Tech Nation, the UK’s leading network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, has announced it is calling for applicants for three of the UK’s most renowned growth programmes, Future Fifty, Upscale, and Rising Stars. The programmes are designed to scale and grow the next generation of UK tech businesses, with prestigious alumni including UK heavyweights Monzo, Starling Bank, Darktrace, Deliveroo, and Skyscanner.
Scaleup deals delivered 80% of all tech investments in the UK in 2018, equivalent to £5bn of just over £6bn. Tech Nation’s three bespoke programmes are available for UK companies at every stage of growth, early-stage (Rising Stars), mid-stage (Upscale), and late-stage (Future Fifty) (full requirements below), to ensure the UK continues to cultivate a pipeline for the next generation of tech leaders.
Eoin Marsh, London Entrepreneur Engagement Manager, Tech Nation commented: “With many of Tech Nation’s programme alumni based in the capital, including Rising Stars winners SeedLegals, Upscale alumni Monzo and Improbable, and Future Fifty companies Revolut and Starling Bank, it has been exciting to see how over the last few years the ecosystem has matured, without any let-up in pace. Our programmes offer tailored support for startups and scaleups at key stages of company growth, and I look forward to meeting the next generation of scaleup stars to join a leading network of industry experts and peers.”
Each programme offers tailored solutions to the biggest challenges facing UK companies; including access to networks and investors, hiring top talent, and expanding internationally. Since joining the programmes, Future Fifty company and Upscale alumnus Monzo has seen a 2301% increase in total funding and a 2122% increase in staff.
In 2019, Future Fifty enters its 8th year of supporting late-stage UK tech businesses as they scale up their operations nationally and internationally. Future Fifty 8.0 is now looking for the next 25 future companies in the tech economy to support them in achieving their global ambitions, creating jobs and opportunities across the UK, and inspiring the next generation of tech entrepreneurs, founders and businesses.
The 25 companies selected for Future Fifty 8.0 will receive access to; a network of over 100 alumni including Deliveroo, Farfetch, Skyscanner and Funding Circle through c-Suite roundtables; workshops led by global experts such as ASOS and Dropbox; and a dedicated Tech Nation Visa team for hiring international talent.
Rhydian Lewis CEO, RateSetter, London, commented: “Being part of Future Fifty not only provides us with direct benefits, such as peer-learning, but ensures that our experiences help shape the wider scale-up ecosystem.”
Upscale, designed for mid-stage companies, supports 30 of the UK’s most innovative and fastest-growing tech companies to accelerate their growth. Over six months, the 30 companies chosen for Upscale 5.0 will receive 60 hours of support through seven founder-focused sessions, six senior leader focused sessions, and access to Upscale’s prestigious alumni network (130 companies who have collectively raised over $1.4bn since joining). Last year’s Upscale cohort had an average of £1.5m revenue, and included the likes of OpenRent, Airsorted and OLIO.
Joe Parry, Founder and CEO, Cambridge Intelligence, Cambridge commented: “Upscale has connected our leadership team to the wider scale-up community. That connection has given us great access to an informal ‘help’ network and a better appreciation of best practices as companies grow to Series B stage. Transformative.”
Rising Stars, a national startup competition, brings together the most exciting and innovative Seed to pre Series-A startups from all across the UK. Supported throughout the application process, the competition culminates in a Grand Final where the best 20 companies pitch to a panel of high-profile judges, in front of a room full of investors and industry peers, for the chance to be named as one of Tech Nation’s 10 Rising Stars 2.0. Throughout the competition, companies gain access to over 200 high profile investors and corporate leaders, pitch coaching and profile raising.
Kiran Bhagotra, Founder & CEO, ProtectBox, Ballyclare commented: “The Rising Stars Grand Final allowed me to make good connections on the day, particularly with a VC firm and Microsoft – I wouldn’t have been able to access that audience without the competition.”
Programme judges include, Domin Jaquesson, VP Talent, Index Ventures, Suranga Chadratillake, General Partner, Balderton Capital, Megumi Ikdea, GM and Managing Director, Hearst Ventures Europe, Jacqueline de Rojas, President, techUK, Denise Xifara, co-founder, GMG Ventures.
The launch of the growth programmes comes one week after it was announced that investment in AI has reached record levels, with Upscale and Future Fifty companies contributing significantly to those figures. Currently the UK counts at least five AI unicorns amongst the total number of private tech companies with a valuation of $1bn. These are Future Fifty company Darktrace ($1.7bn valuation) and Upscale alumni Improbable ($2bn), as well as Benevolent AI ($2.1bn), Graphcore ($1.7bn) and Blue Prism ($1.3bn). Graphcore, based in Bristol, raised one of the biggest AI funding rounds of 2018, with $200m from a consortium of investors.
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