seedrs to help Fitbakes launch its next product which is a UK first; a millionaire caramel cake.

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“It’s our most indulgent and rich treat to date”, said Ella. “Our millionaire caramel cake has taken a long time to develop as we struggled to find a sugar-free caramel that stood up to the job. We eventually found a traditional caramel manufacturer in France who managed to create a version without sugar which is delicious and has the perfect texture. It only contains natural sweeteners – absolutely nothing artificial.”

Fitbakes has already secured a top listing in 1,000 Tesco stores to be included as part of their meal deal offering later this year. The brand is also listed in Co-op and Selfridges.

Growing up in Brazil, Ella was used to finding natural alternatives to sugar. During the 1980s, her family used Stevia as a natural alternative to sugar – so a healthier approach to baking is second nature to her.”

The crowdfunding campaign can be found at https://www.seedrs.com/fitbakes/coming-soon

6. AccuraCast

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Founder(s): Farhad Divecha

Website: https://www.accuracast.com/

London-based digital marketing agency, AccuraCast, is planning International expansion after achieving an average of 48 per cent growth each year for the past five years. The agency, which focuses on helping businesses to grow their online presence Internationally, is itself gearing-up for overseas growth with plans to establish French, German and American offices either directly or through acquisition. As a finance expert with extensive mergers and acquisitions experience, MAP, is supporting AccuraCast with its expansion plans.

AccuraCast is looking to establish a presence in both France and Germany this year and then America in 2022. “We’re seeing an escalating demand for our services from clients in these particular countries” says Farhad Divecha, Managing Director of AccuraCast. “It makes sense to expand into France, Germany and the USA so that we can service clients at a local level.”

Formed in 2004, AccuraCast employs ten people and has experienced 48 per cent growth each year for the past five years. The agency puts its growth down to an increase in demand for its digital marketing services combined with having the confidence to make smart business decisions thanks to the company’s partnership with MAP.

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“MAP has given us total confidence in the figures and because they understand digital businesses, we lean on them for strategic advice”, says Divecha. “Understanding where we’re going as a business and how to best achieve the numbers has provided us with a really solid foundation for growth both in the UK and overseas.”

AccuraCast is also consulting with MAP on mergers and acquisition opportunities and the finance expert will support the agency throughout the process.

Divecha adds, “We’re at the start of a new chapter in our agency’s history, moving from a UK-based marketing agency to a growing International agency. We’re excited to see where our expansion plans take us!”

Based in London, AccuraCast was founded in 2004 and is one of the longest-running independent search and social media marketing agencies in the UK. It has since grown to become the UK’s leading cross-border digital marketing agency. It specialises in helping businesses grow internationally at scale, through data-led social media marketing, search and programmatic display advertising, search engine optimisation and mobile internet marketing in all major global languages.

7. Supplies For Candles

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Founder(s): Nick Story

Website: https://suppliesforcandles.co.uk/

Supplies For Candles has grown rapidly – their main strategy being through optimised digital marketing.

29 year-old Nicky Story, from South Yorkshire, started his business from his garage just 5 years ago. He’s now the proud owner of a multi-million-pound business empire, employing over 100 people and serving over 60,000 customers. As the CEO of; Supplies For Candles, The Soap Kitchen and Glassprints Ltd – this b2b empire, is the go-to for candle and soap making

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ingredients and products, Nicky is at the helm of the largest online company in Europe within the industry, helping thousands of others become successful entrepreneurs and business leaders too.

CEO Nicky Story said; “We have increased our customer base initially through paid advertising on platforms such as Google Ads and social media ads.  We then develop the lift time value of our customers internally, by providing new products and high-quality content for our customers to keep them engaged. We regular update our website to increase conversion rate trialing new technology such as implementing user generated content to our website, powerful search tools and improving overall site functionality.

We also ran initiatives such as providing thousands of free business starter packs throughout the UK, we provided the tools for potential entrepreneurs to easily set up home fragrance businesses in their own home during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have made 2 strategic acquisitions during this time to further cement the company’s growth as a market leader. We continue to quickly adapt to the ever-changing environment, whether it be operationally or in the world of e-commerce. We regularly develop and expand the team to ensure we have the best people driving the business to the next level.”

8. Culture Amp

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Nick Matthews, General Manager and Vice President EMEA at Culture Amp

Founder(s): Didier Elzinga, Jon Williams, Douglas English & Rod Hamilton

Website: https://www.cultureamp.com/

Culture Amp is revolutionising the way over 25 million employees across 4,000 companies build a better world of work.

As the global platform leader for employee experience, Culture Amp empowers UK companies to transform their employee engagement, develop high-performing teams, and retain talent via cutting-edge research, powerful technology, and the largest employee dataset in the world.

culture amp

Innovative global companies such as Salesforce and Unilever depend on Culture Amp daily and Forbes has described it as one of the world’s top private cloud companies. In UK engagements, Culture Amp helped accounting software company FreeAgent, identify ways to enhance employee engagement while exam provider Cambridge Assessment is gauging a new flexible working strategy with Culture Amp pulse surveys. The company is also helping movie and TV special effects specialist The Foundry identify and address teams’ changing learning & development needs.

Culture Amp recently raised US$100 million in its Series F funding round from a valuation of more than $1.5 billion. This investment will see the company increase its EMEA headcount from 70 to 100 by 2021 while it is already on track to nearly double its customer base to 1500 within 12 months.

The company has amassed the world’s biggest collection of employee insights, through more than 70,000 surveys delivering in excess of 13 million responses. These insights are enabling organisations of any size, industry or location to benchmark themselves against others to help build a better work culture.

Nick Matthews, General Manager and Vice President EMEA, Culture Amp says: “Through our innovative insights and determination to create a better world of work, we are giving UK  companies the tools to better understand, engage and motivate employees, even as we emerge from the toughest 12 months most of us can remember.”

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9. ComplyAdvantage

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Founder(s): Charles Delingpole

Website: https://complyadvantage.com/

ComplyAdvantage is the financial industry’s leading source of AI-driven financial crime risk data and detection technology. ComplyAdvantage’s mission is to neutralise the risk of money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption, and other financial crime.

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More than 500 enterprises in 75 countries rely on ComplyAdvantage to understand the risk of who they’re doing business with through the world’s only global, real-time database of people and companies. The company actively identifies tens of thousands of risk events from millions of structured and unstructured data points every single day.

ComplyAdvantage has four global hubs located in New York, London, Singapore and Cluj-Napoca and is backed by Goldman Sachs, Ontario Teachers’, Index Ventures and Balderton Capital.

10. Payhawk

payhawk

Founder(s): Hristo Borisov & Boyko Karadzhov

Website: https://payhawk.com/

Payhawk is a financial platform that combines expense management, payments and invoice management in one solution and therefore works as a one-stop shop for finance teams. Its customer base consists of a mix of fast-growing and mature multinational companies like LuxAir, Lotto24, Holded, Nexo, MacPaw and By Miles.

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Payhawk is also leading the digital transformation agenda of companies like A.T.U in Germany, where the product is used to replace handling of cash with company cards at more than 550 branches. The fintech is headquartered in London, and was founded in 2018 by Hristo Borisov and Boyko Karadzhov and is supported by renowned investors such as QED Investors and Earlybird Digital East.

11. CUBE

cube

Founder(s): Ben Richmond

Website: https://www.cube.global/

CUBE is a global RegTech boasting the world’s most comprehensive source of classified, meaningful regulatory intelligence. Born of the 2008 financial crisis, CUBE combines industry-leading technology and automation with expert-validated insights to enable global financial institutions to streamline their complex regulatory change management processes.

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Using leading techniques in artificial intelligence, including machine learning and natural language processing, CUBE captures and classifies all regulatory content across 180 countries in 60 languages and maps it to customers’ compliance frameworks, from financial crime to cyber, privacy, tech risk and more.

12. Funnel

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Founder(s):  Fredrik Skantze & Per Made

Website: https://funnel.io/

Funnel has created a far better way to work with marketing data. In 2019 digital marketing surpassed offline marketing for the first time. Companies are shifting their marketing budgets online because of the performance promise of digital marketing, but delivering on that promise is hard. It requires a strong reporting infrastructure, which is difficult to achieve because of the overwhelming number of ever-changing marketing platforms and the need to harmonise and integrate the data from each platform. Just in the last two years, the number of data sources used by marketing organisations has increased by 50% and there are no signs of this slowing down.

Business users are traditionally dependent on separate technical teams for setup and support of a measurement infrastructure and existing solutions tend to either be inflexible and break when marketing requirements change, or monolithic and not well suited to plug into the existing data and reporting infrastructure of the organisation.

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Funnel solves this problem by automatically importing all marketing data, making it Business-Ready, and exporting it to the existing data warehouse, or reporting tools already used by the organisation such as Tableau or Google Data Studio. In contrast to raw data, Business-Ready data is data that has been cleaned, normalised and integrated and can instantly and correctly be used for reporting and analysis. The lack of automated access to Business-Ready data and dependency on technical teams for it, is one of the largest sources of frustration for marketers.

With Funnel, users get instant access to their prepared data with no downtime when requirements change. It also allows technical teams to focus on high-value activities rather than the tedious and time-consuming tasks of collecting, cleaning, normalising and integrating data. The result is empowered, accountable marketing teams that can finally deliver on the performance promise of digital marketing.

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13. Codility

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Founder(s): Greg Jakacki

Website: https://www.codility.com/

Codility is a platform that enables companies to build better engineering teams. The current hiring ecosystem requires companies to curate relevant candidate experiences which mimic a day in the life of an engineer. This can be challenging for companies that rely on contingency recruitment because there’s no safeguard to reduce risk and ensure high-quality hires.

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Codility’s assessment engine is on a mission to provide a 360-degree evaluation of technical ability, helping hiring managers predict candidate potential to the scope of the role. This also supports efforts to build more diverse teams by providing customisable workflows which protect processes from subconscious bias.

14. Peak

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Founder(s): Richard Potter, Atul Sharma, David Leitch

Website: https://peak.ai/

Peak’s software enables companies across sectors including retail, consumer goods and manufacturing to embed AI into the core of their decision making and operations. This commercial application of AI to optimise business performance is something Peak calls Decision Intelligence.

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Peak’s Decision Intelligence software allows a broader range of companies to access these supercharged technologies that were previously only accessible to a select few, such as tech giants Google, Amazon and Netflix. With Peak, businesses of all sizes are empowered to make great decisions with the help of AI across their sales, marketing, demand management, and supply chains.

15. Superscript

superscript

Founder(s): Cameron Shearer & Ben Rose

Website: https://gosuperscript.com/

Superscript is an insurtech scale-up that is transforming business insurance for SMEs. It provides personalised, flexible subscription-based insurance designed around the unique needs of each small business in under 10 minutes. The combination of proprietary end-to-end technology, data, underwriting expertise, and wide breadth of product offerings is providing modern insurance that no one else can match.

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Addressing this market need for small businesses has made Superscript one of the fastest growing and exciting insurtechs in the UK. Last year Superscript closed its Series A funding round, swiftly followed by additional backing from the Future Fund. This brought total capital raised  to £19m, and £16.5m in 2020 alone. Some big backers have been involved in Superscript’s funding to date. They include the likes of BHL Holdings (owner of Compare the Market), Seedcamp (Early backers of huge tech names like Revolut and Hopin) and Concentric. The team has tripled in size over the course of the last 18 months – from 21 people pre-Series A, to now 74.

As it’s grown, Superscript has invested in its technology – particularly the development of proprietary, machine-learning predictors to help understand customer behaviour. Superscript has also expanded its product offerings and distribution strategy – with partnerships and the advisory arm growing into core components of the business. Following the huge milestone of becoming the first insurtech to register as a Lloyd’s broker, Superscript’s digital asset and blockchain business has grown ten-fold in the last year, making Superscript a top five global broker for digital assets and emerging risks.

Superscript’s goal is to become the global leader in small business insurance. As next steps, it will be looking towards a Series B funding round, as well as further product expansion and continued growth into new markets outside the UK.

16. Mama Bamboo

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Founder(s): Laura Crawford

Website: www.mamabamboo.com

Mama Bamboo was set up by Laura Crawford in 2018 as a sustainable and reliable alternative to plastic based disposable nappies. Mama Bamboo was the first UK company to sell nappies that are made from sustainably grown and harvested bamboo and compostable liners and is the only company globally to sell nappies with fully compostable linings and packaging. Ethical Consumer gave it best’ rating for environmental reporting, supply chain management and non-toxic chemical usage.

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As the UK’s only B Corp certified nappy business, Mama Bamboo ensures that environmental work remains integral and core to the business.  For example, they use only FSC certified bamboo for their nappies and wipes and  offset their carbon footprint and stay carbon neutral through their afforestation programme with the Ugandan Bamboo Village project which they support.   In addition, they are working with University College London and Made of Waste on a research project to improve bio-plastic composting across the UK for all consumers.

Since its inception in 2018, Mama Bamboo has grown significantly as consumers in the UK have become increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their choices. Growth has been further driven this year by the brand’s launch with Ocado UK. Income for the year ending 31 July 2021 is expected to show year-on-year growth of around 127%.  They are currently going through a  £540,000 crowdfunding exercise via Triodos Bank and have reached 97% of their target with big plans for growth. The crowdfunding campaign will enable Mama Bamboo to reach new markets, develop a subscription sales app and create a range of complementary products, thereby expanding the range of sustainable baby care products on the market.

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17. Nais

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Founder(s): Tom Jozefacki

Website: https://nais.co/

Nais is a revolutionary HR app built to create a better workplace environment and employee experience. The innovative HR tech platform solves the common problem of many businesses: lack of communication and low engagement. Nais merges the latest smart appreciation tools with analytics to deliver insights on employee wellbeing, engagement, and productivity.

Nais is a key tool for companies that work remotely and seek to maintain company culture within delocalised teams. Moreover, the tool includes kudos, challenges, surveys, and news modules to improve employee appreciation and engagement.  The advantage of using an HR tech app includes the ability to amplify the culture of a company, regardless of location. Moreover, Nais creates a trackable and measurable increase in employee engagement that leads to an greater productivity and profitability. As such,  Nais is the perfect tool for managers that are looking to empower their team and nourish company culture.

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The app’s mission is to create better workplaces, winning the Golden Wings of the HR innovation Fair in 2019. The technology was designed by HR professionals to promote positive work dynamics that are characteristic of high-performing teams. Research by HR professionals uses surveys and metrics to track employee engagement and translate it to business growth.

Nais’ smart appreciation has the ability to understand employee engagement, and also, learn and report progress on team dynamics and employee wellbeing. As a result, Nais presents itself as a key tool to increase employee engagement, retain talent, and boost productivity. More so, due to its digital nature, Nais is flexible and adjusts to any company structure and needs intuitively.

18. Habito

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Founder(s): Daniel Hegarty

Website: https://medium.com/hey-habito

Habito was launched just over five years ago in 2016 after founder Daniel Hegarty bought his first home and found it to be overwhelming and difficult. This was due to the denial of his mortgage application after his offer on a house had been accepted due to an issue with mistakes made by the mortgage broker.

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Habito is a scale up company aiming to help customers find a house without the complications typically involved. Habito helps their clients to buy and finance houses easily, with their team scouring the markets to find the most appropriate mortgages, be it for the first time or a remortgage.

Habito also handles all of the administration including property survey, legal work and mortgages to help people relax and enjoy the process of buying a new home.

19. YuLife

yulife

Founder(s): Sammy Rubin & Josh Hart

Website: https://yulife.com/

YuLife is a life insurance company that have created accessible products for employees, businesses and HR managers. YuLife aims to offer rewarding insurance through one to one support and user-friendly dashboards, providing customers with both physical and emotional support. The YuLife app also offers customer rewards.

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YuLife encourages businesses to see the benefits of mental and physical wellbeing with a team from that have very diverse backgrounds such as behavioural change experts and experience designers alongside insurance experts. The team are there to ensure their customers have all the resources required to feel comfortable in the workplace throughout they career.

Features also include mental health support 24/7 alongside access to. virtual GP, meaning you will always have access to constant support.

20. PensionBee

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Founder(s): Romi Savova

Website: https://www.pensionbee.com/

Pension Bee is a scale up company helping all customers to thrive in their retirement, creating a modern pension scheme. The platform is available on both the web and the App Store, providing customers with all the facilities they will need to manage their pensions.

Pension Bee has created tools which are appropriate for those combining pensions, attempting to make withdrawals and getting contributions lined up, helping to provide customers with everything they need to obtain their pensions simply.

Pension Bee offers a range of purpose-built pension plans, allowing customers to choose an appropriate plan themselves or investing them in their most popular plan automatically. Pension Bee charges one fee on an annual basis with the option to change your plan at any time, with industry-leading customer service always available.

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21. Picfair

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Founder(s): Benji Lanyado

Website: https://www.picfair.com/

When Picfair launched a photography store builder to accompany their marketplace at the beginning of 2020, it triggered a huge upsurge in signups from amateur and professional photographers from across the globe. In the 18 months that followed, their user base grew from 100k photographers to over 500,000 photographers.

The growth was geographic too – having initially been a mostly UK-focused company (they’re based on Shoreditch High Street) suddenly photographers were signing up across North America and the rest of the world.   With their photographer base exploding, Picfair scrambled to accommodate their expanded scope – adding 9 additional currencies to their store builder software overnight.  There are now Picfair-hosted photography stores in 130 countries worldwide, and over 10 million images on the platform.

While the image platform’s rapid growth started pre-pandemic, as the world closed down, thousands of photographers returned to their favourite hobby, whether it was honing their DSLR techniques in their local areas, or sorting through their hard drives to choose their favourite shots. Picfair’s growth has continued as the world begins to open up – during peak days, over 3,000 photographers sign up to use Picfair’s customisable store interface.

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Picfair source their photographers chiefly from – you guessed it – Instagram, where they regularly showcase stunning images from their users across the globe, and share top tips from their in-house photography experts. In 2021, Picfair doubled down on photography education by launching Focus – an in-house magazine collecting expert photography tips from industry leaders and delivering it to their chiefly amateur audience.

But while Picfair’s users are mostly hobbyists, their top users make thousands of pounds a year selling images via Picfair’s all-inclusive platform, both as digital downloads and physical prints. Picfair’s platform has image licensing and full end-to-end print production baked into their neat design, so all their photographers need to do is upload their images and name their price.

Having been initially backed by Alexis Ohanian, Picfair has remained under the radar and is yet to raise VC fundraising. Instead, Picfair has been backed by a host of high-profile angels and entrepreneurs, including Google Ventures partner Tom Hulme and the founders of What3Words, JustPark, and Vouchercodes.co.uk. Founder Benji Lanyado built the site himself, having quit a job writing for the Guardian and learning to code at night classes. The team has doubled in size over the past year, with 20 employees across mostly engineering and marketing functions.

22. SEON

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Founder(s): Bence Jendruszak & Tamas Kadar

Website: https://seon.io/

In the few short years that SEON has existed we have gone through quite the transformation, from dorm-room start up to multinational fraud fighters with Series A investment already in the rear view. Before SEON was formed, co-founders Bence Jendruszak and Tamas Kadar looked at the market for anti-fraud solutions that would cut fraud attempts off at the source, but the industry was lacking. Nothing they saw was using the power and speed of cloud computing, big data and assisted machine learning, so, they made their own. They soon found that they had a viable business model that could make an impact on the growing and very costly world of digital fraud.

So SEON was born in 2017, and they’ve gone from strength to strength. The straight from university leadership team fought through VC preconceptions about central Europe start-ups to win seed funding from well-known PortfoLion (OTP Group). They used that investment to buck the trend of other fraud businesses by making their tools self-service – a first-of-its-kind. And, having originated in Budapest, SEON relocated the HQ to London and we doubled the size of the team to include 20 full-time employees.

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Just two years after launch, it became one of the rare start-ups to become profitable, more than tripling year-on-year gross revenue. This year, they secured €10 million (USD 12 million) Series A investment. The funding, Hungary’s largest series A round to date, was led by leading European early-stage investor Creandum, behind some of Europe’s best tech companies including Spotify, Klarna, Bolt and Kahoot, as well as further investment from CEE’s leading VC, PortfoLion, part of OTP Bank.

Most recently, they celebrated the launch of new offices in Austin, Texas and Jakarta, Indonesia, marking their expansion into the new markets. This also means they’re adding strategic new hires to better serve our customers as we continue our mission to remove the barriers to fraud prevention around the globe. To put a number on that, they’ve now passed 100 global fraud fighters at SEON and they’re still growing.

23. Zipabout

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Founder(s): Alex Froom & Daniel Chick

Website: https://www.zipabout.com/

Zipabout is a British technology scale-up that helps people move easily and safely around our world by providing personalised travel information. Initially created to support Transport for London in managing crowding during the 2012 Olympic Games, the company has scaled significantly following early investment rounds and now employs a team of 18.

Their technology powers National Rail Enquiries Alert Me service, which sends tailored real-time journey information to passengers nationwide via Messenger and WhatsApp – a global first. Their pioneering data platform uniquely uses forecast demand data rather than just historic data to give a highly accurate prediction of the future busyness of transport services as well as potential disruption.

zipabout

Throughout the COVID pandemic, they worked closely with the government to assist the transport industry to safely return passengers to their networks and were referenced by the Secretary of State for Transport in a Downing St press conference. They have since sent more than six million personalised information messages to passengers across the UK and secured an industry-wide agreement to license our technology to every train operating company. This will deliver unprecedented insight for each operator into how people are using their networks and enable them to optimise their planning and scheduling decisions.

They have developed an Incentives to Travel feature, which enables clients to reward their customers with tailored incentives. It uses a first-of-its-kind ethical AdTech model, which enables geo-targeting without any location tracking or personal information sharing. The model was successfully trialled with Pret A Manger earlier this year.

The model allows passengers to benefit from great rewards; operators to encourage safe travel; and brands to connect ethically with customers. They also partner with event organisers to ensure people can travel safely and confidently to each event, such as the Conservative Party Conference 2021 for which we are the official transport partner. Their technology will help thousands of conference-goers travel safely to and from Manchester this October.

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