Top 10 High-Growth UK Wearable Companies | 2023
Lily Ruaah, 26 October 2023
Wearable technology has become a day-to-day staple in homes all over the world. It was invented in 1961, when Edward Thorp and Claude Shannon developed a small four-button computer that could fit into the user’s shoe to help gamblers cheat in casinos. Since then, things have developed in a way that Thorp and Shannon would probably have never imagined.
The global wearable technology market size was estimated at $138b in 2022 and is projected to grow to $265.4b by 2026, with more and more exciting and innovative technologies being created. From 2021 to 2022, the wearable technology market growth rate was 41.51%.
What is wearable technology?
Wearable technology refers to electronic devices or gadgets that can be worn on the body, either as accessories or as part of clothing. These devices are equipped with various sensors, software, and connectivity features that enable them to collect and exchange data with other devices and networks.
Wearable technology is designed to provide users with convenient access to information and services while on the go, and has become popular with consumers for monitoring their everyday health and fitness.
What are the best wearables?
Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and Fitbits
Wristwear tech holds the largest market share of wearable technology with most big tech brands having their own version—Apple Watch, Garmin, Samsung Galaxy Watch, Google Pixel Watch, and more.
The global market for wristwear was valued at $77.9b in 2021 and is expected to grow 30% by 2026. Their fusion of functionality with fashion and style further enhances their popularity, appealing to a wide consumer base.
While smartwatches are very popular, wristwear isn’t the only type of wearable fitness tracker. They also come in the form of sweatbands, headbands, and ankle straps.
Body-mounted sensors, such as Biosensors, can be used to tell you a great deal about someone’s health, and they’re now widely available for individual use. Biosensors are a self-adhesive patch that a patient sticks on, allowing them to move around while it collects both biological and chemical data.
Though wearable medical devices can look no different from a smartwatch, such as ECG monitors, what distinguishes these monitors from certain smartwatches is their capability to measure electrocardiograms, commonly known as ECGs. Wearable ECG monitors represent the forefront of consumer electronics.
AR and VR headsets
AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) headsets are a relatively new in the market. And yet, in 2023, it appears that headset shipments will only see a marginal increase from the figures recorded in 2017, with an expected shipment of 8.5m headsets this year.
While they’ve had a slow year in 2023, IDC thinks they’ll rebound in 2024. Significant transformations have occurred in the industry over the past few years. Standalone headsets have experienced remarkable growth, boasting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 57.5%. In contrast, screenless viewers like Samsung’s Gear VR have virtually vanished from the market, marking a profound shift in consumer preferences.
All of this to say, AR and VR headsets could be a market to watch closely in 2024.
Where is the global wearables market headed?
While there’s no official release date, there’s been lots of news about Apple’s upcoming smart glasses. They’re reported to look similar to regular glasses with a built-in display to allow users to access their phone and apps using gestures and hand movements.
Currently, they’re marketing Apple Vision Pro, which has been given a release date of early 2024 (in the US). This could be seen as the prototype of Apple Glasses, and while they probably have many of the same features, they don’t resemble a usual pair of glasses.
Smart contact lenses
The skilled engineers and scientists at Mojo Vision have achieved a groundbreaking milestone: creating the world’s tiniest and most densely packed micro-LED display technology that fits inside a content lens. Currently, the company is channelling its expertise and resources towards the development and commercialisation of this revolutionary micro-LED technology.
AI hearing aids
Coming soon to medical devices in the wearables market are AI hearing aids, by companies like Genesis AI. These specially adapted hearing aids can filter out unwanted noise and automatically adapt to the user’s environment. It’s innovative wearable technology like this that’s shaping the face of the wearables market.
What does the UK wearable market look like in 2023?
The combined market for wearables in the UK was worth £1.6b in 2022. From looking at our top ten companies, we can see how quickly the wearable market has grown over the past decade. There’s an 860% increase in active companies since 2013. The market is forecast to expand at a CAGR of 17.65% over the period 2022-2027.
When selecting our top 10, we used a specific methodology to select high-growing companies in 2023, in the UK.
We’ve ranked private wearable companies on the amount of equity raised since the beginning of the year (1 January 2023). These businesses are all headquartered in the UK and have hit at least one of our high-growth tracking signals.
Top 10 fastest-growing wearable companies in the UK
We’ve ordered our companies from 10 to one.
Total amount raised: £9.12m
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Anthropos specialises in creating cutting-edge medical devices and monitoring technology tailored to track a patient’s condition. This data is transmitted to a remote care provider seamlessly via the Anthropos platform.
The company has secured six fundraisings since 2016. The most recent was for £394k in July 2023. These successive fundraisings underscore the market’s recognition of Anthropos’s potential and the transformative impact it is making in the healthcare landscape, and in the wearable technology market.
Total amount raised: £10.5m
Location: London, UK
Quell is a gaming company that combines fitness and gameplay. The company has designed wearable waist belts and wristwear for its games. The concept is to give people a full workout experience without even noticing as they’re focusing on the gameplay. The company has released pre-orders and should go live in early 2024.
Since its inception in 2020, this innovative company has quickly gained traction in the market, making significant strides in the technology and investment sectors. It has secured two fundraisings since it was established, and most recently, the company raised £8.31m in February 2023.
Total amount raised: £10.7m
Location: East of Scotland, UK
PlayerData specialises in creating advanced wearable technology that monitors and gathers data on athletic performance. It allows wearers to see exactly what they and their teammates are doing throughout a game. By understanding their gameplay on a granular level, athletes can identify patterns, refine their techniques, and optimise their training routines.
This Scottish company was featured on the BusinessCloud SportTech 50 in 2021 and has secured seven rounds of fundraising. The most recent fundraising milestone, achieved in May 2023, was particularly noteworthy, as the company secured an impressive £7.61m in investments.
Total amount raised: £12.9m
Location: East of Scotland, UK
Lustre ClearSkin has created a wearable LED light therapy face mask to treat acne and blemishes. It was born out of a collaboration between the University of St Andrews and the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, leveraging a robust foundation in medical and scientific expertise. Its devices are based on the latest clinically proven LED light therapy and backed by clinical studies.
To date, it has successfully secured an impressive total of 16 fundraisings, accumulating a substantial sum of £12.9m in investments. Its most recent fundraising was in April 2023 for £2m.
Total amount raised:£14.6m
Location: East of England, UK
Cleverly coined as “Fitbit for dogs”, PitPat makes GPS trackers and activity monitors for dogs. The results can then be compared with recommended exercise levels for each breed. This personalised approach not only enhances the dog’s overall well-being but also promotes longevity, preventing potential health issues related to inadequate or excessive physical activity.
PitPat has secured seven fundraisings since 2014—the most recent fundraising milestone, a significant achievement in May 2023, saw PitPat secure an impressive £7.77m. The company also received one grant for £5k.
Cambridge Medical Technologies
Total amount raised: £15.4m
Location: East of England, UK
Cambridge Medical Technologies are pioneering the development of bloodless blood tests. Its innovative device gathers fluid from the body without a needle. Utilising advanced electrochemical techniques, they measure the concentration of crucial blood biomarkers seamlessly and without pain. This breakthrough technology enables real-time monitoring at high frequency, revolutionising the way health parameters are assessed and tracked.
With a keen focus on innovation and growth, the company has successfully secured nine fundraisings, showcasing the confidence investors have in its potential and strategic direction. It’s also received two grants.
Total amount raised: £17.2m
Location: London, UK
Sportable Technologies stands at the forefront of technological innovation, dedicated to revolutionising how we experience sports matches. Its pioneering efforts focus on developing cutting-edge technology beyond conventional viewing experiences. At the core of their mission is the ambitious goal of providing spectators, athletes, and coaches with a comprehensive and immersive field of vision during sports matches.
Sportable Technologies made the BusinessCloud SportTech 50 list in 2021. The company has secured nine fundraisings since 2014. Its most recent fundraising was for £3.3m in September 2023.
Total amount raised: £32.7m
Location: Northern Ireland, UK
B-Secur specialises in developing cutting-edge analytics technology that seamlessly integrates with medical devices. Its expertise lies in harnessing advanced algorithms to unlock deeper insights from electrocardiogram (ECG) data. This innovative approach enhances the functionality of medical devices, allowing for more comprehensive and precise analysis of cardiovascular health.
Since its inception in 2014, B-Secur has received one grant of £210k and secured seven fundraisings. The company has grown over 20% during a three year period, between 2016 to 2019. It’s taken part in four accelerators: CSIT Labs and ELITE in 2016, and Upscale and LORCA in 2018. It featured on the 100 HealthTech Pioneers high-growth list in 2020 and the BusinessCloud Healthtech 50 in 2022.
Focal Point Positioning
Total amount raised: £34.2m
Location: East of England, UK
Focal Point Positioning develops technology to allow mobile device tracking in environments previously unreachable by traditional GPS signals. Its product, the S-GNSS enables GNSS receivers to reject unwanted signals and noise—increasing accuracy, sensitivity, and security for its users.
Focal Point Positioning is an academic spinout from the University of Cambridge, started in 2015. It took part in one accelerator, Upscale, in 2021 and has made two high-growth lists. It was featured in the Start-Up 101 in 2017 and the BusinessCloud TransportTech 50 in 2021. FPP has received two grants totalling £744k and secured seven fundraisings—the most recent in January 2023.
Sky Medical Technology
Total amount raised: £41.2m
Location: South East, UK
Sky Medical Technology develops bioelectronic wearable devices that provide increased blood circulation to prevent and treat a wide range of acute and chronic medical conditions—particularly targeting people who suffer with vascular-related conditions. Its prized device is the geko, described as a multi-application wearable therapy device. Find out more about the OnPulse technology that makes it work.
Sky Medical Technology was featured on two high-growth lists. It was named on the 100 HealthTech Pioneers list in 2020, and the BusinessCloud MedTech 50 in 2021. Since their incorporation in 2006, they’ve received £1.92m in grants and secured 14 fundraisings.
In conclusion, the wearables market shows no signs of slowing down. The market’s relentless growth is driven by a number of factors, including technological advancements, a focus on health and wellness, improved aesthetics, industrial adoption, ecosystem development, and market competition. This dynamic combination ensures that wearables remain a thriving and evolving industry, with a promising future that extends well beyond 2026.
We’re looking forward to seeing what wearable tech will become available in the not so distant future—and which companies will be the fastest growing in 2024 and beyond.
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