\The London startups and scaleups to watch in 2021

\The London startups and scaleups to watch in 2021

London is the top startup city in Europe. Which companies should be on your watchlist?

So far this year London startups have raised a record €11.8bn from VC funds, more than the €14.5bn in all of 2020.

But which are the most exciting startups and scaleups based in the city? Which are the ones to watch in 2021?

Our team of experts at Sifted have chosen a list of more than 130 exciting companies we think you need to know about, with an added 'Sifted take' on some to provide an extra layer of insight.

It's a mixture of the big and the small, the well known and the under the radar. But all are making waves. Keep reading below and stay informed about Europe’s new economy!

(P.S The data is from European Startups, with valuation estimates from Dealroom. If there is anyone missing from this list, or anything is wrong, please let us know by email at [email protected]).

Key

Year founded

Amount raised

Last funding round

Valuation

Employees

Yulife's logo

Yulife

We bring together life insurance, wellbeing & rewards in one simple app.

health;fintech / insurance

yulife.com

London, United Kingdom

2017

€91m

SERIES B

315

50-100

Motorway.co.uk's logo

Motorway.co.uk

Comparison site to sell your car online

transportation / search, buy & rent

motorway.co.uk

London, United Kingdom

2017

€74m

SERIES B

€230-346m

50-100

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Arqit's logo

Arqit

Arqit is developing a quantum resistant blockchain eco-system for enterprise applications

security /

arqit.uk

London, United Kingdom

2016

€64m

SPAC IPO

€1.2bn

50-100

Copper's logo

Copper

Copper is transforming how institutional investors engage with digital assets, providing market-leading infrastructure in addition to custody, trading and prime brokerage solutions

fintech / crypto and defi;wealth management

copper.co

London, United Kingdom

2018

€54m

SERIES B

€182-272m

50-100

Generation Home's logo

Generation Home

Offers next-generation mortgage service, that empowers homeowners to track and manage their mortgage and housing wealth

fintech;real estate / mortgages & lending

generationhome.com

London, United Kingdom

2019

€8m

SEED

€23m

10-50

Afrocenchix Ltd's logo

Afrocenchix Ltd

Natural Hair Care Products - It offers a range of ethical natural products for curly, multi-textured hair

wellness beauty /

afrocenchix.com

London, United Kingdom

2010

€1m

SEED

€4-7m

10-50

Blockchain's logo

Blockchain

Open-source, noncustodial wallet for crypto

fintech / crypto

blockchain.com

London, United Kingdom

2011

€445m

SERIES C

€4.7bn

500-1000

Checkout.com's logo

Checkout.com

Offers credit card and alternative payment methods

fintech / payments

checkout.com

London, UK

2012

€755m

SERIES C

€5bn

500-1000

Sifted Take

Checkout.com shot out of obscurity in 2018 after making headlines with a record $230m Series A — the largest of its kind in Europe, making it a unicorn straight out of the block.

Founded in 2012, the fintech is now among Europe’s top online payments processors, helping thousands of merchants like Deliveroo handle online transactions, connecting them with main card providers like Visa or Mastercard in over 150 currencies.

In 2020, Checkout.com announced it had raised funds again at a $5.5bn valuation, buoyed by a strong boom in demand amid lockdown. Indeed, it came 2nd in the UK in terms of jobs advertised.

Checkout.com’s CEO says he’s actively discussed the IPO process with his board, which industry experts say can be a good indicator for what’s in store.

Read more: Payments startup Checkout.com hits $5.5bn valuation

Karma Kitchen's logo

Karma Kitchen

Commercial kitchen rental

real estate / food

karmakitchen.co

London, UK

2018

€302m

SERIES A

€1.2-1.8bn

10-50

Sifted Take

Sisters Eccie and Gini Newton didn't exactly set out to build a prep kitchen empire. They started making healthy lunches to deliver to Londoners, which led them to open a shared kitchen space for other food delivery businesses, virtual restaurant brands and street food vendors.

Then along came Vengrove Real Estate Management, a real estate investment firm, which led a £252m Series A round into the company to help it build out a network of kitchen sites across Europe.

Read more: How rental kitchen startup Karma Kitchen raised £252m when it set out to raise £3m

Karma Kitchen: A dark kitchen startup to watch

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Gousto's logo

Gousto

An online meal-kit manufacturer and retailer

food / food logistics & delivery

gousto.co.uk

London, UK

2012

€189m

SERIES F

€924m

100-500

Sifted Take

Every month, recipe box company Gousto delivers 5m meals to people across the UK. Customers give it 4.8 stars on the Google Play Store and 4.5 stars on Trustpilot. It’s currently doubling the size of its team — from 1k today to 2k by 2022 — and in the first six months of 2020 the company surpassed the £83m in revenues it made in 2019. It’s already profitable, and has been for a year.

Read more: Meal kit company Gousto becomes UK's latest unicorn

Curve's logo

Curve

Payments card that aggregates all user bank cards

fintech / payments

curve.com

London, UK

2015

€175m

SERIES C

€227m

100-500

Sifted Take

No more dense wallets. Curve consolidates all your bank cards into one card and one app, so users can choose to pay with any other card by simply swiping on their screen.

Their Series C round in January 2021 raised $95m, led by IDC Ventures, bring its total raised to $175m.

It's one of the UK's most valuable fintechs. Read all our coverage here

TrueLayer's logo

TrueLayer

Simple bank APIs

fintech / enterprise software

truelayer.com

London, UK

2016

€159m

SERIES C

€159m

100-500

Sifted Take

Alongside being one of the best London startups to work at, TrueLayer, an infrastructure-player similar to Plaid, is expanding to launch in Asia, Australia and even India. European fintechs are dipping their toes into Asia — but it's not for the faint hearted

Tide's logo

Tide

The leading provider of UK SME business accounts and one of the fastest-growing FinTechs in the UK

fintech / banking

tide.co

London, UK

2015

€247m

SERIES C

€591m

500-1000

Sifted Take

Although considered a rival to other digital challenger banks such as Monzo and Revolut, Tide is a business bank account app that solely targets SMEs. In addition to its basic free business account, it also offers a Tide Plus and Tide Cashback account for a set monthly fee.

Its user base so far numbers 350,000 with over 400,000 business accounts. Tide’s latest July 2021 funding round was led by Apax Digital and the company plans to use this extra funding to spearhead its plans to expand abroad to India.

Rapyd's logo

Rapyd

Global payment network for commerce

fintech / payments

rapyd.net

London, UK

2016

€427m

SERIES D

€1.1bn

100-500

Sifted Take

Payments startup Rapyd is living up to its name: in just a few years, it has raised round after round of funding, and in 2019 CEO Arik Shtilman said the volume of payments on the platform grew by more than 500%.

Its platform helps businesses take payments from over 100 countries, via almost 1000 payment methods. Investors include Stripe, General Catalyst and Target Global.

Thought Machine's logo

Thought Machine

Cloud native fintech

fintech / cloud computing

thoughtmachine.net

London, UK

2014

€139m

SERIES B

Privitar's logo

Privitar

Enterprise data privacy software

enterprise software / security

privitar.com

London, UK

2014

€135m

SERIES C

€364m

100-500

Sifted Take

In the surveillance age there's definitely market for data privacy innovation. Privitar anonymises data and tracks whether it's being distributed without authorisation. It raised $80m in its Series C funding round, led by Warburg Pincus, counts the NHS amongst its clientele, and has offices in London and Warsaw.

Read more: Cloaks for data: making money from privacy by design

Dext's logo

Dext

A pre-accounting and remote working tool for accountants and bookkeepers

fintech; enterprise software / financial management solutions

dext.com/uk

London, UK

2010

€125m

SERIES C

€264-396m

100-500

Bought by Many's logo

Bought by Many

Better pet insurance

fintech / insurance

boughtbymany.com

London, UK

2012

€439m

SERIES D

€376-564m

100-500

Sifted Take

The pet insurtech secured £78.4m in growth equity investment in May 2020 and is partnered with digital vet platform FirstVet, now insuring more than 200k pets after a 150% surge in premium sales in the UK's first lockdown. Notably, in late 2020 it rebranded as ManyPets in Sweden. Will it match its exponential growth so far in 2021?

Second Nature's logo

Second Nature

Diabetes app

London, UK

2015

€22m

SERIES A

€27-56m

50-100

Sifted Take

Over 2020, Second Nature's team grew by 77%. Backed by Bethnal Green Ventures, the app is designed specifically for people with Type 2 diabetes to manage their health — and it's now used by NHS professionals.

Ogury's logo

Ogury

Mobile adtech

adtech / mobile app

ogury.com

London, UK

2014

€84m

SERIES C

€182-273m

100-500

Sifted Take

French startup Ogury is headquartered in the UK but its services are used by 1500 brands worldwide. The truly international startup employs 400 people across Europe, the US and the Asia-Pacific, and has so far raised €83.6m, with its latest Series C round in December 2019 being led by Idinvest Partners. And in 2020, it reported $130m in profitable revenue, perhaps due to their new feature that allows users to choose which brands' ads they wish to engage with.

During the early stages of the pandemic, the startup ran a campaign encouraging the public to clean their phones — while partnering with GlobalGiving to raise funds for those affected by Covid-19 globally. The ad redirected to a fundraising page which has raised £3k of a £7k goal so far.

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