With YPlan winning plaudits for its pioneering mobile ticketing app, online food delivery service Just Eat now operating 13 new countries and finance providers such as Crowdcube breaking new investment records, UK tech businesses surpassed expectations in 2014 and have raised the bar high for the year to come. Small businesses are now receiving more government recognition and according to Speakers Corner’s Technology Expert, Kate Russell, crowdfunding is supposed to have injected $65 billion into the global economy by the end 2014. So with startups finding more ways to raise funds and with competition now at an all-time high, who will make the headlines in 2015? Who will be the talk of the Silicon Round-about? And which products will captivate investors? Here are a few UK based technology companies worth keeping an eye out for this year.
Consumers are gradually getting used to having services and products delivered immediately at the touch of a button. Digital platforms such as Uber and Just Eat, have transformed and enhanced the way we deliver and receive the services we need and on-demand apps are now becoming a growing trend in the UK market. Bizzby is a unique new addition to the service industry and allows users to summon cleaners, electricians, plumbers and beauticians from their smartphones in a matter of minutes. So whether you need your boiler fixed immediately or have experienced an unexpected power cut, Bizzby can arrange a professional to be at your door within thirty minutes. The app uses a proprietary algorithm to ensure supply and demand is balanced and jobs are distributed evenly amongst the company’s list of over 500 vetted professionals. By using an efficient ‘InstantPay’ system, service providers are paid as soon as the job has been completed and no longer have to wait for weekly or monthly pay-outs. Bizzby was set up in 2014 by tech entrepreneur Rohan Sinclair Luvaglio, and has since been downloaded over 80,000 times. Last March the company managed to raise $10 million from a US-based Hedge Fund and is now expected to flourish in 2015.
Buying a new car has never been an easy process. With an array of dealers to choose from and with so many variables to consider such as price, model and mileage, research can be time-consuming and often needs to be conducted thoroughly before you purchase. Carwow’s online comparison platform allows users to build their perfect car and receive offers and quotes from trusted dealers registered with the company. By reversing the marketplace in favour of the customer, users can compare the offers they receive based on price, location or reviews and can decide to message dealers anonymously or over the phone. Since the site launched in 2013, it has grown in stature and is now considered the number one new car buying site in the UK. Carwow has driven more than £150 million in car sales for dealerships across the UK and has recently received £4.6 million from a number of high profile investors to help it continue to grow in 2015.
Contactless payment is becoming a fast growing phenomenon in the UK since banks began to fit debit cards with pioneering contactless technology. Retailers now recognise this new payment method as a faster, simpler and more accessible way to buy goods and have started to implement contactless payment devices in stores all over the UK. London based startup Yoyo went live last year and is very much leading the way when it comes to the development of mobile payment and loyalty cards in the UK. The company’s mobile platform allows customers to pay for products and collect loyalty points with one quick scan. The app integrates at the point of sale and allows businesses to examine valuable sales data in order to better target customers with rewards, offers and incentives. There are very few platforms which combine loyalty card schemes with mobile payment and Yoyo is definitely unique in this respect. The company has already received an investment from Imperial College London, where thousands of students have started to use the service, and has raised a total of $5 million from other investors over the last year. Yoyo is now looking to expand into the high street and hopes to encourage more consumers to use mobile payment in 2015.
Staying up to date with the latest sports news, gossip and events often involves visiting several trustworthy sites, trawling through Twitter feeds or downloading multiple apps. Sportlobster is a unique new social network which collates news, rumours, blogs and forums from the world of sport and displays them according to the user’s preferences and interests. Sports coverage on existing social networking sites has been described as disjointed and unreliable, so web developers at Sportslobster have found a way to aggregate the very best sports content and display it on a platform which encourages fans to chat and share their views through blogs and 500 character posts. So far the site and app has 1.9m users from 227 territories and fans can now choose to follow more than 40 sports. The company has even received financial backing from sports stars such as Michael Owen and Mark Webber and is aiming to take sports conversations away from Twitter and Facebook in 2015.
Over the last few years, pop-up shops and restaurants have become fashionable new additions to UK high streets and shopping centres. From smart fashion boutiques to vibrant bars and lunch spots, short term retail spaces can significantly enhance consumer exposure and aim to create unique environments where companies can trial new products and services. Appear Here’s site connects commercial landlords who have temporary retail space with UK brands and retailers looking to set up pop-up shops or product launch events. Covering a range of destinations across the UK, the company aims to give high streets a new lease of life and helps brands generate exposure in the regions which matter. The startup has facilitated over 500 short-term lets in the last year and has so far raised £4.7 million from investors from across Europe.
Photograph courtesy of StartupStockPhotos