Inspiring start ups in start up city
First it was Silicon Roundabout, and now it’s King’s Cross. The neighbourhoods might change, but London has long been a draw for tech workers and startup founders with big ideas they want to bring to life. After Silicon Valley and China, London has the highest concentration of unicorns (startups valued over $1bn) anywhere in the world – making it the perfect location for anyone looking to build a career working for tech companies or start ups – or even launch their own.
At ICON Printing, we’re proud to be at the centre of this – we’ve been serving the tech and creative industries from our East London office for over a decade, counting WeWork, Boiler Room and Google among our clients.
Along with the city’s culture, food scene and nightlife, the concentration of start ups in the capital look set to make it Europe’s tech company hub for the foreseeable future. We’ve rounded up ten of the most exciting – and inspiring – start ups and tech companies in London.
Bloom & Wild
Everybody likes to receive flowers, right? But what about if you’re not in while they’re delivered? Six years ago Bloom & Wild, came up with the idea of hand-cut flowers sent in a letterbox-sized package, making it easier to send flowers to friends and loved ones. Based in London, they’re looking to expand abroad, to Ireland, France and Germany.
When you’re filling out online applications, you might be asked to provide ID scans to be checked. Most likely, the technology to check your upload has been provided by Onfido. Set up in 2012 by Oxford students Husayn Kassai, Eamon Jubbawy and Ruhul Amin, Onfido’s technology recognises more than 600 document formats and uses face recognition AI. Their innovation has been to add safety and security to the way we identify ourselves online.
One of the many challenges of being a refugee can be finding work. Trying to offer a solution was the idea behind Chatterbox, a start up launched three years ago, that employ refugees in the UK as language tutors. Offering conversational practice with native speakers in languages ranging from Mandarin to Farsi, they are already working with several prominent organisations including WeWork and the British Red Cross.
Looking for workspace for your tech company or start up? Check out our round up of best coworking spaces in North and East London – or read our expert guide on how to set up your own one.
Creating products for women’s health, Elvie are one of the biggest startups in the still-fresh world of femtech. The brainchild of Tania Boler and Alexander Asseily, their Elvie Trainer pairs with a smartphone app to help improve the user’s pelvic floor, and their second product, the Elvie Pump, is a silent electric breast pump that can fit in the user’s bra.
Transferwise is a tech company that’s disrupted the expensive business international payments. Launched in 2011 by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, ex-employees of Skype and Deloitte, they wanted to find an alternative to the prohibitive fees charged by the banks to move money internationally. They’ve since grown to become one of the leading lights in London’s fintech scene, moving more than $4bn dollars every month.
Have you ever wanted to fill out surveys for money? If so, Streetbees could be the app for you. This four-year-old London startup, set up by Tugce Bulut and Oliver May, allows companies to commission surveys, photos and videos from its users. Their clients include PepsiCo, Vodafone and L’Oreal, and users can earn up to $10 for their responses.
If you live in London, you’ve undoubtedly seen – and possibly are one of – the countless scooter riders bearing Deliveroo and Ubereats deliveries to homes and offices across the capital. Zego, founded by Harry Franks, Sten Saar and Stuart Kelly in 2016, is a start up that wants to provide insurance to those drivers, offering pay-as-you-go scooter and car insurance plans to gig economy workers.
It can be tough for small businesses to find credit. This money can be vital for expanding or investing by small business owners, and it’s here where this start up saw their opening. Set up as a peer-to-peer lender, businesses in the UK can borrow up to £1m. Funding Circle vet potential businesses and connect them with investors looking to provide loans.
There’s been plenty of news stories lately about high street businesses struggling. Trouva are trying to help fix that, creating a digital platform for bricks-and-mortar stores to sell their products online. Launched in 2015 by Mandeep Singh and Alex Loizou, they describe themselves as “anti-Amazon”, and have over 450 business using their service.
If you’re not in possession of one, you’ve almost certainly seen one of Monzo’s neon orange debit cards flashed at a bar or supermarket checkout. This fintech startup is all about making banking easier – its easy-to-use app and free cash withdrawals abroad have seen it attract 2 million users. In just four years Monzo has become an essential banking app for millennials.