Top UK App Developers 2015

Alberto Furlan

In App Development

September 14, 2015

AppIndex_Badge_2015_TopUKApp

The UK app landscape is highly sophisticated, with a large number of developers based all over the country, and given that 66% of British adults own a smartphone, its a large market too. There are plenty of very good developers abroad, but some of us like to do business face-to-face, get to know the personalities who will help our business make “the leap”, maybe even share a pint with them, and the UK is certainly not lacking in choice. This list of Best UK App Developers was hotly contested, but the following companies are the best Britannia has to offer for application development and mobility solutions. The data we’ve collected on the entries is the following:

  • Main Activity: The main avenues of activity of the company, such as straight-up coding, UX/UI design, branding and others.
  • Industry Focus: Previous experience with companies and the sectors in which they operate.
  • Client Size: The size of the companies they usually deal with
  • Company Size: So you know how many people you’ll be dealing with
  • Key Clients: The biggest and best-known clients of the developer, generally large enterprises.
  • Avg. Hourly Rate: A range of rates you might expect to pay for development of your app and other services

Here’s the list, in no particular order:

The App Business

AppBusiness185

The App Business is strongly focussed on enteprise-level work and providing solutions for the mobile age. As they put it, “we reimagine the business and operations of the world’s leading organisations through mobile.” An outstanding example of their work is Unilever’s Executive Information System, “One View”. The platform provides Unilever’s executive with the information they need to make crucial commercial solutions, and this is for the third-largest consumer goods company in the world. With clients like Tesco, Transport for London and News UK, they’ve got big-data mobile solutions down.

Main Activity:
Industry Focus:
Founded: 2009
Client Size:
Company Size: 51-200
Key Clients: News UK, TFL, Debenhams, TESCO
Avg. Hourly Rate:

An example of the Unilever Executive Information System

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Source: theappbusiness.com

Chelsea App Factory

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Chelsea Apps Factory shares its birthday with the iPad and is located, you guessed it, in London but with offices in Edinburgh too. Their team covers both consultancy and strategy as well as UX/UI design and development, and tend to work with enteprise-level companies, and their portfolio includes work for Ladbrokes, KPMG and Waitrose to name a few. In fact they also offer a ready-made Enterprise Content Platform that lets you create your own apps and aimed at streamlining your business process.

Main Activity:
Industry Focus:
Founded: 2010
Client Size:
Company Size: 51-200
Key Clients: Ladbrokes, Waitrose, KPMG
Avg. Hourly Rate:

“This is what we do” by Chelsea Apps Factory

Source: chelsea-apps.com/

Ustwo

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Ustwo are the mobile development company behind Monument Valley, the best game on the iPad for 2014 (and featured in House of Cards as played by Frank Underwood, no less). They open their website by saying “we’re a digital product studio” and the focus on products instead of just apps is key here: they have a philosophy of disruption and innovation in their DNA, and have created a number of ground-breaking solutions for eCommerce, music ticketing and discovery, geolocation and Android Wearables.

Main Activity: Mobile App Development (50%), Web Design and Enterprise Software Development (20%)
Industry Focus: Retail, Consumer products and services, Healthcare and life sciences, IT (all 20%)
Founded: 2004
Client Size: NA
Company Size: 50-249
Key Clients: Sony, Intel, H&M, BBC, J.P. Morgan
Avg. Hourly Rate: $150 – $199

Release trailer for “Monument Valley”, iPad game of the year 2014

Source: youtube.com

Somo

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Somo‘s list of their capabilities for mobile development is pretty long, so here’s just a selection: Marketing strategy, CRM, mobile training, product management, UX/UI design, native and hybrid app design and connected device development. It’s basically an A-Z of everything you need to develop your mobile solution or business, and they’ve worked for DeBeers, British Petroleum and the British Army as well as being ranked n.19 in The Times’ Tech Track 100 in 2014 and winning MOMA and mobile entertainment awards. Clearly, they are doing everything right.

Main Activity: Mobile & App Marketing (55%)
Industry Focus: Automotive, Advertising & Marketing, Media, Consumer products and services (all 20%)
Founded: 2009
Client Size: Midmarket (50%)
Company Size: 50-249
Key Clients: Audi, DeBeers, Expedia
Avg. Hourly Rate: $150 – $199

“We are Somo”

Source: somoglobal.com

hedgehog lab

Hedgehog185

hedgehog lab don’t brag much, but they’d be justified if they did. They’ve done work for Booths, Jamie Oliver and the Financial Times, and still the majority of their 50+ delivered projects is with small businesses. They can do both big and small, and with a relatively tiny team too. hedgehog has offices in Newcastle, where they were founded in 2007, as well as London, Boston and India. Small team, big results all points to one thing: talent and passion for the apps they build.

Main Activity: Mobile App Development (60%), enteprise software development (20%)
Industry Focus: NA
Founded: 2007
Client Size: Small Business (50%), Midmarket (30%)
Company Size: 11-50 employees
Key Clients: Jamie Oliver, FT, News International, Channel 4, East Coast Trains
Avg. Hourly Rate: $100 – $149

hedgehog lab Introductory Video

Source: hedgehoglab.com

Waracle

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Waracle develops for iOS, Android, Windows and the Web, and are extremely flexible in how you first approach them. You could read one of their free whitepapers on app strategy and development, check their best practice guidelines against your app and get a free “app readiness report” or just ask for a free consultation, no string attached. They offer everything from marketing strategy to ideation and development, and have some big names in their trophy cabinet, including but not limited to Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Imperial College London and NHS Scotland. This small team from Scotland is an excellent start to your mobile app.

Main Activity: Mobile App Development (80%)
Industry Focus: NA
Client Size: NA
Founded: 2007
Company Size: 11-50 employees
Key Clients: Clydesdale Bank, Ryder Cup, Virgin Atlantic, Imperial College London
Avg. Hourly Rate: $300+

Some of Waracle’s main clients

Waracle700-02

Source: waracle.net

Future Platforms

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Future Platforms: what can be said about a studio that has developed apps for the Premier League, Wembley Stadium, Glastonbury Festival (since 2011) and the Guardian, to name a few? Their team is composed of both developers, strategists and researchers, so they offer the full spectrum of services when it comes to app development and much else besides (have a look at the spread of their “main activities” below), for iOS, Android and Windows. They’ve also worked for Domino’s pizza for over 9 years now, so if you’ve ordered Domino’s through your phone, you know exactly how good their products are.

Main Activity: Mobile App Development (30%), UI/UX, Testing, Web Development, eCommerce Development, Enteprise software development (all 10%)
Industry Focus: Consumer products and services (35%), Gambling, Hospitality and Leisure, Media, Telecommunications, Advertising and Marketing (all 10%)
Founded: 2000
Client Size: NA
Company Size: 10-49
Key Clients: SKY, BBC, Football Association
Avg. Hourly Rate: $100 – $149

A selection of Future Platform’s work

FuturePlatforms700

Source: futureplatforms.com

Locassa

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Locassa‘s “services cover your entire mobile strategy”, and that is their opening line on their website. The numbers back them up: they’ve published 64 apps for 39 brands, have reached the Apple top 10 for the app’s category eight times, and won seven industry awards, including the Best Audience Migration to Mobile Technology at the Appdesign Awards in 2014. They’ve got experience in content management and media (The Times), social (Kinship), sports (iDrated), games (Birdsong) and events (Hopt Topic) and that’s only scratching the surface.

Main Activity: Mobile app development (60%)
Industry Focus: Consumer products and services (40%)
Founded: 2009
Client Size: Midmarket (60%)
Company Size: 10-49
Key Clients: Cornwall council, Canon, Lucozade
Avg. Hourly Rate: $200 – $300

Tip of the iceberg of Locassa’s portfolio

Locassa700

Source: locassa.com

Iflexion 

Iflexion is huge in its scope. They started in 1999 in Texas, but now with offices in London too, and their presence in the UK plus the massive breadth of quality of their work qualified them for this guide. They’ve got nearly 20 years experience dealing with all types of businesses and offering them mobility solutions, from start-ups to their bigger clients like eBay and Paypal. Strong on app and systems security, they offer a wide range of tech solutions eCommerce, social networking, data mining and content distribution as well as “softer” skills like design and strategy.

Main Activity: Web Development (45%), Mobile app development, Enterprise software development (each 20%)
Industry Focus: IT and Retail (each 15%), Telecommunications, Real Estate and Hospitality and Leisure (10%)
Founded: 1999
Client Size: Midmarket (45%)
Company Size: 50-249
Key Clients: eBay, Paypal, Cisco, Pepsi
Avg. Hourly Rate: $25 – $49

A few of the technologies offered by Iflexion

Iflexion700

Source: iflexion.com

The Sound Pipe Media

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The Sound Pipe Media started out as a record label and recording studio, and have since moved into the realms of app development (for iOS and Android), video production, augmented reality and web development and design. Their portfolio includes photo apps, social networks, fitness and eCommerce apps, as well as high-flying clients like Google UK, the BBC, Walkers and Gazprom. Given their background what they really shine is media and content related applications: they’ve got the skills to manage all parts of the content production cycle and deliver it to your mobile solution.

Main Activity: Mobile App Development (70%)
Industry Focus: Advertising and Marketing (30%), Arts, entertainment and music, Business services (both 20%)
Founded: 2009
Client Size: NA
Company Size: 10-49
Key Clients: Celtic FC, Gazprom, BBC Asian Network
Avg. Hourly Rate: $100 – $149

Desi Geet, an Asian social game developed by The Sound Pipe Media

Source: thesoundpipemedia.com

Final Thoughts:

And there you have it, our favourite UK app developers. We hope this helps you in deciding which company is right for you, your idea and your business – there should be enough variety here for everyone!