Startups: 10 industry disruptors you need to know now

Startups are springing up across the nation, transforming industries, grabbing market share and challenging the status quo. It’s no wonder, then, that talent is flocking toward these innovative new companies. But who are the 10 most in-demand startups operating in the UK today?

To be eligible companies must be at most 10 years old, have at least 100 employees, remain independent and privately held and have at least one round of venture-backed funding. LinkedIn worked with CB Insights to pull a global list of nearly 25,000 eligible venture-backed companies, and we whittled it down to the top 10 that are making waves in the UK…

Finance of the future:


Challenger bank Monzo may be less than three years old, but it’s already taking on the capital’s major banking corporations with its own current accounts, debit cards and app that feature perks like fee-free spending abroad.

Global headcount: 175

Millennial money: Monzo has secured just shy of £35m ($46.5m) to date and has a firm following of millennials, who have been signing up in droves, eager to get their hands on one of the firm’s trademark neon orange payment cards.

Valuation: £87m ($116m), according to the company.

All those extras: 

Rewarding employees isn’t all about how much you pay. Perkbox capitalises on this movement, enabling employers to offer team members a whole host of perks, from mobile phone insurance and free coffee to special rates on cinema tickets and discounts on high street shopping.

Global headcount: 180

Perks of the job: Perkbox offers its employees a list of benefits as long as your arm, but one of the most popular is the beer trolley that’s wheeled around the office on a Friday afternoon. Staff members can also bring their dogs to work.

Valuation: £75.4m ($99.8m), according to the company

Creating communities: 

WeWork has nearly doubled its membership this year to over 150,000 users, expanded to some 170 locations (including its first India location) and purchased private coding academy Flatiron School in its first-ever acquisition. While the startup has been growing rapidly, a highly competitive office-leasing market recently raiseddoubts around the company’s rich valuation.

Global headcount: 3,000

Summer camp for grown-ups: Every year, employees get the chance to go to the WeWork Summer Camp — an all-inclusive weekend getaway open to both employees and members. This year’s festivities took place in the UK for the first time at Eridge Park, 75km south of London.

Valuation: £15.14bn ($20bn)

A whole new world:

Improbable’s cloud-based distributed computing allows companies to build massively detailed virtual and simulated worlds, blurring the line between real life and the imagined. While it’s proving popular among those developing computer games, the platform can be used for a whole host of other things, including to control fleets of driverless cars.

Global headcount: 220

A new unicorn: Improbable did the near impossible earlier this year, joining the exclusive UK tech “unicorn” club with a massive £378m ($502m) Series B raise.

Valuation: £760m ($1bn)

A taste of success: 

On-demand food delivery firm Deliveroo has been in and out of the headlines recently, lambasted for its employment practices one week and praised for raising massive funding rounds the next. People are hungry for what they offer; the company now operates in 84 cities around the globe.

Global headcount: 2,675

Keeping it real: The company’s founder Will Shu — an ex-investment banker — delivers one Deliveroo order a week so that he keeps in touch with what it’s like to be one of the firm’s “riders”.

Valuation: £1.51bn ($2bn)

Yurt, treehouse, castle: 

Airbnb is on track to pass 100 million guest arrivals this year, a 25 percent increase over 2016. Taking on the $550bn hotel industry is no small feat. To go head-to-head, the company has expanded its instant booking listings and even announced plans to open its first co-branded apartments (which residents will be able to share on Airbnb).

Global headcount: 6,500

Royal lodgings: Employees receive an annual $2,000 (£1,516) stipend to stay in Airbnb locales around the world, including one of more than 1,400 listed castles.

Valuation: £22.15bn ($29.25bn)

Driving forward: 

Uber has been in the public eye this year for all the wrong reasons: sexual harassment claims, regulatory issues, a new CEO and loads of boardroom drama. The trouble hit home in the UK where the ride-hailing firm had its licence to operate in London cancelled on the grounds of “public safety and security implications”. Uber is currently locked in an appeals battle over the ruling, but the company is still growing fast and attracting top talent, including from leading companies like Google, Facebook and JPMorgan.

Global headcount: 16,000

Catch a ride: Worldwide employees get free monthly Uber credits to use on personal rides or UberEATS, the company’s online meal ordering and delivery platform.

Valuation: £51.49bn ($68bn)

Financing business dreams: 

London-based Funding Circle provides business loans – it’s funded over 38,000 companies across the globe in the past seven years, to the tune of £3.8bn ($5bn). It raised £82m ($100m) in January — bringing the total raised to date to £250m ($201.6m) — which led Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to describe Funding Circle as “a real success story for British FinTech”.

Global headcount: 750

Fun times: The company’s office doesn’t have any square rooms — only circles. It has its own ‘Funderbar’ with in-house baristas and food served daily. New hires can look forward to having their photo taken with the giant office teddy bear, aka the ‘FunderBear’.

Valuation: £760m ($1bn)

Revolutionising healthcare: 

Babylon is taking the pain out of booking doctors’ appointments. Through its mobile app, users can speak with GPs and specialists via voice or video call. It also features an AI-powered chatbot, which acts as a triage service, helping users decide if their symptoms can be treated at home, require a GP — or demand a trip straight to A&E.

Global headcount: 260

Humble beginnings: Founder Ali Parsa came to the UK from Iran as a teenage refugee, but went on to work in banking before embarking on his mission to revolutionise healthcare. He greets every new employee at an informal lunch, so new hires can ask any burning questions they have about the business.

Valuation: £151.44m ($200m)

Virtual training: 

Reading about something isn’t quite the same as seeing it in action, which is why Touch Surgery created its training app for surgeons. It features over 100 simulations of surgical procedures, so healthcare professionals can check out interactive, realistic and detailed guides to every step of a procedure, test their knowledge and rehearse for surgery.

Global headcount: 135

Going stateside: The startup was co-founded by two surgeons, Jean Nehme and Andre Chow, and is headquartered in Clerkenwell, London, with a second office in New York.

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