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London’s established successful tech companies include Shazam, Mind Candy, Songkick and Alfresco. Informilo polled some of the mqost active venture capital and angel investors in London to come up with a list of the current hot crop of hottest London start-ups, including some that are below the radar. Nominations are vetted by the group and only those companies that get votes by non-investors make it on to the list.
What it does: Social and mobile remittance network.
Why it’s hot: Azimo enables individuals to make direct money transfers between international bank accounts via Facebook; it calls its solution “a digital wallet within your Facebook profile.” The company offers its low-cost social solution to close to 200 countries. In 2014 it raised $10 million in a round led by Greycroft Partners. It recently extended its services to China. Azimo is committed to donating 10% of its annual profits to charity.
What it does: Source of information on companies.
Why it’s hot: Duedil aggregates company information from Companies House, credit ratings agencies and other sources from 25 countries and provides it to business via a freemium model. Received seed funding from Passion Capital and angels. In 2014 it raised a further $17 million from Oak Investment Partners, Passion Capital and Notion Capital, bringing total funding to $22 million. It now serves more than one million users.
What it does: Marketplace for independent boutiques.
Why it’s hot: Farfetch offers 450,000 shoppers access to more than 300 online designer boutiques. Gross merchandise value is now $1 million/day, with year-on-year growth of 100%. In March the company raised $86 million at a $1 billion valuation. Farfetch previously raised $100+ million. Investors include DST Global, Vitruvian, Index Ventures, eVenture Capital Partners, Advent Venture Partners and Condé Nast.
What it does: Enables individuals to lend to SMEs.
Why it’s hot: As of April 2015, Funding Circle has facilitated over £600 million in loans to 8,000 SMEs. In 2013 it merged with San Francisco-based Endurance Lending Network. In April it raised $150 million at a $1 billion valuation. The company has raised $288 million from Accel Partners, Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital, angels, and new investors DST Global, BlackRock, Sands Capital Ventures and Temasek.
What it does: Enterprise cloud collaboration and content management.
Why it’s hot: Huddle is “building the most trusted network for secure cross-organization collaboration in the cloud.” Its services are used by more than 100,000 organizations worldwide, including SEGA, AKQA, Unilever, P&G and KIA Motors. Sales tripled in 2014. In December Huddle raised $51 million in a Series D round led by Zouk Capital, bringing total funding to $81 million.
What it does: Online retailer of pet health products.
Why it’s hot: Launched in 2007, MedicAnimal sells pet supplies that are typically only available at veterinaries. It also offers news and advice on general animal care and health and live chat facilities with vets in five languages. It has more than 1.5 million customers; 2013 revenue exceeded £70 million. More than £15 million in funding has come from private investors, Iris Capital and Balderton Capital. Rumored to be seeking a buyer.
What it does: Customer experience platform.
Why it’s hot: Qubit collects more than 300 data points to help its customers understand visitors in detail. Founded by four former Google employees, Qubit’s visitor data hub processes more than 1.5 billion customer events online every day. Clients include Pandora, Superdry and BT. In September it closed a $26 million Series B round; investors included Accel Partners, Salesforce Ventures and Balderton Capital.
What it does: Members-only travel flash sale site.
Why it’s hot: Secret Escapes negotiates exclusive discounted rates (up to 70% off) for luxury hotels and holidays. It’s the UK’s largest private sales site for luxury travel, with over 10 million members worldwide. It operates in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland and the U.S. Secret Escapes has raised more than £14 million in funding from Index Ventures, Octopus Investments and Atlas Venture.
What it does: Smart mobile keyboard.
Why it’s hot: SwiftKey builds apps that learn from users to make text entry easier and faster. In 2013 and 2012 its app spent more days as Google Play’s No.1 paid download than any other; it had more than one million downloads in its first day on Apple’s App Store. It’s now on more than 200 million devices. SwiftKey has raised $21.6 million from Index Ventures, Octopus, Cambridge Capital Group and angels.
What it does: Foreign currency transfer services.
Why it’s hot: TransferWise keeps currency transfer costs down by using the real exchange rate and charging a low service fee. Customers are exchanging £500 million a month, the company says. In January it raised $58 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson, Valar Ventures, Index Ventures, IA Ventures and Seedcamp, bringing total funding to $91 million.
What it does: International money transfer.
Why it’s hot: WorldRemit enables customers to transfer funds from 50 countries to more than 120 destinations using smartphones, debit or credit cards or bank transfers. Revenues tripled in 2014 to £15.2 million. In February the company raised $100 million from Technology Crossover Ventures at a $500 million valuation. It raised $40 million from Accel Partners in 2014. The investments will fund entry into new markets and creation of new products.
What it does: Cross-device digital advertising platform.
Why it’s hot: Adbrain’s wants to empower global advertisers with technology that allows them to use their data to better understand and reach mobile-first, multi-screen consumers. Customers include Omnicom Media Group and M&C Saatchi Mobile. Following a $1.5 million seed investment in June 2013, in March 2014 Adbrain raised $7.5 million from Octopus Investments and Notion Capital. Now expanding into the U.S. and Europe.
What it does: Search engine for the blockchain, Bitcoin wallet and developer platform.
Why it’s hot: Blockchain’s site began in 2011 as a tool to enable users to analyze the bitcoin economy. Blockchain Wallet was launched soon after; it’s now the world’s most popular web-based bitcoin wallet with 3.5 million users ; 24,000 companies use its platform to develop applications for the blockchain. Has raised more than $30 million.
What it does: Global fund industry transaction network.
Why it’s hot: Launched in 2007, Calastone claims its service has enabled the fund industry to reduce the cost of transactions by over 60%. It has more than 780 clients in 23 domiciles and 6,700 network connections. Since launch, it has processed over 73 million messages and helped the global funds industry save over £100 million. In September 2013 the company raised $18 million for international expansion.
What it does: Transport and mapping app.
Why it’s hot: Citymapper’s app provides real-time routing using multiple methods of transport in 22 cities. It claims the app is installed “on half the smartphones in London.” It recently launched its app on the Apple Watch and embedded transit agency tweets in its service. In April 2014 it raised $10 million in a round led by Balderton Capital. Existing investors Connect Ventures, Index Ventures and Greylock Partners participated in the round.
What it does: Cyber security.
Why it’s hot: Founded in 2013 by senior members of the UK government’s cyber community, Darktrace seeks to close the gap between sophisticated cyber attacks and defense technology. Its Enterprise Immune System learns automatically and understands what represents a real threat in real time within complex environments. In March it raised $18 million (at a valuation of $80 million) from Invoke Capital, Talis Capital, Hoxton Ventures and angels.
What it does: Hyper-local premium food delivery service.
Why it’s hot: Deliveroo delivers meals from more than 750 high-quality restaurants. It delivers customers’ orders itself, unlike some food delivery websites. Deliveroo is in eight UK cities and Dublin, Paris and Berlin; it plans to be in 20 cities by yearend. In January it raised $25 million from Accel Partners and existing investors Index Ventures and Hoxton Ventures at a $100 million valuation; total funding is just under $30 million.
What it does: Cyber intelligence service.
Why it’s hot: Digital Shadows helps clients discover sensitive data exposed through social media, cloud services and mobile devices. Using over 80 million sources of information, it delivers a “hacker’s eye view” of an organization, then identifies and helps mitigate risks. Customers include some of the world’s largest banks; revenues in 2014 were expected to exceed £1 million.
What it does: Direct debit collection.
Why it’s hot: GoCardless collects more than half a billion pounds each year for over 30,000 businesses and organizations, with year-on-year growth of 600% since it started. In January 2013 it raised a $7 million Series B round from Balderton Capital and existing investors Accel Partners and Passion Capital, bringing the total raised to $11.8 million. In October GoCardless launched an enterprise service for larger businesses.
What it does: Social fashion shopping site.
Why it’s hot: Lyst partners with more than 12,000 leading brands and stores, so users can follow favorites and shop from one place. It has tripled revenues in the past three years to $150 million. Two million shoppers visit the site each month. In April the company raised $40 million from Groupe Arnault, Accel Partners, Balderton Capital, DFJ, 14W and a New York hedge fund, bringing total funding to $60 million.
The Currency Cloud
What it does: Global payment provider.
Why it’s hot: The Currency Cloud supports cross-currency payments for users in 212 countries. Over 150,000 businesses and consumers use its payment capabilities through 125 application partners and financial institutions, processing more than $10 billion every year. In April it raised $10 million from Atlas Ventures, Anthemis Group, Notion Capital, XAnge Private Equity and Silicon Valley Bank, bringing funding to $18 million.
Below The Radar
What it does: Online estate agent.
Why it’s hot: eMoov lists properties for sale on the UK’s major property portals. It charges a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale, starting at £495. Since its launch in 2010 the company has sold more than 3,500 homes, with a total property value of over £1 billion. In January it raised £1.5 million from Episode 1; previous investors include Spire Ventures and James Caan’s HBRE.
What it does: Property crowd-funding.
Why it’s hot: Launched in January 2015, Property Partner allows anyone to invest in property to rent, for as little as £50. Its 2,000 investors receive a share of rental income and of any upside if the property is sold. The company charges 2% of the purchase price and 12.5% of rental income. In April Property Partner raised £5.2 million from Index Ventures and existing investors Octopus Ventures and Seedcamp.
What it does: Media monitoring services.
Why it’s hot: Signal is a market intelligence, media monitoring and information discovery platform. By scouring over 75,000 news outlets, 3.5 million blogs and 100 social networks, Signal enables individuals and businesses to access, analyze and monitor real-time information. It raised a $1.8 million seed round in March; investors include Frontline Ventures, Samos Investments, Reed Ventures and angels.
What it does: Improves yield for e-commerce merchants.
Why it’s hot: Yieldify’s analytics platform converts visitors into customers. It influences user behavior to drive down cart abandonment. Its communications increase the opt-in rate to 5%-30%, which translates into a real increase of 1,000%-6,000% (average opt-ins are typically just 0.5%). Clients include O2, Phillips and Play.com. It closed a $1.3 million round with leading angel investors in March 2014. Last year revenue grew 411%.
Corrections and Clarifications @ 10:15 4 Aug 2015. Qubit’s name was amended.