23 UK-based tech startups you should know about in 2015

1. Cake Solutions

Based in: Manchester

Founder: Steve Strickland-Wright. Throughout his 15 year career in a range of technical delivery roles (head of technology, delivery lead, programme manager, project manager), Steve has developed a strong commercial acumen that, when coupled with his broad technical experience, brings a unique combination of skills to the team.

Disruptive idea: Cake Invest is one of a raft of new and exciting start-ups that help other young companies in the funding and investment part of their journey. Strickland-Wright describes it as a “proposition to both tech and non-tech founders and entrepreneurs”.

“In exchange for equity in the business, we create a partnership to transform an idea into a technology product and share the business development and growth journey,” he says. “Our primary focus is to build innovative and disruptive solutions whilst removing technology risks to the start-up.”


2. Campaign and Digital Intelligence

Based in: Manchester

Founder: Tim Langley. Cambridge mathematics and Manchester MBA graduate who has founded five companies since 2002.

Disruptive idea: CANDDi specialises in telling companies exactly who is on their website, not just how many people. It tracks visitors across time and multiple devices, combining behavioural data with social profile information to provide actionable sales insight to boost ROI.


3. Captive Media

Based in: London

Founder: Gordon MacSween. Has spent five years researching and developing a product to help advertisers genuinely engage their audience, at a time when attention spans are on the wane.

Disruptive idea: Building a media channel to help advertisers reach 18-30 year-old male consumers. It does so in a way consumers welcome and remember, close to their point of purchase, and with accurate audience measurement. The company has worked with brands like Diageo, Apple and 20th Century Fox and has sales in 12 countries worldwide.


4. Compare Cloudware

Based in: London

Founder: Gary Gould. With over 20 years’ experience in the technology and communications sector, he has held senior marketing and commercial leadership positions with Cisco, BT, Verizon, Panduit and Virgin Media.

Disruptive idea: A comparison website for ICT services. Whilst a simple and contemporary concept, the range of services, ecosystem complexity and emerging shift to Cloud required significant experimentation with the platform and business models – with the full categories going live late in 2014.


5. Deliverd

Based in: Sheffield/Manchester

Founder: Paul Rawlings. Founder, and now ex CEO, of the North East based Screen Reach Interactive. Has mentored and advised on a number of other startups and accelerator programmes.

Disruptive idea: Deliverd is an online networking platform that links up demand, production (via a city’s existing resources) and delivery. With this technology, Deliverd is able to offer a curated menu of the very best chilled and re-heatable food products from kitchens around a city via its app or website.


6. eSeller Express

Based in: London

Founder: Neel Shah. A seasoned entrepreneur with experience spanning a variety of industry sectors including technology, finance, retail and fast-food.

Disruptive idea: E-commerce revenues continue to grow at substantial rates globally with an increasing number of SME’s seeking to participate in the market. This introduces a variety of new challenges that need to be overcome. ESeller Express provides a ready-to-go solution to address some of these challenges.


7. Fluency

Based in: London

Founder: Sinead Mac Manus. With over 14 years in the creative and digital industry, Sinead is a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the RSA, and an UnLtd and Nominet Trust Award winner. She is a well-known figure in London’s tech and social enterprise scene.

Disruptive idea: Fluency, which designs and builds applications, platforms and digital experiences, use a custom-built learning platform that delivers just-in-time micro-courses to learners alongside in-app challenges and peer review. Employer features (in beta) link the modular learning to real-world work opportunities via a jobs board, custom challenges and in-app applications.


8. Formisimo

Based in: Manchester

Founder: Tom New. Pitched at Wired Retail, Pitch at Palace, won Retail Week’s Start Up of the Year and was awarded IoD North West’s Start Up Director of the Year 2015.

Disruptive idea: Formisimo was set up in January of 2014 to help online businesses understand why they lose potential customers at the key final stage of the customer journey, namely where visitors have to enter information online in a form or checkout. It provides the most advanced insight into why customers abandon online forms. Companies can use this insight to make meaningful changes to their online customer experience and see conversion rates increase massively as a result.


9. Horizon Strategic Partners

Based in: Leeds

Founder: Mike Northall. Previously founder of CSF Group, technology company employing 200 staff and sold to Logicalis in 2007.

Disruptive idea: Horizon's main product, Microguide, allows health organisations to manage and deploy their local antimicrobial drugs protocols through a mobile app. Pharmacists can manage their condition guidance and advice through a secure web portal and then publish in the form of Microguides that clinicians can download from the App Store or Google Play. In February, University Hospital Southampton announced that use of Microguide “has supported a sustained reduction in prescribing of high-risk broad-spectrum antibiotics from 40% to 28%”.


10. Jam Pan – Learning Marketplace

Based in: Manchester

Founder: David Wood. Held a number of senior corporate learning and development roles in the public and private sectors. 

Disruptive idea: David set up Jam Pan – Learning Marketplace on the frustrations he had when outsourcing the creation of digital learning projects and from opportunities whilst working within differing organisations. With this frustration he came up with the idea of utilising an online marketplace model targeted at the learning and development sector. Only a number of months later, due to demand from clients, a job board functionality was added to the platform.


11. Kairos Analytics

Based in: Midlands

Founder: Glen Westlake. Successfully exited his BI consulting and SAP VAR practice that he founded 13 years ago to focus on Kairos. Has more than 25 years’ experience of data-driven performance improvement and business intelligence.

Disruptive idea: Kairos is a cloud-based data management platform that has pre-built analytics to deliver the next generation of actionable insights, using machine learning to make intelligent predictions. Combining data management, machine learning, web development and digital marketing, Kairos is an innovative new marketing platform delivering easy customer insight to marketers.


12. MeasureMyEnergy

Based in: Hampshire

Founder: Ben Murphy. From his first enterprise in 1999 to Techtrack100 listings, Murphy has developed a number of ideas into commercial operations in short timeframes.

Disruptive idea: MeasureMyEnergy shows you when and where you spend money on energy, like an itemised bill for utilities. With the detailed information available and a simple user interface, companies and individuals can identify wasted energy, change behaviour and apply controls and technologies to save money.


13. MyCognition

Based in: London

Founder: Keiron Sparrowhawk. Sold his first business, PriceSpective, in 2012, and has led the UK Chapter of Entrepreneur’s Organisation. Sparrowhawk is a renowned global expert in drug development, pricing and market access, even designing and delivering a related Diploma at Cambridge University. 

Disruptive idea: MyCognition is tackling one of the biggest medical and economic challenges facing the world today: the ticking time bomb of cognitive deterioration in an ageing population. While brain training is not new per se, Sparrowhawk’s approach brings something new and innovative to the table by being the world’s first company to integrate cognitive assessment with training,


14. PIE Mapping

Based in: London

Founder: Freddie Talberg. Has more than 15 years technical experience within the telecom sector and ten years working in the mapping and navigation industry. Set up and sold his first global telecoms business in 2002.

Disruptive idea: PIE specialises in turning disparate road data from local authorities into services for road users. As a motorbike rider in London, Talberg lamented the lack of bike-specific mapping data for the capital. So he rode out early each morning for two months and recorded the data – eventually producing the first paper map. The demand for this data was huge and soon data contracts were signed with Yell.com and Bing, among others.


15. Pooch Technologies

Based in: London

Founder: Dan Bauer. Began his career as a software developer and has been involved in technology at the managerial level for 20 years, including roles at NCR, Commtouch, and Hutchison 3G. For the past 10 years, he has been involved in a number of startups as founder or CEO including a ringtones and mobile games business acquired by Trinity Mirror.

Disruptive idea: PoochPal is a smartphone app which helps dog owners find new friends, connect with existing friends, and go on walks or arrange doggie play dates in their local area. PoochPal is focused on building its user base throughout the UK and in major US cities such as New York and Los Angeles. The business will eventually monetise through targeted national or local advertising of pet-related products and services.


16. Radio.co

Based in: Manchester

Founder: Mike Cunsolo. Writer and strategist who has launched and grown products for the likes of Mozilla, Converse, Nesta and Channel 4.

Disruptive idea: Radio.co is a live audio streaming platform for anyone who wants to create a human curated audio experience. You might be a Youtube superstar looking to build a platform for your fans or developer hoping to build Periscope for audio – either way radio.co provides the tools to do this. There hasn’t been a major advance in terms of audio streaming technology in the last 20 years. Radio.co is designed to change this.


17. Sharewell

Based in: London

Founders: Jamie Avi-Dan and Jonathan Ricketts. IT professional with extensive experience in delivering complex multi million pound software and infrastructure development programmes across financial services, media, and within the ‘Big Four’ global consulting organisations.

Disruptive idea: ShareOptic is a cloud security service that protects individuals and organisations who share documents across the Internet. It utilises advanced artificial intelligence techniques to scans electronic identities, in order identify and respond to threats in seconds. The product lowers the barrier to adopting cloud storage solutions, in a cost effective manner, without compromising on security and compliance requirements.


18. Shopitize

Based in: London

Founder: Carl Engelmarc. An experienced entrepreneur who has built numerous successful start-ups and global mature businesses in the advertising, media and digital space.

Disruptive idea: Shopitize is a unique mobile marketing platform that enables brands and merchants to grow sales and drive loyalty by providing tailored offers and promotions to shoppers. In so doing, Shopitize significantly improves brand and merchant ROI by influencing individual shoppers’ path-to-purchase and closing the loop between their engagement and purchase decisions across multiple retailers without the need for any retailer POS integration.


19. Smartzer

Based in: London

Founder: Karoline Gross. Has previous startup experience as founder of Blackpearl Pictures, a Los Angeles based production company, as well as experience in fashion, retail, and marketing.

Disruptive idea: Smartzer was founded in 2012, initial as an interactive video app. Through a number of iterations the product as now evolved to a web based interactive video player any company can use on their website. The player allows consumers to click on items within a video to make purchases or pre order items. There is also an extensive analytics component providing valuable demand prediction analytics as well as deep understanding of how consumers interact with video content.


20. The Idle Man

Based in: London

Founder: Oliver Tezcan. Former head of men’s brands at Asos.com.

Disruptive idea: Launched in 2014, The Idle Man is the first pure-play e-commerce retailer dedicated to young menswear. Its motto is ‘Style Made Easy’ –“helping men look good with minimum effort”. Its senior team brings experience from Asos, Amazon, Topman and Selfridges.


21. Tevva Motors

Based in: London

Founder: Asher Bennett. Gas more than 18 years experience in electric vehicles, devising and implementing high value added production / supply solutions. He is a former submarine Naval Officer and has an MBA from IMD, Switzerland.

Disruptive idea: Tevva has developed an electric range extended 7.5 ton truck for commercial use. Fleet operators are facing stringent regulations to limit vehicle emissions. Tevva’s strategy has been to lower the barriers to adoption, incorporate learnings from the failures of others, to deliver a truly disruptive solution that offers fleets costs savings and lower emissions. The vehicle has a lower total cost of ownership (incorporating purchase price, lifetime fuel and servicing costs) than a comparable diesel truck, while producing ultra low emissions.


22. 3D Repo Limited

Based in: London

Founder: Dr Jozef Doboš. 3D Repo is a spin-out from his engineering doctorate (2015) in virtual environments, imaging and visualisation (computer science) at University College London.

Disruptive idea: 3D Repo is open-source software for building information modelling (BIM) in the cloud. Instead of architects, consultants and contractors sharing massive proprietary files in a costly and time consuming manner, they can simply point their web browser to an encrypted online repository in order to examine all project stages virtually, even on mobile devices. Over 40 different 3D file formats are decomposed and federated in 3D Repo’s big data repository.


23. 3rings Care

Based in: Cheshire/Oxford

Founder: Steve Purdham. Successfully built and exited several businesses, including building from scratch a global FTSE 250 company, SurfControl, which reached a peak £1 billion valuation (sold 2007). Indentum (2008) and B2C internet music service WE7 Ltd were sold to Tesco (2012).

Disruptive idea: The overriding concept behind 3rings is the ability to ascertain your loved ones’ safety without relying on “lots of gadgets, wires and lights,” according to Purdham. Like so many young businesses in the modern age, the inspiration for 3rings came from a very personal place. Purdham’s own mother is now in her eighties and he wanted a way to know if she was safe that didn’t feel intrusive. And he believes the product’s simplicity is “what gives families that peace of mind”. 

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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