London start-ups dominating the latest Deloitte ‘Fast 50’

Companies generated around £1 billion of combined revenue in 2016/2017, and employ more than 9,000 people – including 1,800 in R&D alone

Posted 5 December 2017 at 9:17am by

The annual list of the Technology ‘Fast 50’ UK hi-tech start-ups has just been released, showing just how dominant London is becoming in terms of influence – but also just how significant the home-grown tech supplier base is becoming.

In 1998, Scottish firms were the biggest component of the 2017 Deloitte Fast 50, accounting for 11 companies, but since the mid Noughties London-based Fast 50 companies have risen from just eight in 2005 to 32 this year.

The South-West’s Move GB and Coull were the only non-London-based companies to feature in the top ten of the fastest growing technology companies, say the organisers, with David Cobb, lead partner for the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 programme, noting that, “The UK capital has some fundamental strengths when it comes to infrastructure, connectivity and access to top talent, which makes it an attractive place for tech start-ups.”

But the survey, which is all about recognising and ranking the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the UK, based on their last four years of revenue growth, also shows the growing strength of these contender companies, no matter their physical bases.

Deloitte says, for example, that the average four-year growth rate recorded for a Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 companies was an astonishing 3,756% in the year 2016/17, while as a group they generated around £1 billion of combined revenue in 2016/2017 while employing more than 9,000 people, including 1,800 in R&D alone.

Deliveroo came first in the list, with a four-year revenue growth of 107,117% – a new record, say the judges, with its General Manager UK and Ireland Dan Warne noting that, “The UK is an exceptional breeding ground for ambitious technology companies – and so there will always be competitors.”

When asked why they’d set up their firms, for over half of these tech entrepreneurs they’d spotted an opportunity to do better than the market incumbents, while 56% of CEOs interviewed claiming their product or service did not previously exist.

In terms of industry sector, software firms are still the biggest chunk of Fast 50 growth stories, at 36% of the total. but Deloitte notes that emerging sectors including FinTech, Media & Entertainment and Internet-based companies are starting to climb up the list (at 20%, 16% and 16% respectively).