Top 10 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017 // September 1, 2017

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Thinking about starting up a business of your own? Or just very interested in entrepreneurship? We’ve got you covered! Take inspiration from our list of budding Entrepreneurs (in no particular order!) which we, here at TechRound, are very excited to be sharing with you. The entrepreneurs below all have growing businesses which we believe deserve recognition in 2017!

1. Kayley Reed, CEO at Wear Your Label

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About the Business

Kayley Reed, CEO and Creative Director, explains that “Wear Your Label is a fashion brand dedicated to ending the stigma around mental health. Founded by two friends who both experienced mental illness, Wear Your Label was built to create conversations and community through clothing. We’ve removed gender categories from our website, use Role Models instead of fashion models, and include ‘self-care tags’ on every garment, reminding you how to not only care for your clothing, but yourself. 10% of net profits are donated to mental health initiatives in Canada & the USA”.

Wear Your Label’s Growth plans for 2017

“We’re focusing on the growth of our mission: to create conversations around mental health. Fashion has been our medium for the past three years, showing at New York Fashion Week and selling to customers in 35+ countries. Moving forward, we’re bringing to life more stories through collaborative content – going beyond the tangible products that make Wear Your Label what it is, and redefining the conversations happening in the mental health world through some really impactful and engaging digital content.”

One to watch

Wear Your Label has been growing and receiving recognition for their inspiring work. They have recently received recognition as a CAFA Social Impact nominee, Startup Canada Sustainability Award Winner, and Top 25 SheEO Venture.

2. Ben Jefferies, CEO at Influencer

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influenecerAbout the Business

Influencer is a data-driven SaaS platform that connects brands with influential content creators on social media, notably micro creators. We help brands get content produced in a cost effective and scalable way, which is then posted on social media to increase brand awareness and drive sales towards their business.

Influencer’s Growth Plans for 2017

CEO Ben Jeffries states that “We’ve just signed on board Caspar Lee as our new CIO which demonstrates our intent long term to be the worlds largest influencer marketing company. For the rest of 2017, we hope to increase our team to over 10, while also closing our Series A round. Watch this space!”

One to watch

Influencer have proved to indeed be very influential with a client satisfaction rating of 94%! They have been featured by some top names too, such as Marie Claire, Yahoo, London Evening Standard and many more.

3. Niall Green, CEO at Second Screen

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About the Business

Second Screen is an innovative London-based technology startup that builds tailored mobile apps to create local social networks for the music industry, as well as other creative industries. Every Second Screen app is uniquely branded for brands, artists and events, offering bespoke features, brand activation and native advertising campaigns that are relevant to their audience and bring them closer to the experience.

Second Screen’s Growth Plans for 2017

Second Screen has experienced successful growth boasting over 30 live apps including music festivals; Isle of Wight Festival, Fusion Festival, Livewire Festival, Love Supreme and most recently Boardmasters which achieved over 30,000 downloads in its first year (62% of attendees). Second Screen plan to release eleven more and have 6 under construction.
 
Second Screen aims to bridge the gap between fans and artists, venues and festivals. Looking ahead, the company will develop its white-label technology to offer users an unrivalled experience by introducing new functionalities as well as maximising data collected. Second Screen is becoming the first-choice app partner for the music industry and now the company is targeting creative industries beyond music.

One to watch

Second screen have a large range of successful apps based around the music scene such as apps for the Isle of Wight and Fusion music festivals and Gigwise. Check all their apps out here!

4. Jenny Liu, Founder at Bomb Petite

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About the Business

Bomb Petite was founded by Jenny Liu and is the first website in the UK and US that specialises exclusively in fashion clothing for petite women, under 5ft 4in. It is an online marketplace (like Net-a-Porter) which features over 25 retailers and 140 brands allowing petite women to choose fashionable blouses, dresses, jeans and discuss style tips too.

Bomb Petites Growth Plans for 2017

The company is adding new fashion designers to its portfolio and gaining new customers, mostly through Instagram and Pinterest. The company will continue to expand organically online, with no plans to be featured in high street shops. Jenny is currently in talks with potential investors including venture capitalists and another high-street retail brand.

One to watch

Bomb Petite has been featured on a fair number of fashion websites and articles recently, and was described as “more than just a website – it is an online community for petites” by InStyle!

5. Ben Corrigan and Jonny Plein, Founders at Pouch

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About the Business

Ben and Jonny are the co-founders of new money saving tool, Pouch, which launched officially this year and is a browser plug in that will display up to date and valid voucher codes for the sites consumers are shopping on. This will not only save online shoppers money, but time because it cuts out the need for them to trawl the internet looking for codes, that are very often invalid.

Pouch’s Growth Plans for 2017

On 20th August, Pouch featured on Dragon’s Den and successfully secured a £75,000 investment giving up 18% equity in their business. The equity was shared between 3 dragons  (Touker Suleyman,Tej Lalvani and Jenny Campbell) who each received a 6% stake in the business. They will certainly be using the exposure to maximise downloads and brand awareness.

One to watch

As well as being featured on Dragons Den, Pouch has received a huge amount of positive press. They have received recognition from the likes of Forbes, The Telegraph and Startups to name a few! In the words of Startups.co.uk: “The future looks promising for Pouch…”

 

6.Sam Koch and Ben Woolf at ANDi

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About the Business

Have you ever played a game that you had a hard time putting down?

ANDi brings you Tinder for mobile games, The place where the games that you enjoy, love and will cherish forever are matched with you. 

Like dating, but without the heartbreak.

At ANDi we understand the value of playing the right mobile games and how it can change our lives. A simple example of this is taken from the nostalgia we feel from our childhood games, the impact and the feeling it gives us is intrinsic and close to that we have with physical partners experiencing love and good memory.

We believe in giving users the opportunity to recreate this experience with new games, managing the relationships where some last a few weeks to a month, or with the right game, a lifetime.

ANDi’s Growth Plans for 2017

So far, through the year, we have been producing a lot of content across our blog and social media, associated with partners and indie developers to promote games that are diamonds in the rough, industry related topics, product demos, company progresses and more.

As the product unfolds we continuously work with our community to strengthen their user profile and relationship with the games they find and want to play.

One feature in development is driven by an increase in partnerships with eSports companies and game developers to push further content to users and build a news feed into our product like no other ‘app store’ or website. It will provide more personalised viewing for users and more opportunity to support the growing industry of competitive played games and video streaming on mobile

Furthermore, we have been facilitating online mobile game tournaments, and gaining more affiliations to provide gifts to our more engaged users.

We have a many strategies that will help us grow, however, we are not looking to scale right now but to continue to gather more value to users and establish our growth towards the first 100,000 users with a credible and high-quality application.

7. Alex Zhu, CEO and co-founder at musical.ly

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About the Business

musical.ly lets you celebrate and express your creativity through video. Share your humuor, talents, and passions by creating your own vibrant musical.lys. Discover a world of entertaining, original content. Join and connect with an engaged community. Whatever you’re passionate about – comedy, music, beauty, sports, fashion, animals, or anything else – you can find it in musical.ly.

musical.ly’s Growth Plans for 2017

You’ll see lots more from us in terms of better content discovery, personalisation, and creative tools. Our ongoing goal is to help “musers” create and discover the diverse content that they’re most interested, while fostering and showcasing our community’s creativity.

One to Watch

music.ly has users including the top social media influencers of our time, all of who gain large audiences for their creative content. Most notably, “Youtubers” have broken into the music.ly scene and have pushed the popularity and success of the app even further!

8.Aamar Aslam, Funding Invoice

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About the Business

Funding invoice is a growing FinTech company, which is based in Surrey. Funding Invoice offers a fresh take on the old method of funding businesses. They have taken factoring & invoice discounting, removed some of the inefficiencies and built an online platform where any business can then raise fast and flexible finance.With the support of investors, university funding and help from co-founder Kautham Haran, Aslam then launched Funding Invoice in October 2015 straight after graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Warwick.

Funding Invoice’s Growth plans for 2017

Funding Invoice has lent over £6m to small businesses and Aslam expressed his confidence that the company will increase this number to £20m in 2017.

One to Watch

Funding Invoice’s comparatively low, one-time transaction fees, coupled with their flexible approach,  have proved extremely popular with repeat custom from start-ups and small businesses across the UK. Amazingly, Funding Invoice have been profitable from the word go, which Aslam explained had obviously come sooner than expected, especially since with the company reached the milestone of of £1m worth of finance!

9. Laura Jackson & Sam Feller, co-founders of Popcorn Shed

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About the Business

Popcorn Shed is a handmade gourmet popcorn company, founded by cousins Laura & Sam. The popcorn is made using all natural ingredients, which are carefully and thoughtfully sourced, and are free of any added preservatives or additives. The name “Popcorn shed” is very organic, as it refers to innovation and creations taking place in the garden shed of their family home. The current flavour on offer are; Salted Caramel (sea salt caramel popcorn with belgian milk chocolate), Rich Chocolate (chocolate caramel popcorn with belgian milk chocolate) and Pecan Pie (caramel popcorn with gold roasted pecans).

Popcorn Shed’s Growth Plans for 2017

Popcorn Shed claim that they ultimately want to become the number one gourmet popcorn brand of choice all across the world. In pushing on this mission, Popcorn shed aim to provide the best tasting popcorn, top quality service and to create the most deliciously unique flavours.

One to Watch

Popcorn Shed’s dedication to creating  distinctive and innovative flavour combinations paid off. In 2016, this dedication won them an artisan producer’s Award from the BBC Good Food Show, a Great Taste Award for the Salted Caramel flavour and a listing with Harrods, only 3 months after the launch date.

10. Zac Newman, Newman Tuition

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About the Business

Newman Tuition was founded in 2015 by Zac Newman, a tutor with a lot of experience and a qualified teacher.

Zac had set up Newman Tuition, which currently has over 100 tutors based in North London including locations such as Hampstead, Mill Hill and St John’s Wood. Newman Tuition prides itself on offering private tutors for all the core subjects starting from 7+ all the way up to University level. Each of the tutors are DBS checked and the first lesson is offered risk free – so if not 100% satisfied, you will not be charged!

Newman Tuitions Growth Plans for 2017

Newman tuition is working on growing and establishing in other areas around London. Furthermore, the company is dedicated to increasing accessibility to help and tutoring through online technology, Skype tuition and video tuition to help busy students and parents. 

One to Watch

Newman Tuition found itself in the impressive position of runner up in Work Avenue’s Business of the Year, and has been featured in The Guardian and The Good School’s Guide.