May 14, 2021
The 2020 LinkedIn Top Startups list reveals the 10 young, resilient companies where the UK wants to work now.
It has been a year of upheaval as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe, upending both business and personal plans. Startups have not been immune. Many have found ways to navigate these changes – or pivot all together – and some have even thrived. Our 4th annual Top Startups list reflects 10 companies that have remained resilient during a tumultuous time, continuing to attract investment, employees and attention.
Our editors and data scientists parsed millions of actions generated by LinkedIn’s 29 million members in the UK – and looked across four pillars: employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from our flagship LinkedIn Top Companies list. To be eligible, companies must be seven years old or younger, have at least 50 employees, be privately held and headquartered in the UK. You can learn more about our methodology at the bottom of this article.
This list is also meant to be a resource for you. These 10 startups point to growing trends in business, from fintech to electric vehicles, indicating where there might be career opportunities in the future. Or, you may want to land a job at one of these companies now. In which case, take a look at who you might know at the company, see what jobs are open or find out the common skills among their workforce. Use this as a resource to connect to opportunity.
Headcount: 1,150 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2015 | Most common skills: Engineering, Automotive, Manufacturing | Largest job functions: Engineering, Operations, Arts and Design | What you should know: Electric vehicle startup Arrival builds its buses, vans, taxis, delivery robots and more at specialist ‘micro factories. These production plants are located close to areas of demand and utilise local supply chains and local talent. Arrival kicked off the year by securing a €100m investment from automotive giants Hyundai and Kia.
Headcount: 2,125 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2015 | Most common skills: SQL, Python, Data Analysis | Largest job functions: Engineering, Product Management, Finance | What you should know: Banking services firm Revolut made headlines earlier in the year for securing more than $500m in funding. It hasn’t been immune to the impact of the coronavirus, though, with reports that it made around 60 roles redundant and lost a string of senior executives. Despite these setbacks, the company has continued to roll out new features and product offerings, such as a utilities price comparison tool, and it recently launched in Japan.
Headcount: 160 | Headquarters: Glastonbury | Year founded: 2018 | Most common skills: Merchandising, E-commerce, Digital Marketing | Largest job functions: Support, Sales, Operations | What you should know: Electric bike and scooter business Pure Electric has seen sales increase in recent months as people avoid public transport due to the coronavirus crisis. The Somerset firm currently has 13 stores across the UK, with five more scheduled to open before the end of the year. It’s also planning to open stores in Paris, Madrid and Barcelona.
Headcount: 252 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2016 | Most common skills: Banking, Financial Services, Software Development | Largest job functions: Engineering, Finance, Information Technology | What you should know: ClearBank enables fintech firms, smaller banks and other financial institutions to access the UK’s main payment systems. The startup said remote work during lockdown proved very effective, so it’s looking into a longer-term plan to give employees greater flexibility.
Headcount: 140 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2015 | Most common skills: SQL, Software Development, Agile Methodologies | Largest job functions: Engineering, Business Development, Finance | What you should know: Saving and investment app Moneybox hit some major milestones in recent months: it raised £30m in VC investment and £7m via a crowdfunding campaign, reached over £1bn in assets under management and surged past 450,000 users. The startup was co-founded by Ben Stanway, who previously co-founded popular flower delivery service Bloom & Wild.
Headcount: 1,300 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2015 | Most common skills: Banking, Finance, Data Analysis | Largest job functions: Support, Engineering, Finance | What you should know: Monzo, which took the number-one spot on last year’s list, has faced challenges in 2020 with reports of redundancies and significant financial losses attributed to the pandemic. The firm did raise a £60m top-up funding round in June and is currently rolling out new paid-for products and fees on its existing offerings.
Headcount: 127 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2016 | Most common skills: Banking, Financial Services, Software Development | Largest job functions: Engineering, Arts and Design, Product Management | What you should know: Describing itself as a “challenger consultancy”, 11:FS helps some of the world’s biggest banks overhaul and improve their systems and services. The startup has felt the negative effects of the pandemic, which led it to furlough some staff and make a round of redundancies. The firm’s CEO announced in June that he and his deputy CEO had given up 75% of their salaries.
Headcount: 970 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2014 | Most common skills: Banking, Financial Services, SQL | Largest job functions: Support, Engineering, Finance | What you should know: Challenger bank Starling has offices in Southampton and Cardiff, as well as its headquarters in London. The firm has been able to avoid laying off staff during the coronavirus crisis, it told LinkedIn, and it also hasn’t made any pay cuts. In fact, Starling has hired around 150 people (net) since the start of lockdown.
Headcount: 162 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2016 | Most common skills: Customer Relationship Management, Digital Marketing, Recruiting | Largest job functions: Business Development, Support, Marketing | What you should know: Cognism, which specialises in prospecting and lead generation solutions, said the pandemic has led to changes in its flexible working policy. “We now actively promote remote working and will be more flexible with not only how we work, but also where we hire in the future as a result.” After surveying staff on preferences, Cognism is planning to have a smaller office presence and implement flexible working options.
Headcount: 98 | Headquarters: London | Year founded: 2015 | Most common skills: Market Research, Data Analysis, Finance | Largest job functions: Business Development, Information Technology, Sales | What you should know: Market research firm Streetbees has a community of over 2.5m research participants – or ‘bees’ – across more than 150 countries. The firm is expanding certain areas of its business and plans to increase its headcount to 130 by the end of the year.
LinkedIn measures startups based on four pillars: employment growth, engagement, job interest and attraction of top talent. Employment growth is measured as percentage headcount increase over methodology time frame, which must be a minimum of 15%. Engagement looks at non-employee views and follows of the company’s LinkedIn page, as well as how many non-employees are viewing employees at that startup. Job interest counts rate at which people are viewing and applying to jobs at the company, including both paid and unpaid postings. Attraction of top talent measures how many employees the startup has recruited away from any global LinkedIn Top Company, as a percentage of the startup’s total workforce. Data is normalised across all eligible startups. The methodology time frame is January through July 2020.
To be eligible, companies must be independent and privately held, have 50 or more full-time employees, be 7 years old or younger and be headquartered in the country on whose list they appear. We exclude all staffing firms, think tanks, venture capital firms, law firms, management and IT consulting firms, nonprofits and philanthropy, accelerators and government-owned entities. Startups who have laid off 20% or more of their workforce within the methodology time frame are also ineligible.