2015 Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 announced
27 November 2015
An independent ranking of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies.
- WorldRemit tops list with average four-year revenue growth of 20,385 per cent;
- The Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 companies recorded an average four-year growth rate of 1,883 per cent in the year 2014/15;
- The Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 companies generated £820 million of combined revenue in 2014/2015 and employed 7,400 people;
- Lack of new talent in the sector is the biggest threat to growth in the next 12 months.
Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has today announced the winners of the 2015 Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50. The awards, now in their eighteenth year, recognise and rank the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the UK, based on the last four years of revenue growth. Supporting Deloitte’s initiative for the UK’s fastest-growing technology companies are the award sponsors Eight Roads, Silicon Valley Bank and Taylor Wessing.
Deloitte’s ranking of the 50 fastest growing UK technology companies generated £820 million in total annual revenues in the year 2014/15, employing more than 7,400 people and recorded an average four-year growth rate of 1,883 per cent.
This year’s winner: WorldRemit
WorldRemit has won this year’s Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 with an average four-year revenue growth rate of 20,385 per cent.
Drawing from his own experience of sending money back to Somaliland whilst studying in the UK, Ismail Ahmed founded WorldRemit in 2010 with Richard Igoe and Catherine Wines. Together, they created a transformational online service designed to make sending money as simple as sending an instant message.
Headquartered in London, WorldRemit offers transfers to more than 125 destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas through a wide network of correspondents, banks and telcos. The platform allows customers to instantly send money abroad to friends and family, using only a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Ismail Ahmed, founder and chief executive of WorldRemit, said: “I wanted to achieve two things: first of all, to offer a remittance service that wasn’t slow and inconvenient to use and didn’t require customers to go to a store and fill out forms. Secondly, I wanted to build a business that could efficiently comply with anti-money laundering regulations. WorldRemit achieves both those aims.”
WorldRemit’s potential has not gone unnoticed by investors, having received significant venture capital investment in recent years.
Deloitte has analysed information submitted by the 166 Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 entrants and surveyed 93 CEOs from these companies. Significantly, one-third (35 per cent) of respondents identified that a lack of new talent is the single biggest threat to the continued growth of the sector over the next 12 months, far more so than the economic climate, access to capital or increased competition from larger companies (all ten per cent).
David Cobb, lead partner for the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50, said: “Attracting the right talent can be a challenge for any business, but it is all the more difficult for Fast 50 winners. Highly aspirational business leaders fear that they will not be able to scale in line with their ambitions. Without quickly recruiting the right talent, these businesses may become victims of their own success.”
The CEO survey also revealed that many of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 entrants have growth ambitions beyond the UK. North America is seen as the biggest opportunity for international expansion over the next three years, according to two-thirds (66 per cent) of CEOs, followed by Western Europe (61 per cent). Over three-quarters (77 per cent) of respondents currently record revenue from outside of the UK, including 60 per cent from the USA (up from 51 per cent last year) and 55 per cent from the Euro area (down from 69 per cent in 2014).
Cobb added: “The majority of the Fast 50 entrants have already been successful on the international stage. With this in mind, and clear indications of further growth ambitions, it appears that the UK technology start-up scene is in rude health and full of confidence in its own potential in global markets.”
Funding and finance
According to the survey respondents, the most common source of funding in the last five years was cash generated by the business (78 per cent). Significantly, the percentage of CEOs who have employed tax savings or refunds over the past five years has almost tripled in the last year, rising to 43 per cent from 15 per cent in 2014.
Cobb said: “Greater awareness of tax savings and refund schemes such as Entrepreneurs’ Relief and the Research and Development Relief are likely to be the main drivers behind this substantial increase. It is reassuring to see that more and more businesses are taking advantage of government schemes designed to support the UK’s fledgling technology businesses.”
Despite having a spread of companies across all of the UK regions, London dominates the Deloitte UK technology Fast 50 winners, with eight of the top ten based in the capital and 25 winners overall. The remaining places in the top ten are occupied by the South West regional winner, Skyscape Cloud Services, and Scottish regional winner, FanDuel. Outside the top ten, the South East has seen the greatest regional year-on-year gains, increasing its representation in the top 50 to 18 per cent (up from ten per cent in 2014).
The Fast 50 winners include organisations from a range of sub-sectors within the technology sector. The majority of Fast 50 winners come from the software sector (56 per cent), followed by communications (26 per cent) and media (16 per cent) sectors. This trend is also evident in the top ten winners, with software not only providing the overall winner WorldRemit, but an additional five members of the top ten. Communications and media businesses each contribute two of the top ten.
Notes to editors
fieldwork was undertaken between 11th and 14th September 2015.
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.
Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.
The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.
Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50
The Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 is one of the UK’s foremost technology award programmes. Now in its eighteenth successful year, it is a ranking of the country’s 50 fastest-growing technology companies, based on revenue growth over the last four years. The UK Fast 50 awards are all about growth driven by leading intellectual property and are a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship. The UK Technology Fast 50 is part of an international programme run by Deloitte, qualifying entrants of the UK Fast 50 will be put forward to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) programme. Previous winners have come from across the UK, are both large and small, and included some of the most dynamic players in all areas of technology, from internet specialists to biotech, digital media technology to life sciences, computers to semiconductors and software to telecommunications.
For more information visit www.fast50.co.uk
Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 eligibility criteria
- The company must have been in business for a minimum of four years;
Developing or owning proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company's operating revenues
- The parent company must be UK-owned and have its headquarters in the UK
* Producing technology;
* Manufacturing technology-related products
* Be technology intensive, or use unique technology to solve problems
* Devoting a high percentage of effort to technology R&D
* NB: Using another company’s technology or intellectual property in a unique way does not qualify.
- The parent company must be UK-owned and have its headquarters in the UK;
* NB: Subsidiaries of UK or multinational organisations do not qualify.
- Operating revenue must be at least £44,000 (€50,000) for the first financial year of the four year period and £806,000 (€1,000,000) for the most recent financial year;
* NB: The accounts for year four should have an accounting period ending between 1 June 2014 and 31 May 2015.
- All submissions must be accompanied by signed accounts for the first and last financial year being measured in the competition. Unless a statutory exemption is being taken, these accounts must be unabbreviated and audited.