Tech City UK Blog

The Future Fifty programme, which supports high-growth digital businesses as they scale, has analysed growth trends within its member companies and found unprecedented rates of international expansion.


Demonstrating the potential for digital business to scale in the UK, Future Fifty companies now have paying customers in 170 countries and a third of their combined employees are based outside the UK.


This international growth has been fuelled by a year of exceptional fundraising activity. In the first nine months of 2015 alone, Future Fifty businesses have raised £470m in funding, an increase of 63% on the amount raised in the whole of 2014.



The latest figures underline the vital importance of fast-growth digital businesses to the future of the national economy, and reflect the findings of the Tech Nation research powered by Tech City UK, which found that Britain’s technology sector employs 1.46 million people nationwide.


Future Fifty Growth Statistics:

  • £470m of funding raised in the first 9 months of 2015, 63% increase on all of 2014
  • As a collective, Future Fifty companies have raised a total of £1.1bn on London’s capital markets
  • Including alumni, Future Fifty companies now employ over 17,000 people, a figure which has increased by 30% in the last year
  • Four of the Future Fifty companies have been acquired since the programme began
  • Of the Future Fifty companies, 22 are lead by first-time founders

Today’s announcement coincides with the opening of applications for the next cohort of Future Fifty companies. Last year’s new cohort included TransferWise, RateSetter and World Remit.


To apply to become a member of the Future Fifty programme, digital businesses are encouraged to apply below.




Sarah Wood, founder, UNRULY, which has recently expanded into Japan, having opened offices in Australia this April and Singapore last year, comments, “The Future Fifty programme offers Unruly a unique platform to elevate our company brand and to be proudly counted amongst a curated list of some of the most exciting digital trailblazers in the UK. The concierge-style service means that there’s a dedicated team at Tech City UK who are able to give us practical help and advice in tackling the speed bumps and barriers we face on our growth journey – invaluable when you’re a lean scale-up and internal resources are stretched!”


Bernhard Niesner, founder, bussuu, comments, “To be considered amongst the most exciting digital businesses currently operating within the UK has provided Busuu with a badge of honour. Being part of such a prestigious cohort on the Future Fifty allows us to learn quickly from companies who are going through similar issues at a similar stage, and to network with a group of inspirational and visionary peers.”


Graham Cooke, CEO, Qubit, comments, “The Future Fifty programme has been invaluable to Qubit – as a resource for practical advice and support, but also as a network of some of the most exciting businesses in the UK. It’s a genuine privilege to be part of a movement of businesses who are powering incredible growth and innovation in the digital sector. This unique combination of supportive entrepreneurs, investors and government has allowed us to continue our fast-growth trajectory both at home and abroad.”



Rhydian Lewis, CEO, RateSetter, said: “Scaling a business presents founders with an entirely new set of challenges to those experienced in a company’s early days. Overcoming these barriers often requires a different mindset; an appreciation that what worked at a startup with 15 members of staff might not cut it when your team is in the hundreds. We’ve always valued being part of the Future Fifty programme, which provides a unique feed-back loop to the government in addition to tangible support. Being part of that community not only provides us with direct benefits, such as peer-learning, but ensures that our experiences help shape the wider scale-up ecosystem.”

Gerard Grech, CEO, Tech City UK, comments, “Successful fundraising and international expansion are two fundamental characteristics of all fast growing digital businesses. Unprecedented numbers of British companies are following this growth trajectory and consolidating the UK’s position as a country in which the most successful companies can flourish.”