33 fastest-growing tech start-ups in Britain in 2021 – are you one of them?

Tech Nation picks the 33 fastest-growing tech start-ups in Britain during 2021. Healthcare companies account for 1 in 5 of this year’s cohort

Tech Nation, the technology scale-up community, has announced its latest cohort of its Upscale programme, 33 of the fastest-growing UK tech start-ups.

This year’s cohort is heavily skewed towards healthtech companies, representing 18 per cent of the total.

The UK is now third in the world for healthtech investment after the US and China, and over the course of 2020 we saw an increase in early stage investment, from $2.27bn in 2019 to $2.32bn in 2020.

Healthtech companies among the fastest-growing tech start-ups include LabGenius, which develops new protein-based drugs using machine learning – lowering the associated costs and risks of drug development; Belfast-based Locate a Locum, which enables temporary healthcare workers to connect; Oxford-based Vitaccess, a platform which quantifies patients’ experiences of treatments and illness; and London-based Blink, a communications platform for Frontline workers.

Tech Nation points out increasing geographical spread for the fastest-growing tech start-ups, with 48 per cent of the 33 companies based outside of London, including in Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford.

Each of the 33 fastest-growing tech start-ups has raised an average of £8.9m (up from £7.5m last year), and 27 per cent of companies have a female founder or CEO.

The average revenue of the 33 remain unchanged at £1.8m.

This year’s online Upscale programme will help founders and their teams tackle challenges that have arisen as a result of Covid, such as how to scale and build a team remotely and raising funds in lockdown.

Tom Blomfield, the founder of Monzo Bank who stepped down as CEO this month, is one of the coaches on the programme.

Scale-ups that took part in last year’s Upscale programme included Farewill, which has now raised £20m led by Highland Europe, and women-only social-networking platform Peanut, which raised £12m in 2020 led by EQT Ventures.

Doctor George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation, said: “Tech scaleups hold the key to the UK’s competitiveness in the next decade through job creation and investment. Scaleups are already driving investment into UK tech, representing 81 per cent of the UK total and creating employment, with approximately 150,000 jobs in 2019.”

33 fastest-growing tech start-ups in Britain 2021


Based in: London
Sectors: healthtech, biotech and life science
Founders: Jacob Haddad, Laurence Bargery

Bringing patients and their healthcare teams together, accuRX is making patients healthier, staff happier and health systems more efficient. Today, healthcare is a communication industry – it’s where the value is added, where staff spend their time and good communication is crucial to deliver good care. accuRX’s platform powers communications between patients and their healthcare professionals.

Atom Learning 

Based in: London
Sector: Edtech
Founders: Jake O’Keeffe, Alex Hatvany, Tim Osborne, Flo Simpson

Providing affordable, high quality education for primary school students, Atom Learning is an online learning platform that covers Maths, English, and Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Filled with exceptional, teacher-made content, its smart, machine learning algorithm keeps students on their optimal learning path. The goal is to provide all students, regardless of location and background, with a high quality, affordable learning resource.


Based in: Leeds
Sectors: adtech and marketing
Founder: Ingvar Kraatz

Unlocking the full potential of Google Shopping, Bidnamic is an AI marketing platform that helps retailers outrank competitors. Bidnamic uses machine learning to profile every single product to predict its optimal bid value algorithmically, applying real-time performance analysis and high-frequency bid management. It increases ad spend efficiency, market share and revenue, decreases costs, and enables the full revenue potential of every product.


Based in: London
Sector: enterprise SaaS
Founder: Sean Nolan

Building the frontline of the future, Blink is addressing the biggest pain point for frontline businesses: key workers who are disconnected and unengaged. Accessible through a mobile app, it connects frontline workers to the wider business; equipping them with the information they need; and empowering them with the recognition they deserve.


Based in: Ashford
Sectors: data analytics and business intelligence
Founders: Maria Borg and Richard Heyns

Empowering transformational insights for businesses at the speed of thought, Brytlyt’s software allows businesses to accelerate database operations up to 1,000x faster than legacy systems, by leveraging the power of graphics processor units. Its database has been independently benchmarked as the world’s fastest and is built on top of the world’s most popular open-source database.


Based in: London
Sector: fintech
Founders: Andrey Dokuchaev and Evgeny Likhoded

ClauseMatch is transforming regulation into digital, machine-readable form with an easy-to-use, AI-powered smart document collaboration platform. It makes it easier for businesses to automate and manage their compliance, and to keep up with regulations.


Based in: Nottingham
Sector: HRtech
Founders: Steve Arnold and Chris Moseley

Absence matters, whether it’s unplanned or planned – but managing or booking time off can feel like a complex and problematic experience. E-days are transforming the way companies manage absence, and how people experience absence. They’re on a mission to lessen the pain and provide the tools, support and reporting for people to work smarter, happier and healthier.


Based in: Newbury
Sectors: data analytics and business intelligence
Founder: Danny Reeves

Due to the exponential increase in the volume of information and data generated and held by companies in the digital age, every company is now a data company. This elevates the risk of privacy and security breaches and fines, while diminishing an organisation’s ability to harness the value of its own information. Exonar allows organisations to find structured and unstructured data from any source, with unrivalled scale and detail.

Gravity Sketch

Based in: London
Sectors: digital entertainment and creative tech
Founders: Oluwaseyi Sosanya, Daniela Paredes Fuentes and Daniel Thomas

Creating and collaborating in 3D radically improves the efficacy and efficiency of developing physical products. Gravity Sketch is an intuitive 3D design platform that allows cross-disciplinary teams to create, collaborate, and review in an entirely new way. It removes friction from outdated workflows, helps enhance and expedite designers’ creative intent, and makes collaboration in cross-functional teams faster and more cost-effective.


Based in: London
Sector: cybersecurity
Founder: Andrew Bud

Protecting the identity of online users with secure authentication and great usability, iProov assures the user is genuinely present when they verify their face or palm. It detects copies, replays and deep fakes, and is already trusted by banks and governments worldwide.


Based in: London
Sector: fintech
CEO: Jeremy Nicholds

Judopay is a leading “mobile centric” payments platform, making payment tech more accessible for businesses and consumers. Connecting to more than 100 payment and technology partners, a single integration to Judopay opens the door to easy international expansion, the best fraud solutions, a full range of alternative payment methods, business intelligence and analytics, and other innovative payment technology.


Based in: London
Sectors: healthtech, biotech and life sciences
Founder: James Field

A revolution in the evolution of protein therapeutics, LabGenius develops new protein-based drugs (biologics) using its novel machine learning-driven drug discovery platform. It is lowering the cost and risk associated with developing completely novel protein therapeutics, allowing them to deliver new therapeutics to many patients who don’t have access to effective treatments.


Based in: London
Sector: insurtech
Founders: Tobias Taupitz, Jens Hartwig and Ben Allen

Laka has turned insurance upside down by no longer charging customers premiums upfront. The Laka Collective (aka their customers) contribute a share of the actual claims cost incurred in a month, in a system which is fair, transparent, and democratic. The goal is to offer better and more affordable insurance and related services.

Leaf Grow

Based in: Newcastle
Sectors: adtech and marketing
Founders: Gilbert Corrales, Helga Alvarez, Wesley Hartley, Daniel Salas, and Melvin Salas

Enabling smarter social marketing, Leaf Grow empowers online businesses, big and small, to drive profitable, sustainable revenues and brand growth from their paid social advertising. Its proprietary technology helps businesses do more, with better results, in less time.

Locate a Locum

Based in: Belfast
Sectors: healthtech, biotech, life sciences
Founder: Jonny Clarke

Mobilising the world’s healthcare workforce, Locate a Locum allows temporary healthcare workers and organisations to connect with each other in an easy and efficient way. Working to empower the workforce, they are giving every healthcare worker and healthcare organisation the power to manage their own work life.


Based in: London
Sector: fintech
Founder: Francesca Carlesi

Molo is the UK’s first digital mortgage lender, using the power of technology and data to allow customers to get a mortgage online in a matter of minutes, rather than weeks. To achieve this, Molo has been built as a full stack lender (not a broker), going to market through a direct proposition (B2C), and leveraging its proprietary tech platform to provide customers with real time decisioning on their mortgage.


Based in: Oxford
Sectors: healthtech, biotech, life sciences
Founders: Tim Weil and Niki Trigoni

Changing the way we experience the indoor world, Navenio is transforming hospitals globally by enabling healthcare teams to be in the right place at the right time, delivering the very best patient care. Navenio’s system tasks healthcare staff and teams based on their location, achieving dramatic results where output is doubled, hidden capacity is unlocked and services to patients and between teams are transformed to new heights.

One Team Logic

Based in: Cardiff
Sector: Edtech
Founders: Martin Baker, Mike Glanville and Darryl Morton

Safeguarding children and adults around the world from abuse, harm and neglect, One Team Logic combines the best technologies with world-class safeguarding expertise. The core product, MyConcern, is used by more than 4,500 organisations such as schools, training organisations, national sporting bodies and religious organisations globally to record, monitor and manage safeguard concerns about children.


Based in: Manchester
Sectors: e-commerce and marketplace
Founders: Tom Pickersgill, Nick Groves and James Doyle

The way people want to work is changing, but the processes and tools that companies use to hire hourly workers have not. Orka builds products designed specifically for hourly workers, solving challenges around high-turnover, high-volumes and high-velocity employment within traditional industries, and unlocking full workforces’ potential.

Red Sift

Based in: London
Sector: cybersecurity
Founders: Randal Pinto and Rahul Powar

Red Sift is building an open cloud platform that makes cybersecurity accessible to everyone, because they believe the answer to stopping the rise of cyber-attacks is through computers, not consultants. Their platform helps people use the latest technology, like AI and machine learning, to unlock data that already exists about threats, and turn them into active protection.


Based in: Cambridge
Sector: deep tech
Founder: Steve Brierley

Pioneering quantum software, Riverlane is building the operating system for quantum computers. Over the next year its operating system will run on 20 per cent of the world’s quantum computers, with an ultimate mission to run every program on every quantum computer in the world.


Based in: Bristol
Sector: energy
Founder: Brian Allen

As the energy market evolves, Rovco is disrupting the sector, combining innovative robotic platforms and cutting-edge technology to support energy transitions. Rovco is pushing the boundaries of offshore robotics, optimising operations and reducing the need for offshore teams. It supports clients’ automation and decarbonisation strategies, driving operational efficiency, saving money and time.

Second Nature

Based in: London
Sectors: healthtech, biotech, life sciences
Founders: Chris Edson and Mike Gibbs

Making healthy living second nature, Second Nature helps people lose weight in a healthy way. Providing people with world-class technology and coaching to help them achieve their goals, their vision is to eradicate obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Based in: London
Sector: artificial intelligence
Founders: James Dean and Harry Atkinson

Providing industries with the understanding to shape a sustainable world, Sensat is building an intelligent eco-system that translates the real world into a version understandable to AI. This technology will help us to build a more sustainable future, using the wealth of new insight to help humans make better decisions.


Based in: Cambridge
Sector: deep tech
CEO: Katy Wigdahl

Powering applications that require mission-critical, accurate speech recognition, Speechmatics’ any-context speech recognition engine processes millions of hours of transcription worldwide every month in more than 30 languages. Its speech recognition technology is used by enterprises in scenarios such as contact centres, CRM, consumer electronics, security, media & entertainment and software.


Based in: London
Sector: Insurtech
Founders: Cameron Shearer and Ben Rose

Superscript is a business insurance challenger, with an ambition to be the global leader of small business insurance. It provides personalised, flexible and scalable subscription-based insurance designed specifically to meet the ever-evolving needs of ambitious businesses. Modernising the broken insurance experience, Superscript simplifies and puts customers at the heart of the insurance journey.

>See also: How I’ve grown my business: Cameron Shearer, co-founder Superscript


Based in: Brighton and Hove
Sector: fintech
Founders: Alex Preece and Gareth Gillatt

Powering the future of gift cards, Tillo connects the world’s most popular brands with businesses looking for exciting new ways to reward and incentivise. Unlocking a world of new opportunity to drive sales and reach new global audiences, their digital platform connects brands with businesses across its extensive network, opening up multiple new distribution channels and allowing them to manage sales, all in real-time.

Total Processing

Based in: Manchester
Sector: fintech
Founder: Matthew Hamer

Providing complete global coverage, Total Processing is proudly pioneering a payment strategy for local and multinational businesses, through access to the world’s leading payment gateway and acquiring options, with built-in risk management and data analytics. Their accredited network of strategic partners provides businesses of all sizes with a fully integrated omnichannel software solution called Total Control.


Based in: London
Sector: HRtech
Founders: Nick Taylor and Steve Peralta

Unmind helps employees to lead more fulfilling and balanced lives by changing the way organisations think about mental health. Its workplace mental health platform empowers employees to measure, understand, and improve their mental wellbeing.


Based in: Bristol
Sector: edtech
Founder: Alex Young

Virti uses XR, artificial intelligence and gamification to help employees learn faster and remember training for longer. Virti’s mission is to make experiential education affordable and accessible for everyone. It uses virtual and augmented reality coupled with AI to transport users into difficult to access environments and safely assesses them under pressure to improve their performance.


Based in: Oxford
Sectors: healthtech, biotech, life sciences
Founders: Mark Larkin, Helen Williams

Giving patients a voice, Vitaccess is creating powerful, real-world evidence platforms to quantify patients’ experience of treatments and illness. Its smartphone app and real-time data analytics dashboards together provide biopharmaceutical clients with evidence of how drugs and treatments affect patients’ quality of life every day, outside of the clinical setting.


Based in: London
Sector: enterprise SaaS
Founders: Mark Perera and Alex Short

Helping companies to work better, together, Vizibl is the world’s leading supplier collaboration and innovation platform. It allows both buyers and suppliers to manage all aspects of their relationship more effectively to deliver mutual value. Vizibl’s software makes every aspect of the relationship life-cycle transparent, so that enterprise companies can align on their governance, strategy and develop great ideas together with their partner ecosystem.


Based in: London
Sector: insurtech
Founders: Sammy Rubin, Josh Hart, Jaco Oosthuizen, Jonathan Roomer and Sam Fromson

YuLife is on a mission to inspire life and turn financial products into a force for good. By harnessing the power of gamification and behavioural science, YuLife insurance rewards healthy living and puts everyday wellness within reach of everyone. It equips members with a game-like app to access discounts and vouchers from leading brands in return for completing everyday wellness activities, thus incentivizing healthy living.

>See also: How I’ve grown my business: Sammy Rubin, founder YuLife

Further reading

Top 20 EIS funds and investors you should know about