The past year has seen a huge rise in the number of tech startups in London and boy are these startups flourishing! Quarter 1 of 2015 saw a record £437 million of funding being secured by startups in the capital and analysis released by London & Partners shows that venture capital investment is expected to exceed £1 billion by the end of this year!
You will, no doubt, have come across at least one of the below tech startups, so it should perhaps be no surprise to learn about how well they are doing in the vibrant exciting city that is London; the perfect place for young businesses to thrive.
Follow them: @Deliveroo
Deliveroo is a food delivery service. It is not responsible for cooking any of the food and purely focuses on delivery. But where it varies from other food delivery services, such as Just Eat and HungryHouse, is that it collects food from restaurants that otherwise wouldn’t deliver, i.e. normally customers would have to collect or eat in the restaurant.
This has turned out to be a very popular service, (it raised £16m in January alone!) with customers now able to order from their favourite restaurant such as Nandos, Hache or Gaucho. Deliveroo is available in ten cities across the UK, in addition to Berlin, Dublin and Paris and with plans to expand into 30 cities in the near future, Deliveroo is certainly going to become a common sight in the takeaway sector.
2. Funding Circle
Follow them: @FundingCircleUK
Funding Circle is a peer to peer online lending platform. Now five years old, it has managed more than £600 million of loans to small firms across both the UK and US (£100 million in Q1 of 2015!) It oversees its network of lenders (40,000 people and institutions) and has, to date, enabled 10,000 loans to be funded.
The startup connects businesses with people and organisations willing and in the position to loan money and thus enables businesses to borrow money directly from these lenders. April 2015 saw it close a £95 million loan (led by DST Global) and the company now has its sights set on reaching its $1 billion target of loans before the year 2015 is up.
Follow them: @WorldRemit
Founded five years ago by Ismail Ahmed, a former UN adviser, WorldRemit is an online-based money sending service, which enables people to use their computer or smart device to send money abroad to friends, family and associates. The service has become very popular because it is not only a lot more convenient but more cost-effective than the more traditional methods that are offered on the high street.
Charging much lower commission rates for transfers, the service raised $100 million in February of this year and now plans to expand globally. With the World Bank estimating that international money transfers will continue to increase, perhaps hitting $646 billion this year, WorldRemit is definitely on to something.
Follow them: @Improbableio
Founded by Cambridge graduates Herman Narula and Rob Whitehead in 2012, Improbable is essentially a ‘virtual world’ (gaming) development company. The company creates simulated environments using distributed systems more often seen in high-frequency trading environments.
These worlds are impressive, can be run in real-time with the aim of being ‘played’ or interacted with by thousands of players at any one time. With $20 million of funding secured from Andreessen Horowitz, an investor who saw fit to invest in Facebook and Twitter, you can see that Improbable is definitely on the road to success.
Follow them: @hassle
Hassle is a three year old company that was founded by Jules Coleman, Alex Depledge and Tom Nimmo in 2012. The ultimate aim of the app is to enable the everyday person to book themselves a trusted, reliable cleaner in as easy a manner as possible, for only £10 an hour. With a focus on the entire process being as hassle-free as possible, with no contract and no enforced regularity, the company also assures its clients that its cleaners are all pre-vetted.
The company has plans to expand their service into other areas such as personal training and tutoring; the $6m in funding that they reived from Accel partners last year will surely help these plans progress and ensure the company continues to write its own success story.
Follow them: @lyst
Five year old Lyst offers a handy aggregation service in that it teams up with designers and stores around the world in order to provide its customers with everything in one place; essentially a one stop shop for fashion. Added to this is its clever personalisation technology, which creates a personalised feed and shopping experience for each individual user.
The company’s sales have seen a 300% growth each year since 2013 and in April of this year it secured $40 million of funding, which speaks volumes for its popularity and investor faith that it will continue to be a success!
Follow them: @qubit
Founded in 2010 by Graham Cooke, Emre Baran, Daniel Shellard and Ian McCaig (ex Google employees) the aim of Qubit is to provide businesses with a platform which will enable them to effectively deliver their big ideas, easily conduct A/B testing, optimise their marketing efforts, accurately analyse data, amongst many other things.
Qubit has built up a good number of well-known clients already, including Emirates, Jimmy Choo, John Lewis, Thomas Cook and Top Shop. Over $36 million in funding has also been received from Accel Partners, Balderton Capital, and Salesforce Ventures and last year the company managed to secure $26 million in order to act on their plans for US and Europe expansion.
Follow them: @knyttan
Knyttan offers its customers a very cool concept in that they can have control over the design of their clothes. The company was founded in 2013 by Ben Alun-Jones, Kirsty Emery and Hal Wats, all RCA graduates, who hold the firm belief that in a world of unlimited choice, you should be able to find something that is perfect.
Their message is simple; they have cut out the middle man. You speak directly with the company who will then design and make you the knitwear you desire. The company is certainly picking up within the fashion industry and has started partnering up with designers such as Nicolas Sassoon and Studio Moross.
Follow them: @Jukedeck
Founded by Ed Rex and Patrick Stobbs both graduates from Cambridge, Jukedeck is a personal music creation site, which uses AI to enable users to generate their own unique music tracks. The process is simple and allows customers to choose a specific genre before the software starts to compose the piece of music.
The resulting music is copyright/ royalty-free and can be created for a range of different outlets, i.e. YouTube, games, videos and even elevators if required! A clever bit of software, Jukedeck has received £500,000 so far in seed funding and also won the HRH The Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace and Le Web in 2014.
Follow them: @JustPark
Justpark is a service that enables pre-bookable parking, which in a city like London is extremely valuable. The service links up users that are looking for a parking space with other users who can offer a parking space. For instance a family that has a free space outside their garage, a church car park, a school or even a pub can list their parking space/s and then customers can book to use them through the Justpark app.
Summer last year saw Justpark team up with BMW where they announced that BMW cars would all include a JustPark dashboard app and earlier this year, the startup also received £3.7 million through crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube. Both events are sure signs that this startup is going places.