Deloitte has announced the winners of the 2020 UK Technology Fast 50 awards. The awards recognise and rank the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the UK, based on the last four years of revenue data, and are sponsored by DLA Piper and Oracle NetSuite.
This year’s cohort of winners represent companies at the forefront of the sector, with more than 10,400 employees across the 50 companies, an impressive average growth rate of 2,898% and total revenues in 2020 of over £2.2bn.*
DivideBuy revealed as 2020 Fast 50 winner
Interest-free credit provider DivideBuy is the overall winner of the 2020 UK Technology Fast 50 award, having achieved an average three-year growth rate of 20,733% to the year 2019/2020. The Newcastle-under-Lyme-based business employs 50 people and works with more than 500 small, medium and large corporations to provide consumers with access to interest-free credit. The company ranked third in last year’s competition.
Other North West businesses featured on the list include software providers Blue Prism, which placed 42nd in the ranking with a growth rate of 947%, Matillion, which ranked 43rd with a growth rate of 922% and Arctic Shores which achieved 45th place with a growth rate of 892%.
FinTech businesses, including DivideBuy, make up 24% of the overall Fast 50 winners this year and four of the top 10 businesses. Software remains the leading sector, accounting for 46% of all winners.
Claire Jolly, partner and head of TMT in the North West at Deloitte, commented: “The staggering growth of this year’s Fast 50 is testament to the strength of the UK’s technology industry which has continued to prosper in spite of significant market disruption. Their exceptional success in recent years is a marker of their tenacity, commitment and creativity. I would like to offer my personal congratulations to all of this year’s Fast 50 winners.
“DivideBuy’s three-year growth rate of 20,733% is outstanding. Several lendtech providers have experienced rapid growth in recent years, but DivideBuy’s distinctive brand and intuitive platform have seen them excel ahead of the pack. With the overall winner and more companies from the North West in the top 50 than previous years, all of the region’s businesses in the list are testaments to the region’s rich potential for fast-growing technology businesses, and we look forward to seeing where they go next.”
Jo Balsamo, chief marketing officer at DivideBuy, said: “DivideBuy’s growth is testament to our talented team based here in the North West and has been driven by strategic investment, allowing us to acquire over 500 retailers to-date. This is just the beginning of a long and exciting road ahead. Moving forward, we’re continuing to evolve our checkout, lending process and platform, while adopting a strategy that provides long-term value to our investors.
“DivideBuy’s technology platform is built on retail understanding and consumer insight, solving many common pain points for retail businesses. This approach enables retailers to provide a credit option at the checkout, with real-time credit decisions, thereby leading to increased retail sales. Ultimately, we understand that choice is the key driver influencing consumer buying behaviour today. We want to make sure we’re making the online shopping experience convenient and hassle free by offering an easy payment method. This is, after all, the future of ecommerce.“
The impact of COVID-19 on technology’s fastest growing start-ups
As part of the awards process, Deloitte asked Fast 50 entrants to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business. Deloitte’s research found that 95% of Fast 50 entrants made at least one change to their business as a result of the pandemic.
One in seven (14%) Fast 50 entrants initiated changes to their business models, with over half (57%) of those who did so expecting these to be permanent. Meanwhile, 25% adjusted their pricing and the same proportion made changes to their business’s target market.
Many Fast 50 businesses also offered employees additional flexible working options to help with transitioning to a fully remote working model. One in four (25%) offered additional flexible working hours to their entire workforce in response to the pandemic, with 89 per cent launching these initiatives within four weeks of hearing about COVID-19.
Fast 50 CEOs rated the ability to transition to remote working as the most important factor that enabled their overall response to the pandemic (75%), followed by the ability to quickly make decisions (70%) and the ability to serve customers through digital channels (70%).
On the topic of agility, Jolly added: “The impact of COVID-19 will continue to test businesses of all sizes for months to come, but those that act with agility and adaptability are most likely to achieve resilience, survive and thrive. While it’s been an overwhelmingly challenging time for some businesses, the impact of COVID-19 has accelerated transformation across the sector. For instance, the growth in remote working has encouraged recruitment within new regions and the development of new software to support collaboration between teams.
“Many of the technology start-ups recognised in the Fast 50 have used this time to grow their offerings, target new markets and create new ways to develop their workforce in a way that will safeguard their businesses for future success. The growth of this year’s Fast 50 businesses are an inspiration. These resilient businesses continue to be a beacon of the brilliance of the UK’s technology start-up community.”