Glasgow’s M Squared Lasers has been named among the top 24 late-stage companies to watch by Tech Nation – as the UK network for digital tech entrepreneurs today reveals the 2019 cohort of its Future Fifty 7.0 programme.
M Squared Lasers is a photonics and quantum technology company which, through its laser platform, helps scientists open new frontiers of knowledge. Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE, chief executive and founder, said: “We are delighted to have been named as one of Tech Nation’s Future Fifty among a group of brilliant businesses that we stand alongside at the forefront of innovation.
“M Squared has carved out a niche as the UK’s leading developer of photonic and quantum technologies that enable new applications and industries – to address some of society’s greatest challenges. We are using the world’s purest light to help measure global atmospheric pollution and climate change gases, microscopically image degenerative brain diseases and realise the potential of quantum computing.
“Collaboration has always been at the heart of science and part of M Squared’s DNA, and we look forward to working with a new network of tech companies for the betterment of society.”
Tech Nation, the UK network for ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs, today reveals the 24 dynamic, fast-growing, late-stage technology companies selected to join its prestigious Future Fifty cohort this year. The programme was established in 2013 to champion and support British tech businesses as they scale up nationally and internationally.
Each company chosen for the 2019 cohort will “benefit from access to the world’s leading experts,” said Tech Nation, “a powerful peer network to support and inspire, troubleshoot and collaborate, a tailored programme of masterclasses to help take businesses to the next level, and direct contact to senior decision-makers in Government. Meanwhile, access to the best global talent is made easier by a dedicated Tech Nation visa team which provides expert assistance with Tier 1 visa applications.”
In seven years, Future Fifty has built a network of more than 100 alumni businesses, including Deliveroo, Farfetch, Skyscanner, Made.com, Shazam, Just Eat, and dozens of other household names.
Today’s announcement comes as the UK records another bumper year for VC investment – attracting $7.9bn in funding in 2018 – and closes the gap on the US for exits of venture-backed companies, according to the latest data from Tech Nation/Dealroom. UK sales, IPOs and mergers were worth $40bn, putting it ahead of every other European country.
The rate of successful exits of venture capital-backed companies is one measure used by investors and commentators to calculate the success of a tech sector. The UK continues to be the most attractive destination in Europe for VC, attracting 1.8 times more investment in 2018 than France, and 1.6 times more than Germany. Over the last five years, it has been the biggest source of successful company exits in Europe, with sales and IPOs worth $119bn.
The Future Fifty 7.0 businesses reflect key trends in UK technology sectors. Fintech – currently attracting very high levels of investment – is an especially strong presence, with 10 out of 24 on the list offering technology-driven financial services. Other sectors represented include: Hardware & Internet of Things, Cyber Security, Software as a Service, Digital Media, Marketing & Adtech, Data Analytics, Ecommerce, and Healthcare. Around 60% of the ventures target B2B sales.
Significantly, said Tech Nation, the cohort reveals geographical diversity. Five of the new businesses are headquartered in regional cities: Cambridge, Bristol, Glasgow, Nottingham, and Watford. The programme extends over 24 months, and the companies coming on board in 2019 will be joining 26 businesses from the previous (2018) cohort.
These are incredibly talented and visionary entrepreneurs.Parveen Dhanda, Future Fifty Programme Lead
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State For Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The UK has a fantastic track record of producing globally successful tech companies and I’m pleased to see another diverse and impressive group of firms in Tech Nation’s 2019 Future Fifty Programme.
“The list highlights the underlying strength of our digital economy and emphasises its huge potential. We are doing all we can to make sure this vital industry continues to grow and our young businesses are given the right support to thrive.”
Parveen Dhanda, Future Fifty Programme Lead at Tech Nation, said: “The companies we’ve selected are established in their chosen markets and are at the point where they can look forward to scaling up rapidly. These are incredibly talented and visionary entrepreneurs. The peer connections and access to global experts that is on offer will help them fully deliver on their potential.”
Mike Jackson, Entrepreneur Success Director at Tech Nation, added: “Scaling up a business is exciting but also challenging. The most pressing challenges Future Fifty companies face are finding top talent, scaling culture and management and going global. The record of Future Fifty shows that with the right help and support all those challenges can be successfully overcome.”
The programme is supported by Barclays and Macfarlanes, who offer their expertise to aid the companies’ growth via roundtables, open hours, and thought leadership.
The 2019 companies
Blockchain: Blockchain is the largest software provider for digital currency and distributed ledger technology and provides the world’s most popular digital wallet with over 34 million customers. Through the use of new technology, we are revolutionizing the $14T financial services industry to build a more open, accessible, and fair financial future. Founded in 2011, Blockchain has raised over $70 million in funding from leading investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Google Ventures. London | Fintech | @Blockchain
Bulb Energy: The UK’s fastest growing energy supplier, providing affordable renewable energy to more than 1 million members across the UK. London | Hardware Devices and Internet of Things | @bulbenergy
Culture Trip: A global startup merging travel, media and entertainment, producing location-based inspiration from around the world, including articles, videos, photography, illustration and animation. London | Digital Entertainment | @CultureTrip
Currencycloud: Currencycloud‘s enterprise-class, global platform is the power inside countless businesses, driving the transformation of the global payments landscape. London | Fintech | @currencycloud
ENSEK: ENSEK provide leading SaaS software to create a unique combination of tailored solutions in the energy industry. We focus on removing stifling complexities in the energy supplier market by enabling better: market entry, data management, and customer engagement. ENSEK empower market entrants, growing mid-markets and enterprise companies to meet their customer needs and deliver their commercial ambitions. Nottingham | SoftwareasaService
GlobalWebIndex: A market research platform that provides audience insight across 45 countries to the world’s largest brands, marketing agencies and media organizations. London | Adtech and Marketing|@globalwebindex
Kimble Applications: The global leader in professional services automation (PSA) software – helping professional services organisations run their project-based businesses better. London | Software as a Service |@KimbleApps
MarketInvoice: MarketInvoice is a business finance company. They are the are Europe’s largest online invoice finance platform, helping businesses take charge of their cash flow – quickly and easily. London | Fintech | @marketinvoice
Salary Finance: Salary Finance is an employee financial wellbeing strategy and solutions provider helping millions of people around the world become financially healthier and happier. London | Fintech | @salaryfin
StarLeaf: StarLeaf is a pioneering leader in engineering intuitively intelligent solutions that help organizations seamlessly collaborate through superior video conferencing, secure app-based messaging, and integrated cloud-based meeting room systems. Watford | Fintech | @StarLeafCo
Starling Bank: Mobile personal, business and joint accounts on Android and iOS, and marketplace allowing customers to access to a wide range of complementary financial products through its app. London | Fintech |@StarlingBank