Your Ultimate Guide to London Startups
Coming in the top 5, London is dominating as the best place to start a high-growth startup worldwide. Along with Boston, California, and Tel Aviv, London is the startup capital of the world, being the focal point in Europe. In 2019, a record number of $38.6 billion was invested in the European tech sector, however there were fears that the Covid-19 pandemic would stop further growth in the sector. Despite the disruption, European tech investment is predicted to hit its record level as expected.
With 40 European towns and cities having produced $1B+ companies to date, entrepreneurs in Europe are continuing to raise record amounts to solve the world’s biggest problems.
Attracting the best human resources from all over the world, projections suggest that the total investment in startups in Europe could reach a high of $41 billion. With this, September 2020 saw a new record of $5 billion invested into European tech companies.
With these astonishing statistics in mind, TechRound, the home of tech startup news has provided a brand new guide on all you need to know about the London startup scene in 2021. So if you want to get to grips with the London startups or are considering starting your own company and setting up at home in the capital, then now is the time to take a look and get clued up!
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How many startups are in London?
According to the think-tank Centre for Entrepreneurs, more than 5 new tech startups launched every hour in 2019, contributing to a record 681,704 new business formations over the year. In 2019, over 45,000 tech startups were launched across the UK, with over 17,401 of these being registered in London.
London remains Europe’s hub in terms of capital invested in 2020. Since 2016, London has attracted $34 billion in investment from startups.
London continues to dominate, showing how much of a UK start-up revolution has taken place in recent years. These high numbers continue to demonstrate just how much of a desirable location the city is for new companies.
What are the best areas in London for startups?
The best areas for startups are typically around Shoreditch and then they spill over to areas such as Camden, Finsbury Park, Holborn, Hoxton, Richmond and Westminster.
London is one of the most exciting cities to work and live in. As a result, trying to pinpoint the very best areas for startups to be based in the capital is no easy feat, professionals are really very much spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a destination. But here is our best of the bunch.
Old Street / Shoreditch
This area is basically the professional home of the lively tech hub for startups, with this part of East London being dramatically changed in the last decade thanks to tech-startup driven growth, leading to what some have called digitally-fuelled gentrification, but it is best known as the Shoreditch Silicon Roundabout. However, the growth in popularity of Old Street and Shoreditch has led to an influx in rent prices, which is something you may need to take into consideration.
In terms of workspaces available in Holborn, freelancers, companies and startups alike have the choice of coworking spaces, serviced offices and managed office spaces in Holborn. There are excellent transports links in Holborn, making it perfect for commuters to get to and from work. You have the choice of Holborn and Chancery Lane stops, which are both on the Central line (Holborn is also on the Piccadilly Line). You are also able to benefit from the direct connection to Heathrow airport (on the Piccadilly Line) making it perfect for international business meetings.
Based in the London Borough of Hackney. As a part of Shoreditch, it is a part of the East End – the historic core of wider East London.
Home to the iconic Camden Market, new businesses are blossoming in this neighbourhood. Whether you are in the media, tech, or fashion or any sector, there are spaces in Camden to become the home for your startup.
According to statistics, Richmond is one of the places in London where businesses that are set up there have some of the highest company survival rates, reaching over 76-80 per cent.
Westminster is becoming a hotspot for startups in London, with more businesses setting up shop in the borough than any other borough combined in London in most recent data.
Based in North London, this up and coming tech suburb is neighbours to other fast-rising areas such as Highbury, Caledonian Road and Archway. It is only a few stops from Kings St Cross Station.
What are the best London startups to work for?
According to different lists, these are the best London startups to work for:
YuLife are on a mission to change life insurance for good. At YuLife, they are transforming products once focused on death and illness into ones that inspire life and reward living — turning old-fashioned employee perks into life-enhancing benefits. YuLife was voted the best place to work in 2020 according to Tempo (Source: City AM)
Impala is a London-based hotel technology solution provider. They connect hotel systems with the outside world. The London-based company provides software services that offer data about hotel rooms. At Impala, employees experience flexible working, health and well-being schemes, a large amount of holiday days and more!
Helping people save and invest for their future. Monyebox offers solutions for all of your financial goals and give you the tools and information you need to make the right saving and investment decisions.
Build applications that securely access data and initiate payments in real time. They are known for their diversity and inclusion, with a flexible working schedule and fun team socials.
Notable London Startups
Sanctus supports employees by creating impartial spaces where they can talk about their mental health and wellbeing with a professional.
Babylon Health helps patients to access healthcare consultations remotely via the startup’s app. Through this app, users can send off inquiries with photos, video messages or text to a healthcare professional (e.g. a nurse, doctor or therapist), as well as being able to book necessary health exams across London. Employees have access to Babylons benefits including; BUPA health insurance, life insurance, a free bike to cycle to work, flexible hours, office gym and more!
Karmarama is the UK’s most progressive creative agency. They combine creative excellence with technology-inspired solutions. This means they can help clients with their business challenges now, as well as plan for their next business opportunities.
Habito is using technology to bring the mortgage-application process into the 21st century. Using Habito, home buyers can for the first time be sure they’re getting the best deal for them. By developing a simple, honest and transparent way to help people find and apply for the best mortgage, there is no question as to why Habito has been voted the best mortgage broker in 2020. Benefits include; free lunch on Fridays, flexible holiday, life and health insurance, maternity and paternity leave and more!
Equipsme is an employee benefit, business health insurance product, powered by AXA PPP which offers affordable plans for employees from just £7.99 per person, per month. The company raised over £850,000 in a recent funding round on CrowdCube and has developed strong partnerships with the likes of Starling Bank and Amazon.
Monzo has over 300 employees and now has more than a million UK customers since it first launched in 2015. Recently taking over Bloomberg’s offices in Moorgate, employees of Monzo can benefit from a huge amount of staff benefits, and generous vacation leave.
The UK’s fastest growing business comms provider, specialising in mobile, mobile broadband and hosted voice – everything you need to keep your business connected.
Who are fastest growing London startups?
According to the Deloitte 2020 winner list, these are the fastest-growing London startups:
Bulb offers an alternative to these traditional energy giants, growing by 14,288%. Bulb is leading the way in making changes to the poor service, expensive tariffs, dirty energy and inefficiency that have become synonymous with energy suppliers. As a certified B-Corp, the company works to demonstrate how a business can be a force for good. Bulb now has over 800 employees, including over 200 new hires in 2020.
Popsa is the most user-friendly photo printing app on the App Store, and has grown by 10,576%. Their mission is to bring customisable goods to a new audience using the latest technology and the best user experience.
From your everyday spending, to planning for your future with savings and investments, Revolut helps you get more from your money, growing by 6,786%.
iProov authenticate remote users online for onboarding and verification using Genuine Presence Assurance. They have grown by 6,351%.
Other fast growing London startups include:
Blippar specialises in augmented reality as well as computer vision technology.
Cazoo has transformed the used car market. Its model is based on buying quality used cars, selling them online and delivering them to your door. It aims to make buying a used car hassle-free. Consumers can buy or finance the cars entirely online and delivery is made within 72 hours.
An Over-The-Top (OTT) Banking Platform that lets you combine multiple cards and accounts into one smart card (Curve card).
Deliveroo launched in 2013, it now has more than 10,000 restaurants linked to their website and app that deliver food to customers front door.
Habito is a platform helping you remortgage faster than ever before and was founded in 2014.
It is arguably the case that TransferWise basically pioneered the FinTech industry. Created back in 2011, the startup helps to dramatically reduce the cost of international money transfers between bank accounts.
Which startups have received the most funding?
Some of the largest funding rounds include: Deliveroo ($1.5 billion), Babylon Health ($635.3 Million), UK’s Revolut (£627 million), Classpass ($420 million), Zopa (£411 million), Starling Bank (£323 million), Cazoo ($310 million) and TIER ($250 million).
Government funding and seed rounds are getting bigger every year. There are seed investors looking to raise money money than previously. This has been evidenced by Series A rounds increasing by $6.6m in 2020, up from just $3.9m in 2016 according to Sifted.
How many people work in startups in London?
It is estimated that across the country, the number of businesses in operation has increased by over 2m since 2000 alone, rising from 3.5 million to over 5.5 million.
Exact statistics of just how many people in the city work for startups in London has not been specified. Nevertheless, most of these startups employ fewer than ten people, and an increasing number are sole proprietors of their own startup.
What are the best accelerators in London?
London has experienced a rapid rise in incubator and accelerator programmes over the last few years, surpassing any other European city. There are a number of accelerators and incubators in London that will help you nurture, raise funds and grow your startup business. Some of most well-known include The Bakery, Level 39, Y Combinator, Fuel Ventures and Wayra. See our full list of startup accelerators in London.
What grants are available for startups in London?
In simple terms, a business grant is a certain sum of money that is offered to a business to help them further along their operations. Unlike a lot of other types of business funding, business grants do not have to be repaid, meaning they’re great fuel for startups wanting to accelerate their growth and development.
Grants are usually given out by foundations, trusts, corporations or the government. In order to be eligible for grants, your business will have to fit certain eligibility criteria. This will be dependent on the grant and why it is being offered. For example, some grants are offered exclusively for budding young entrepreneurs within a certain age category, whilst others are available for businesses that benefit the community, are focused on green energy and resources, or otherwise.
Grants for Women
Women are statistically less likely to receive funding than all-male teams, fortunately there are a number of funds for women that aim to level the playing field by focusing on female-led businesses. These include Global Fund for Women, Market Inspector Scholarship for Women in Business, Women Who Tech Startup Challenge and more!
Grants for Young People
Young entrepreneurs are the future of the British economy, and funding bodies are keen to recognise that. There are eight schemes that are focused on funding young people in the UK, including students and recent graduates. These include; Bright Ideas Trust, Enterprise Nation Student Start-up of the Year, The Mayor’s Entrepreneur, The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, Shell LiveWIRE, UnLtd and vInspired Cashpoint.
Grants for Research and Developments
Research and development is essential to the progress of technology and the development of industry. To support your businesses R&D, the UK government offers both innovation funding and R&D tax credits. To find out more please visit our article on this topic by clicking here.
What are the biggest startups outside of London?
StoryStream: Helping brands make their marketing more human through authentic and engaging storytelling.
Crunch: Online accountants giving customers unlimited expert advice and service.
Daisie: A collaborative platform for artists everywhere.
Hatsumi: Explores the potential of VR for art therapy, particularly for people living with invisible issues such as chronic pain and mental health conditions.
Peak: Making AI accessible for all businesses.
Intechnica: Technology specialists that help transform and grow organisations with consulting, software engineering and practical applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
GoodBox: Develops contactless donation technology.
AccessPay: The corporate banking platform building real-time, secure data connections between 16,000+ global banks, business applications and payment schemes.
Synap: The world’s leading online solution for question-based learning and assessment.
Mind It: Offering wellbeing workshops, webinars, training and consultancy, and support your people and your organisation to thrive.
Tappit: A global team of fans offering event tech for festivals, sports, conferences via cashless digital payments, ticketing and access control with real-time data insights to boost fan engagement and experience.
Vet AI: Developing ground-breaking technologies that aim to prevent and predict conditions developing in animals.
What are the main startup events in London?
There are a number of different monthly, as well as yearly events for startup companies or those considering creating one. These include:
- London’s Biggest Tech & Entrepreneur Professional Networking Soirée: Wednesday 27 January 2021 6:30-9:30 pm
- AgriTech 4.0 2021: Jan 29 2021 8:00am – Feb 19 2021 6:00pm
- London 2021 Q2 Venture Capital World Summit: Apr 6 2021 10:00am – Apr 6 2021 3:59pm
- London 2021 Q4 Venture Capital World Summit: Oct 14 2021 10:00am – Oct 14 2021 3:59pm
- Startup Mentorship Program / Event: Different dates and times available.
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