10 Companies we think you should watch in 2020.

10 Companies we think you should watch in 2020.

by ourly
21st April 2020

At ETR, we’ve built a team of uniquely individual people, with different interests, hobbies and beliefs. I asked them each to find 2 UK scale-up companies that represented them.

Here are our 10 picks for companies that are on to something great in 2020.

Wagestream develops software that integrates with payroll systems and enables employees to access their earnings in real time, rather than waiting for a monthly payment. It gives employees the power to access their wages at any point, rather than having to wait for payday.

Whilst benefiting employees, there is definitely value in this offering for employers too. Wagestream claim that their current users have seen up to a 40% increase in staff retention, 10% increase in employee productivity and a huge competitive advantage when recruiting, with results as high as 10x the amount of job applicants by offering the flexible daily pay to employees.

I can see this being adopted by many more companies throughout 2020, and becoming a norm to offer such financial freedom to your employees.

Cleo offers money-tracking and budgeting software delivered through a chat interface. It helps people track and manage their money, through the use of an extremely intelligent chatbot.

Being one of the 2.9 million+ people who actually use Cleo already, I can certainly sing their praises. It has helped me stay focussed in reaching my financial goals. It sits above your bank accounts and gives you an analysis of your spending with the use of artificial intelligence, which in turn provides you with actionable insights to help you better manage your money.

Cleo makes the whole money thing easy and fun. Cleo can set your budget, automatically put money aside, notify you when you’re close to your overdraft limit and more. I think one of the main selling points, in my opinion, is that it’s free! However, people who may require a little more support can purchase the subscription product called cleo plus.

I can definitely see Cleo continuing to make waves in 2020, with more and more people reaping the benefits from their offering.

Thriva provides finger-prick blood tests that can be used at home to test cholesterol, liver and kidney function, before being sent off for analysis. Thriva started in 2016 with the aim of building the world’s first preventative health service. There is no simple and convenient way to track what’s really going on inside your body which means most people are forced to wait until something goes wrong until they can react. 

Thriva want to change that by increasing convenience, ease and insightfulness. They are providing the products and services that will empower people to proactively manage their health. Once you know what’s going on inside your body, you can understand the impact of your lifestyle on your health and start to make small changes that add up to a healthier you. In 2019 Thriva secured £6m of funding, so they must be doing something right. 

All of this makes us really excited about what Thriva are going to do next.

Patch helps you discover the best plants for your space, delivers them to your door and then helps you look after them.

Patch have had a great start to life, as they’ve already attracted over 25,000 customers with a 9.2/10 rating on Trustpilot and 40,000 plant fans on instagram, they were recently voted 29th in the #Startups100 and raised over £3m in venture funding to scale rapidly across the UK and Western Europe.

Patch was designed for people who want plants but struggle to find a way to get and care for them. Patch help customers fill their homes with plants that look cool, fill their lungs with clean air and introduce them to the pleasure of being around, and caring for living things. A noble cause in anyones books.

BenevolentAI wants to use artificial intelligence to transform the way medicines are discovered and brought to market. It has built a platform that is designed to sift through large volumes of medical data from clinical trials and academic papers, to make it faster and easier to develop new drugs.

BenevolentAI has recently secured a partnership with British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to use machine learning and artificial intelligence in the discovery of potential new drugs for chronic kidney disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis — which gives a corporate stamp of approval to the technology they have created.

Waterwhelm is an award-winning company commercialising a membrane technology for self-powered wastewater treatment, water treatment, desalination and dewatering applications. The company was founded in 2018 in Scotland and includes a team of experienced engineers, scientists, business managers and advisors working together to re-invent water supply through a pioneering technology.

Waterwhelm have developed a patent-pending technology for self-powered treatment of wastewater, which turns sewage into freshwater, renewable energy and fertiliser. Having won numerous climate and innovation awards in their first year, and having recently secured a £10k grant at the #Edge15 final, Waterwhelm are set to do great things in 2020.

Anaphite have produced a patent-pending solution to global air purification, using metal oxide-graphene nano-composites, which has already proven twice as much pollution absorbance and triple degradation speed, when compared to traditional anatase methods. Similar technology allows Anaphite to combat the challenges around expanding energy storage within Li-ion batteries. Using developed technology, Anaphite hope to be able to scale new and improved batteries, increasing the commercial viability of electric energy and having a huge environmental impact.

The number of people in the UK turning to a plant-based diet is increasing at a significant rate as more and more people make the decision to ditch meat. So, companies such as THIS aim to cater the needs of this ever growing market by producing a range of meat replacement foods.

My partner and myself recently decided to make the switch after watching “The Game Changers” on Netflix. We do, however, have the occasional meal out that may contain meat, but it’s certainly a drastic change to what we used to have and we’ve definitely seen the benefits already. Personally, I haven’t missed eating meat and I know a lot of others who’ve said the same. On the other hand, this switch certainly isn’t easy for everyone and companies like THIS make this a whole lot easier.

THIS produce healthier plant-based meat-alternative products which you’d mistake for being a meat-based product. In fact, they’ve even created a video where they did exactly this and tricked food critics and influencers into thinking they were enjoying a meat-based 3 course meal. You can watch this here

I’ve had this same disbelief myself as I’ve tried a range of alternatives which really taste like the real deal, jackfruit being the most shocking one for me as a substitute for pulled pork – crazy!

The co-founders, Andy and Pete, even ran a burger (as in, beef) restaurant chain before co-founding THIS, in 2019. So, you can imagine how great these alternatives taste. Since then, they’ve recently managed to secure a £4.7m funding round and I can’t wait to see what great things they do in 2020.

Ecosia is a search engine that donates 80% or more of its’ profits to non-profit organisations that focus on reforestation. It is a free browser extension and so simple to incorporate – and I really wish I did it sooner. They generate income from the adverts you see when you search on the web with Ecosia and for around every 45 searches you do, they plant one tree.

You can see how many searches you do with Ecosia in the top right hand corner of your search bar, so it’s easy to work out how many trees have been planted as a result of your searches. I started using Ecosia as my search engine almost a year ago now and I’ve done around 10,000 searches, (just on my laptop), which means around 222 trees have been planted as a result which is crazy.

As of this month, Ecosia estimate they have around 15 million users and have now planted over 81 million trees across 9,000 planting sites. These sites include places such as Madagascar, Spain, Brazil and Tanzania. To prove that Ecosia are doing what they set out to do with their profits, they publish their monthly financial reports and tree planting receipts which you can access on their website.

Many people ask what they can do individually to help our planet and combat the effects of climate change and this is one of the simple things that can make a huge difference. I recommend Ecosia to most people that I know – if I alone have contributed to 222 trees being planted, think of the effect you could have by just telling one other person. With the devastating effects of climate change becoming more and more evident, this search engine is certainly vital and I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing things they do in 2020. 

We couldn’t do a top 10 list without mentioning our client, Trouva. Trouva operates an e-commerce site and same-day delivery network for local independent retailers. Helping shoppers find those perfect pieces for them and their homes.

Trouva make sure you don’t miss out on discovering beautiful objects for your home. Whether it’s a circular wooden wall shelf perfect for your books, a handmade brass pepper mill to help you dine in style, or a mustard velvet table lamp made for your bedside cabinet. By seeking out the best independent boutiques from stylish neighbourhoods across the world they make it easy for you to uncover just the right things for your home, wherever they may be hidden.

Having recently raised £17m, Trouva are set for some really great things in 2020. We’re delighted to be a part of that journey!

Whatever happens in 2020, we’re really excited about how the scale-up space is shaping up. There have already been some substantial raises and some really healthy acquisitions in January, which usually offers a good sign as to how the year will go.

That being said, many funds and VC’s are looking to push back certain deals that could later be affected by Brexit. So keep an eye out for a big surge in activity shortly after Brexit has been delivered.

Thanks to the team at ETR for putting this together, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the 10 mentioned and will share any exiting news they post!


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