Records break as Deloitte announces the 2017 UK Technology Fast 50 winners


Cambridge makes a strong showing as Network members CyanConnode, Ieso Digital Health, Kymab Ltd, Featurespace and Arcus Global all feature in the latest Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 rankings.

  • Deliveroo tops Deloitte’s annual ranking of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies with a four-year revenue growth of 107,117% - a new record
  • The Fast 50 companies generated c. £1 billion of combined revenue in 2016/2017, employing more than 9,000 people, including 1,800 in R&D alone
  • 20th edition of the Fast 50 awards analyses trends across all 662 unique Fast 50 winners.

Deloitte has today announced the winners of the 2017 UK Technology Fast 50 awards. The awards, now in their twentieth year, recognise and rank the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the UK, based on the last four years of revenue growth. Supporting Deloitte’s initiative for the UK’s fastest growing companies are the award sponsors DLA Piper, Oracle NetSuite and Silicon Valley Bank.

This year’s winner: Deliveroo

Deliveroo has been named the overall winner of the 2017 UK Technology Fast 50 awards. The London-based online food courier service achieved a staggering average growth rate of 107,117 per cent over the last four years. In the twenty-year history of the Fast 50, no other company has ever grown at a faster rate. Bloom & Wild (average growth rate of 13,818 per cent) and MoveGB (6,063 per cent) completed the top three.

David Cobb, lead partner for the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 programme, comments: “The achievements of this year’s winner are truly remarkable: Deliveroo is now the fastest-growing technology company in the history of the competition. Their relentless growth has justifiably added them to the exclusive list of UK ‘unicorns’. Everyone wants a slice of the online takeaway business, but very few have found success in the same way that Deliveroo has.”

Since being founded in 2013, Deliveroo has been disrupting the food takeaway industry by bringing restaurants closer to customers. Deliveroo now operates in 150 cities, employing 27,000 riders. They recently raised $385m in new funding.

Dan Warne, General Manager UK and Ireland, explains Deliveroo’s approach to technology: “We have always had a clear strategy – it has been a food tech company from the start. Technology is very important for us and it allows us to operate more efficiently, which means faster orders for consumers, higher sales for restaurants and more earning potential for riders. It’s win-win for everyone. Our logistics algorithm is key, improving all the time to ensure our fantastic offer gets better and better.”

On being competitive, Warne adds: “The UK is an exceptional breeding ground for ambitious technology companies – and so there will always be competitors. Our focus is always on our customers, riders and restaurants, making sure we’re delivering on the things that matter to them. That’s the best way of remaining competitive.”

Two decades of fast-paced growth, and learning from mistakes

As part of the awards process, Deloitte has analysed information submitted by 147 Technology Fast 50 entrants and surveyed 93 CEOs from these fast-growing companies.

Learning from experience was a recurring theme amongst CEOs. According to the survey, nearly 60 per cent of CEOs had previously founded, or been part of the founding team of another start-up and almost one-fifth of respondents stated that they have built their success on lessons learned from previous failures.

According to the survey, 44 per cent of respondents cited ‘learning from failure’ in the top three most important experiences from starting their own business, following only to ‘the need to attract and retain talent’ (73 per cent) and ‘product testing’ (52 per cent).

When asked for the primary reasons for starting their own business, more than half of CEOs said that there was an opportunity to do better than the market incumbents (57 per cent). 56 per cent of CEOs said that their product or service did not previously exist.

 Commenting on the Fast 50, Julian Rae, Technology Partner at Deloitte in Cambridge said: “The evolution of the UK Technology Fast 50 over the past 20 years demonstrates that there is no single secret formula for success.

“Yet, while much has changed over two decades, many of the characteristics that makes a Fast 50 winner remain winners tend to be those that have spotted, and capitalised on, market opportunities for tech-enabled growth in new and existing sectors.

“And when looking across all of the 662 unique winners over the last twenty years, it is easy to see that having a great product or service, knowing your customer and employing excellent staff are the common ingredients to help ensure fast-pace growth.”

Regional picture

The Cambridge area continues to be well represented in the Fast 50, which included CyanConnode (22nd), Ieso Digital, (23rd), Kymab, (33rd) Featurespace, (36th) and Arcus Global (49th).

Software reigns supreme, for now…

For the last two decades, the software sector has provided more winners than any other category, averaging 44 per cent of the Fast 50 over the period. However, whilst software contributed 36 per cent of 2017 Fast 50, the research found that emerging sectors were on the rise, including FinTech (20 per cent), Media & Entertainment and Internet-based companies (both 16%).

Rae comments: “Software continues to be an important sector for rapid growth, but we are seeing growing proportions of entrants from other technology fields, in part due to the scalability of the business models they typically adopt. FintTech in particular has accelerated over the last five years, and now represents a fifth of the Fast 50.”

In addition, more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of respondents said that revenue growth was a more important objective than profit (30 per cent) over the last few years. However, the research found that as businesses mature, CEOs predict that the focus will shift, with profitability expected to become the more important factor for 60 per cent of businesses over the next five years.

Rae concluded: “Successful pursuit of growth is an implicit characteristic amongst Fast 50 companies, but this is a far from simple feat. As their growth propels them to scale-up status, CEOs need to find the right balance between growth and profitability, always keeping stakeholder interests in mind.”

Previous winners of the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 are available 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