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Tech Nation announces fourth cohort for Upscale programme

Startups will receive six months of coaching and take part in workshops, mentoring sessions and networking opportunities with the programme’s alumni

Tech Nation has selected 30 fast-growth startups to take part in the fourth instalment of its Upscale programme, which aims to help entrepreneurs and founders navigate the challenges of running small, rapidly growing businesses.

According to Tech Nation, a UK-specific network for digital entrepreneurs, Upscale 4.0 received a record number of applications, with the 30 startups chosen from more than 100 applicants.

These companies are now on track to receive six months of coaching that will help them tackle their biggest concerns, which range from hiring and retaining talent to maintaining their business culture while scaling and expanding into new markets. They will take part in a series of workshops, mentoring sessions and networking opportunities with the programme’s alumni.

“As we enter our fourth year, Upscale has built an incredible network of over 100 alumni, who have a wealth of experience to share with the cohort,” said Sinead Daly, mid-stage programme lead at Tech Nation.

“Our off-site launch event will bring our founders together for the first time and enable us to embed those tight-knit connections upfront, think about what scaling really means and explore how leaders can thrive while managing such rapid growth.”

This year’s cohort, chosen by a panel of independent judges based on wide-ranging criteria that take into account factors such as traction and value proposition, has also been drawn from a broad range of technology sub-sectors.

E-commerce and marketplace startups constitute one-fifth of the cohort, with fintech firms making up another fifth.

A further 13% of the startups are developing software-as-a-service (SaaS) products, while 7% are focused on data, analytics and cyber security. Subjects others are working on include the internet of things (IoT), enterprise software and cloud computing.

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With most of the startups already having completed a Series A round, the cohort has raised a total of £188m in funding, have an average of 40 employees and revenues of more than £1.5m a year.

Eight of the companies have female founders, and 10 of them have been drawn from outside London.

Margot James, minister for creative and digital industries, said: “The UK is Europe’s undisputed tech hub and much of our success is down to the ambition of fast-growth companies like these.

“We are determined to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business, and through our digital and industrial strategies, we want to see the power of technology change people’s lives for the better.”

Tech Nation is funded partly by the government and partly from commercial income from events, publications, commissioned research and sponsorship.

Meet some of the startups

Fluidly: This small fintech aims to help small businesses with one of their biggest pain points – cashflow management. Using transaction data from a client’s accounting system in tandem with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Fluidly allows companies to automate cashflow forecasting to predict their financial future.

Healthera: Already listed on the NHS Digital apps library, Healthera allows patients to order and track their prescriptions, access clinical services and monitor their medication intake. Through the app, patients are also connected to a network of hundreds of pharmacies and NHS GPs.

Immersive Labs: Focused on assessing and upskilling cyber workforces, this SaaS platform uses browser-based “labs” and real-life security scenarios to provide a virtual learning environment that allows organisations to upskill from within.

Previse: Another fintech, Previse uses AI technology to analyse company data in an effort to ensure suppliers are paid instantly upon invoice. The automated process essentially predicts which invoices are unlikely to be paid, so that any outstanding amount can be paid instantly.

Tessian: Helping organisations to secure their sensitive data, Tessian uses machine intelligence to understand email communication patterns in order to automatically identify security threats such as data loss and non-compliance to regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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