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Roundup: UK Billion Dollar Tech Startups

With VC investment within the technology sector in Britain at an all time record high, we thought it would be a good time to look at the actual stars from UK Billion Dollar Club (or everyone’s favourite term for it “The Unicorn Club”) for ourselves. These companies in the UK boast a cumulative value of over $40.4 billion collectively and dominate the European landscape. 



According to CB Insights and KPMG more than $2.2bn was raised in the first 6 months of 2015, so it’s not surprising that the UK is becoming a hive of activity for nurturing such successes. It’s clear that the sector is growing in the UK, according to research from Oxford Economics the digital tech sector in London is forecast to boost the capital’s economy by £18bn in 2015.

A report published this summer by GP Bulldog titled European Unicorns – Do they have legs? Revealed some insights into the billion dollar companies that dominate the European landscape coupled with GP Bulldogs predictions for the next contenders to join the club. We pulled out a slide that provides a picture of the current European landscape.

GP Bulldog

Here’s a closer look at the UK’s Billion Dollar Club:

Founded: 2000 by John Roberts

  • is a retail site that specialises in providing a same day delivery service on all its goods (household appliances).
  • In 2014, announced its revenue figures of over £384 million, and its valuation of $1 billion on the London Stock Exchange.


Founded: 2000 by Nick Robertson and Quentin Griffiths

  • ASOS is an online fashion retailer/platform, selling other brands and their own
  • The platform is featured on the London Stock Exchange at over $1 billion


Founded: 2011 by Ambarish Mitra, Omar Tayeb and Steve Spencer

  • Blippar is an image-recognition platform and visual browser, which essentially enables its users to take a picture of anything, and then receive a vast collection of search results related to the photo
  • This recently received a £1.5 million investment from Barclays along with Qualcomm Ventures and Lansdowne Partners’ equity investment of $45 million this year


Founded: 2009 as a rebranding exercise of Hubdub (a web prediction market)

  • Based in Edinburgh and New York-based
  • FanDuel is a fantasy sports league website that produces 600,000 entries every week on their site mostly from their audience
  • In July of this year it received a $1 billion valuation after raising $275 million from Google Capital, Time Warner and KKR


Founded: 2008 by the Portuguese entrepreneur José Neves

  • Farfetch is a luxury fashion retailer
  • Enables its users to purchase from over 300 independent luxury boutique stores that are located all over the world.
  • In March 2015, having received an investment of $86 million in an investment round featuring DST Global, Conde Nast and Vitruvian Partners they broke into billion dollar club
  • Farfetch’s has had a total funding amount of $195 million

Funding Circle

Founded: 2010 by Samir Desai, James Meekings and Andrew Mullinger

  • Funding Circle was one of the first alternative lending platforms in the UK and enables individuals to lend to small businesses
  • The company has raised an incredible $273 million in equity funding from a number of investors, including Ribbit Capital, Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners and Index Ventures, and has since been valued at over $1 billion


Founded: 2001 by Jesper Buch, in Denmark then launched in the UK

  • JUST EAT is popular takeaway order and delivery company and has now become a UK market leader in the online food ordering industry
  • The company has a database of over 36,000 restaurants and manages nearly six million users across thirteen countries
  • In 2014, the company was valued at over $2.44 billion on the London Stock Exchange


Founded: 2003 by Lance Uggla founded Markit

  • Markits original aim was to offer a range of financial services to banks and other finance institutions, i.e. providing currency, loan and derivatives data
  • The company has expanded successfully; acquiring a number of financial services along the way, such as DealHub (a foreign exchange trading service)
  • When valued at the NASDAQ Global Select Market, Markit reached over $1.5 billion


Founded: 2001 by Isai Scheinberg and Mark Scheinberg

  • PokerStars is said to be the ‘largest online poker cardroom in the world’
  • The site boasts celebrity players such as the tennis stars Boris Becker and Rafael Nadal, and also has over 25,000 players each day
  • In 2014 PokerStart was acquired by the Amaya Gaming Group (its rival) for $4.9 billion

Powa Technologies

Founded: 2007 by the serial entrepreneur Dan Wagner

  • Powa Technologies is an international e-commerce specialist which provides solutions for mobile device payments, as well as online retail
  • The company received a lot of publicity in 2014, where it was claimed that it had achieved the largest Series A investment ever received by a UK startup, a sum of $96.7 million
  • 2014 it saw a valuation of $2.7 billion.


Founded: 2000 as a joint venture between four of UK’s largest property agents Halifax, Countrywide plc, Royal & Sun Alliance, & Connells

  • The aim of giving home hunters in the UK a one stop shop to find rental properties or properties for sale
  • The property portal claims to be the UK’s largest online real estate portal and was first listed on the London Stock Exchange for £425 million in 2006
  • However, the company is now firmly within the unicorn club with a valuation of over $4.1 billion


Funded: 2001 by Gareth Williams, Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes

  • Skyscanner is a global search engine that enables its users to search for the best deal regarding flights, hotels and the hiring of vehicles
  • The company became Scotland’s first $1 billion internet company following Scottish Equity Partners and Sequoia’s (a US investor) investment in 2014


Founded: 2002 by Chris Barton, Philip Inghelbrecht, Dhiraj Mukherjee and Avery Wang

  • The service was know as “2580” initially, this was the shortcode people dialled on their mobile phone to get music recognised
  • The app has been downloaded over 500 million times, and has achieved over 100 million monthly users
  • Shazam recently entered the unicorn club after receiving a $30 million investment from DN Capital at the start of 2015


Founded: 2001 by Daniel Klein and Benjamin Kullerman

  • Skrill, based in London aims to provide its users with the ability to send and receive money across the globe
  • The service is available in 200 countries and in 40 currencies
  • With over 36 million users, it comes as no surprise that Skrill has joined the unicorn club, something that was actually determined by the reverse takeover by Optimal Payments a month or so ago for $1.1 billion


Founded: 2011 by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann

  • TransferWise aim is to help reduce the cost of international money transfers
  • The company does this by eliminating all the hidden fees that are so common with the more traditional services offered on the high street
  • The company has seen some high profile investments, such as from Seedcamp, Sir Richard Branson and IA Ventures
  • TransferWise entered into the unicorn club in January of this year following a Series C investment of $58 million by Andreessen Horowitz


Founded: 2007 by Errol Damelin

  • Wonga is a money lending company that since its launch has since become the top payday lender in the UK
  • However after controversies and some negative press, the company did a complete U-turn on its advertising and marketing strategies
  • Wonga has been valued at over $1.4 billion

Zoopla Property Group

Founded: 2008 by Simon Kain and Alex Chesterman (LOVEFiLM co-founder)

  • Zoopla is a similar property platform to RightMove however it offers its millions of users in-depth residential property information and free instant value estimates on UK homes
  • The growth of the property group has allowed it to acquire all, bar one (Rightmove), of its direct competitors
  • In 2014 the company achieve revenues exceeding £64 million and saw over 40 million visits a month
  • Zoopla received a valuation on the London Stock Exchange of over $1.56 billion in 2014


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