Across a chaotic 2022, scores of UK tech companies laid off staff as they scrambled to balance the books — the challenges have continued into 2023, with funding into UK startups on a downward trajectory after Q1.
But a number of UK startups are weathering the storm and still have their sights set on scaling. Sifted has tracked down the 10 fastest-growing tech companies in the UK over the past 12 months.
Climate tech companies — one of the few sectors in European tech to raise more in 2022 than 2021 — dominate the list. Two fintechs also made the cut alongside a healthtech.
Using data from Dealroom, Sifted measured headcount growth rate over the past year. All the companies featured were founded after 2005 and, to avoid the results being skewed by small businesses making lots of hires, startups needed to have raised $50m or more to be considered.
Tranch provides buy now, pay later financing to businesses to pay for SaaS and services. The fintech is part of a wave of B2B buy now, pay later startups that have begun to pick up serious funding from VCs over the past couple of years.
It raised a $100m seed round in January 2023 — split 50/50 in debt and equity — as it looked to double down on the US market.
Team growth last 12 months: 300% to 16 employees
Total funding: $52.3m
Newcleo is part of a new generation of nuclear energy startups looking to make the sector more sustainable with small modular reactors (SMRs). SMRs are much smaller than traditional reactors so are cheaper to build and produce less nuclear waste.
It raised €300m in June 2022 and has grown its headcount 141% in the past 12 months.
Team growth last 12 months: 182% to 1,181 employees
Total funding: $448m
3/ Raw Charging
Electric vehicle (EVs) charging infrastructure company Raw Charging raised one of the largest rounds of 2022 in the UK, when it picked up $330m in July.
The company supplies businesses with charging points for EVs and more than doubled its headcount over the past year.
Team growth last 12 months: 141% to 41 employees
Total funding: $330m
4/ Octopus Energy
The energy provider managed to survive the energy crisis in 2021-22 which saw 29 other energy suppliers in the UK fail — including former VC darling Bulb, which it acquired in 2022. It made a £141m loss in 2022, but expects to hit profitability this year.
In May, founder and CEO Greg Jackson said the company was trialling generative AI in its customer service. It last raised in a $225m round in July 2022.
Team growth last 12 months: 139% to 2421 employees
Total funding: $1.7bn
Founded by now-collapsed energy supplier Bulb cofounder Amit Gudka, the renewable energy infrastructure startup works with landowners and communities to build battery-based energy storage sites that supply the grid.
It raised £30m in equity from Taavet Hinrikus’s €250m VC fund Plural in June 2022.
Team growth last 12 months: 129% to 55 employees
Total funding: $52.8m
6/ Freedom Fibre
The fibre optic broadband infrastructure company has more than doubled its headcount since raising £84m in equity and £16m in debt in May 2022.
Team growth last 12 months: 125% to 162 employees
Total funding: $111m
The mobile-only neobank raised £26m in May last year and a month later was granted a full banking licence, meaning it can offer personal current accounts to customers.
Team growth last 12 months: 123% to 172 employees
Total funding: $69m
8/ Zoe Health
Gut microbiome and nutrition startup Zoe raised a $30m Series B extension in December 2022. The startup told Sifted in an interview in February its key focus is scaling, as it looks to meet demand for its at-home microbiome testing kits and supply the hundreds of thousands of customers on its waiting list.
It more than doubled its headcount in the past year, and picked up a $2.5m micro-Series B extension from Steven Bartlett’s Flight Fund in March.
Team growth last 12 months: 121% to 323 employees
Total funding: $84.5m
Venterra provides operational and project management support to wind farms, and raised a £40m round in February 2022.
Team growth last 12 months: 113% to 32 employees
Total funding: $52.8m
10/ Zenobe Energy
The EV infrastructure startup operates battery storage facilities and charging points across the UK. It last raised in a £235m debt round in February 2023.
Team growth last 12 months: 108% to 191 employees
Total funding: $297m