Thinking of starting a business? Well, look no further than the British tech industry.
With estimates from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) that there’s well over 270,000 businesses operating in the digital economy, you’ll be in good company if you’re bitten by the tech bug.
From edtech to gaming, health & beauty to travel, every industry you can think of is rife for disruption with modern day millennials and digital natives craving convenience at their fingertips.
Think you have an idea? Or still waiting for that lightbulb moment? We’ve compiled a list of 101 British tech business ideas to help inspire you!
Browse the list below or jump to the sector that piques your interest.
Having previously worked with the likes of U2 and Sinead O’Connor, music producer Tim Hegarty became increasingly frustrated with the lack of a viable income for songwriters. While producing an album for Bath band DERRY alongside Alex Pilkington, the pair came up with the idea for Bagzit. Encoding any form of broadcast audio with a special digital code, Bagzit enables brand-to-fan 360 interaction directly via mobile which allows for monetising opportunities for musicians.
It’s vital for modern brands to engage with the millennial audience, but, according to Fanbytes, advertising to this core market is broken. Timothy Armoo and Ambrose Cooke’s company helps brands increase their awareness to millennials – driving sales, subscriptions or downloads – by collaborating with social media influencers on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. In turn, influencers can monetise and grow their audiences.
London adtech start-up wayve’s 360 degree advertising platform claims to “re-define the end-to-end advertising workflow process”, by enabling creative agencies, publishers and media agencies to create, distribute and monitor their campaigns across any device. wayve works with The Financial Times, Bloomberg and Business Insider. Launched by Jamie Parker, founder of creative digital agency Kodu, wayve secured £300,000 seed investment in September to put its expansion plans into motion.
Frustrated with the way desktop formatted adverts didn’t translate well to mobile, serial tech entrepreneurs Jamie Estrin and Jerome Fitzgibbons decided the industry was due an update. Their solution was Zapp360, a real-time, mobile advertising platform allowing advertisers to create more targeted content by delivering messages via a scrolling text bar. With links to web pages, app downloads or videos, consumers are engaged and more likely to click through.
“Built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs”, Comuzi Software aims to help small businesses with their cloud communications and telephony software. Founded by Alexander Fefegha, Akil Benjamin, Richard Fagbolagun and Maciej Jerdzejewski when they were all just 20 years’ old, their success proves their heads are anywhere but the clouds.
Striving to “turn people’s great ideas into incredible products and services”, Maulik Sailor, Vikas Agarwal, Ruchit Jani and Prakash Pilley founded Innovify. Describing itself as a new breed of start-up foundry and technology incubator, the start-up seeks to address the ‘missing gap’ which causes so many new businesses to fail.
Having sold his first start-up for £7m, which he founded at Leeds Met University, Daniel Keighron-Foster was itching to get back into the cloud business. So, after a three-year break, he did just that and founded Steamhaus – a cloud consultancy. Personally investing £500,000 himself, Keighron-Foster aims to provide businesses with a cost-effective and scalable hosting solution.
Headed by the former CEO of YO! Group and based in Chancery Lane, The Crowd is an events company-turned-digital platform that helps support the UK’s business community. Having built up a network of 10,000 corporate sustainability experts through its extensive events programme, founders Ben Patten and Jim Woods launched ‘The Curve’ in April 2015; an online database where companies share their investment data for critical natural resources.
Aiming to ‘democracise entrepreneurship’, Toucan connects aspiring entrepreneurs with world class business mentors in an effort to level the playing field and help turn business ideas into a reality. A digital platform, users simply pitch their ideas online before benefiting from whole host of experts.
Data is a vital resource in the digital age, but many businesses lack the capacity to optimise it. Using their combined experience in digital advertising and direct marketing, Jamie and Katherine Riddell started Birdsong: a pay-as-you-go social media analytics platform that lets brands harness crucial insights into their followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The Suffolk start-up now boasts more than 7,000 users across 150 countries.
Finding information on potential suppliers, customers or partners can be of vital importance to a business, but for small businesses this data has previously been expensive and inaccessible. Company Check was founded to level the playing field: a business information website allowing users to carry out due diligence, credit checks and research. Today the company claims to be the largest single source of data on UK companies.
Based in Peterborough, Datify is a data-driven digital marketing company and brain child of Adam Mason and Ben Harper. Having previously worked as head of search for a digital marketing agency and a social media manager respectively, the pair specialise in search, social media, paid advertising and data analysis.
With more than 10 years spent working in performance marketing and product under his belt, Matt Wheeler had plenty of experience securing customers – experience he drew on when launching his own start-up Driftrock. The London-based firm uses real-world data to help brands target consumers at the perfect time: taxi ads when it’s raining, sun glasses when it’s sunny. Wheeler claims some clients have seen a 40% increase in conversion rates with varying weather conditions, so targeting these peak times can be vital.
Recognising that small businesses were extremely reluctant to either build or pay huge sums for an app, Nick Barnett and David Mannl founded Appsme. An online app builder, Appsme aims to help smaller firms create mobile apps “quickly, easily and cost-effectively”.
With high-end technology traditionally very expensive and complicated, Chris Elsworthy and Kenneth Tam’s Bristol-based product development company CEL seeks to make the latest technology affordable and accessible for ordinary consumers to use at home. The business raised nearly £300,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to launch its 3D printing product the Robox 3D.
Despite being a highly collaborative discipline, software development lacked a modern discussion platform. Having spent seven years in project and product management at Skype, Mike Bartlett was well placed to solve the problem. Alongside Andrew Newdigate he created Gitter, an online platform for software developers to discuss technology. The site, which raised £1.45m last October, has 200,000 registered users across 30,000 public chat communities.
Founder of Magnetic London Kaan Aydogmus doesn’t believe that print is dead, in fact, he thinks it’s evolving. Magnetic London is a design agency that “blends the boundaries between print and digital” by using technology such as augmented reality and video catalogues. Based in London, with offices in Istanbul, this start-up is giving brands a unique way of communicating with their consumers.
Smart Little Web
For the inexperienced, building a website can be extremely difficult and time-consuming. There are countless website builders available, but cloud-based Smart Little Web claims to act as a marketing expert, web developer and designer and SEO consultant rolled into one. The 100% bootstrapped business was founded by Chris John and Joel Calliste who previously ran a software consultancy called Jelerang.
Having set up his first start-up back in 2005, serial entrepreneur Jon Woodall founded e-commerce development business Space 48 in 2008. Helping businesses with development, design and digital marketing, Space 48 also holds the title of Google Partner meaning it’s trusted and certified by Google for following its best practices.
A truly unique concept, Chargifi hopes to solve the near universal problem of mobile phones dying with its global wireless charging network. Founded by Dan Bladen and Charlie Cannell, users can access mobile power using the free app in any public location with a ‘Chargifi Spot’ – such as a bar, stadium or hotel. The service, which closed a $2.7m Series A last year – also benefits venues by driving footfall and claims to increase dwell time by up to 40%.
Connecting businesses with their target demographic, FanFinders allows consumers to benefit from special discount offers in exchange for connecting them with their favourite brands via ‘clubs’. Their first club, YourBabyClub, is claimed to be the “fastest growing community for new mums in the UK” with around 40,000 mums a month signing up.
Attempting to disrupt older ‘media-type’ agencies, digital natives Aaron Dicks and Tom Craig founded Impression Digital. A full-service digital marketing agency, the Nottingham-based startup covers everything from SEO to pay-per click advertising. With Dicks and Craig still only both in their 20’s, we get the impression we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the future.
A portmanteau of screen and reach, Robert Rawlinson’s Screach enables venues to transform their underused screens into a powerful marketing tool through the creation of a bespoke TV channel advertising its in-house promotions and events. Targeting pubs – of which there are an estimated 150,000 with under-utilised TVs – Screach could be on the verge of a significant market. To date, the company has raised £3.7m and just about to embark on a crowdfunding campaign.
Believing that most of the media monitoring services set up in the 1990’s “failed to move with the times”, David Benigson, Wesley Hall, and Dr Miguel Martinez established Signal. A brand monitoring and market intelligence start-up, Signal collects three and a half million articles every day to give users a snapshot of all the most relevant stories, events, influencers and trends. Having raised a £1.2m seed round from investors in September 2014, all the signals are there that this Shoreditch based start-up is on the road to success.
“Utilising the real estate of the locked screen of smartphones”, Sliide is a mobile app that delivers curated content and weekly prizes direct to your phone’s lock screen. Founded by Corbyn Munnik, Frankie Kearney and Paul Johnston, Sliide raised £325,000 worth of seed round investment after Kearney and Munnik were granted a place on the Sirius Programme; UKTI’s graduate entrepreneurs programme.
Looking to get the elderly online, Breezie provides user-friendly, personalised tablets to some of the 5.7 million digitally isolated UK adults who’ve never used the internet. Believing bigger companies like Apple and Microsoft are too focused on the general population, Jeh Kazim believes he’s found a niche with the silver market. And it looks like he’s right with Breezie raising over £600,000 in just six weeks.
By the time they were revising for their GCSEs, Simon Hay and Joe Mathewson say most of their year group were using the platform they’d built to store and share revision notes. Just a few years on and their intranet and virtual learning environment Firefly is available nationwide, and can be used by teachers, pupils and parents, to see upcoming lessons, view and submit homework and school announcements.
Instead of the simplistic and workaday content offered by most educational games, Kuato Studios combines high production values and “pioneering learning methods” in an attempt to engage an audience raised on frenetic video games. The company offers an alternative to test-based learning, claiming to use game mechanics to target specific skills including critical thinking, collaborative learning and problem solving.
I Can Make
Co-founded by the former chief technology officer of Moshi Monsters, I Can Make strives to get the 3D printer ‘out of the cupboard and into the classroom’. With funding from Bethnal Green Ventures, the Nominet Trust and Wayra, they’re certainly in good company.
A “Match.com for in-person tutoring”, LearnerLane matches students with the best suited personal tutor in their area. Founded by the trio of Richard Oki, Seun Debiyi and Tom Zabek, the Sheffield-based start-up was the recipient of the prestigious Duke of York’s iDEA award – proving they could probably teach us a thing or two!
Founded by husband and wife team Stephen and Ollie Gardener, welsh start-up Noddlepod is an online learning tool which helps groups of learners share relevant content using a safe and private online system. Having focused on learning and development in their previous careers, the couple hope to make education more engaging in the age of information overload.
Aiming to take the ‘search’ out of ‘research’, RefME is one of those ideas you wish was around during your University days. Founded by Tom Hatton, the free to use service crowdsources information to make referencing your work in an easy automated, quick and easy.
Noticing the potential for technology and the internet to transform the education sector for the better, social gaming entrepreneur Masayuki Watanabe started Quipper: a mobile e-learning platform allowing teachers to create and share lessons with their students online. The London-based service has secured $10m since launch to fulfill its mission of making the “world a smarter, better-connected place”.
Founded by former journalist Victoria Bond, School Guide prides itself on being the ‘one stop shop’ for school data. Taking information from over 30,000 UK schools and presenting it online, School Guide allows parents to cut through curriculum jargon and find the best place to educate their child. Seed-funded in its first year of business (2013) by owner of Natter.com, Neil Stanley, School Guide has since raised £150,000 in SEIS funding.
Former investment bankers Harry Jawanda and Andrew West turned their hands to edtech to bridge what they saw as a growing gap between educators and students in the use of different communication channels. Together they launched WAMBIZ, a platform that creates social networks enabling private peer-to-peer communication such as the sharing of course work and admin information. Based out of Innovation Birmingham, the start-up has raised $2.6m in funding to date. .
Not just an app to allow music fans to book tickets to see their favourite bands with no booking fee, Shoreditch-based DICE employs an expert editorial team that hand picks each and every gig. Additionally, the ‘Waiting List’ feature enables users to request tickets to sold out shows and be first in line for resale if fans can no longer attend a gig. Shortlisted for App Business of the Year at the Startups Awards 2015, DICE has raised £2.5m in seed funding.
According to eet, people are far more likely to walk into restaurants and bars than book in advance. Founded by former banker Ali Meruani, eet enables London diners to “un-plan” their dining experience by informing users how busy venues are before they head out, as well as offering information on aspects such as the menu, opening hours, location, reviews and pictures. The company – which raised a £300,000 funding round – currently provides details on more than 10,000 restaurants in the capital.
Describing itself as “Tinder for food”, former financial market professionals Charles Fattouche and Mehdi Kheloufi’s app saves Londoners from choice paralysis by allowing them to swipe ‘YUM’ or ‘YUK’ on images of meals to receive tailored restaurant recommendations based on cuisine, ingredients and cooking method. The so-far entirely self-funded business is connecting hungry users to hidden gastronomic gems and helping restaurants pull in punters.
After 20 years as a PR director organising and promoting thousands of events for some of music’s big names, 53-year-old Suzanne Noble’s eye for a bargain led to her starting Frugl – the affordable event finding app. With co-founder Tikiri Hulugalle, Frugl got off to a flier, quickly acquiring a German competitor soon after we profiled the Farringdon-based start-up.
After an ‘aha’ moment, entrepreneurs Sam Fresco and Syd Nadim designed SwipeStation – an in-venue device now valued at £1.25m. Allowing customers to pre-order food and drink at major events via their phone (even without internet connection), SwipeStation also gives event-goers the chance to redeem vouchers and promotions in-house.
Surprised that the hospitality industry was so slow to adapt to the demands of affluent millennials, Alex Macdonald and Zia Yusuf founded Velocity – an app that enables diners to reserve, pay and earn rewards on their phone. Founded in 2014, the company has already embarked on a campaign of acquisition, taking over a number of international rivals including UK competitor Uncover.
Bursting onto the fintech scene alongside a number of money transfer rivals, London-based Azimo’s “low-cost, fast and safe” service provides a cash pick-up, bank transfer, mobile top-up and wallet to 198 countries and 20,000 banks – supporting 73 currencies worldwide. Founded by Michael Kent and Marta Krupinska, the firm raised $20m in June last year to expand into North America and Asia.
Having, like everyone, experienced the hassle of paying as a large group in a restaurant, Tom Weaver and Chris Evans founded Flypay to make the process as swift as possible. Allowing restaurant customers to check, split and pay their bill rapidly, the app has received a £1m funding round from venture capital firm Entreé Capital and secured £150,000 seed funding in July 2013 via the seed enterprise investment scheme (SEIS).
Recognising that many small and medium sized businesses struggle to access the necessary funding and investment required, Katrin Herrling and Olivier Beau de Lomenie founded FUNDING XCHANGE. An online marketplace, FUNDING EXCHANGE allows enterprises to learn about funding options, access large panels of providers and even receive offers.
Founded by entrepreneurial brothers Jessal and Miraj Shah, Mayfair FX provides businesses with a secure, user-friendly foreign exchange platform. Having completely self-funded, the duo hopes to offer both transparency and competiveness with an aim to help small and medium-sized businesses with their overseas trading.
Mobile waiter service Orderella “removes the pain points of going out” by allowing you to order and pay on your mobile without having to queue and mess around with cards or cash. At the same time, bar and restaurant staff can concentrate on customer service and gain data insights. Originally bootstrapped by its five founders, the app has since raised £1.6m, with plans for a £5m Series A in the pipeline.
Backed by Sir Alex Ferguson, Pockit prides itself on being “the cheapest and simplest prepaid card” in the UK market. Determined to bring the success of the US market back across the pond, Virraj Jatania, Yuvraj Jatania and Danny Jatania completed their first £1m investment round in May 2014 and hope to see the UK industry ‘explode’ in the coming years.
Seeking to mitigate the lengthy waiting times app developers faced to get paid, Pollen is a new category of velocity capital that enables users to unlock revenue early and quickly reinvest it in their business. With a founding team of app and mobile entrepreneurs and fintech investors, the start-up straddles the fintech hotbeds of London and San Francisco, invigorating the tech scene on both sides of the Atlantic.
Based in Canary Wharf’s Level 39, one of Europe’s leading financial technology accelerators, TransferGo is a digital money transfer start-up. Founded by Daumantas Dvilinskas, Justinas Lasevicius, Arnas Lukosevicius and Edvinas Sersniovas, TransferGo aims for a faster and cheaper money transfer service than traditional and lenders. With over 100,000 users worldwide, the tech start-up raised €200,000 in a seed round led by Baltic venture firm Practica Captial in late 2012.
The short term loan market is broken – and serial entrepreneurs Ged O’Neill and Giles Harridge think they can fix it. Their solution is Uberima, a social enterprise providing short term loans “to the underserved and overcharged”, offering customers the flexibility to borrow from one week to a year and adjust their repayments to their circumstances. The business, based in Manchester’s Media City, is entirely self-funded.
Founded by Ashwin Parameswaran and Rito Haldar, Unbolted is an asset-based peer-to-peer lending platform that allows borrowers to receive fast, private, transparent transfers at “market-beating rates”. Lenders also benefit by choosing how much and what they lend against. With more than two decades of experience in the financial sector between them working for Barclays and HSBC, Parameswaran and Haldar are on a mission to shake up the industry.
A specialist fintech start-up, Validis provide accurate and reliable financial data on-demand for accountancy firms, financial institutions and large corporations. Believing the financial services sector now operates under intense scrutiny where even audits are now considered a loss leader, CEO Simon Leech feels Validis’ use of the latest technology is now a ‘game changer’ for the financial sector.
Billed as “Europe’s fastest growing mobile wallet”, Yoyo aims to reward shoppers while offering non-cash and non-card methods of payments. Founded by Alain Falys, Michael Rolph and Dave Nicholson, the entrepreneurs raised $5m seed funding from Imperial Innovations, Firestartr, angel investors and the Telefonica Group.
An independent games studio, 22cans was the brains behind the highly successful god-simulator Godus, which hit number one on the Apple iOS store in over 19 countries. Believing ‘free-to-play’ games have earned an unwarranted bad reputation, founders Peter Molyneux and Tim Rance believe it “should be the most amazing thing for the gaming community”.
An international TV channel dedicated to video gaming, GINX TV was started by the founding executive of MTV Europe Michiel Bakker to create content for the gamers he feels have been ignored or misrepresented by the mainstream media. London-based GINX now exports its content to 41 countries and claims to be available in 26 million homes globally – with plans to create a suite of apps for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Founded on the belief that “happy moms make for healthy babies”, Baby2Body provides new or pregnant mums with advice, guidance, motivation and inspiration through emails, online courses and an online shop selling specially curated goods. Founded by mum of two and sports psychologist Melinda Nicci, the company is made up of a team of beauty, nutrition and fitness enthusiasts.
Having practised as a doctor in the NHS for over 10 years, Dr James Wilson’s medical expertise and a good business eye lead to the creation of HomeTouch, an online marketplace connecting self-employed carers to people looking for homecare. Backed by Healthbox, UnLtd, the government’s Technology Strategy Board and the Nominet Trust, HomeTouch also raised £400,000 from Passion Capital.
With obesity on the rise and a tech-savvy generation increasingly using smart devices to monitor health, Warren Fauvel and Neil Atherton saw an opportunity. They describe their app ‘Nudjed’ as “the Siri of health advice” – an automated service that can measure the help of an organisation and offer targeted advice to improve employee health. The Cardiff-based start-up has raised £275,000 to date.
Launched in 2013, Toothpick allows consumers to book dental appointments online, seeing real-time availability through live integration with dentists’ calendars. Founded by Sandeep Senghera and Jozef Wallis, the booking platform is funded by some of the UK’s leading early stage investors, including Passion Capital, 1 Seed, EC1 Capital and Launcha.
While running his own headhunting firm, Thomas Drewry noticed a lack of transparency with regards to salary and employee payment so alongside Olivier Beau de Loménie, he co-founded Emolument.com. The tech firm offers a free salary comparison service where users receive detailed and interactive remuneration reports vs. their work and university peers. Last July, Emolument closed a round of funding totalling $1.4m from 10 angel investors and existing backers.
Having raised funding before a “single line of code was written”, student founders Mark Chaffey and Razvan Creanga are on a mission to completely disrupt the tech recruitment sector. Their online recruitment platform Hackajob provides job-specific tests and coding challenges (known as hacks) to its users in an order to speed up the job-hunting process.
Ever wanted to look inside the doors of a start-up before you apply for a job there? Well, now you can. Founded by Lauren Hine and Andy Parker, Zealify showcases the culture, work environment and career opportunities in small businesses – allowing job applicants more insight into what it might be like to work at these companies.
Fivesquid.com is an online marketplace where people can monetise their skills and hobbies for as little as £5, saving businesses money while earning themselves a healthy profit. With 129 categories to choose from, founder Terry Koutsios claims some businesses can save up to £20,000 a year by outsourcing their micro jobs to fivesquid.com, with some members having earned over £14,000 by offering their skills for fixed prices.
At 21, Chris Nkwonta has already founded two businesses and his latest is looking to revolutionsie the car market. Having spent time and energy travelling between dealerships in the hunt for the perfect car and ending up with a faulty one, Nkwonta knew there had to be a better way. VROOMO matches car buyers and seller in a way that aims to eliminate the haggle and risk associated with private buying.
With the “wedding industry crying out for disruption”, Robin Weil feels that weddings should be no exception to the modern trend of online buying. Aimed at tech savvy couples, Wedding Planner (formerly World of Wedmin) claims to be the UK’s first wedding supplier comparison site and offers a unique search tool to find and compare wedding suppliers by location, availability, price and reviews.
With consumers struggling to spend their leisure time economically, and activity providers struggling with customer acquisition, filmmaker and entrepreneur Nelson Sivalingam knew he could benefit them both. His lifestyle subscription service Wonderush connects users to last minute spaces for classes and experiences such as yoga, cocktail making or even crochet. The £29 a month service recently secured £500,000 from Fuel.Ventures.
Launched in 2007, Booking Live’s simple mission is to develop software that makes the process of online booking better for both companies and their customers. Founded by Vinnie Morgan, the Bristol-based company builds tailored and flexible booking software to meet the needs of the nine different industries it serves, as well as offering web development services for companies in need of a website.
Founded by Stuart Sunderland, it’s safe to say that City Pantry is cooking up a storm. A business to business catering platform, it focuses on connecting small food vendors with large corporate lunches and events.
After noticing the industry was rife with ‘distrust’, young founders Andrew Jervis and Felix Kenton founded ClickMechanic in an attempt to turn the car repair market on its head. An online mechanic marketplace, the site has raised around £100,000 to date from investors including former AutoTrader director James Bromley, as well as Imperial Innovations.
Aiming to deliver anything you want direct to your door in under 60 minutes, the Henchman app is the creation of Ryan Perera, Ingmaras Keleras and Dihan Algama. Weather its food from a restaurant that doesn’t deliver, last minute grocery shopping or even an aspirin from the pharmacy, the app assigns you your own personal ‘Henchman’ to buy and deliver for you instantly.
With research showing that 40% of Brits won’t go for more than a day without a phone, iMend.com seeks to satisfy the on-demand market with its call-out mobile phone repair service. Founded by Keir McConomy, the serial entrepreneur is also the man behind the multi-million pound SellMyMobile.com and LoveSales.com. Offering same day collection in most cases, iMend.com send out their experienced repair technicians direct to your door with a ‘no fix no fee’ guarantee.
Nobody likes cleaning, particularly when you’ve got a busy schedule. Spotting an opportunity, Pete Dowds and Tom Brooks quit their city jobs to found on-demand cleaning business Mopp. Using their app, customers can book an experienced local cleaner for a flat rate of £10. Since launch, Mopp has been acquired by German company Handy but still continues to trade under the Mopp brand.
The “AA for bikes”, VonCrank was founded to provide cyclists with the same level of service as motorists. Its team of mechanics repair and service bikes on the streets, at home or in the workplace through an integrated booking, management and payments app. Founded by Cariern Clement-Pascall, formerly a director of a mobile bicycle company, VonCrank has the potential to serve a huge market with an estimated 23 million cycling journeys taking place in London alone last year.
With consumers craving convenience more than ever, Lorenzo Franzi and Florian Färber founded ZipJet – an on-demand laundry app. Operating in both London and Berlin, ZipJet collect customer’s laundry and dry cleaning direct from their door and offer a 24-hour turnaround service, seven days a week.
1ROOF matches people in need of home renovations with the appropriate professionals. Founded by serial entrepreneurs Hugo Sells and Max Mallows, 1ROOF aims to tackle the “fractured” market which they see as being led by “antiquated directories”. Having raised £150,000 in SEIS investment, the site also offers instant estimating software, live advice and payment processing plus a 10 year guarantee.
With negative press surrounding the industry thanks to poor security, price hikes and hidden fees, Peter Gentzel and Daniel Axsäter started bySTORED. with a simple mission: to make storage as easy as it can possibly be. The company’s neat solution is a tailored service with free 80 litre storage crates and the ability to itemise your belongings on an online profile. Although smaller than some of its bigger rivals, this London start-up certainly makes more room for the customer.
Founded on the belief that the streets of a city are like the corridors of a hotel, Nakul Sharma’s Hostmaker has responded to the Airbnb boom by offering a service that takes the hassle out of managing short term rentals. Similar to AirSorted, the service, which currently operates in London, Barcelona, Rome and Paris, provides cleaning, linen rental, welcome packs, guest communication and even design services for Airbnb hosts.
Backed by Facebook and Google executives, the brother and sister duo of Paul and Gemma Young founded Settled in an effort to disrupt the property market. Believing moving house is “one of the most stressful experiences we’ll ever go through”, the pair’s aim is to utilise modern technology to cut out the middleman and help shift control back to the consumer.
Responding to a digital service gap for businesses and their customers, London-based Bouncepad manufactures secure iPad kiosks for retail, education, healthcare, hospitality and leisure spaces. The firm’s products, which pair with an organisation’s existing apps or websites, have been exported to more than 45 countries globally, working with brands including Adidas, McDonald’s, Ralph Lauren and Virgin.
Attempting to disrupt the massive tobacco industry, e-commerce site EcigWizard aims to provide a safer alternative to smoking with its flavoured e-cigarettes. Founded by Aaron Taylor, Oliver Warburton and Ben Potter, the business was entirely self-funded and has since grown into a multi-million-pound business with sales via its platform and over 30 retail stores across the UK.
Converting browsers to buyers is big business in e-commerce and Manchester-based Formisimo is on the front line. Founded by Al Mackin and Tom New, the cloud-based analytics tool helps companies across 83 countries identify where in the checkout process their customers drop out, implement changes and increase that all important conversion rate. The company has raised $1.85m to date.
No longer do bargain hunters of the world have to spend time stalking the supermarket aisles – Notify is an app that sends you a notification when the price of a product you want drops to your target price. Founded by Daniel Benzie and Andy Barr after Benzie had built a tool to track the price drop of a specific item of clothing, the app quickly found traction in his offices and within weeks had been shared thousands of times.
A Cardiff-based B2B platform, Ramp Commerce allows anybody to sell promotional merchandise to customers and fans by uploading designs and having them printed on mugs, clothing and stationery. With print-on-demand, the platform’s 11,000 independent bands and artists are not at risk of excess stock, while data provides advice on sales forecasts, marketing and geographical popularity.
Having sold their previous business VouChaCha for £55m, Ben Brown and Julian Polzella founded Shopwave –an iPad point of sale system. Utilising real-time technology, the pair hope to disrupt the market and “bring retail technology into the 21st century.” Shopwave has so far raised more than £340,000 on CrowdCube and more recently was accepted onto the Wayra accelerator programme – a sure sign they’re set to make some serious waves in the industry.
Counting Marks & Spencer, Land Rover and Puma as clients, Smartzer allows consumers to shop while watching interactive online videos. Pairing this with its analytics platform, Smartzer’s aim is not only to increase sales for its clients but to provide detailed interaction information on customers. The start-up, founded by Karoline Gross, is backed by a group of high-profile angel investors including Experian CTO Frederic Vander Elst.
Trouva (formerly Streethub)
Trouva is an app that allows you to shop in London’s finest boutiques, all from the comfort of your iPhone. Enabling shoppers to browse a combined, real-time catalogue of 10,000 unique home and fashion products, from over 300 independent boutiques across the capital city, Trouva helps support small businesses by exposing them to a larger audience and thus increasing footfall. The app business raised $1.2m in a seed funding round led by Index Ventures and Octopus Investments in December 2013.
Having successfully set up multi-million-pound e-commerce company Jura Watches, Matt Warren was well aware of the hassle and costs incurred when shipping vast quantities of stock. To combat the problem, he founded retail management system Veeqo, helping retailers save time and money by integrating orders, inventory and shipping in one place. The Swansea start-up became the first Welsh company to raise funding through Seedrs in 2013.
Not as violent as its name suggests, FightMe is a collaborative social video network that seeks to bring purpose to video content by asking its users to participate in 30-second challenges. Joelle Hadfield and Jamie Lorenz founded the platform to transform ‘fight’ from a negative to a positive, encouraging young urban creatives to improve through competition and collaboration as part of a community.
Meet and Jam
With Meet and Jam, touring musician Nick Ford-Young and co-founder Peter Fiennes, wanted to solve the “age old problem” of helping musicians to do just that – connect with other musicians and find a place to jam. Online profiles allow users to get a taste of their prospective collaborator’s sound, while the online booking system enables them to find and book a music studio to play in.
With mobile phone cameras rivaling their digital counterparts for quality, Carl Thomas spotted an opportunity to allow anyone to turn likes into cash. He launched miPic – a social media platform that that lets mobile artists and photographers sell their images to a global audience. The start-up won the Innovation Award at the Virgin Media Pitch to Rich competition 2014 just four months after launch.
Natter is a social media app that allows people to do just that – have a natter. Founded by Neil Stanley and Dan Bartlett, the app allows users to communicate through short three word messages called ‘Natters’ and use additional hashtags that engage directly with other users. Backed by Alamex, a technology incubator based in Bath, it’s no wonder this nation of talkers is so keen, with the app attracting over 3,000 active users.
A new breed of social network, Reading-based Pollpic connects its users through the crowdsourcing and sharing of opinions on anything from sports to fashion or music, simply by swiping an image. Unlike other social platforms, Pollpic claims to be able to capture feedback in real time, making it an excellent tool for brands to connect with their customers and fans and to target them with promotions and advertising.
A start-up that claims to be able to make anything the number one trending topic on Twitter in less than half an hour, Manchester-based Social Chain owns more than 300 social media communities across Europe – equivalent to 200 million followers. Founded by Steve Bartlett and Dominic McGregor, the company – which has offices in London and Berlin, received $2m in funding in March from a German talent management firm NVC.
A social app that breaks the mould by revolving around shared interests and passions instead of people, Michael Venn’s Tagstr uses hashtags to organise images, audio and video into specific shared moments and areas of interest. The platform also doesn’t rely on the traditional model of friends or followers, allowing users to share and view content from a wider network. The Cheltenham-based business has raised $2.6m to date.
Attempting to disrupt the messaging app industry, Calum L. Leslie appears to be asking all the right questions. Inspired by his travels in America, the law graduate created Wooju, a question-messaging app designed for when you need a second opinion.
Fed up with the dull and monotonous tours she experienced while travelling with her daughter, Julie-Anne Uggla created Cities Talking: a mobile tour guide app providing 40 specially curated walking tours of 28 cities around the world – with every tour produced by a team of celebrity narrators, writers and entertainers. The company also donates a percentage of all profits to charities in every city where it offers tours.
Fed up with the underrepresented, “patronising and frumpy” family holiday market, Andrew Dent wanted to provide young, time-poor mums with well-delivered and designed content. Familytraveller.com aggregates the best content, deals, offers and tips in one place, searchable by activity type, destination and the age of your children. In 2014, it launched a directory of family-focused small businesses, enabling users to find family specific content and helping the smaller end of the leisure market reach the lucrative family demographic.
Described by its founders as a cross between YouTube and Justgiving, GiveToView looks to democratise fundraising by allowing its users to raise money for charity through the creation and sharing of video content. Users promote their cause and select a particular point within the timeline of the video to ask for a donation of as much or as little as they like to unlock the remainder of the video.
After years of experience working in film production and product development respectively, Emily Forbes and Max Werner founded Seenit – a video collaboration platform. Allowing fans and consumers to co-create videos with their favourite brands, the Holborn-based startup has worked with an impressive roster of organisations since launch including The BBC, STA Travel, Bacardi and Manchester City Football Club.
A video production marketplace, Wooshii was founded by Fergus Dyer-Smith in an effort to make video “easy, accessible and affordable” for businesses of all sizes. With their community of video makers over 10,000 strong, Woshii connects those who make video with those who need it – acting as a gateway to a fragmented, largely freelance community.
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