Despite the global economic slowdown due to fears of coronavirus pandemic, the UK continues to reign as the top tech hub in Europe – and UK SaaS companies are contributing significantly to the thriving hive of innovation and activity that continues to attract investment from far and wide.
Thousands of tech startups and SaaS companies have set up shop in the UK over the past decade. London attracts the lion’s share of investment. The capital plays home to more than double the number of tech startups (2,747) that have received funding since 2015, compared with Paris (1,183) and Berlin (930), according to recently released data from Atomico.
Three other UK cities – Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford – were also in the top 20 European tech hubs in terms of funding received, the highest number of any country.
In 2019 alone, investors have ploughed a record £9 billion into British tech startups – a 48% year-on-year increase, and double the cash flowing into the UK’s tech scene at the time of the 2016 Brexit referendum, when the total hit just over £4 billion.
The UK has also now created more unicorns – privately-owned tech companies valued at more than $1 billion – than any other country in the world besides the US and China.
According to industry group Tech Nation, 13 new unicorns have been created in the past year, bringing the total number up to 72 – meaning that a third of Europe’s fastest-growing tech companies are now based in Britain.
(Image source: technation.io)
Eileen Burbidge, Chair of Tech Nation and Partner at Passion Capital, comments:
“There’s never been a better time to be working in the UK digital tech sector. We are really punching above our weight, as demonstrated by the fact that a third of Europe’s unicorns have been produced here and 30 percent of future unicorns are also based in the UK.
I am delighted to see that in addition to tech overall, in quite a few sub-sectors such as FinTech we are already global leaders with more fast-growing unicorns than cities like New York, Shanghai and Beijing.
I’m confident that we will be producing many more world-class FinTech companies, uniting our country’s expertise in financial services and deep tech, along with world-leading digital tech companies across all categories.”
Beneath the umbrella term of “tech companies” – which Tech Nation defines as those that provide a digital technical service, product, platform or hardware as their primary source of revenue – falls SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies, which develop and host software applications and make them available to users over the internet, usually for a fee.
The UK SaaS industry is booming in its own right, with large established players and up-and-coming startups alike all breaking new ground, disrupting industries and designing digital tools for both the consumer and business markets.
But who are they, and what solutions are they providing? We’ve put together a list of 30 UK SaaS companies to keep your eye on in 2020.
Click an image to go straight to your favourite SaaS company in the UK:
FinTech and InsurTech
Let’s begin with a unicorn.
TransferWise is an online money transfer service, allowing users to send and receive money safely from abroad up to eight times more cheaply than with a bank. The system bypasses pricey international payments entirely by using two local transfers instead of one international transaction.
So, if you want to convert your pounds to euros, you simply send the money in pounds to TransferWise’s UK-based account, and the equivalent amount is then sent from TransferWise’s euro account to the recipient. Simple.
And it’s not just for consumers – TransferWise for Business offers a range of features, including seamless integration with Xero, the ability to pay invoices, buy inventory and handle payroll with the real rate in over 40 currencies, and receive money with zero fees.
So, no matter whether you’re paying invoices abroad, receiving money from international clients, or paying staff overseas, the TransferWise for Business solution helps you do it quickly, conveniently and cheaply. Now valued at $3.5 billion, this is definitely a company to keep your eye on in 2020 and beyond.
Every year, thousands of UK businesses experience problems with late payments and waste hours upon hours of admin time managing and chasing them.
GoCardless is an online payment service that allows businesses to automatically collect invoice payments on due dates, so they never have to chase another late payment again.
Easy to set up and integrate with your existing software, your customers need only to arrange a direct debit mandate once, and then you simply collect your payments from their bank accounts on agreed payment dates.
Sequel is a leading insurance and reinsurance software provider, delivering powerful, reliable solutions to underwriters, brokers and managing general agents (MGAs) in the sector.
The company’s MGA product, Sequel MGA, for instance, allows MGAs to manage their end-to-end processes – from product distribution and document production, to policy administration, accounting and reporting – using a simple, intuitive and user-friendly interface.
Other products include Sequel Broker, Sequel Underwriting, and Sequel Claims. Sequel’s solutions are supported by powerful predictive analytics to help users in rating, underwriting, claims, catastrophe and weather risk, global risk and many other fields.
Sequel’s proven insurance software and responsive services are driving growth and success at some of the world’s leading insurance organisations – definitely one to keep watching in 2020.
- LinkedIn: Sequel
Triptease is a UK SaaS company that helps hotels increase direct sales, rather than letting the swathes of online travel agencies (OTAs) and hotel booking aggregators cream off the top of their profits by means of affiliate revenue.
The Triptease platform identifies a hotel’s most valuable guests, and then gets to work across the entire customer journey to encourage more of them to book directly at the hotel.
Triptease offers a number of tools to help hotels succeed in this manner, including targeted messaging, AI chatbots, retargeting tools, and parity monitoring to keep track of OTA undercutting.
A new player on the TravelTech scene is Duffel.
Providing a platform to transform travel booking systems while making the experience simpler and faster for customers, Duffel enables online travel agencies (OTAs) to plug directly into airlines’ reservations systems through an API so they can find real-time flight offers, make bookings, access live seat availability and buy extra services such as in-flight meals or luggage allocations.
This means that Duffel’s target market – digital and mobile app-based travel agencies – can bypass the long lead times and high costs associated with legacy booking systems.
Founded in 2017 and based in London, travel agencies can request early access to the platform now and get access to reservation systems at some of the world’s biggest airlines – including British Airways, American Airlines, and Lufthansa Group – quickly and seamlessly.
By giving OTAs an easy way to connect instantly with airlines, Duffel is hoping to give one of the biggest shakeups to the travel industry since the launch of budget air travel.
After receiving another $30 million in Series B funding in October 2019 – bringing the total up to $56 million – and with plans to expand in North America and Europe next year, 2020 seems set to be an exciting year of growth for this UK startup.
It’s no secret that today, billions of consumers around the world are shopping for clothes online. But a big problem persists for consumers – finding clothes with the perfect fit.
MeTail was founded more than a decade ago with the aim of putting an end to this dilemma. By entering their basic measurements, customers can create an online clothing dummy that accurately reflects their own size and shape. They can then dress their dummy in potential purchases to get a better idea of fit and style before placing an order.
It’s a win-win for both customers and retailers – buyers end up with more clothes they actually want to wear, while sellers have fewer returns to cope with.
Hundreds of thousands of customers have already created “MeModels” with MeTail, meaning the company is now sitting on a treasure trove of customer data that can potentially be monetised in various ways – from product recommendations and styling services, to helping brands maximise inventory and supply chain efficiency.
The 2020s could indeed be a stellar decade for MeTail.
As the business world goes digital, cybercrime is on the rise, and identity fraud concerns are growing among consumers and businesses alike. But verifying the identity of your customers remotely when they are accessing your digital products and/or services is a challenge.
Usernames, passwords, PINs, knowledge-based authentication – these outdated authentication methods all expose your business to fraud, frustrate customer journeys and obstruct onboarding processes.
Onfido is a UK SaaS company on a mission to help businesses improve their identity verification procedures with biometrics. The SaaS on offer consists of document verification and facial biometrics technology that can be easily integrated into your existing tech stack.
Instead of remembering passwords and PINs – and worrying about having them hacked – your customers need only take a selfie using their smartphone to initiate the verification process.
Onfido’s technology then instantly compares the customer’s facial biometrics to the photo they provide on their official ID document (passport, driving licence, etc.) to identify a positive match. Simple, safe, and frictionless.
One for the MarTech stack, Driftrock aims to improve the advertisements your prospects and customers see on the platforms they value the most – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google.
It does this by combining the rich, authentic data held by social channels with actual customer data held by brands themselves. In this way, you can stop chasing individual customers around the web with adverts for things they’ve already bought.
With a long list of tools that each solve a particular problem, Driftrock helps you find the right customers on the right channels at the right time, allowing for seamless communications over the entire customer journey.
Video is one of the most impactful advertising formats available to brands and marketers today. Ensuring your videos are seen by the right prospects at the right time on the right device, however, can be a challenge.
Enter LoopMe – a UK startup that helps brands to tailor mobile video adverts to individual viewers using artificial intelligence and award-winning advertising and optimisation tools.
The LoopMe video software solution is designed to insert video adverts into mobile websites and apps based on when a consumer is most likely to be interested or wants to buy something. A top solution for mobile marketers.
Video is also crucial to event promotion. No matter if it’s a corporate conference, a fundraiser or a fun run, you need footage recapping the event for promotional purposes.
Hiring a dedicated film crew, however, can be prohibitively pricey for many event organisers, and it’s hard for a crew to be everywhere at once – especially at big events.
Enter Seenit, a UK startup that lets you turn your event’s attendees into your film crew.
As the event organiser, you invite a select group of attendees to download the Seenit app and present them with a list of shots you want for your video. Users then upload their footage to the Seenit studio, from where you can edit all content collected directly, and create a slick and authentic promotional video. Brilliant.
The brainchild of four ex-Googlers, Qubit has been growing at a tremendous pace since its founding in 2010, and seems only set to increase its customer base – and its capabilities – as we move into the 2020s.
A SaaS personalisation company, Qubit’s software is designed to help e-commerce teams create targeted, relevant and highly-personalized customer experiences for every single visitor that arrives at your website.
From product recommendations to content personalization, omnichannel, product badging, and more, Qubit’s solutions use advanced data analytics and machine learning technologies to collect, store and process the data that underpins successful, revenue-driving personalisation.
The digital signage industry is primarily filled with players selling proprietary hardware. ScreenCloud believes this is an outdated model.
Consumer hardware is now of commercial grade, and, as such, what’s more important to businesses is the quality of the content on display, rather than the big black boxes that display it. ScreenCloud’s digital signage software makes it easier than ever for businesses to put meaningful content on any screen, in any location.
Whether it’s for sharing presentations or data in the office, educating students in the classroom, or engaging customers at retail outlets, ScreenCloud helps organisations communicate better and share valuable content with their audiences.
With playlist and scheduling features and 80+ free apps, the ScreenCloud cloud-based content management system lets you control digital signage content on one screen or a thousand from anywhere in the world.
Influencer marketing is still an emerging discipline – though an extremely powerful one when utilised correctly.
Put simply, it is a type of social media marketing where brands utilise endorsements and product mentions from influencers – i.e. individuals who have a large and dedicated social following and are considered experts within their niche – in order to expand their reach and provide social proof of the quality and/or value of the products or services they’re selling.
Onalytica provides software that enables brands to connect with top influencer communities and run successful influencer marketing programmes easily from one platform.
The software helps you identify your relevant social media influencers from a global database of more than 700,000 names. Then, through the Onalytica community, you can use the platform to connect with your key influencer targets, develop programmes with them, and measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaigns.
As influencer marketing continues to gain traction as an important marketing tactic in the social media age, Onalytica will likely be a go-to tool for a growing number of companies in 2020 and beyond.
What do your top salespeople do and say during a sales conversation that ensures their success?
This is golden information – if you can uncover the phrases they use, the tone they take, and identify their areas of excellence, you can soon turn every member of your sales team into a top performer and start increasing sales and revenue.
Refract’s AI web-based sales coaching platform empowers sales managers to identify exactly what it is that leads to sales success. Using powerful AI to shine a light on decisive moments during sales calls, it turns real-life sales conversations into individualised teachable insights that can be used to improve every member of the sales team, boosting their performance.
B2B sales data is notoriously fragmented and disorganised, causing many precious leads to go dry and ultimately leading to revenue loss. Cognism, a London-based startup which uses artificial intelligence to generate sales leads, is on a mission to fix this problem through its patented AI engine.
Cognism is a sales acceleration platform designed specifically for B2B sales. It provides sales teams with rich, real-time data about companies, people and events in order to streamline prospecting and assist users in finding and engaging with their next best business opportunities.
With its unique data asset and compliance engine, Cognism helps B2B organisations enrich CRM records, stream qualified leads into the sales funnel, surface opportunities and identify customer trends using powerful machine learning technology.
Millions in new funding poured into Cognism during 2019, meaning developments are almost certainly in the post for 2020.
16. Lead Forensics
Another player in B2B lead generation software is Lead Forensics. Headquartered in London, Lead Forensics reveals the identity of your anonymous website visitors in real-time, and helps you turn them into actionable, sales-ready leads.
The software allows you to see full contact information – including business names, email addresses, telephone numbers, and names of key decision makers – of every visitor to your site, even if they haven’t contacted you or made an enquiry.
You can also view each visitor’s search behaviour and page engagements so you can lead score, auto-assign leads to your sales team, and flag-up ideal customers as soon as they arrive at your website.
Mobile app developers naturally want their application to be as widely available as possible. But managing apps across multiple app stores is time-consuming, leaving developers torn between selling and improving their product. appScatter offers an elegant solution to this dilemma.
A scalable B2B SaaS platform, appScatter allows users to publish, monitor and manage their apps across 50 app stores automatically. The software’s compatibility engine determines all stores your app can appear on, as determined by the application’s individual specifications. It then automates registration and submission to each store.
Once published, updates can be seamlessly managed by a one-time code deploy that automatically synchronises across all stores simultaneously. In addition, performance monitoring features then allow you to keep tabs on a range of metrics so you can understand which app stores are performing best for you. Brilliant.
In the online world, many customer journeys have become entirely digital – but they often lack the human touch. This can be a huge problem in industries like banking, where although customers want to be able to complete their tasks remotely, there comes a point when they need to talk to someone face-to-face to ensure they’re making the right choices with their finances.
Enter Vizolution, a UK SaaS company that helps enterprises replicate the qualities of face-to-face interactions in their remote channels via instant, easy screensharing.
Vizolution’s suite of solutions allow customers and agents interacting online or over the phone to share, display, exchange, complete, verify and sign documents as if they were in the same room.
A recent winner at the Wales Technology Awards 2019, and with funding from some of the world’s biggest banks, Vizolution is most certainly one to watch in 2020.
19. Limitless Technology
Disrupting the customer service industry with a truly innovative SaaS that allows organisations to turn their most loyal customers into freelance customer experts and reward them for providing on-demand support is Limitless Technology.
The company’s on-demand cloud platform and app empower companies to scale support quickly, improve customer service and reduce costs by transforming passionate customers – who believe in their products and know them best – into trusted brand ambassadors.
Since launching in 2018, the platform now consists of four solutions to help businesses utilise their most important assets (loyal customers) to meet their customer experience and insight needs – CrowdService, CrowdCoach, CrowdFeedback, and CrowdService.
The Limitless platform connects to a company’s CRM and utilises AI technology to route customer enquiries to the most appropriate brand ambassador. Ambassadors can then engage with customers however they want and receive rewards for their efforts via the Limitless app.
Headquartered in London, Perkbox is one of Europe’s fastest-growing employee experience platforms, now undergoing a global expansion following 2019’s announcement of plans to open new offices in Sydney, Australia.
Perkbox partners with high-street brands – retailers, gyms, cinemas, healthcare providers, etc. – which SMEs can offer to employees as benefits, or perks. Various tools are included in the Perkbox offering, including a feature that allows managers to reward employees with top-tier, premium offers for stellar work. Other features include a staff survey tool, so employers can take the pulse of the workforce at any time.
As the company continues to expand, it will be exciting to see how Perkbox finds new ways to help businesses improve their culture and motivate their teams (without breaking the bank!) in 2020.
Employees often have the best ideas for how to improve things – yet no way of getting themselves heard. Line managers aren’t interested, and as for getting potentially game-changing proposals in front of the real decision makers in senior management – forget it.
It’s a real shame – not only because so many great ideas for improvement never get to see the light of day, but also because employees can start to feel disrespected and disengaged when rigid corporate cultures close themselves off to up-chain suggestions.
What’s different with Sideways 6 compared to other solutions on the market, however, is that it connects to the communication platforms that companies already use, such as Slack, Workplace by Facebook, and Yammer. This means that employees can share and discuss ideas using software they are already familiar with, with no new app downloads, training or tutorials.
The Sideways 6 system comes with all the features an organisation needs to find and track the best ideas and analyse trends in data. Managers and decision makers can easily review, assess and prioritise suggestions, deliver news of any trials or progress back to the worker, ensuring that they feel recognised and valued at the company.
Data Analytics and Visualisation
22. Kluster Intelligence
But, like gold, data isn’t valuable in its raw state. Just as gold must be minted into coins or fashioned into jewellery before you at last have a saleable product, so too must data be processed – in this case manipulated and analysed – before its true business value can be extracted.
Kluster intelligence knows that it is in big insights rather than in big data itself where the real value of this new business commodity is found – and the company’s predictive analytics SaaS platform is designed to help your salespeople uncover it.
Kluster’s mission is to help revenue leaders optimise their sales machines and generate the most accurate forecasts so they can make growth-defining decisions. It does so by harnessing advanced machine learning algorithms and statistical modelling to turn CRM big data into actionable insights specifically geared towards commercial gain.
With smarter forecasting, smarter reporting and smarter metrics at your fingertips, Kluster’s software gives you live and reliable action points that drive revenue. As the new data rush gathers pace, 2020 will undoubtedly be an exciting year for this fast-growing UK SaaS company.
23. Black Swan Data
One of the UK’s fastest-growing tech startups, Black Swan Data helps businesses transform the way they create value from data using the combined powers of technology, data science and prediction.
By analysing information on the internet – open data, social data, government data, weather data, etc., – and overlaying it with a company’s own data, Black Swan Data says it is able to predict consumer behaviour and trends more accurately and further ahead than anyone else.
In 2018, the company launched Trendscope – a powerful prediction tool that scientifically identifies and contextualizes every trend relevant to your business, enabling you to make better decisions about everything from product to sales to marketing.
No one can deny Google Analytics’ market dominance when it comes to tools for analysing web traffic. However, long gone are the days when it was the only such tool worth mentioning – and GoSquared has certainly got marketers and webmasters everywhere talking.
Its key strengths lie in the beauty of its dashboards and ease of use. The Now Dashboard gives you a real-time overview of what’s happening right now on your website, with the data arranged in a manner that is clear, simple, and up-to-the-minute.
With support for an unlimited number of team members and all the data you could possibly need (post-performance, engagement time, bounce rate, traffic spike alerts, downtime alerts, and much more), GoSquared is a powerful tool for any business that wants an in-depth analysis of website performance. But it doesn’t stop at analytics.
In fact, the GoSquared platform consists of a tightly integrated suite of products, including Live Chat, a Customer Data Hub (which seamlessly integrates with other services such as MailChimp, Zendesk and Slack), and marketing automation features to help you engage leads and customers with tailored messaging.
It’s not just web traffic data that today’s organisations need to keep track of. It’s all of it – from customer support data to sales, marketing and HR data, and much more besides. But data – especially text-based data – is hard to decipher, and not everyone is a data scientist. Data visualisation software is the answer.
Geckoboard’s TV dashboards turn otherwise inscrutable business data into easy-to-interpret charts, graphs, maps, and other visualisations that the whole team can make sense of.
No matter what tools you use or where your datasets reside – in spreadsheets, SQL databases, social media tools, marketing tools, Google Analytics, etc., etc., etc. – Geckoboard pulls in all the metrics that matter most to your business, brings them together, and displays them on a TV that can be hung up on the office wall for everyone to see, discuss, and act upon.
All business owners know the importance of performing due diligence before conducting business with other companies.
DueDil is a UK SaaS company that makes this process a whole lot easier, presenting organisations with a powerful online tool that helps them discover and understand data on any business and its stakeholders, and evaluate risks.
From identifying ideal prospects, to verifying viable customers, to monitoring suppliers and other companies you work with, DueDil helps you make sense of the data that matters, such as company financials, historical records, and corporate ownership.
In short, DueDil makes information on private companies as complete and accessible as it is on public companies.
Customer experience (CX) is becoming the new strategic differentiator and driver of business growth. Research suggests that by 2020, CX will even overtake price and product as the main reason why consumers choose one company over another. Organisations today need to be doing everything in their power to keep their customers happy and satisfied.
London-based startup Chattermill uses neural networks to analyse customer feedback data and provide companies with deep insights into the customer experiences they are providing. Chattermill’s software uses machine learning to learn what your customers are talking about and how they feel about their experiences.
With ongoing support and funding from a growing list of investors, Chattermill is helping some of the world’s most recognisable brands understand their users at scale and become more customer centric than ever before.
A world-leading provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, Sage works with millions of businesses around the globe, though remains headquartered in Newcastle Upon Tyne where it all began.
The key software solutions this huge UK SaaS company offers can be roughly divided into three areas: accounting, payroll, and human resource management and payments. With a whole host of solutions on offer, Sage helps organisations manage their business processes with the most up-to-date programmes.
Whether it’s making sure you’re keeping up with HMRC guidelines and legislation, traversing HR admin challenges, or streamlining payments with contractors and suppliers, Sage’s software solutions are adaptable, flexible, and grow with you. The third-largest supplier of ERP software in the world, Sage will most definitely remain one to watch in 2020 and beyond.
Brightpearl is a cloud-based retail operations platform built for multi- and omni-channel retailers and wholesalers, headquartered in Bristol. The platform is designed to put your orders, inventory, financials, POS and CRM in one place, allowing you to perform accounting tasks, track stock levels, manage customers, and coordinate with suppliers with ease.
In addition, Brightpearl’s solution has high-performing connectors to some of the world’s biggest ecommerce platforms and marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Magento, Shopify and BigCommerce.
Among its most noteworthy advantages is that it provides retailers with a clear view of inventory across channels, producing real-time status updates of inventory levels, revenue, customer engagement, and many other aspects of your business. An essential tool for all scaling online sellers.
ResourceGuru is a UK SaaS company that was founded on the basis of disrupting businesses’ use of cumbersome spreadsheets to manage staff, equipment and other resources – and replace them with its cloud-based team scheduling software.
The software includes resource scheduling tools, a coordinated calendar (giving you full team visibility to maximise utilisation), a leave planner, overtime tracking, a “clash management” engine to prevent over-booking, and a report generator that produces “utilization rates” so you can identify under- and over-utilised resources.
In short, ResourceGuru provides a fast and easy way to schedule your people and other resources from one easy-to-use dashboard, helping you become more efficient, productive and profitable.
Whew! What a list!!
It’s undeniable that the UK SaaS industry is growing rapidly. Scores of UK SaaS companies have emerged over the past decade delivering whole swathes of new, solutions that are transforming the way organisations work across a wide range of sectors.
As the UK’s former Secretary of State for Digital Jeremy Wright puts it:
“We must celebrate the achievements of the UK’s booming tech industry which is attracting record levels of investment and employing millions of people up and down the country.
We are currently punching high in the global pecking order and, thanks to our strong fundamentals of skills and talent, business environment and world-leading research, the future is extremely bright.
The tech sector is playing a crucial role in helping us deliver an economy that works for everyone through a modern Industrial Strategy for jobs and growth.”
It’s certainly an exciting time for the UK digital tech industry, and here at Zsah – a London-based award-winning Cloud and IT Managed Services provider – we’re delighted to see so much innovation right on our doorstep.
Hopefully you’ve discovered something new on this list that is going to transform your business for the better. But, it is by no means exhaustive.
So, the question is – who have we missed?
Let us know which UK SaaS companies you’ll be keeping a beady eye on in 2020 in comments below or by reaching out to us on Twitter – @zsahLTD – and we’ll continue to update this list throughout the year with your worthy suggestions.