London is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to FinTech. But London’s vibrant tech and startup scene extends far beyond FinTech to include a plethora of diverse, nuanced, niche, and burgeoning verticals. And why not? With a surplus of co-working spaces, accelerators and incubators, London’s fast-paced competitive culture offers a lot of massive growth opportunities for startups in all sectors and industries.
With this in mind, we decided to find and celebrate London’s fastest growing verticals by breaking them down – definitions, history, investment, startups, events, resources, and influencers have been included for a comprehensive introduction to the emerging verticals and specialisms that have the potential to transform the tech landscape. For those in non-tech positions, consider this a roadmap to finding the greatest places to work, the most important people to follow and the best startup jobs in London.
Startup and Tech Sectors
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Noun, [ahr-tuh-fish-uh l] [in-tel-i-juh ns]
By 2023, the AI industry is set to reach a compound annual growth rate of 17.2%, swelling up the market to $14.2 bn. Unquestionably, what was once a distant possibility in the world of technology has now become a very real, very apparent, very now reality.
Introducing AI (also: artificial intelligence): the concept of having machines ‘think, react and work like humans’. In other words, AI is the creation of intelligent machines perform tasks like reasoning, planning, learning, problem solving and understanding language.
With the current AI wave poised to finally deliver breakthroughs, and tech giants such as Baidu and Google spending 90% of their R&D and deployment on AI, London’s racing to become the epicentre of AI development. Alone from 2011 to 2016, the UK has invested more than $1.3 bn into AI technology – more than double of France ($582 m) and triple Germany ($480 m). Today, investments in AI are rising, a new AI startup is launching every single week, and Silicon Valley is making serious eyes at the UK from all across the pond.
Investment in AI
2016: £26.76 million
2017 Q1 – Q3: £123.14 million
Staff Picks: UK AI Startups
- Factmata — This startup uses AI to turn internet users into a fact-checking network, in order to provide people a system through which they can instantly fact check claims made on the Internet. Having previously raised a €50k grant from Google’s Digital News Initiative, Factmata recently secured $750k in Seed funding to tackle fake news and is growing rapidly.
- Starship Technologies — Founded by Skype co-founders, Starship Technologies built fleets of self-driving courier robots that deliver goods locally. While these robots are still in the test-phase, Starship has not only raised $17.2m earlier this year, but signed delivery contracts with the likes of Domino’s, Just Eat and Hermes Parcel Delivery.
- Cleo — Cleo is your AI friend that helps you manage your finances, from gaining insight into your spending habits to automatically putting money aside into a savings account based on what Cleo things you can afford. Backed by an impressive slew of investors such as Skype founder Zennstrom, Cleo closed another £2m in funding just this summer.
- Behavox — With offices in London and New York, this AI startup provides a platform that unifies all types of data into a single data lake, allowing users to identify capital markets misconduct and insider threats. They recently raised £15 in Series B, led by Citigroup – raising the valuation of their compliance surveillance software to a total of $200m.
- Vivacity Labs — This team is developing an AI camera that provides smart, hyper-local data in order to facilitate the regulation of traffic in real-time. Now, with their recent £1.6m funding, the startup is deploying 2,500 of its sensors in Milton Keynes to as part of the VivaMK and maybe even pave the way for the driverless future.
- Prowler.io — This research-led startup is developing a new kind of decision-making platform that allows AI systems to interact with agents (i.e. vehicles, drones, or even people) in complex environments. Prowler just closed a £10m Series A funding round as it beings to develop the world’s first principled AI decision-making platform.
AI Events in London
- ‘Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK’ Report
- AI Trends
- Open AI Blog
- Google Research Blog
- Machine Learning Mastery
- Artificial Intelligence Blog
- MIT News Artificial Intelligence
- Chatbot Magazine
- WIRED Artificial Intelligence
- Science Daily Artificial Intelligence
Key AI Influencers To Follow
- Demis Hassabis “Deep Mind Founder & CEO”
- Andrew Ng “Former head of Baidu AI Group/Google Brain”
- Andrej Karpathy “Tesla AI”
- Nathan Benaich “Investor, Technologist, Scientist”
- Siraj Khaliq “Deep Tech Investment Partner”
- Murray Shanahan “Ex Machina’s Scientific Advisor”
- Rebecca Fiebrink “Computing and AI”
- Nige Willson “Microsoft Global Strategist”
- Geoffrey Hinton “Godfather of Deep Learning”
- Yann LeCun “Founding Father of Convolutional Nets”
- Fei-Fei Li “Standford AI Professor”
Noun, [helth] [tek]
While some industries may have been slow to accept the change that the technological revolution has put in their hands (e.g. the Real Estate industry), the Healthcare industry and the NHS has already begun to capitalise on the opportunities that new tech can bring to the field.
HealthTech (also: health technology, digital health), has been described in many different ways but on average, it is the use of technology to improve the delivery, payment and/or consumption of care, with the ability to increase the development and commercialisation of medicinal products.
Already in 2014, the market for HealthTech was worth £23 billion worldwide – and in 2018, this expected to almost double to £43 billion… and the UK alone was responsible for c.9% in 2014 (c.7% in 2018 due to growth in other markets) of this. And at the forefront of these numbers in the UK? London and MedCity – the British government’s well-documented push to position London as the HealthTech capital of Europe, if not the world. While traditionally, Boston and San Francisco have pioneered in this field to date, the growth in London HealthTech is in no way to be underestimated. In 2016, 20% of overall tech investment in the UK was distributed to HealthTech – the second biggest sector to receive funding, right after FinTech.
Investment in HealthTech
2016: £51.77 million
2017 Q1 – Q3: £148.68 million
Staff Picks: London HealthTech Startups
- Babylon Health — Having cumulatively raised more than $85m, this startup offers a digital healthcare app using a mix of AI and video/text consultations with doctors and specialists – and it’s disrupting UK healthcare as we speak. Earlier this year, they partnered with the NHS and now those who live in London can switch our their NHS GPs for the App GP at Hand.
- Antidote — This digital health company that matches patients with clinical trials for companies such as Lung Cancer Alliance, has grown rapidly in the past 12 months – raising $11m in funding this past September, as well as opening an office in New York to help expand more deeply into the USA.
- Cera — This London CQC-registered home care provider specialised in matching those needing social with highly experienced carers – at the right time, right place. Since launching, the company has signed contracts with 10 NHS organisations, raised a total of £3.2m, partnered up with Uber to deliver at-home patient care, and has made strides to include AI in their system.
- Locum’s Nest — The platform, founded by two NHS doctors, matches available doctors with hospital shifts to fill rota gaps using a “pay as you go” structure that costs a fraction of the price of locum agencies. In essence, Locum’s Nest pioneered the first digital collaborative staff bank in NHS history, is now currently live at 8 NHS Trusts, and has raised £1.1m in funding this summer.
- Echo — Founded in 2015 but only launched last November, this HealthTech startup allows users to order repeat prescriptions from the NHS via an app. Free to download, this app is billed as a way for NHS patients to receive, take and manage repeat prescriptions – and it just received £7m in venture capital funding.
- Thriva — This London startup offers a home finger-prick blood test that lets you track a range of internal blood markers associated with good or bad health. Launched only a year ago, this startup has seen impressive growth and has now raised £1.5m – backed by the likes of Zoopla CEO Chesterman, LoveFilm founder Franks, TransferWise CEO Hinrikus.
HealthTech Events in London
- WIRED Health
- Digital Health World Congress
- GIANT HEALTH Event
- Digital Health Technology Show
- Digital Health Care Show
- FT Digital Health Summit Europe
- Digital Health and Care Congress
- TechCrunch HealthTech
- MedCity News
- Huffingtonpost Digital Health
- Health Tech Magazine
- Health Tech Newspaper
- Digital Health
- Digital Health in the UK: An industry study for the Office of Life Sciences
Key HealthTech Influencers To Follow
- John Nosta “Keynote Speaker”
- Natasha Loder “The Economist”
- Maneesh Juneja “Digital Health Futurist”
- Beath Healey “Research doctor, European Space Agency”
- Paul Belcher “RCP London Europe Lead”
- Dr Ali Parsa “Babylon Health Founder”
Noun, [prop] [tek]
In the UK alone, the property sector is a multi-billion pound industry. However, traditionally dominated by large, high-street real estate agents, the property sector has been continuously criticised to be “inefficient”, and “unhelpful process” and “archaic and confusing”.
In a desire to solve these inherent problems within the sector, PropTech has emerged. PropTech (also: property technology and real estate technology), uses a set of cross-industry technologies (notably FinTech) in order to fundamentally alter and innovate how the industry operates by ameliorating the way we research, rent, buy and manage both residential and commercial property.
The movement in the UK (somewhat) initially began with Rightmove (est. 2000) and Zoopla (est. 2008), as they moved to use the internet in order to create a simpler, more streamlined process for customers. And while the development of PropTech initially lagged behind other sectors such as FinTech (though now the sectors are quite linked), the industry is now seeing a very real, very explosive momentum towards PropTech – with both traditional industry titans (e.g. Savills and JLL) and startups sitting at the table and addressing PropTech as the sector’s very future. In fact, PropTech has raised c. $30 billion in the UK since 2012, and the annual investment saw an all time high in 2016 and 2017 with no signs of stopping.
Investment in PropTech
2016: £102.7 million
2017 Q1 – Q3: £165.6 million
Staff Picks: London PropTech Startups
- No Agent — This end-to-end property management platform automates the marketing and administration of rental properties giving landlords more visibility, control and support. Only launched in 2016, No Agent has so far raised £1.1 from private investors, achieved a 36% month-on-month growth, and is gearing up for a Series A funding round come 2018.
- Goodlord — This PropTech is a letting transactions platform that brings together agencies, landlords and tenants together online and processes paperwork of tenancy transactions electronically to minimise cost, effort and time. Working with industry behemoths such as JLL and Sotheby’s, they recently raised £7.2m in Series A funding.
- Airsorted — This Pi Labs accelerator graduate is an Airbnb management and concierge service that manages over 1000+ properties, and has raised £1.5m in funding just this year. A fast growing startup within a fast growing market, Airsorted has now expanded to Sydney, Australia with plans to soon launch in additional cities.
- Propoly — The youngest startup on our list, Popoly is also one of the first of its kind, as it provides a one step platform for landlords and tenants to directly engage with each other without the use of an external agent. Part of the Pi Labs family, the London startup received a reported £775,000 in seed last year.
- Trussle — This online mortgage broker uses an algorithm to help people find the best mortgage option. Trussle recently partnered up with Revolut, raised another £4.5 in backing, and launched an industry-first partnership with Zoopla to allow buyers who start their property search online to find and finance their home in one seamless journey.
- Settled — A web based property sales service that allows individuals to market their homes through the internet for a flat fee, this London startup. Since launching last year, they have sold £500m worth of homes and have recently raised £1.2m in Seed round led by Venture Capitalists, Connect Ventures and Piton Capital.
PropTech Events in London
- PropTech 3.0: the Future of Real Estate Report
- LendInvest Blog
- City A.M. PropTech
- PropTech News by James Dearsley
- Propertymoose Blog
Key PropTech Influencers To Follow
- James Dearsley “The Original PropTech Blogger”
- Eddie Holmes “PropTech Specialist”
- Alex Chesterman “Zoopla Founder”
- Dan Hughes “PropTech Lead at RICSnews”
- Wouter Truffino “Holland PropTech co-founder”
- Gary Chimwa “PropTech Bridge-Builder”
Acronym, [Software as a Service]
In recent years, the trend towards SaaS has been staggering. From 2010 to 2014, adoption of SaaS products in the UK alone has grown by 61.5%, with enterprises showing adoption rates of 80% – and in 2020, the SaaS market is set to double.
But what is SaaS? SaaS (also: software as a service and cloud computing) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted on a cloud and made available to its users through the internet. Some of the most common examples of SaaS products are web-based emails (e.g. Google or Yahoo) and Calendars.
But, isn’t SaaS a form of tech that helps startups and tech firms ‘disrupt’ traditional sectors like HealthTech, rather than a industry in-and-of-itself, you ask? Sure, SaaS (a lot like AI) is a conduit for companies to create and affect change in their sectors. But this doesn’t mean that SaaS isn’t an industry. After all, these two categories aren’t mutually exclusive. Think of it this way – while Beamery creates cloud-based software for the Recruitment industry, HiBob is creating a cloud-based software for internal HR management that can used by a variety of companies in a variety of industries – from recruitment to retail. In other words, SaaS works both vertically and horizontally.
And perhaps this is the exact reason why the SaaS movement has become so large and prominent. In fact, global forecasts for 2017 predicting the market being worth around the $37.7 billion mark, and in the UK, the cloud services market is set to total $2.7 billion this year in SME’s alone! Naturally this also means there are a plethora of great SaaS jobs around too.
Investment in SaaS
2016: £79.3 million
2017 Q1 – Q3: £79.8 million
Staff Picks: London SaaS Startups
- Ometria — Used by a slew of impressive multi-channel retailers such as LoveCrafts, Graze.com and Crew Clothing, this customer insight and cross-channel marketing platform just raised another $6m in Series A funding (totalling to an overall $11m) to accelerate development of its AI-powered SaaS platform.
- Idea Drop — A simple but powerful SaaS solution for organisations to crowdsource, curate and implement brilliant ideas from across their teams and colleagues via web, iOS and Android. Supported by clients such as BBC and Pwc, Idea Drop recently raised a total of £1.2m from 34 different investors in order to further develop the product.
- BridgeU — This ed-tech startup uses big data to help students choose the right university course for them on an adaptive learning platform. Based both in London and Hong Kong, they have recently closed a £4m Series A funding round, and announced a partnership with the world’s leading learning platform. They also now work with schools in over 50 countries.
- Beamery — This SaaS startup has built a recruitment CRM software that enables companies to approach recruiting like customer acquisition – from outbound prospecting to targeted engagement. Their platform, used by the likes of Facebook, VMWare and GitHub, has recently received a $5m Series A investment which will be used to open a new office in the Bay Area.
- HiBob — Launched last year, bob is a cloud-based HR and benefits platform that helps businesses manage and engage with their employees. Earlier this year, Hibob raised their total funding to $25m, through a $17.5m Series A funding in order, in part, to be able to expand operations globally by the end of this year – including the US.
- Learnerbly — This London SaaS platform provides professional learning tools for companies to support employee training and development. Founded by the CEO of Enternships Rajeeb Dey, Learnerbly just raised £1.6m in seed financing with the help of HelloFresh UK’s CEO and Google’s former global learning and development director.
Saas Events in London
- TechCrunch SaaS
- For Entrepreneurs
- Chaotic Flow
- Close.io Blog
- Entrepreneur SaaS
- SaaStock Blog
Key SaaS Influencers To Follow
- Steli Efti “The Voice of Close.io”
- Graham Cooke “Qubit Founder”
- Jason M Lemkin “SaaS Guru”
- Mike Butcher “TechCrunch Editor-At-Large”
- Marc Benioff “Salesforce Force”
- David Skok “Serial entrepreneur turned VC”
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