The article below was originally published by Forbes on Friday 22 November 2019. It identifies Zenzic as one of five tech scaleups to watch in 2020.
Despite significant economic and political uncertainty, the U.K.’s high-growth technology businesses continue to prosper. By the end of this year, the sector is expected to have raised a record $11 billion in foreign investment and funding according to research from Tech Nation and Dealroom for the UK government’s Digital Economy Council. Here are just five of the most exciting UK technology companies set for big things in 2020.
Zenzic was launched in 2018 by government and industry to champion the UK connected and self-driving ecosystem and help to lead the UK in accelerating the self-driving revolution. Tasked with channelling £200m of investment, it works with partners across industry, government and academia, with the ultimate goal of ensuring a safer, more inclusive and productive mobile future.
More recently, Zenzic launched the UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030, which lays out what steps are required, and when, to ensure self-driving vehicles and services are available in the UK in the next decade.
WhiteHat is on a mission to build an outstanding alternative to university through high quality apprenticeships. Founded by Euan Blair and Sophie Adelman in 2016, it aims to match motivated young people with roles in aspirational careers such as software engineering, digital marketing and data science at more than 250 of the world’s best employers.
For employers, the lure is the opportunity to nurture and develop entry level employees as they seek to mould the next generation of talent. Diversity of talent is critical also to WhiteHat’s offering; so far, 65% of apprentices placed by the business have come from minority ethnic backgrounds. In July 2019, it secured $16 million in Series A funding from Index Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Salesforce Ventures.
Koru Kids, a platform that finds and manages childcare, was founded by Rachel Carrell, who decided to quit her job to create better after-school care options in London. Launched in 2016, it works by matching parents with flexible, part-time nannies. Following the matching process, Koru Kids takes care of all the administration involved, ranging from contracts to payment for work. It also selectively picks and trains up and trains applicants to become nannies and accepts less than 6% of all applicants.
Currently, nearly 1,000 of the company’s nannies provide care every day in London. More recently, Koru Kids raised $12 million in Series A investment to help the company scale further, with the investment led by Atomico.
With the first term of university in full swing, Perlego, based in London, offers an “unlimited reading” subscription service designed as a more affordable way to gain access to costly educational textbooks. It has a library of 300,000 eBooks from over 2,300 publishers and aims to make educational content more accessible, regardless of spending power. In November, it raised $9 million in Series A funding from Charlie Songhurst, Dedicated VC, and Thomas Leysen, with an eye specifically on expanding its non-English content library to launch into other European markets.
Established in 2015, Verv is a U.K. technology company that has created a smart energy hub using patented artificial intelligence (AI) tech to find insights into electricity usage. The hub is integrated with blockchain technology that enables users can to also sell excess solar energy to their neighbours. Very has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Earthworm and Centrica and in 2017 was selected to be a part of Launchpad, Google’s global startup programme. The additional investment will be used to aid international expansion and the development of its technology.