With the UK being one of the leading countries in Europe for startups, it’s exciting to think of what the new decade will bring to this booming sector. This millennium has already seen a majorly disruptive rise in startups, changing many of the ways we interact with the world around us, including how we eat, sleep, and even socialise.
What this new decade has in store for the startup world is, for now, unknown. However, with so many innovative new companies just starting out, TechRound explores the ones to watch for 2020, and what they could bring to the future of the UK’s startup scene.
Founder(s): Matthew Reed and Andy Santoni
Company: Equipsme provides simple and affordable health insurance plans for businesses
Founded in 2017, Equipsme is a startup that offers simple, flexible health insurance plans for businesses. These plans are affordable, and start from as low as £7 per month (per person).
The plans are simple for members to both use and understand; being clear about what is and isn’t covered, whilst giving people the option to upgrade and add members of their family to the plan. There are also no medical questions for applying, with members simply requiring a three year pre-existing condition exclusion.
Name: Nutra Tea
Founder(s): Mikesh Patel
Company: Nutra Tea offer a range of tea blends to provide various different health benefits, including teas to alleviate anxiety, to promote thyroid health and even to help with post-alcohol recovery.
Founded in 2019, Nutra Tea’s products aim to help promote a whole host of different health benefits. The products now available on the Nutra Tea website have been perfected over the course 3 years and are collected from over 20 different countries.
The teas are comprised of unique blends with ingredients offering certain health benefits. For example, the product NutraLiver includes milk thistle, an ingredient known to promote healthy liver functioning, as well as peppermint to help reduce feelings of nausea.
Founder(s): Jonathan Shapiro and Dani Katz
Company: Optalitix is a company that uses AI and data driven products to help businesses better understand their customers.
Founded in 2013, Optalitix helps businesses to better understand their customers through AI and data driven products.
Optalitix not only helps businesses gain a deeper understanding about their customer base, but can also help them to retain these customers, and acquire more. The startup is comprised of technologists, data scientists and specialised actuaries all helping to provide their clients with insightful data to retain and increase their customer base.
Name: Calming Blankets
Founder(s): Davie Fogarty
Company: Calming Blankets provides products to help reduce anxiety and promote sleep, including weighted blankets and sensory sheets.
Founded in 2017, Calming Blankets is a company that provides products specifically engineered to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, stress, insomnia and sensory disorders.
In doing this, it also helps to promote a better night’s sleep, with their weighted blankets incorporating deep pressure stimulation to increase the production of melatonin and serotonin, and providing a sense of calm and relaxation to its user. Their weighted blankets help to activate the nervous system, helping the body to better identify its surroundings, and thereby providing proprioceptive input. This helps its user to relax, and enjoy a calm and peaceful sleep.
Founder(s): Shachar Bialick
Company: Curve helps users to spend from any of their accounts through one smart card. Through this card, people can also securely send money and save on excess fees.
Founded in 2015, Curve helps to simplify how people not only spend their money but also save, send and view it. The Curve smart card enables users to spend money from a variety of different accounts all on one card.
Curve, as stated by the company, “is to Banking what Netflix is to TV and Spotify to Music”, helping users to access and manage their accounts all in one place. With Curve, users can “time travel” – moving a charge previously made on one card onto another. There are currently three Curve cards available in the UK, these being the Curve Blue (no subscription costs), Curve Black (£9.99 per month) and Curve Metal (£14.99 per month).
Name: Fund Ourselves
Founder(s): Nadeem Siam and Tuomas Hietanen
Company: Fund Ourselves is an innovative fintech platform, redefining short-term peer-to-peer lending by making it more transparent and manageable.
Committed to exposing the current financial market’s flaws, Fund Ourselves is a platform offering easy to use financial products to help people both invest through lending and to borrow.
Fund Ourselves has flexible repayments for borrowers, no early repayment charges, and no hidden costs, making borrowing a short-term loan honest and straight forward. Lenders have flexible investment terms, are able to choose their own return, and can earn up to 15% interest.
Crown and Paw
Name: Crown and Paw
Founder(s): George Smith
Company: Crown and Paw is a company that provides prints of your pets in the style of a Renaissance-era oil painting.
Founded as a passion project when traveling around beautiful art galleries in Europe, Crown and Paw is a company that offers a unique and bespoke service to its clients.
The company has a team of talented artists, who create prints of beloved pets in the style of a Renaissance-era oil painting. Customers simply send off a picture of their pet, choose the portrait style (male or female), and wait for the team to complete the unique masterpiece!
Name: Koru Kids
Founder(s): Rachel Carrell
Company: Koru Kids is an online platform helping those needing childcare to connect with nannies.
Once Rachel Carrell became a Mum, she struggled to find affordable and convenient childcare around London. After finding out her friends were facing the same difficulties, and making sacrifices with their careers because of this, Carrell decided to set up Koru Kids in 2017.
Koru Kids helps those in need of childcare to connect with nannies throughout London. The company was set up to be great childcare that was as convenient and affordable as possible, and since its launch, has received backing from such notable angels as Michael Pennington (co-founder of Gumtree).
Name: White Hat
Founder(s): Euan Blair and Sophie Adelman
Company: A startup helping non-graduate talent to get apprenticeship opportunities with exciting UK companies.
Wanting to use apprenticeships as a way of empowering young people to pursue and develop great careers, White Hat helps to match young non-graduates with fantastic apprenticeship opportunities.
The company uses training, 1-to-1 coaching and the latest tech to offer incredibly valuable apprenticeships that they claim to rival the experience of a university education.
Name: Della AI
Founder(s):Christophe Frèrebeau (CEO)
Company: Della AI helps to improve the efficiency of legal reviews, using its AI software to assist in reviewing legal contracts.
Founded in 2018, Della AI has been developed to understand legal semantics, and aims to help support lawyers’ and businesses to improve the efficiency of reviewing and analysing contracts.
Della AI are passionate about improving the future of law, and claim that their product “is about ‘augmented intelligence’ – not automation – helping lawyers to use their skills smarted and better.”
Founder(s): Ishaan Malhi and Jonathan Galore
Company: Founded in 2015, Trussle is a free mortgage broker service helping to make it easier to find the best mortgage deals.
Inspired whilst the two founders were complaining about how difficult it can be to get a mortgage, Trussle was started to help people find the most suitable home loans for their personal circumstances for free.
The platform not only helps people find the best mortgage deals, but also works out the amount homeowners will end up paying in the long run, and advises when to switch to another deal. In its first year, the startup received backing from some of the leading tech investors in Europe, such as Songkick’s Ian Hogarth, Betfair’s Ed Wray, and Zoopla Property Group, and is now the top online mortgage broker on Trustpilot, with thousands of five-star reviews.
Founder(s): Brent Hoberman, Barney Wragg and Simon Watt
Company: By using a combination of robotics, AI and machine sensing, Karakuri is aiming to revolutionise the way people experience convenience food.
Founded in 2018, Karakuri is a food preparation system that helps to reduce food waste, improve choice and quality, promote healthy eating whilst improving the wellbeing of staff in the food and restaurant industry.
Karakuri has two robots to help it achieve this goal, these being the DK-One and the Marley; both offering to improve efficiency in food preparation by providing customised food portions on a large scale. The startup was listed in Wired as one of Europe’s Hottest Startups in 2019, and in October last year it was announced that famous chef Heston Blumenthal joined the team as a board advisor, the first time the chef has worked directly advising a tech startup.
Founder(s): Peter Briffett and Portman Wills
Company: Wagestream allows employees to access the wages they’ve earned at any time throughout the month.
Founded in 2018, Wagestream helps to improve employee wellbeing and ”financial fitness” through a simple and easy-to-use app.
Employees can access the wages they’ve earned when they need it without altering the payroll process. The startup guarantees, via its employer data, that it can reduce those leaving the business by 16% in under a year. It also guarantees to increase the hours employees work by strengthening the association with work and their earnings.
Founder(s): Sharmadean Reid, Dan Woodbury, Chris Whittleston and Ken Lalobo
Company: An online network allowing beauty professionals to advertise their work and connect with clients.
Beautystack is an app that helps beauty professionals to promote their work, connect with clients, and organise bookings.
Founded in 2017 by Sharmadean Reid, a former salon owner, and joined by the other co-founders shortly after, Reid claims the platform was built to make it easier for clients to access beauty treatments they like the look of online, whilst promoting beauty professionals within the industry, and increasing their slice of an incredibly lucrative, global sector.
Founder(s): Robert Van Bergh and Alex Robinson
Company: Scribeless is a company that uses its technology to create unique, hand-written letters that can be used as part of an effective marketing campaign that promotes customer engagement.
Founded in 2017, Scribeless was developed to improve customer engagement by creating a more personalised and intimate form of contact with potential customers.
Through its technology, Scribeless can create hand-written letters for businesses, these letters being uniquely tailored to each client and able to be produced at scale. Those that have used Scribeless have seen up to a 420% increase in customer engagement, the personal touch to the handwritten letters offering a more intimate relationship with its recipient, thereby making them more likely to engage with the company.
Founder(s): Joseph V Skyora
Company: Cogenis uses its technology to analyse and interpret human emotions whilst online.
Cogenis is an innovative startup comprised of experts in psychology, machine learning and web application, helping you to understand the emotions of particular individuals online.
Their product Wing is particularly popular amongst parents, which can be used to look over a child’s social media and recognise emotions, threats (including cyberbullying, sexting and violence), and wellbeing.
All behaviours and emotions recognised by the Wing app will be sent to the parents to help them better understand their children and any struggles they are facing through their use of the internet.
Founder(s): Atif Syed
Company: Wootzano is a technology startup that has created a product enabling robots to have an almost human-like sensation of touch.
Founded in 2018, Wootzano is an Edinburgh-based tech company revolutionising the meaning of flexible within the tech industry.
Wootzano has developed the product Wootzkin, this being a type of electronic skin that can improve the sophistication of robots carrying out certain tasks. It enables “real-human skin features” for robotics, sensing temperature, humidity, and improving the accuracy and delicacy in robots performing certain tasks.
Founder(s): Robin Knox and Paul Walton
Company: Boundary Technologies is a startup developing the first smart home security system in the country.
Founded in 2018 and based in Edinburgh, Boundary has created The Boundary Alarm, helping people to protect and monitor their homes, even when out of the house.
The Boundary Alarm comprises of a central hub that connects to all of the Boundary security devices within the house, and gives homeowners control over these devices through an app. Boundary’s products are set to meet the security standards for the UK, and are easy to set up within the home.
Founder(s): Jacob Corlett
Company: Shift helps people to move anything from anywhere, perfect for those moving house, moving offices, picking up or dropping off various items.
Shift helps to alleviate the stresses around relocating and moving large items from one place to another; giving users access to thousands of Shifters.
Shift connects drivers (Shifters) to customers, using its technology to draw up the best driver for specified jobs. The company was inspired by another one of Corlett’s business ventures; this being a home moving company based in London.
Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies
Name: Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies
Founder(s): Neil Mahapatra and Gavin Sathianathan
Company: Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT) was created to develop cannabis treatments over a variety of therapeutic areas.
Founded in 2017, OCT is focused on developments within the cannabinoid drug sector.
OCT has set out to explore what potential lies in cannabinoid treatments. The cannabis market is one that has grown in popularity during recent times, and OCT is on a mission to gain a thorough understanding as to its effectiveness and potential.