These are the tech challenger brands to have on your radar in 2022

6 min readNov 15, 2021


Photo by Yibei Geng on Unsplash

It used to be that the challenger brand was always the underdog. These days, that’s no longer the case. Instead, today, challenger brands are focused on challenging entire categories or customer experiences instead of going up against industry leaders alone.

The challenger brand is defined by its mindset: that its dreams are bigger than its available resources, and it is willing to make bold moves to break through to mainstream consumers. While the pandemic has decimated so many traditional patterns, it’s also created new opportunities for challenger brands to thrive.

These are the challenger brands that we’ve been loving recently!

1. Bought By Many

“The pet insurer has secured one of the biggest tech investments in a UK company this year.” — BBC

After multiple lockdowns last year saw millions of people in the UK turning to new pets for company, pet insurance became increasingly important as well. Bought By Many provides this type of insurance with award-winning technology and exceptional customer service and has doubled revenues annually for the last four years.

They recently raised a Series D funding round worth $350 million and employ more than 150 people at offices in London, Surrey and Birmingham. As the first UK pet insurance provider to offer policies covering pre-existing conditions, online claims processing, and the removal of a 14-day waiting period to claim for switchers, they also provide specialised insurance for exotic pets, including birds, mammals and reptiles.

Read more here.

2. SumUp

“Targeting businesses that were either not yet accepting card payments because they were too expensive or complicated, or were using costly traditional alternatives from banks, they quickly picked up steam and represented a new wave of tech-enabled fintech services catering to small and medium-sized businesses.” — TechCrunch

Whether you’re a street food vendor, a salon owner or a sales assistant, SumUp can empower you to accept card payments in-store, in-app and online, in a simple, secure and cost-effective way. The company gives access to financial services to the millions of businesses considered too small for most providers.

Today, their card readers are used by over three million merchants around the world. SumUp’s main product is an EMV card reader, which can read the magnetic strip, Chip and Pin, and contactless payment cards. The card reader pairs with an Android or iOS-based smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth to verify payments through the Internet. The company prides itself on having no fixed costs, hidden fees, bureaucracy or surprises.

Read more here.

2. BenevolentAI

“The specialists at BenevolentAI are among many A.I. researchers and data scientists around the world who have turned their attention to the coronavirus, hoping they can accelerate efforts to understand how it is spreading, treat people who have it and find a vaccine.” — The New York Times

BenevolentAI is at the forefront of a revolution in drug discovery and development, blending advanced AI and machine learning with cutting-edge science to decipher complex disease biology and discover optimum therapeutic interventions. Their computational R&D platform spans every step of the drug discovery process, from early discovery towards clinical phases.

With several successful collaborations with leading pharmaceutical organisations, they are the only AI-drug discovery company with a clinically validated approach, having discovered a leading repurposed drug candidate for COVID-19. Headquartered in London with a research facility in Cambridge (UK) and an office in New York, their team of several hundred scientists and technologists aims to reinvent drug discovery and advance life-changing drugs.

Read more here.


“The one-stop-shop has won some of the world’s top brands as clients, processing more than 150+ currencies on behalf of brands like TransferWise, Deliveroo, Virgin, and Adidas.” — Places 2nd in the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50

These days there is an increasingly strong preference for digital payments, especially as consumers shop online more frequently, with 62 per cent of them paying via card or digital wallet. In the traditional processing model, four parties are required to allow the transaction, but directly connects the merchant, the card scheme and the issuer.

This cloud-based payments platform helps businesses with actionable, end-to-end data insights, giving a complete picture of money flowing in and out of business. This allows smarter and faster decisions, and their flexible tools adapt in real-time to keep companies compliant and ahead of risk. They have grown to be a team in over nineteen international offices, supporting thousands of businesses worldwide, with clients including Deliveroo, Adidas, and Samsung.

Read more here.

4. Feast It

“The events sector is moving swiftly towards a digital revolution and Feast It is central to that.” — UKTN

Feast It is an online marketplace allowing customers to book independent caterers for work or social events. It started when two childhood friends, Digby and Hugo, spent years working in the events, festival and food industries and grew frustrated by the difficulties of booking suppliers for events. There was no way to explore options quickly, and the best suppliers were kept closely guarded by expensive event planners.

Feast It is a modern, simple-to-use platform with a carefully curated list of over a thousand of the UK’s best suppliers. Anyone can book directly within a few clicks. The company has worked with high profile events, including Secret Cinema and Pride in London. They recently raised £1.7M funding to take advantage of the predicted events boom.

Read more here.

5. True Layer

“TrueLayer, which provides technology for developers to enable a range of open-banking-based services has raised $130 million in a funding round that values the London-based startup at over $1 billion.” — TechCrunch

Open Banking is a relatively new area in fintech, with the U.K. being an early adopter in 2018, followed by Europe and an increasing amount of movement from the USA. TrueLayer is a pioneer in this space, with 50% of open banking traffic in the UK, Ireland, and Spain flowing through their platform. Their global open banking platform makes it easy for anyone to build better financial experiences.

Founded in 2016, they are now trusted by millions of consumers and businesses around the world, with a vision to create a financial system that works for everyone. Businesses of every size use TrueLayer to power their payments, access financial insights, and onboard customers across Europe, the UK, and Australia.

Read more here.

6. Zenobē

“London is home to 416 climate tech companies — the biggest cluster in Europe. It is one of the world’s most advanced ecosystems for climate tech.” — Quartz

Zenobē Energy is the largest independent owner and operator of battery storage in the UK, aiming to make clean power accessible. They design, finance, build and operate battery solutions for the Power and Transport sectors, from capturing renewable energy, balancing its supply and demand on the grid and transporting this power to their electric vehicle fleets.

They have started construction of a new energy storage facility which is set to be Europe’s biggest battery and the world’s first to absorb reactive power directly from the transmission grid. Completion is scheduled for April 2022, and the scheme is supported by a reactive power contract awarded by National Grid and a long-term route to market agreement with EDF Trading.

Read more here.

7. Hopin

“Hopin is one of the fastest-growing startups in history.” — Harvard Business Review

Hopin is an online events platform. Incorporated in London in 2019 with a handful of employees, these days, it is approaching 1,000 staff around the world and supporting millions of attendees at virtual conferences hosted by over 100,000 customers, including the United Nations, NATO and Unilever.

A fully-remote company without any office address, it provides a virtual venue with multiple interactive areas optimised for engaging. Specifically, it facilitates live video interactions between participants, including automated, random (or targeted) one-on-one networking, numerous concurrent virtual roundtables for breakout group discussions, a stage for live broadcasting to hundreds of thousands of people, and an expo booth for interacting with sponsors and vendors. With proprietary video teleconferencing software, in 2021, the company was valued at almost six billion pounds.

Read more here.


As the entire world adjusts to the pandemic and various industries take unexpected turns, the above companies — which many people have currently never heard of — are set to emerge as tomorrow’s household names. We know we aren’t the only ones to watch their ongoing progress and see where they develop next.

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