\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

Thriva's logo

Thriva

Preventative health service delivering blood tests

health; sports /

thriva.co

London, UK

2015

€14m

SERIES A

€19-29m

50-100

Sifted Take

Thriva is focused on preventative health, and believes blood test kits can keep you out of hospital by identifying problems before they spiral. It predominantly operates on a subscription service where customers pay £24-69 per year to receive four test kits a year in order to check in with their health: from their iron profile, cholesterol, crucial vitamin levels or susceptibility to diabetes. It's seen rapid growth and in 2020 raised €12m.

Read more: No doctor required

Thriva founder Hamish Grierson tackles “the elephant in the room”

Beacon's logo

Beacon

Supply chain finance firm that provides real-time data of cargo delivery

logistics / saas

beacon.com

London, UK

2018

€14m

SERIES A

€55-82m

50-100

Sifted Take

In another attempt to digitise the logistics industry, the digital forwarder startup Beacon operates across ocean, air, trucks and supply chain finance — and its main focus is improving cash flow. In its Series A round of June 2020, it earned the interest of Jeff Bezos and 8VC, raising $15m.

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SenSat's logo

SenSat

Visual and spatial data to simulate reality

real estate / AI

sensat.co.uk

London, UK

2015

€13m

SERIES A

€36-54m

50-100

Sifted Take

This startup makes 'digital twins' of real world locations, whether it be entire cities or construction projects. The possibilities are wild — with talks of Mirrorworld which could replicate our entire physical reality. But for now, its focused on construction. Makes sense. It's last round was a Series A that raised €9m, led by Tencent and Sistema Venture Capital.

Simulated reality startup SenSat raises $10m to make AI-powered digital twins of big construction projects

Flatfair's logo

Flatfair

Deposit-free renting

fintech; real estate / mortgages & lending

flatfair.co.uk

London, UK

2016

€12m

SERIES A

€40-60m

50-100

Sifted Take

Flatfair is a platform that allows landlords to offer 'deposit-free' renting to tenants who would otherwise struggle to pay for expensive deposits often well above their monthly rent. Tenants are given a 'trust score' which landlords can view before accepting new tenants, which includes independent adjudication over end-of-contract disputes.

Faculty's logo

Faculty

Providing organisations with strategy, skills and the right software to enable AI

AI / enterprise software

faculty.ai

London, UK

2014

€47m

SERIES A

€38-58m

100-500

Sifted Take

One of the most fast-growing on this list, AI company Faculty develops machine learning systems for governments and businesses. Indeed, the UK Government contracted the startup to forecast the availability of ventilators needed during the pandemic.

Read more: Skype cofounder gifts cryptocurrency to AI startup Faculty

Numan's logo

Numan

Health and lifestyle technology for men

health / medical devices

numan.com

London, UK

2018

€11m

SERIES A

€44-66m

10-50

Sifted Take

Numan are out to tackle the health epidemic for men: according to their survey, three out of four men do not actually visit a clinic when there's something wrong. Maybe a healthtech app is the solution.

Its main competitor, though, is Manual — a wellbeing platform for men. Regardless, Numan raised €11m in its first disclosed funding Series A round, led by Vostok New Ventures, Novator and Anthemis Exponential Ventures.

Mentech startup Numan raises €11m to help more men tackle their health issues

Trint's logo

Trint

Platform to transcribe audio files

AI / media

trint.com

London, UK

2014

€11m

SERIES A

€10.9m

50-100

accuRx's logo

accuRx

Software to improve efficiency in primary care

health / enterprise software

accurx.com

London, UK

2016

€11m

SERIES A

€42-63

50-100

Sifted Take

2020 saw an explosion of interest and investment for the software company, which helps medical practices send patients text reminders about their appointments and during the pandemic launched an NHS Digital approved video consultation feature. Its team grew by an impressive 193%. But what happens next?

Hastee's logo

Hastee

The world's first earnings-on-demand payments card

fintech / payments

hastee.com

London, UK

2017

€10m

EARLY VC

€38-58m

10-50

Sifted Take

Hastee's battling it out against Wagestream, the other major salary on-demand fintech. But in June 2020, it launched the world's first earnings-on-demand debit card, allowing customers to access and spend money in realtime as they earn it. It's certainly an exciting 'ethical' development in the buy now, pay later market.

Read more: The rise of an ethical alternative to payday lenders?

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Credit Kudos's logo

Credit Kudos

Alternative credit scoring

fintech / mortgages & lending

creditkudos.com

London, UK

2015

€8m

SERIES A

€20-30m

50-100

Sifted Take

In early April Credit Kudos raised £5m in a round led by AlbionVC. Yes, even mid-lockdown. As part of the Covid Credit team (alongside Fronted and 11:FS), it helped UK freelancers claim money from the government.

muzmatch's logo

muzmatch

Muslim dating app

dating /

muzmatch.com

London, UK

2014

€8m

SERIES A

€25-38m

10-50

Sifted Take

Muzmatch is the world's biggest dating app for Muslims, boasting over 2.5m members and backed by Y Combinator. It reached profitability much faster than many other dating apps.

Read more: Coronavirus has changed dating apps "irreversibly"

OLIO's logo

OLIO

Surplus food app

food; energy / kitchen & cooking tech;waste solution

olioex.com

London, UK

2016

€7m

EARLY VC

€22-33m

50-100

Ably Realtime's logo

Ably Realtime

Realtime data delivery platform

enterprise software / deep tech

ably.com

London, UK

2016

€71m

SERIES B

€25-38m

50-100

Sifted Take

With events moving almost exclusively online during the pandemic, Ably was bound to benefit. From live scores to instant messaging and personalised experiences, the startup deploys cloud infrastructure and APIs that allow smaller events to customise event experiences and larger enterprises to offload operational and technical costs of real time messaging. In April 2020, it raised €6.4m in a Series A round led by MMC Ventures.

Coconut's logo

Coconut

Banking and accountancy app self-employed people, freelancers and small businesses

fintech / financial management solutions; banking

getcoconut.com

London, UK

2016

€8m

SEED

€14m

50-100

Sifted Take

Coconut is a digital business banking app for the self-employed, limited companies and 'micro-businesses' of 1-10 people, similar to Tide and Germany's Penta. In 2019 it opened a portal for accounts, allowing employees to track income and expenses easily for accountants to process. In 2020, it hit 350% of its crowdfunding target — £2.4m. Seems like it's working.

Capdesk's logo

Capdesk

Easily organise options, warrants, shareholders and communication

fintech / enterprise software

capdesk.com

London, UK

2015

€12m

SERIES A

€14-22m

10-50

Sifted Take

Capdesk has helped 1k European companies digitise their equity management, from Secret Escapes and Curve, to Nutmeg and Voi. It's currently working on its expansion into Sweden, France and the Netherlands, but the whole of Europe is on the horizon.

Lingumi's logo

Lingumi

English learning app for kids

education / kids

lingumi.com

London, UK

2015

€6m

SERIES A

€19-28m

50-100

Sifted Take

With parents in crisis mode, especially during the first lockdown, Lingumi was there to help — especially non-English speaking parents, of course, as the app targets children aged 2-6 with a first language already in play.

tiney's logo

tiney

Childcare database

marketplace & ecommerce / kids

tiney.co

London, UK

2018

€6m

EARLY VC

€24-26m

10-50

Sifted Take

Based out of London, tiney is designed to help parents find Ofsted-certified childminders, but also to train childminders to run their services out of their own homes. In early 2020 it raised £5m in a funding round led by Index Ventures, and founder Brett Wigdortz also started Teach First — the biggest employer for Oxbridge grads which recruits students straight out of university to teach at state schools. With childcare a necessity in today's world, tiney should be on your list — especially as they're keeping all tiney homes open during periods of lockdown.

Beautystack's logo

Beautystack

Social commerce network for beauty professionals

wellness beauty;marketing /

beautystack.com

London, UK

2017

€6m

SEED

€19-29m

10-50

Sifted Take

Founded in 2017, Beautystack helps entrepreneurs sell beauty treatments on a global platform. The startup has been called "genius" by Vogue, and it teamed up with cult beauty brand Bleach London to launch its first wig collection — an industry set to reach revenues of more than $10bn by 2023. Its founder and chief executive Sharmadean Reid was on our list of top 20 European tech Instagrammers to follow

Daye's logo

Daye

Pain-relieving, plastic-free CBD-infused tampons

health;wellness beauty /

yourdaye.com

London, UK

2018

€5m

SEED

€20-30m

10-50

Sifted Take

Daye's pretty unique. Its first product after launching in 2018 is a tampon that uses cannabidoil (CBD oil) to tackle period pain. Positioning itself as a competitor to Tampax (and traditional painkillers!), Daye delivers dye-free, pesticide-free tampons with sugarcane applicators and compostable wrappers to the doorstep.

Watch out as it plans to move to the US after it gets approval from the FDA.

Read more: Cannabis tampon startup Daye proves Europe's CBD market is flying high

SeedLegals's logo

SeedLegals

Legal platform for startups

legal;fintech / investing

seedlegals.com

London, UK

2016

€5m

SERIES A

€14-22m

50-100

Sifted Take

SeedLegals is out to cut the bulk of legal paperwork that startups have to deal with, claiming to have automated every step of a funding round — and boasting more than 15k companies on its platform. Read more about its move to France, which it hopes will secure its place as a cornerstone in the industry: UK's SeedLegals launches in France

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