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Top Tech 50 Scale-Ups 2023 Revisited: The Businesses That Exceeded Expectations

In January 2023, we set out to shine a light on innovative tech leaders by unveiling the first Capsule Top 50 Tech Scale-Ups To Watch list.

By recognising and promoting promising tech businesses, we hoped to contribute to the overall growth of the sector’s ecosystem – creating a sense of community and fostering an environment of innovation and progress.

As 2023 comes to a close, we’re looking back at the tech trailblazers continuing to drive us forward…

Tech 50 Lookback Hero Image

At the time of the list’s release, the 50 featured businesses had collectively raised an impressive £1.7 billion in funding and employed more than 3,000 people.

The standout feature of this group lies in their youth and dynamism – with many established in the last six years, and nearly 20 emerging after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notably, almost a third of these ventures are led by female entrepreneurs – including Code First Girls co-founder Anna Brailsford, and local sharing app Olio founders Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One.

Tech 50 Lookback Infographic

Charting the funding success of our Tech Top 50

The Top 50 Tech Scale-Ups To Watch list was a testament to innovation and resilience. After our list was released in January, many of the featured businesses continued to secure additional funding to support their growth and expansion plans. Take Hadean – a metaverse startup that secured a remarkable $5 million funding from Ericsson in March, allowing it to build out its immersive infrastructure. Also in March, personalised nutrition specialist ZOE secured $2.5 million from Steven Bartlett’s Flight Fund.

Moving on to April, and credit card challenger Yonder completed a substantial £62.5 million Series A funding round co-led by Northzone and RTP Global. The funds raised enabled it to double the size of its team while expanding into new verticals.

OnePlus founder Carl Pei’s hardware startup, Nothing, made headlines in June with a staggering $96 million raise spearheaded by Highland Europe – propelling its expansion into the US, along with the launch of its new smartphone. Sylvera was a standout in July – attracting $57 million in a Series B round led by Balderton Capital, and earmarked for incentivising real climate impact investment and fueling growth over the pond.

Last but by no means least, valued Capsule client Lottie – a leading eldercare marketplace – closed a $21 million Series A funding round in October, with Accel among the notable contributors. This injection of capital will allow it to double its headcount to more than 100 in the coming year.

Exploring the impact of strategic acquisitions

But funding wasn’t the only sign of success for this group of tech innovators. This year saw Hokodo become the first B2B buy-now-pay-later provider with a full European payments licence following their strategic acquisition of Lithuania-based H Pay & Go. Staying dedicated to European growth, Hokodo is set to open its third office in Lithuania – adding to its existing locations in Paris and London.

Similarly, leading children’s bike subscriptions provider Bike Club acquired Bicircular, a bike subscription platform based in Barcelona. This move aligns with Bike Club’s aims for fast growth throughout mainland Europe – supported by CEO James Symes, who’s confident that the family cycling market is ripe for disruption across the continent.

Celebrating tech triumphs against the odds

Other success stories from our Top 50 Tech Scale-Ups list include Cleo, an AI fintech that tripled its sales from £8.5 million in 2021 to a remarkable £24.6 million in 2022. ZOE also demonstrated exceptional growth, with its sales increasing more than threefold from £1.8 million in 2021 to a noteworthy £5.9 million in 2022. Patchwork Health’s ascent was equally commendable – with sales increasing from £2.1 million in 2021 to £3.3 million in 2022.

These triumphs are especially significant in the tough market that startups and growing brands find themselves in. Recently, Capsule hosted our first ever VentureNorth event – a celebration of advances in northern tech, and a chance for some of the bright minds lighting up the North to come together and share ideas. Speaking at the event, Praetura VenturesColin Greene said, “Amidst the challenges of the current market, we see hope in promising areas where innovation is strong. The key is to continue investing in these dynamic landscapes – recognising that beyond these challenges are the green shoots of success.”

Adding his thoughts on the current VC market, Henrik Wetter Sanchez, Partner at Playfair commented: “Whilst the last couple of years have been tough for the ecosystem, the quality of businesses coming through now is incredibly promising. We're also encouraged that teams are more resilient and tackling real problems with the maturity of later stage businesses, even at seed stage".

Is your tech business ready to shine?

At Capsule, we’re not just onlookers. We’re supporters of growth, and advocates for innovation. Drawing on Colin’s words, we know that every challenge holds the potential for success. We’re here to equip you with the tools you need to manage those challenges – going beyond standard insurance to give companies a strong base to flourish in their respective landscapes.

Already we’re eagerly anticipating the opportunity to reveal the next set of groundbreaking companies taking the tech world by storm. Interested to learn more about the 2024 criteria? If you think your company deserves to be showcased among the visionaries, don’t hesitate to reach out at marketing@capsulecover.com.

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