\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

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.

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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

Immense Simulations's logo

Immense Simulations

Specialise in solutions in autonomous vehicles via artificial intelligence

Milton Keynes, UK

2016

€4m

SEED

€17-25m

50-100

Oddbox's logo

Oddbox

Fruit and veg box scheme

food / logistics and delivery

oddbox.co.uk

Mitcham, UK

2016

€4m

EARLY VC

€13-19m

50-100

Patchwork Health's logo

Patchwork Health

Employment software targeted to temporary staffing in healthcare system

health / marketplace & ecommerce

patchwork.health

London, UK

2016

€4m

LATE VC

€14-22m

10-50

Sifted Take

Formerly LocumTap, the healthtech startup helps organisations better manage their temporary staff by finding vacant shifts in hospitals. In 2020, the team grew by 95% and raised €6m. With backing from the British Medical Journal, no less, this startup is filling a critical gap in the current and ongoing UK healthcare crisis.

Read more by founder Jing Ouyang: "Move slowly and build things"

Parsley Box's logo

Parsley Box

Ready meal delivery service

food / logistics and delivery

parsleybox.com

Newbridge, UK

2017

€30m

GROWTH EQUITY

€14-21m

10-50

Sifted Take

The Scottish ready-meal supplier doubled its customer base to 400k and tripled its number of employees. In January 2021, it secured £5.2m in a round led by Mobeus Equity Partners. This year the brand hopes to become a household name, and it featured on our list of fastest-growing direct-to-consumer startups of 2020

Peptone's logo

Peptone

Protein intelligence company

biotech / AI

peptone.io

London, UK

2018

€2m

SEED

€9-14m

1-10

Sifted Take

"This will change medicine. It will change research. It will change bioengineering. It will change everything." — said a scientist from the Max Planck Institute, commenting on Peptone's Ai programme.

Read why here: Never mind DeepMind — this London startup is explaining how proteins behave

The Small Robot Company's logo

The Small Robot Company

Agritech using robots rather than tractors

robotics / agritech

smallrobotcompany.com

Portsmouth, UK

2017

€5m

CONVERTIBLE

Sifted Take

Young farmer Watson-Jones and entrepreneur Scott-Robinson founded The Small Robot Company in an attempt to solve the problem of decreasing agricultural yields. Their robots now survey fields, creating a digital map of plants and soil; weed using precision spraying or electric zaps; and plant seeds — all controlled by an AI system.

The agrobots have been trialled at over 20 UK farms, including those run by Waitrose. In Feb 2020, 7percent Ventures invested £200k and their equity crowdfund has raised over £2m.

Read more: How small robots could change the way we farm

Patch's logo

Patch

Sells, delivers and helps customers look after plants

home living /

patch.garden

London, UK

€3m

EARLY VC

€10-15m

50-100

Sifted Take

Patch is betting that remote workers would like a plant or two in their home-slash-new office. With not only couriers, but resident plant doctors and interior designers in tow, there's a good chance Patch presents a solid alternative to Columbia Road Flower Market for those who aren't so green fingered.

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