100 Best UK Startups

Brid-Aine Parnell

Friday 5 June 2015

Technology is the buzzword of this year’s top 100 startups in Britain, with firms that disrupt old industries, fintech companies and the new businesses behind new inventions dominating the list.

If you need evidence that the UK’s tech sector is booming, look no further than the Startups 100 Index for 2015 it’s filled with tech entrepreneurs, tech disruptors and tech inventors.

The British government carved out a sizeable chunk of its budget for technology and science this year, including £100m for driverless cars, £40m for the Internet of Things and £400m towards investment in science infrastructure up to 2021. But the government isn’t the only investor sinking cash into technology.

According to a report from promotional firm London and Partners earlier this year, London’s tech firms attracted more venture capital financing in the first three months of this year than they did in the whole of 2012. In the first quarter, London companies won over £446m in VC funding, up 66 per cent on the first quarter of 2014 and beating the Q4 record of £269.2m.

This year’s top 100 startups list, compiled by the UK’s independent resource for new businesses, shows where some of that money is going. The biggest trend is the new technology firms that are disrupting old industries. The list features no less than two web-based house cleaning firms, Hassle and Housekeep, as well as firms muscling in on real estate (Purplebricks.com), the law sector (Lexoo), student accommodation (Uniplaces) and even dentistry (Toothpick).

Many of these tech disruptors are about connecting people more easily to the services they want and allowing them to compare these services online. Carwow compiles new car prices from approved dealers, while SalesGossip gathers information on fashion sales and promotions from a range of retailers. Then there are specialists like Snaptrip, which aims to be the lastminute.com of self-catering holidays, and MyShowcase, the online marketplace for beauty products from independent outlets.

Since the global financial crisis, people are increasingly likely to trust in small fintech firms over established major players. That’s created opportunities for firms like Currency Cloud and Whites Technology Group to deal in international transfers and currency exchange, and for firms like Ffrees to create an entirely digital current account aimed at those with no desire to deal with the big banks.

But tech firms aren’t just innovating in old industries  they’re also coming up with wholly new ideas. Captive Media is pitching urinal activated digital advertising; goo.ey is making smartphone cases that stick on to mirrors and glass; while Zerolight has created a 3D interactive virtual car showroom that automotive and aviation companies are using to help plan and build their latest models.

From new ideas to new niches knocked into traditional industries, it looks like tech will feature heavily in the UK’s startups for years to come.

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