The UK’s Fastest Growing Deeptech Companies in 2024

John McCrea, 08 February 2024

Since 2021, investment in deeptech has accelerated to unprecedented levels, with a recent report commissioned by The Royal Academy of Engineering finding that the years 2022-2023 recorded the largest-ever growth in the sector.

For this article, we’ve deep-dived (pun firmly intended) into the deeptech industry, pulling out all the key facts and figures you need to know.

Deeptech in brief

Deeptech is where bleeding-edge technologies are developed to revolutionise challenges in existing engineering and/or operational functions. This includes areas such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, medtech, quantum computing, and more.

Compared with software or hardware based on established technologies, so-called ‘shallow tech’, deeptech is at the frontier of innovation. This makes deeptech companies far more difficult to imitate (at least in the early days), as they’re invariably the only company—or one of a select few—in their field.

Historically, firms such as Palantir (est. 2003) and Fitbit (est. 2007) have been at the forefront of deeptech, disrupting the AI and wearable markets, respectively. We’ve also seen false dawns in companies such as the much-maligned Theranos. And more recently, OpenAI’s popular generative AI tool ChatGPT, the most recognisable deeptech firm in the world, has placed artificial intelligence into the hands of consumers around the world.

And whilst the private market graveyard is full of failed would-be tech innovators—the rewards of market differentiation can be significant.

Deeptech development in the UK

In partnership with The Royal College of Engineering, we published a report in 2023 on the State of UK deeptech, highlighting a range of insights and trends in the sector.

The report,which tracks deeptech companies active between 2013 and 2022, found that equity investment in the industry soared in 2021 and 2022, reaching a height of £5.22b in 2022 alone. To put this in perspective, 2013 saw equity investment in deeptech sitting at a mere £174m in comparison.

State of UK Deep Tech 2023

Read the deeptech report from the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, in partnership with Beauhurst.

National and regional spread

Currently, the UK is home to 3,462 active deeptech companies, 87.2% of which are based in England.

London, the South East, and the East of England host the lion’s share of organisations, though university spinouts buck this trend with a more geographically diverse set of companies.

Spinouts from UK universities

The education sector has remained an impressive and influential source of deeptech startups, with 17.1% (591) of the total active startups coming from UK universities.

Between 2013-2022, spinouts from academic institutions have raised £7.02bn in equity funding, representing 35.5% of the total funding secured across the entire sector during the same period.

Oxbridge, perhaps unsurprisingly given previous trends, still tops the league table as of April 2023, with 179 (30.5% of the total) deeptech spinouts. However, the geographic spread is fairly wide, with the Universities of Manchester, Bristol, Warwick, Swansea, Sheffield, and Edinburgh all featuring in the top 12.

Download the spotlight on spinouts 2023 →

Sub-sectors in deeptech

The climate emergency has seen demand for deeptech-based solutions increase, with three of the top 10 subsectors focused on clean tech (517), clean energy generation (254), and energy reduction technologies (161), respectively.

And with artificial intelligence dominating the news in 2023, it’s of very little surprise to anyone that AI-based (504) deeptech companies feature at number two on the list.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signalled his intention to make the UK a global leader in safe AI, holding the first-ever AI summit at Bletchley Park, and securing the backing of leading AI companies and nations to launch the world’s first AI safety institute. Such was the cultural zeitgeist, that the Cambridge Dictionary even announced ‘hallucinate’ as its 2023 word of the year.

Diversity in deeptech

Over three-quarters of deeptech founders comprise all-male teams, with only 7.51% featuring all-female founders. Meanwhile, we found that mixed-gender teams make up a slightly larger 15.4% of founding members.

The picture alters when shifting from analysis of founders to key employees. For this article, key employees include any employee with a C-suite, head of team, or management title. Here, we see that mixed-gender teams rise to 39.7%. However, all-female teams in deeptech drop to 3.5%.

This speaks to the wider ongoing efforts to increase diversity in technology. 50% of the UK workforce is female, but this drops to 28% in the tech sector.

Investment trends

Since 2013, deeptech investment has grown gradually but steadily, until 2021.

Whilst 2020 saw 930 equity investments made for a total of just over £2b, 2021’s data saw a record 1,194 rounds of equity investment for just under £5b!

Only one year later, the number of deals dropped marginally, but the value of equity deals reached £5.22b.

Top 10 fastest growing UK deeptech companies in 2024

Due to the sharp upturn in deeptech investment from 2021 onwards, we’re presenting a snapshot of the key data from 2020 through to 2023 based on total equity raised.* The rationale for this methodology is that equity fundraising suggests a curiosity and/or confidence on behalf of investors.

Here are the fastest growing deeptech companies in the UK in 2024, based on total equity raised between 2020-2023.



Total amount raised: £7.7m
Current stage of growth: Seed
Location: London

canVERSE develops gaming software with a focus on the metaverse using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for accessing online games.

Enabling participants to turn their NFTs into game pieces on metaverse-based games such as chess, canVERSE has gone on to form ties with gaming industry giants including Epic Games, NVIDIA, and Unity. And four rounds of equity funding later, the canVERSE team has amassed £7.7m in investment.


Sixfold Bioscience

Total amount raised: £7.8m
Current stage of growth: Venture
Location: London

Sixfold Bioscience uses nanotechnology to develop treatments which target cancerous cells. By designing a programmable RNA tag named Mergo® by utilising new developments in artificial intelligence, Sixfold is redefining how RNA medicines are administered to cells.

In addition to their £3.1m in grants, Sixfold also raised £7.8m in just a single round of equity funding.


Space Forge

Total amount raised: £8.1m
Current stage of growth: Venture
Location: Wales

Incorporated in 2018, Cardiff-based space tech firm, Space Forge, is reaching for the stars. With lofty ambitions for in-space manufacturing, Space Forge boasts impressive results that (they claim) cannot be achieved on Earth.

Already in partnership with both the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency (ESA), Space Forge runs frequent ride-sharing missions to orbit. As a result, the team has been featured in several high-profile media outlets and benefited from just over £16m in combined grants and equity fundraisers.



Total amount raised: £10.7m
Current stage of growth: Seed
Location: East of England

Monumo is a deeptech engineering company, utilising AI and machine learning to innovate in the area of electric motors. Focusing on the removal of rare earth magnets, in addition to reducing the weight, cost, and materials involved in the production of electrical vehicles, Monumo runs over 2,000,000 simulations a day.

Currently a seed company, Monumo has garnered interest from a range of undisclosed investors, with its latest pre-money valuation at £17.5m. It has also expanded into the US market, as of December 2023.


Universal Quantum

Total amount raised: £11.1m
Current stage of growth: Venture
Location: South East

Universal Quantum is a Brighton-based quantum computing company, spun out from University of Sussex, with an ambition to achieve what today’s fastest supercomputers would take billions of years to solve. More widely, the UK Government has pledged £45m towards the quantum computing industry, designed to supercharge the nation’s quantum ambitions.

With three grants from InnovateUK totaling £4.1m, Universal Quantum has also accumulated £11.1m in equity funding from a combination of venture capital funds and undisclosed investors.



Total amount raised: £21m
Current stage of growth: Venture
Location: East of England

Cyted, a Cambridge-based venture, has developed a medical detection system that uses artificial intelligence and biomarkers to diagnose cancer early. Combining expertise in gastrointestinal oncology and digital pathology, Cyted touts that its EndoSign® test can detect signs of oesophagal pre-cancer and other diseases.

In May 2023, the company raised £13.4m in Series A funding, and with a total of £21m in equity investment, Cyted makes our top 10 UK-based deep tech companies.



Total amount raised: £27m
Current stage of growth: Growth
Location: London

Risilience has developed a climate intelligence platform that helps businesses assess climate change risk when engaging in decision-making. The Climate Risilience™ platform was developed using over a decade of influential frameworks pioneered by the Centre of Risk Studies at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.

In addition to its status as an academic spinout, Risilience featured on the 2023 list of The King’s Awards for Enterprise, and has raised £27m in equity funding to date.



Total amount raised: £31.3m
Current stage of growth: Venture
Location: London

SatVu, the self-styled ‘world’s thermometer’, develops satellite hardware that uses infrared sensors to aggregate and analyse data about economic activity and energy usage. The idea is to help companies make informed choices around climate action.

A spacetech company, SatVu has attracted £31.3m in equity funding in the UK alone with its latest round of funding (£3.6m) including investment from US aerospace company, Lockheed Martin.



Total amount raised: £122.7m
Current stage of growth: Growth
Location: South East

Though Electric Vehicle adoption has stalled in the UK, cars are increasingly driven by advancements in onboard tech. Take Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 with its digital side mirrors or Polestar 4—the first car without a rear window on UK roads.

Milton Keynes-based Envisics goes one step further, overlaying the windscreen with an augmented reality HUD (heads up display) that presents information on the real road environment within a vehicle driver’s field of vision, with minimal distraction.

And as the only 20% scaleup on this list, Envisics is not only accelerating the driving experience, but courting a fleet of suitors in investment circles. In just two fundraisers, the company has achieved just over £120m in equity funding.


Plastic Energy

Total amount raised: £192.2m
Current stage of growth: Growth
Location: London

Plastic Energy operates a chemical plastic recycling company that repurposes end-of-life plastics into fossil oils used in the production of new plastics. Using patented technology, Plastic Energy is the only company currently able to do this, creating a unique circular plastic economy.

And investors are responding—with the organisation amassing an impressive £192.2m in investment, in just three rounds of fundraising. In 2021 alone, Plastic Energy raised £124m, catapulting them firmly from venture into a growth stage company.


With deeptech such as AI and machine learning becoming commonplace in the corporate world, the sector is gaining serious investment. AI entrepreneur, Rajiv Dingra predicts 2020-2030 to be the decade of deeptech disruption, with XR (extended reality), IOT (internet of things), Blockchain, Robotics, and AI as the key industries to watch.

And whilst high-profile companies such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink promise lofty goals around transhumanism, others are aiming for more focused issues such as tackling the energy crisis.

Regardless, it’s a fascinating time for deeptech. Watch this space.

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