Silicon Fen dominates UK Fast 50


Technology companies from East Anglia have dominated the national Technology programme, with fourteen companies being ranked in the top 50.

The results of the Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 50 were announced on Friday (June 9). The programme tracks the fastest growing technology companies in the UK.

Regional software company, Digitalk Limited, was ranked fifth in the UK with a record increase in turnover of 4,135 per cent.

Also in the top ten were local companies iDesk plc, which grew by 3524%, and The Casella Group Ltd which increased its turnover by 2056%. Scottish company, Data Discoveries, was ranked first with an increase of 9307%.

Richard Knights, technology partner at the Cambridge office of Deloitte & Touche said: 'Investment made by foreign and British companies in Cambridge in the 80s and 90s is now paying off for these regions. This investment acted as a magnet in attracting both skilled staff and further investment, which resulted in vibrant entrepreneurial environments spawning new companies.

'The role of the University added a further attraction essentially positioning Cambridge as the European equivalent of Boston's Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

'The average growth rate across the national Technology Fast 50 outstripped the UK technology sector as a whole with a rate of 1,305 per cent. The minimum turnover growth required to gain a place in the national ranking was over 300 per cent, emphasising the achievements of the winners.'

Over half of the winners are software companies - an increase on last year - and software companies look set to be ever more dominant in the coming years. The vast majority of companies in the ranking are business to business. Growth rates are particularly high for those producing and developing niche product technology.

Mr Knights concluded: 'The UK technology industry continues to flourish harnessing the best academic brains in Cambridge and the Eastern region and making a great contribution to the UK economy in terms of job creation and training of a skilled technical workforce.'

The Fast 50

In addition to Digitalk Ltd, iDesk plc and The Casella Group Ltd, the following East Anglian companies also featured in the top 50: Avanti Communications Ltd, Zeus Technology Ltd, Xitec Software plc, Good Looking Records Ltd, B&T Connexions Ltd, EPCoT Systems Ltd, Productive Computer Insight Ltd, E D White & Co Ltd, BioRobotics Ltd, QI Ltd and Eclipse Electronics Ltd.

The Deloitte & Touche National Technology Fast 50 programme follows a series of regional programmes in 1999/2000 covering the East, London & South East, Midlands, South West & Wales, the North and Scotland. Each region hosted an awards ceremony to honour the 50 fastest growing technology companies in that area. From those lists, a national Fast 50 ranking was produced.

Companies are ranked according to their average revenue growth over the previous three years. In the case of the Year 2000 Fast 50 awards, the focus is on growth during the years 1996, 1997, 1998.

For further information about the programme, visit the Technology Fast 50 media room at


The Deloitte Cambridge office comprises 8 Partners and over 250 staff who deliver a full range of professional services to the East Anglian region. As well as focussing on the life sciences and technology sectors for which the region has become so renowned, the office has long standing specialisms in other sectors including the professions, consumer business, food and agribusiness.

Deloitte LLP