\UK tech startups and scaleups to watch in 2021

\UK tech startups and scaleups to watch in 2021

The UK is still Europe’s leading startup nation, attracting €17.2bn in venture capital funding in the first half of 2021.

So far this year UK startups have raised a record €17.2bn from VC funds, more than the €14bn in all of 2020.

But which are the country's most exciting startups and scaleups? Which are the ones to watch in 2021?

Our team of experts at Sifted have chosen a list of more than 100 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

Cutover's logo

Cutover

Cloud-based workplace management software

enterprise software /

cutover.com

London, UK

2013

€50m

SERIES B

€62-93m

50-100

Visionable's logo

Visionable

Video platform for healthcare workers

health / media

visionable.com

London, UK

2019

€18m

SERIES A

€29-43m

50-100

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Koru Kids's logo

Koru Kids

Platform to match nannies and families

marketplace & ecommerce / recruitment

korukids.co.uk

London, UK

2017

€17m

SERIES A

€48-72m

100-500

Sifted Take

As any parent of young children will know, the pandemic has made the challenging task of childcare next to impossible. Often overlooked, the childcare industry is an "essential infrastructure", Koru Kids' cofounder Carrell says.

The childcare startup has had to adapt from its core service — after-school care, to full-time support. And it's not doing bad at all — having received 100k applications from nannies in 2019.

Coronavirus prompts surge in demand for childcare startups

Qatalog's logo

Qatalog

Virtual workspace platform using SaaS

saas / enterprise software

qatalog.com

London, UK

2019

€17m

SERIES A

€55-82m

10-50

Sifted Take

Going virtual has been a challenge for almost everyone but Qatalog, the startup that brings together SaaS tools from Slack to Asana to form a 'virtual workspace'. In October 2020, it raised $15m in its Series A round led by Atomico. It tailors workspaces to companies, supporting them in the creation of workflows and silos. It plans to use the money to build its London team.

Yapily's logo

Yapily

Enterprise connectivity platform that allows companies to share financial data and access payment infrastructure

banking / payments

yapily.com

London, UK

2017

€63m

SERIES B

€185-278m

50-100

Sifted Take

Yapily is a London-based open finance infrastructure provider which connects companies to banks using a secure open API. During the pandemic it has seen customer growth surge 3.5x as online shopping became even more entrenched into the global economy than before.

In July 2021, the startup raised $51m in its Series B funding round led by Sapphire Ventures. Read more: 21 fintechs to watch in 2021, according to top founders

Fidel's logo

Fidel

Card-linking API

fintech / API

fidel.uk

London, UK

2013

€16m

SERIES A

€65-98m

50-100

Karakuri's logo

Karakuri

Robot kitchen

London, UK

2018

€16m

EARLY VC

€43m

10-50

Sifted Take

Set out to change the restaurant kitchen, Karakuri's robotics is focused on food prep. In a post-Covid-19 world where we're back at restaurants, its lack of compromise on hygiene and safety surely grants it a secure place in the increasingly saturated robot market. And its set to provide services for big catering companies and grocery businesses too. Watch out for the results of its DK-One robot trial in restaurants — when it finally goes ahead. Brunch with Sifted: Karakuri’s robot chef

Robots to reshape the post-pandemic economy

Unmind's logo

Unmind

Workplace mental health platform

health / enterprise software

unmind.com

London, UK

2016

€57m

SERIES B

€171-256m

100-500

Sifted Take

Unmind is a workplace mental health platform that includes services such as teletherapy. Its USP is the Unmind Index — a clinically backed assessment that helps users understand their mental health, and anonymises and aggregates the data to help employers understand trends within their team.

Currently, the company counts major businesses such as Uber, British Airways and Samsung amongst others, and serves over 2 million users. In May 2021, Unmind raised a Series B funding round led by EQT Ventures that made it Europe’s best-funded mental health startup. Read more: [Mental health startups boom as pandemic anxieties worsen] (https://sifted.eu/articles/mental-health-startups-are-in-high-demand-these-days/)

CharlieHR's logo

CharlieHR

Human resources platform for small businesses

recruitment / enterprise software

charliehr.com

London, UK

2015

€1m

SERIES A

€5-7m

10-50

Sifted Take

CharlieHR advises on the legislative aspects of recruitment and is backed by Connect Ventures.

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Allplants's logo

Allplants

Making and delivering vegan meals

food / logistics & delivery

allplants.com

London, UK

2016

€14m

SEED

€17-25m

50-100

Sifted Take

The vegan meal delivery startup allplants has benefited not only from the pandemic, but from a huge boom in veganism and flexitarianism in 2020. In March, its customers increased by 400%.

Based on a record-breaking Veganuary alone (according to the Vegan Society), 2021 could well be another successful year for the company.

Online food startups sizzling — but for how long?

Infogrid's logo

Infogrid

Optimising building management and efficiency

energy / IoT

infogrid.io

London, UK

2018

€14m

SERIES A

€56-85m

10-50

Papier's logo

Papier

Online stationery store

fashion / accessories

papier.com

Westerham, UK

2015

€14m

SERIES B

€41-61m

100-500

Sifted Take

With its high-street equivalent Paperchase recently going into administration, the online stationery brand Papier experienced a 300% demand and a 6% boost in overall revenue — and still its eager to broaden its reach further by exploring new payment and delivery options that could push them further.

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.

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

Oxford Nanopore Technologies's logo

Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Develops nanopore sequencing products to analyse molecules electronically

biotech / health

nanoporetech.com

Oxford, UK

2005

€957m

SERIES H

€2bn

100-500

Sifted Take

Oxford University spin-out Oxford Nanopore develops and sells devices which analyse DNA, RNA, proteins and small molecules. That's useful not just in medicine, but also agriculture and science more broadly.

In May 2020, it won a $56m contract to help the UK government roll out a novel coronavirus test.

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

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