The hottest UK enterprise tech startups to watch in 2021

Our picks of the hottest UK-based enterprise technology startups to watch right now.

RSA 2020's hot new startups
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Enterprise technology is big business, and the startup sector is bustling with companies capitalising on the growth of demand for tools involving big data, devops, cloud, mobility, the internet of things and cybersecurity.

According to research firm Gartner, worldwide IT spending is predicted to grow by 6.2% in 2021, with global spend projected to total $3.9 trillion (£2.8 trillion). The unprecedented speed of digital transformation in 2020 to satisfy remote working, education and new social norms brought about by lockdowns has offset the pandemic’s negative effect on IT spending.

“CIOs have a balancing act to perform in 2021 — saving cash and expanding IT,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “With the economy returning to a level of certainty, companies are investing in IT in a manner consistent with their expectations for growth, not their current revenue levels. Digital business, led by projects with a short Time to Value, will get more money and board level attention going into 2021.”

The UK has historically been the home for some largely successful tech startups, most notably in the Fintech sector, and while 2020 was a particularly challenging year for UK companies, startups still managed to raise £663 million during lockdown. Although some of those were brokered before the pandemic, the data represents positive news for a sector that employees more than 650,000 workers in London alone.  

In this list, we pull together some of the hottest UK-based startups who are building software and services aimed directly at large enterprise customers.

Behavox

London-based Behavox is an AI-driven platform that enables users to aggregate, analyse, and act on an organisation’s data.

Founded in 2014 by Erkin Adylov, Alexander Glasman, Kiryl Trembovolski, Roman Zelov, and Slav Slavinski, Behavox provides behavioural enterprise risk and compliance management software that helps users “uncover risk and catch bad actors quickly and accurately.”

Funding: In February 2020, Behavox received a £72 million ($100 million) investment from Softbank Vision Fund 2, bringing the startup’s total funding to around £88.4 million ($121.4 million).

Cutover

Cutover is a work orchestration and observability platform startup. Founded in 2013, the company offers a platform designed to provide full organisational visibility into workflows, bringing them out of what the company describes as the “dark matter of the enterprise”.

Cutover’s solutions have been used for cloud migration, incident recovery, and system validation; the startup counts Barclays, Accenture, Tesco Bank, Cardano, Schroders, and Cambridge Management Consulting amongst its clients.

Funding: As of November 2020, Cutover had raised £14.3 million ($19.6 million). Last June, the company added Barclays as an investor into its £12.4 million ($17 million) Series A round.

Graphcore 

UK startup Graphcore develops processors specifically for AI solutions, which it calls intelligent processing units (IPUs). 

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Bristol, it produced the world's first graph tool chain, designed for machine intelligence called Poplar Software Stack. In 2017, the startup added the Colossus GC2 chip to its product library and in July 2020, Graphcore offered hardware using a second-generation processor called GC200. GC200 is a 59-billion transistor, 823-square millimetre integrated circuit with 1,472 computational cores and 900MB of local memory.

Funding: Graphcore raised a massive Series E funding round in December 2020 of £161.7 million ($222 million), led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board with participation from funds managed by Fidelity International and Schroders, along with existing investors Baillie Gifford and Draper Esprit. The firm has now raised in excess of £510 million ($700 million). 

Hopin

London-based virtual events startup Hopin had a better 2020 than most. Founded in June 2019, Hopin says its goal is to “reimagine virtual events from the ground up and make them so good that they become no longer a sideline option but a mainstream destination.” Investors and customers alike clearly believe Hopin has achieved its aim, with the company raising the fourth largest European Series B round of 2020.

The pandemic undoubtedly had a hand in Hopin’s success throughout 2020 and, as of November, the company claimed 3.5 million users at over 50,000 organisations, including the United Nations, NATO, the Atlantic, UCLA, and Miro. Hopin’s workforce has also experienced high levels of growth over the last 10 months; it started 2020 with a team of 23 people and ended the year with 215.

Funding: Hopin raised a £91 million ($125 million) Series B round and has been valued at £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion). In total, it has raised £124 million ($170 million) in total — making it one of the fastest-growing startups in Europe. Hopin counts Slack, Salesforce, and Northzone amongst its investors.

Snyk 

Combining some favourite buzzwords for investors — security and open source — Snyk has skyrocketed to a £728 million ($1 billion) valuation since it was founded in London in 2015. 

Created by software engineers Guy Podjarny, Danny Grander, and Assaf Hefetz, Snyk effectively helps developers automatically spot vulnerabilities in the open-source code they are running. 

Funding: Snyk raised a £146 million ($200 million) investment round in September 2020, led by investment firm Addition. That follows a January fundraise of £109 million ($150 million), putting total funding at £328 million ($450 million) and a private valuation of £1.9 billion ($2.6 billion). 

Tessian 

Formerly known as CheckRecipient, Tessian is a UK startup helping organisations avoid the risk involved with mis-sent emails. 

The platform analyses millions of data points across an organisation's email network to detect patterns of behaviour and surface mis-addressed emails. If the machine-learning algorithm spots an unusual email address or detects potentially sensitive information in the content, it will prompt the sender to double-check before sending. 

Organisations including Schroders, Man Group, Dentons, and more than 70 British law firms are using the platform to protect their email networks. 

Funding: Tessian raised £31.5 million ($42 million) in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia in February 2019, with involvement from previous investors Balderton Capital and Accel. The money is being earmarked for global expansion, particularly into the US. The company has now raised a total of £44 million ($60 million) to date. 

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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