On February 1st 2020 Brexit officially became a reality. This year, 2021, is transitional for many British businesses with a lot of legislation changes. Workforce and migration requirements, finances, payments, moving of goods – all those affect the way businesses operate. When it comes to digital assets, many brands had to re-organize their online presence as they are no longer able to register .eu domain names.
75% of funding rounds over $250 million in 2020 include non-European or U.K. investors, which highlights the lack of domestic investors and the potential issues that may cause in the years to come. All that said, British startups proved to be quite resistant and attracted a record $8 Billion in investments in Q1 of 2021, following a record-breaking $15 billion in 2020.
The official top level domain extension for the UK is .uk. It was first registered in July 1985 and has since become popular, often making the top 5 in charts for domain extension popularity. There are quite a few second level extensions like .co.uk, me.uk, ac.uk used for different purposes. Some have been discontinued like govt.uk now replaced by gov.uk or lea.uk intended for local education entities but fallen out of use.
Let’s look at some British brands that stand out. The below five are the top in terms of funds raised.
Checkout.com is building a one-stop shop for all things related to payments. They raised $450 million Series C round, reaching $15 Billion valuation.
Online events platform Hopin raised $400 million at a $5.65 billion valuation in March 2021. Founded less than two years ago, and initially on the domain name hopin.to, the startup benefited hugely from the increasing need for online events due to the pandemic. They have since upgraded to hoping.com and are working on expanding their services.
Cazoo was founded in 2018 by the entrepreneur Alex Chesterman. It is an e-commerce platform for used cars, where people can buy, rent, finance or sell them. Cazoo has raised a total of $1.6B in funding over 8 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Mar 29, 2021. The startup uses Cazoo.co.uk as it’s main domain name but has also secured Cazoo.com to protect its brand and avoid traffic and email leaks.
Graphcore is a startup that develops a microprocessor designed specifically for AI and machine learning applications. It has created a new unique processor, the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU) for artificial intelligence. They operate on the .ai extension, which is very popular with AI startups, as a main domain and also own Graphcore.com. The startup has so far raised a total of $682M in funding over 6 rounds.
Rapyd provides an API-based “fintech-as-a-service” platform covering payments, banking services, fraud protection and more. They have raised a total of $470M in funding and own both Rapyd.net and Rapyd.com.
Here is the complete list of startups and their domain name choices. Interesting to note that new domain extensions like .tv, .biz, .media, .tech seem to be more popular with British startups than with other English speaking markets – 389 of the 1739 businesses listed operate on such names (we have not included the complete breakdown in categories as there doesn’t seem to be any of those new extensions that are more popular than others).
|domain extension||number of companies|
|.co.uk & .uk||47|
The UK seems to be more accepting towards dashes too, there are 106 brands that included a dash in their domain name – still very low but much higher than in most other lists we have compiled.
Here is the complete list for you to review.
|howdengroupholdings.com||Howden Group Holdings|
|nanoporetech.com||Oxford Nanopore Technologies|
|radiuspaymentsolutions.com||Radius Payment Solutions|