Wednesday 10 March 2021 3:29 pm

Exclusive: Teams rival Starleaf plots London float as demand surges

British video call and messaging firm Starleaf is plotting an initial public offering in London after demand for its services surged during the pandemic, City A.M. can reveal.

Watford-based Starleaf, whose platform is used by major corporate clients including the NHS, booked a record year of trading in 2020 amid the shift to home working.

Chief executive Mark Richer told City A.M. the company was now eyeing a London stock market debut in the next two to three years.

“We definitely feel that the most logical progression for Starleaf is an IPO and absolutely our preferred place to do it is London,” he said.

The tech boss said the City was a “great fit” for the company, adding that the London market was “very open to welcoming, supporting and nurturing European and British tech champions”.

Pandemic boost

Starleaf, which positions itself as a security-focused rival to Microsoft Teams and Zoom, was among the major winners of the pandemic, hosting just under 13m calls in the third quarter alone — an almost fivefold increase on the previous year.

In the first half of the year, revenue grew 13 per cent to $15.1m (£10.8m).

The enterprise-focused tech firm counts the NHS among its biggest clients, providing video call and messaging services to more than 100 healthcare organisations.

It has also inked deals with aerospace giant GKN, as well as clients in government departments and education.

Richer said his company’s platform offered the usability of apps such as Whatsapp while providing heightened security and central control over data.

“The fundamental thing that we’re devoted to is delivering simple solutions that people can use,” he said.

Starleaf, which was founded in 2008, makes 80 per cent of its revenue abroad. However, its research and development, intellectual property and most of its staff is based in the UK.

The firm hired an additional 59 employees over the course of the year, including 40 at its Watford headquarters.

Starleaf today also named engineering director Sam Jansen as its new chief technology officer. He takes over from co-founder William MacDonald, who is appointed chief strategy officer.