2015 was the year of fintech, at least for London. The rise of financial technology start-ups isn't before its time – the sector had long remained set in its ways and it was only a matter of time before younger competitors sought to change that.
So it may ring a little hollow when Tech City UK, the quango tasked with accelerating the development of digital businesses within the UK, noted its Future Fifty programme last year was dominated by firms from the fintech sector. It wasn't a hugely surprising ascent to predict after all.
It's not that difficult to select the most promising looking tech companies with already healthy growth trajectories, as Tech City UK does for its Future Fifty, and with that in mind its first year results might have been a little underwhelming.
But there have been some prominent successes within the quango's picks. Among those that joined the 2013 programme are advertising technology firm Unruly, which was acquired by NewsCorp for £114m, online marketplace Funding Circle, which received a hallowed valuation of over $1bn (£670m) and music discovery app Shazam, which also joined the unicorn club earlier this year.
For its latest influx of 15 firms joining the programme, Tech City has boldly predicted ecommerce will be the sector to watch next year – we've repeatedly heard that retail ecommerce sales will top £60bn by the end of this year so it may not be much of a surprise to see investors are paying increasing attention to the sector.
A third of the new intake are companies focusing on ecommerce with investor favourite takeaway website Deliveroo, Powa Technologies which was valued at £1.6bn after acquiring a rival, Yieldify and Lost My Name all included. Through inclusion in the Future Fifty, these companies will have access to ‘tailored support from a panel of experts within the government and the private sector to accelerate their growth trajectory’.
Eileen Burbidge, who took over from Baroness Shields as the chair of Tech City UK in September, said, ‘The UK is developing a global reputation for world-class digital innovation in sectors such as fintech and ecommerce. In turn this is attracting increasing investment activity, talent and expertise into the country.’
THE NEW ADDITIONS:
Brandwatch – A Brighton-based enterprise social media monitoring company, established in 2005.
Buddi – Creates wearable tech with location tracking and the ability to alert emergency services depending on the user's needs.
Crowdcube – The online crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs was created in 2010, with over £100m raised by entrepreneurs to date.
Deliveroo – An on-demand delivery service for restaurant meals that has raised some $200m as it gears up for international expansion.
FundApps – Software provider which create automated compliance monitoring.
Iwoca – A fintech firm offering credit facilities to small businesses across Europe.
LoopUp – Offers conference calls and online meetings for remote working.
Lost My Name – Aims to fuse tech with publishing in its personalised children’s books and has sold over one million copies in the past two years.
MWR InfoSecurity – A research-led cyber security consultancy
NewVoiceMedia – A cloud-based customer contact solutions platform.
Peak – Offers brain training designed by neuroscientists and has accrued over six million players in less than a year.
Powa Technologies – Mobile payments firm which received its unicorn status last year.
Space Ape Games – Mobile gaming company focused on tapping into the mid-core games market.
The Floow Limited – A telematics company which supports insurers, car manufacturers
and fleet operators worldwide.
Yieldify – Marketing tech firm which offers software to improve on-site and email conversions.