The Most Successful Start-Ups: The British Unicorns

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The U.K., U.S. and many European countries have been the biggest players in the startup industry.
BIG reports that ‘Unicorns’ are a name given to startups, which were created after 2000 and valued at more than $1 billion.

According to Startup Funding Club, venture capital investment in ‘young British companies’ hit a record high of $2.2bn in the first six-months of 2016, as the U.K. expected a record 600,000 new start-up companies in 2016. Below you can find the most successful U.K.-based startups and how they have joined the much coveted, $1 billion club.

Funding Club
Is a peer-to-peer (P2P) business-lending platform that offers financing for startups by matching borrowers and investors. It is a valuable alternative to traditional lenders (banks) as P2P lenders enjoy a higher return and borrowers find it easy obtaining funds through P2P sources. Funding Circle is currently valued at $1 billion and has facilitated more than £1.6 billion worth of loans to over 20,000 businesses in the UK and Europe.

Blippar
Having been founded in 2011, Blippar is one of the youngest unicorns in the U.K. Blippar is an image-recognition platform and visual browser, “harnessing augmented reality and image-recognition technology to bring the physical world to life through smartphones, tablets and wearable’s.” Blippar allows users to take a picture and then receive a vast collection of search results related to the photo. Blippar has partnered with global brands including Unilever, P&G, PepsiCo, Nestle and Jaguar (amongst many others) as part of these companies’ marketing and promotional campaigns. The company is currently valued at $1.5 billion.
TransferWise
Founded in 2010, TransferWise was established to help reduce the cost of international money transfers. Many influential investors, including Sir Richard Branson, have backed it. TransferWise allows for the easy and cheap movement of money globally. The firm’s pricing and operating model are unique from many other money-transfer providers, offering customers with a lower-cost alternative by eliminating hidden costs and providing low service fees. It is currently valued at over $1.1 billion and rapidly expanding

Zoopla/Rightmove
Zoopla and Rightmove are currently the most comprehensive property websites and portals in the UK with a valuation of over $1.5bn and $4bn, respectively.
The websites gather local information on hundreds of thousands of property listings and are able to give accurate property price estimates in the UK. Consumers, letting/estate agents and property developers around the country, extensively use both websites and although they are competitors, they have taken a significant share of the housing-search market.

Just Eat U.K
Just Eat is based in London and acts as an intermediary between restaurants and local customers. Users of Just Eat appreciate the simplicity of the app interface and the ease of ordering food, without the hassle of picking up a phone or searching for a menu. Just Eat is currently valued at over $2.5 billion and has become a leader in online food ordering with over 40,000 restaurants and almost ten million users across 15+ countries.

Farfetch
Farfetch connects you to the world of luxurious and boutique online shopping. Founded in 2008, Farfetch’s main aim is to allow independent boutiques a chance to advertise and sell their wares, meaning they can compete on global scale yet still keep their unique visual and specialised identity. Boutique-store partners typically see an average of 30% of their sales driven by Farfetch, to which they pay a commission.

Farfetch now has over 600 employees with partners in over 190 countries and is currently valued at over $1.6bn.
SkyScanner
SkyScanner, founded in 2003 in Edinburgh, is a global travel search website that provides a free flight-search service including comparisons for hotels and car hire. The website is well received by avid travellers as its software searches through online travel-providers/ agents and finds the best flight/hotel/ car deal amongst those providers, with a generally cheaper price range.
Currently, the company is valued at $1.6 billion and has acquired over $200 million from equity funding.

Skrill
Founded in 2001 as ‘Moneybrookers’, the rebranding of Skrill happened in 2013 and became a part of the Unicorn club after a $1.1bn takeover by Optimal Payments. Skrill has become a market leader in developing cost-effective payment solutions and allows the easy transmission of payments for individuals, B2B and B2C base. Skrill operates in 200 countries, facilitates over 40 different currencies and has over 40 million customers.

 Deliveroo
Deliveroo is a technology company focused on marketing, selling and delivering restaurant meals to the household or office. It does so by hiring independent bike contractors to pick up and deliver the food. The company is currently valued at over $1.5 billion dollars and has attracted over $450 million in investments. Deliveroo works with over 16,000 restaurants and has over 20,000 delivery riders.

Deliveroo has helped non-delivery businesses attract new customers. They’ve also found ways to make sure the food gets to the destination quickly – usually 30 minutes or less. Deliveroo has massively expanded in recent years and has finally arrived in Lancaster!

ASOS
ASOS is an online platform with a focus on the niche online market, which includes retail, designer fashion and beauty products for men and women. ASOS sells over 850 personal and designer brands, including jewellery, footwear and accessories with over 80,000 different products being sold online. They also started their own retail range, which has made them a global leader in the online fashion and retail industry and ships to over 140 countries. ASOS pulls in a staggering £1.1bn in revenue each year and attracts almost 10 million regular customers.

The UK has always had a flourishing and vibrant start-up scene and many start-ups have gone on to become successful, eventually joining the ‘Unicorn club’. Next time you’re looking at starting up or investing in a company, look at what the U.K. has to offer. With the vast amount of new businesses and capital injections by venture capitalists and other investors, start-ups in the U.K. will surprise you every