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Paul J. Davies

How a UK Unicorn Was Spawned by a Mundane Idea

Banking software isn’t sexy, but Thought Machine counts JPMorgan, Intesa Sanpaolo and Lloyds Bank among its backers and clients.

Britain has lions —  and unicorns.

Britain has lions —  and unicorns.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe

When Paul Taylor was preparing to quit Google in 2013, he was seeking ideas for his next startup: something fundamental that could scale, but that seemed mundane and had been overlooked. He landed on a perfectly dull-sounding answer: Banking software.

Eight years later, the company he founded in London, Thought Machine Group Ltd., counts JPMorgan Chase & Co. among its global clients and has just been valued at $2.7 billion in a funding round led by Temasek Holdings Pte., a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. Its success belies the view that Britain is falling behind on innovation and startups.