Tech Nation, the UK network for ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs, has added Glasgow’s M Squared Lasers to the Future Fifty cohort for 2019 which comprises of fast-growing, late-stage technology companies.
Future Fifty, established in 2013 to champion and support British tech businesses as they scale up their operations nationally and internationally – offering a window into the UK’s digital future. The programme supports these companies in creating jobs and opportunities across the UK, and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Each company chosen for the 2019 cohort will benefit from access to the world’s leading experts – a powerful peer network to support and inspire, troubleshoot and collaborate, a tailored programme of masterclasses to help take businesses to the next level, and direct contact to senior decision-makers in Government. Meanwhile, access to the best global talent is made easier by a dedicated Tech Nation visa team which provides expert assistance with Tier 1 visa applications.
Commenting on the news Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE, CEO and founder at M Squared Lasers said: “We are delighted to have been named as one of Tech Nation’s Future Fifty amongst a group of brilliant businesses that we stand alongside at the forefront of innovation. M Squared has carved out a niche as the UK’s leading developer of photonic and quantum technologies that enable new applications and industries – to address some of society’s greatest challenges. We are using the world’s purest light to help measure global atmospheric pollution and climate change gases, microscopically image degenerative brain diseases and realise the potential of quantum computing. Collaboration has always been at the heart of science and part of M Squared’s DNA, and we look forward to working with a new network of tech companies for the betterment of society.”
In just seven years, Future Fifty has already built an incredible network of more than 100 alumni businesses – including Deliveroo, Farfetch, Skyscanner, Made.com, Shazam, Just Eat and dozens of other household names.
Companies chosen to join the latest Future Fifty cohort must have gained considerable traction within their chosen markets and shown the potential to become global technology leaders of tomorrow.
Today’s announcement comes as the UK records another bumper year for VC investment – attracting $7.9bn in funding in 2018 – and closes the gap on the US for exits of venture-backed companies, according to the latest data from Tech Nation/Dealroom. UK sales, IPOs and mergers were worth $40bn, putting it ahead of every other European country.
The rate of successful exits of venture capital-backed companies is one measure used by investors and commentators to calculate the success of a tech sector. The UK continues to be the most attractive destination in Europe for VC, attracting 1.8 times more investment in 2018 than France, and 1.6 times more than Germany. Over the last five years, it has been the biggest source of successful company exits in Europe, with sales and IPOs worth $119bn.
The Future Fifty 7.0 businesses reflects key trends in UK technology sectors. Fintech – currently attracting very high levels of investment – is an especially strong presence, with 10 out of 24 on the list offering technology-driven financial services. Other sectors represented include: Hardware & Internet of Things, Cyber Security, Software as a Service, Digital Media, Marketing & Adtech, Data Analytics, Ecommerce, and Healthcare. Around 60% of the ventures target B2B sales.
Significantly, the cohort reveals geographical diversity. Five of the new businesses are headquartered in regional cities: Cambridge, Bristol, Glasgow, Nottingham, and Watford. The programme extends over 24 months, and the companies coming on board in 2019 will be joining 26 businesses from the previous (2018) cohort.
Since its launch in 2013, 127 businesses have taken part in the Future Fifty programme and the list of alumni includes some of the highest profile names in the technology sector, such as Skyscanner, Deliveroo, Funding Circle, Transferwise, and Just Eat.
The programme has an enviable track record of helping young and new entrepreneurs fulfil their ambitions. In this years cohort 72% of founders taking part have been first-time entrepreneurs.
Future Fifty alumni have been strikingly successful at raising funds. Figures compiled by Tech Nation indicate that companies participating in the programme between 2013 and 2018 have raised a combined $8bn via VC funding and capital markets. The sums raised each year have grown steadily over the lifetime of the programme, from $199m in 2013 to $2.5bn last year. In addition to a total of 29 M&A/trade sale deals, nine of the Future Fifty alumni have successfully taken their companies to market via IPOs (Initial Public Offerings).