Today we can reveal the inaugural South East Tech 50 – our ranking of the region’s most innovative technology companies.

Reaction Engines leads the way after securing backing from both an independent judging panel and our readers. The Abingdon company is hoping to unlock space with its unique propulsion technology which has been tested with the UK and US governments.

CEO Mark Thomas said it is also “looking beyond the next Concorde” to hyersonic air travel after a trial last year saw it successfully deal with temperatures associated with Mach 5 – five-times the speed of sound.

On winning the South East Tech 50, he added: “It is just a huge accolade. The company has taken a long time to establish itself and we have people that work extremely hard on this because they really, really want to do it.

“But to see that recognised by reputable bodies such as yours against tough competition and more established businesses is really incredible.

“It really gives me a lift, and the team deserve it. They never fail to impress me.”

South East Tech 50 ranking in full

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Oxfordshire contributed four of the top five companies in this year’s Tech 50. Oxford’s Brill Power, which makes lithium ion batteries more reliable and sustainable, came in second.

Oxford nanosystems, also based in Abingdon, improves heat transfer through innovative coating technologies and came in third, with Didcot’s Electrospinning Company, a HealthTech which makes biomaterials to be implanted into human body, fifth.

Guildford-based Swiftaid was Surrey’s top-ranked company in fourth spot. Its tech helps people ‘gift aid’ contactless donations.

Sparkbox (Southampton), Altitude Angel (Reading), GoHenry (Lymington), Percept Imagery (Brighton) and PassivSystems (Newbury) rounded out the top 10.

You can see the full top 50 ranking, which was compiled from a shortlist of 116 disruptive companies creating innovative technology solutions, here.

The ranking was not open to large companies in other sectors with internal R&D departments, eCommerce retailers or technology infrastructure businesses such as telecoms. Agencies were required to be developing bespoke innovative solutions using the latest technologies to be considered.

The public vote on the shortlist attracted almost 500 votes. A panel of expert judges also made their choices. The final 50 ranking was decided from a combination of these.

The judging panel was comprised of:

  • Elizabeth Corse, entrepreneur engagement manager (South East), Tech Nation
  • Tom Fox, tech growth lead, KPMG
  • Sam Peers, business development manager, Blake Morgan LLP
  • Jonathan Symcox, editor, BusinessCloud

South East Tech 50 is one of 11 annual regional ranked lists which shine a light on the companies of all sizes who are doing amazing things with technology.

We publish one ranked list a month every year from February through to December. The rankings are accessible from the ‘featured lists’ dropdown on the website navigation above.

South East Tech 50 ranking in full