Government quango Tech City UK highlighted just how dominant it thinks London’s tech sector is compared to the rest of the UK when it announced a list of its 33 British startups to watch on Thursday.
The organisation, which receives over £2 million of taxpayer’s money each year to promote and support tech companies across the UK, picked just seven early stage tech companies outside the capital to join its Upscale programme this year. That’s less than two-thirds of the total cohort.
London-based companies like digital bank Monzo and bike light creator Blaze will receive mentoring from highly successful entrepreneurs — including LoveFilm cofounder Saul Klein and Skype cofounder and ex-CEO Niklas Zennstom — as part of the programme.
Startups outside London chosen include artificial intelligence firm Cambridge Intelligence, Liverpool-based market research tech company LivingLens, and Nottingham cloud computing company Cronofy.
While London is home to more tech startups than any other UK city, startups in the likes of Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, and Bristol are developing technology that is often more interesting and revolutionary. Cybersecurity startup Darktrace was set up in Cambridge, for example, while Oxford spawned two AI startups that were acquired by Google’s AI lab DeepMind in 2014.
We have again seen a bias towards London-based tech firms in TechCity’s Upscale programme,” said Stuart Clarke, festival director of the Leeds Digital Festival, in an email to Business Insider. “Is this because we have fewer suitable firms in the North or because Tech City is inherently biased towards London? I think it’s definitely the latter and there needs to be more emphasis on getting northern tech firms involved.”
Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech City UK, seemed to be happy with the representation of startups outside London. “It’s great to see so many regions and sectors represented in the cohort, demonstrating the great diversity this country has when it comes to digital technology,” he said in a statement.
Grech was also pleased with the number of companies with female founders Tech City UK selected — four out of the 33.
“It’s particularly great to see four fantastic female founders — Tania Boler, Tamara Rajah, Tugce Bulut and Emily Brooke — amongst the new intake but the industry needs to work harder to make sure that women are getting to senior roles in the sector,” he said.
FULL LIST OF COMPANIES:
- Boiler Room – online music broadcaster of live events. Six years old, it has now hosted shows in 100 cities worldwide (London)
- Blaze – urban mobility brand providing technology for bike sharing schemes and consumer cyclists globally (London)
- Bulb – an online renewable gas and electricity supplier, competing with the likes of British Gas and NPower (London)
- Cambridge Intelligence – an artificial intelligence company that helps companies see patterns and insights in their data (Cambridge)
- Chargifi – Chargifi supplies networked, wireless power to public venues like coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, sporting arenas, offices and transport hubs (London)
- CharlieHR – a free HR platform for small companies (London)
- Chiaro – a company that focuses on women’s wellness with wearable tech (London)
- Cronofy – a cloud computing company that allows people to check the availability of people in real time (Nottingham)
- Curve – allows you to combine all your credit cards into one Curve card and link with an app to monitor your spending (London)
- DueCourse – online invoice factoring business (Manchester)
- Echo – an app that takes the pain out of repeat prescriptions (London)
- everyLIFE Technologies – provides a mobile platform for managing social care in real time, working with the NHS and social care providers (Farnham)
- Firefly Learning – online tool for teachers, parents and schools to monitor pupils’ progress at school (London)
- GeoSpock – database technology that enables extreme-scale, real-time geo-spatial and multi-dimensional big data applications (Cambridge)
- Goodlord – end to end digital platform allowing letting agents, tenants and landlords to complete a rental transaction (London)
- Grabyo – Edit, publish and share video across mobile devices (London)
- Live Better With – community and marketplace for products for people living with cancer (London)
- LivingLens – allows companies to search hours of market research video by key word (Liverpool)
- Mastered – online courses for fashion professionals (London)
- Mixcloud – audio streaming service that allows users to listen to radio from all over the world (London)
- Moneyfarm – online wealth manager whose investors include Allianz, one of the world’s largest insurers (London)
- Monzo – one of a new breed of challenger banks. The mobile banking app receives its banking licence this year (London)
- Paddle – provides e-commerce and digital infrastructure for software businesses (London)
- pi-top – provides DIY laptop and desktop products for STEM education (London)
- Pockit – banking startup aimed at those excluded from mainstream banking (London)
- Poq – app commerce solution for major retailers (London)
- Signal Media – Artificial Intelligence-powered new monitoring (London)
- StoryStream – Live storytelling for brands: content curation and publishing (Brighton)
- Streetbees – market research insights from around the world, collected through artificial intelligence and geo-location (London)
- Trouva – curated online shopping from 150 independent boutiques (London)
- Trussle – the online mortgage adviser, built upon a database of thousands of mortgage products (London)
- Urban Massage – booking massage online (London)
- Wolf & Badger – global online marketplace for independent brands (London)