The latest cohort of Future Fifty tech start-ups includes fintech leaders, robotic entertainment companies, sustainable energy suppliers and quantum technology manufacturers

The Tech Nation Future Fifty 2019 cohort includes digital companies such as Perkbox (left), Bulb (top right) and Reach Robotics (bottom left)

The Tech Nation Future Fifty 2019 cohort includes digital companies such as Perkbox (left), Bulb (top right) and Reach Robotics (bottom left)

A range of digital start-ups from the fintech, e-commerce and medtech sectors have been recognised in Tech Nation’s Future Fifty programme 2019.

The industry body today revealed the 24 businesses that will be added to this year’s cohort, including Monzo, Culture Trip and Reach Robotics.

The businesses will benefit from joining a support network, gaining access to a range of business masterclasses, and participation in government and industry roundtables.

Jeremy Wright, Secretary 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.”

Since its launch in 2013, 127 businesses have taken part in the Future Fifty programme and previous alumni include Deliveroo, Farfetch, Skyscanner, and Transferwise.

Between 2013 and 2018, the Future Fifty businesses have raised a combined $8bn (£6bn) via venture capital funding, according to Tech Nation, with nine companies going on to successfully file an IPO.


Which companies were selected for 2019’s Future Fifty cohort?

Tech Nation claims the programme supports new companies, creates jobs and opportunities across the UK, and inspires the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Parveen Dhanda, 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.”

The new companies announced by Tech Nation are:

  • Aire (London)
  • Blockchain (London)
  • Currencycloud (London)
  • MarketInvoice (London)
  • Monzo Bank (London)
  • Nested (London)
  • Quantexa (London)
  • Starling Bank (London)
  • Revolut (London)
  • Salary Finance (London)
  • Behavox (London)
  • Bizuma (London)
  • Bulb Energy (London)
  • M Squared Lasers (Glasgow)
  • Reach Robotics (Bristol)
  • Culture Trip (London)
  • Mediatonic (London)
  • Ensek (Nottingham)
  • Kimble Applications (London)
  • Garrison Technology (London)
  • Ieso Digital Health (Cambridge)
  • GlobalWebIndex (London)
  • Perkbox (London)
  • StarLeaf (Watford)


Profiling seven of the companies on the Future Fifty

Reach Robotics

Reach Robotics is looking to combine the worlds of entertainment and technology.

The company’s flagship product Mekamon claims to be “the world’s first gaming robot” and combines virtual and physical components, using augmented reality to create interactive games.

Silas Adekunie, CEO and co-founder of Reach Robotics, said: “When we launched in 2013, we had an ambition to revolutionise consumer robotics by making cutting-edge technology truly accessible.

“We’ve come a long way in a short period of time as we realise our core vision of using robotics to entertain, inspire and educate.

“With a new EDU programme on the horizon, we’re poised to take the business to the next level.

“Taking part in Future Fifty is a fantastic opportunity, not only to learn more from people who have already been successful in scaling up their companies, but also to interact with and learn from our peers on the programme.”


Bulb Energy

Renewable energy supplier Bulb
Renewable energy supplier Bulb’s team

Renewable energy supplier Bulb is now one of the biggest players in the UK market and now supplies over 850,000 UK households with 100% renewable electricity.

The London-based start-up was founded by friends Hayden Wood and Amit Gudka who were inspired to set up Bulb after working in the energy industry and concluding the market was “broken”.

Bulb has since become the UK’s largest renewable energy supplier and it claims to save one million tonnes of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere every year.


M Squared

M Squared uses laser-based applications to create the latest photonics and quantum technology.

Applications for the company’s product are varied and include detecting gas and chemical leaks, developing ion drives for space travel and monitoring fluid loss in whiskey manufacturing.

Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE, CEO and founder at M Squared, 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.”



future fifty
Bizuma CEO Ray Watson (Credit: Bizuma)

Bizuma states its mission is “to empower any business, of any size, to trade globally”.

The online platform connects companies with vetted buyers and sellers in over 50 countries, giving small businesses access to a global marketplace.

The B2B network so far claims to have over 100,000 clients and millions of products to choose from.


Ieso Digital Health

Ieso is a medtech company that uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence to provide cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions online.

CBT is often used to help treat patients with anxiety or depression but can be used for a range of mental and physical health problems.

Dr Nigel Pitchford, CEO, Ieso Digital Health, said: “To be included in this year’s Future Fifty cohort alongside some of the best companies in UK tech is recognition – for everyone at Ieso – of what we’ve achieved to date.

“I’m immensely proud of the team, and the business that we’ve built together.”



idle employees, future fifty
Credit: Perkbox

Perkbox is recognised as one of the fastest growing technology companies in the UK.

The London-based start-up works with employers to offer staff exclusive perks and discounts from partner companies, such as mobile phone insurance and cheap cinema tickets.

The company currently has 200 employees and turnover of £34.7m.



Cloud video conferencing platform StarLeaf was another tech start-up included in the latest Future Fifty cohort.

Founded in 2008 by three telecoms entrepreneurs, the technology company allows employees to hold virtual meetings or conferences no matter where they are based.

Starleaf CEO Mark Loney said: “Our strong growth and expanding global footprint reflect the continuous investment we have made in regional sales, engineering expertise, and innovation.

“StarLeaf’s cloud-based solutions are transforming the meeting room experience for our enterprise customers, which allows their users to securely meet and share in an instant.”