7 London tech startups you should know right now
Our pick of some of the UK capital’s most promising tech outfits, what they do and why you should know them
London is one of the biggest startup ecosystems in the world. And for good reason.
Home to up to 5,000 active tech startups with a combined valuation of £34 billion, London boasts some of the best IT and technology talent in Europe. It’s also a fast-growing city ripe with investment opportunities. According to community research organisation Tech Nation, total venture capital investment in the UK recently has topped £6billion, more than any other European country.
But who are the ones to look out for? Which companies are most likely to achieve unicorn status in the years ahead? Here are some of the most prominent startups in London right now, and why should know them.
Plum is an AI assistant for your finances. Founded in 2016 by early TransferWise employee Victor Trokoudes along with Alex Michael, the chatbot-based app lives in the Facebook Messenger app and is kind of like an accountant version of Alexa. It works by connecting to your bank account and automatically saving a personalised amount for you, based on your income and outgoings. Chatting with you via Facebook Messenger, it’ll offer smart suggestions of where you could save some dosh, helping you to manage your money and save more easily. Plum recently just disclosing a further £3million in funding, bringing the fintech startup’s total funding to £6m in just over three years.
Originally based in Level39, a financial technology incubator in Canary Wharf, Revolut is yet another successful London fintech startup. Its main draw is that it offers super-easy money services without the headaches of traditional banking, most notably a prepaid debit card that works alongside a mobile app to deliver fee-free currency exchange. Potentially changing the way we spend abroad, Revolut supports spending and ATM withdrawals in 120 currencies as well as sending dosh in 29 different currencies without charges fees, something that most banks just don’t do.
Launched just three years ago, Trouva is an independent retailer’s dream come true. Identifying that customers have long been able to easily access the products they need online, but often found it difficult to uncover products they wanted – the startup is all about discovering “hidden gems”. Essentially bringing boutique curators to the masses, it helps shoppers find a handpicked collection of products from the best independent shops – something that was previously missing from the e-commerce landscape. Currently, the firm brings together more than 350 of the UK’s independent shops and boutiques in over 100 towns and cities and this is set to grow rapidly.
With a mission to help its members reduce their bills and their carbon impact, Bulb is an energy company with a difference. Founded in 2015 by Hayden Wood and Amit Gudka because they were fed up with the way the energy industry treats its customers, Bulb quickly become the UK’s fastest growing energy supplier. The company uses scalable and proprietary tech to work more efficiently than the typical utility model and is thus able to provide 100 percent renewable electricity and 10 percent green gas. After an investment of £60million last year, the company is now supplying over 670,000 households, sourced from independent, renewable generators.
Around four billion people in the world suffer from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems, meaning they are unable to get deliveries or receive aid, for example, because they cannot communicate where they live. Startup What3Words looks to resolve this with a new global addressing system which comes in the form of a website and app which divides the planet’s surface into 57 trillion 3metrex3metre areas, allocating each with a unique three-word address. Raised over £40 million in funding, the startup is currently working on systems to add their mapping API to industrial and travel partners.
Hostmaker is essentially an upmarket Airbnb management service. Founded in 2014 by Nakul Sharma after he and his wife became Airbnb “superhosts”, the startup took shape thanks to research Sharma conducted during his previous role in the hotel industry. Its goal is to make life easier for homeowners who managing short-term rentals across multiple short-stay platforms such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor and Booking.com by offering a range of associated services, from housekeeping by five-star hotel trained staff to professional photography and interior design. The firm secured £11.6million in Series B funding earlier this year and is said to be growing at a rate of 400 per cent year-on-year.
Growing more than 500 percent in the last year and servicing over 60,000 business, fintech startup Soldo looks to make the chore of business expenses much less painful. Providing employees with prepaid cards and limits, it allows companies to more easily budget staff and department spending all in a single account. Founded by Carlo Gualandri, who previously helped create Italy’s first online bank, Soldo closed £45million in Series B funding earlier this year, bringing the total raised by the startup to £50million.