2016 Tech Track 100 – a sneak peek

Authored by Richard Tyler.
3 min read
With 11 days to go until the publication of this year’s Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100, Richard Tyler, director of research and editorial at Fast Track, previews some of the key themes…

British-made smart home monitoring devices, cancer treatments, mobile payments software and computer games all make an appearance in the 16th annual Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100, which will appear in the newspaper on 11 September.

We are keeping the full table under wraps until then, but can reveal some of the key findings now.

Location, location, location

Firstly, the league table will show that London may be losing its crown as the undisputed home of Britain’s tech scene. The capital will lay claim to the fewest company HQs since 2007, although still just over two fifths of the total.

The southeast of England is the main beneficiary, seeing the largest increase in companies ranked on the table. Elsewhere, the northwest will jump ahead of the Midlands. Looking at the cities, Nottingham, notably, is home to three companies – the same as Manchester.


In terms of activity, around a quarter of the companies are involved in the burgeoning cloud computing industry, whether through providing services such as data storage or by developing the software behind new applications. Cyber security firms also feature.


Sitting alongside them are firms being led by dynamic founders developing everything from devices to control energy consumption in people’s homes to vehicle tracking and online betting.

Most of the founders are men, although an increasing number (more than 10%) were started or are led by female entrepreneurs – a topic that will be explored by Hiscox in more detail in the league table supplement and on its Tech Track 100 hub.

Many have set up businesses before, including some that have appeared on past Tech Track 100s, which is no mean feat.


Virtually all of Britain’s privately-owned “unicorns” – tech firms with paper valuations of more than $1bn – will be represented, including fintech and adtech companies. As the league table ranks private companies on their latest three years of sales growth, it suggests that these unicorns’ financial performance is going some way to support their heady valuations.

Just over two fifths of last year’s Tech Track 100 companies are growing quickly enough to secure a place on the league table again. Others are absent because they have been acquired. For instance, the smartphone keyboard app developer SwiftKey was bought by Microsoft for $250m in February, while imaging tech firm Apical was sold to chip designer ARM in May for $350m, two months before the Cambridge-based FTSE 100 company itself agreed to be acquired by Japan’s Softbank for $32bn.

The next generation of fast-growing British tech firms that will hope to emulate their success will be revealed on 11 September.

Fast Track has been identifying the most successful private companies in Britain and ranking them in its league tables published with The Sunday Times since 1997. Find out more about the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 (external link).

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Richard Tyler

Richard Tyler, an experienced writer and editor, leads The Sunday Time's Fast Track research and editorial.