10 London-based soonicorns to watch

10 London-based soonicorns to watch

Meet the companies on the verge of achieving unicorn status

13 April 2023

London has emerged as a thriving tech hub in recent years, with a growing ecosystem of startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and tech-related events. The city has become a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship, drawing talent from around the world and fostering a dynamic tech scene. London is home to a vibrant startup ecosystem, with numerous technology startups across various industries such as fintech, artificial intelligence, healthtech, proptech, and more. Startups in London benefit from access to a diverse talent pool, world-class universities, and a supportive network of investors, mentors, and accelerators.

A “soonicorn” is a term used to describe a company or startup that is expected to achieve unicorn status in the near future. In the realm of business and entrepreneurship, a “unicorn” typically refers to a privately held startup company with a valuation of over $1 billion. A “soonicorn” is on the path to becoming a unicorn, but has not yet reached that valuation.



Founded: 2015

Valuation: £501.2m

Developer of a cloud-based open banking API. ClearBank facilitates banking-as-a-service by providing accounts, payment solutions, digital banking solutions, and more. It offers multiple solutions including direct debits, clearing transactions, and virtual accounts.




Founded: 2016

Valuation: £109.9m

Glide your way to payday with Cleo—the money app that’s got your back. Trusted by 5+ million users, Cleo can help you save, budget, build credit, or get a cash advance when you hit those “I need money now moments.” Unlike most finance apps, Cleo can turn your complicated money life into a simple chat.



Founded: 2016

Valuation: £685.7m

Freetrade has an app which makes it easier for everyday folk to invest in the stock market. It’s drummed up around $131m in investment since launching in 2016, with around $26m raised through crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. VC backers include Molten Ventures and Left Lane Capital.


Clear Score

Founded: 2014

Valuation: £559.5m

ClearScore allows users to access their credit score and credit report information for free, helps them check how likely they are to be accepted for credit cards and loans and connects them with partnered lenders. It last raised capital from PE firm Invus in June 2021, when it secured $200m at a $700m valuation. 




Founded: 2015

Valuation: $640m+

Fresha provides an online platform for booking beauty and wellness appointments with local businesses. The platform enables customers to discover the salons, book appointments & find deals from salon providers. It also provides businesses with software tools for venue management, as well as marketing management through online sales. 



Founded: 2012

Valuation: £571.4m

PrimaryBid’s platform gives users in the UK access to public company fundraises and IPOs at the same time as institutional investors, and takes no commission on investments made. It’s secured around $253m in funding so far, boosted by its $190m Series C in February 2022, led by Molten Ventures and SoftBank.




Founded: 2016

Valuation: £639.3m

YuLife is an employee benefits engagement platform which encourages members to prioritise their wellbeing. Those that do earn rewards, which can be used on climate-friendly projects like tree planting or meal donations; companies can track their carbon impact through those contributions. YuLife raised a $120m Series C in July 2022, bringing its total funding to around $207m. Investors include LocalGlobe, Anthemis, Creandum, MMC Ventures, Notion Capital, Target Global and Eurazeo.





Founded: 2017

Valuation: £141m

Codat is the universal API for SaaS and financial service providers. The company provides real-time connectivity to enable software providers and financial institutions to build integrated products for their small business customers. Codat handles the heavy lifting of integrations, leaving providers free to focus on how integrations can improve their products for their small business customers.


10x Banking

Founded: 2016

Valuation: £559.4m

Founded by former Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins, 10x Banking offers an operating system for banks to speed up operations and update legacy technology. In July 2021, it raised $187m from investors including BlackRock and Nationwide, bringing its total funding to around $252m.




Founded: 2016

Valuation: £679.3m

Also likely to reach a billion-dollar unicorn valuation is Quantexa. The cyber security company has shown its growth potential several times over, having attended the Future Fifty and Microsoft for Startups accelerator programmes, and been featured in rankings such as the Deloitte Fast 50 and FT 1000. Its technology uses artificial intelligence and big data software to flag illegal activity within a user’s network. Quantexa uses AI to analyse user behaviour data, which it says helps companies reduce the risk of financial crime. The London-based company has raised around $241m to date; in 2021 it raised a $153m Series D from investors including HSBC, Albion VC, Warburg Pincus and Dawn Capital.