A Top 10 with a little extra… in no particular order, these are 11 start ups that are inspiring and intriguing us.
Lemonade for breaking the world record insurance payout time. THREE SECONDS from claim to payout for a $1000 lost coat; genuinely amazing. They’re directly challenging established global insurance companies and their clunky, heavy and dread-inducing processes and they have a fresh, optimistic brand positioning to boot.
-Mike Brooks, Senior Consultant
One of my favourite US startups is Sweetgreen. Their whole ethos of supporting local communities and farmers really resonates. They have a seasonally changing menu which showcases the best of what’s available in your area. They also have a really engaging and useful app which makes the purchasing experience simple – you can order and collect in your local store, check menus, pay using a QR code and accrue rewards for continued loyalty.
-Ryan Arshad, Managing Director US
Atom Bank is one to watch – some of the guys behind First Direct have jumped ship to run it. Their USP: the UK’s first mobile only bank. I’m a big fan of their mobile UX – certainly shifting the sector forward and raising experiential benchmarks for banks.
-Ben Le, Senior Consultant
I love Girlfriend Collective. It’s an athleisure start-up that launched by giving away free product – they wanted to build trust so they allocated their advertising spend to this campaign, and it worked. They recruited designers from Acne Studios and Lululemon to tick the style and performance boxes, so I can’t wait to get my hands on them. But what I really love is that their leggings are made from recycled plastic bottles (they’ve already recycled literally millions of bottles) and that they’re committed to fair trade practices and complete transparency throughout their process. Their facility in Vietnam is certified, meaning workers have safe conditions and fair wages. It’s smart, creative and kind – my favourite things.
-Sophie Jurkiewicz, Designer
Initially I just wanted the fluoro coral card in my wallet, and I do love it, but now Monzo’s new app-based banking has become an essential tool for me. The prepaid card gives me immediate notifications on what I’ve spent, easy transfers to mates and no charges abroad. You can pretty much avoid having horrible loose change completely. The bank itself is incredibly responsive to community feedback, allowing them to constantly improve the user experience as they add more services.
-Ed Mellor, Intern
Claudi & Fin are a kitchen table startup with a positive agenda. Their yummy frozen yoghurt lollies are stocked in Budgens, SuperValu and Centra and they’re addressing a real gap in the market for healthy treats.
-Steph Matthews, Director
Laundrapp. It has changed my life. Simple as.
-James Harrison, Associate Director
The average UK university student will spend £439 on textbooks…yikes. When you pair this with the ever-increasing tuition fees and costs of living (not to mention all those student pub nights), it quickly adds up. The worst part? The books are hardly ever read in their entirety and are rarely used again afterwards. Perlego is an e-book platform for university students where they can find, sort and save all the books they need for their courses, in their own personalised online libraries. Inspired by Spotify’s business model, the platform is a freemium service – meaning the basic services are free, with additional services and benefits offered via paid subscription. They partner with major publishers like Palgrave Macmillan and Wiley to supply their core offer.
-Lauren Purnell, Community Manager
I like Recharge – it’s a hotel booking system, but you pay by the minute if you just need to have a shower, a nap… it could have saved many hours of my life wasted in airports!
-Paula Oliveira, Managing Director
I am intrigued by GoHenry, the new banking tool for children. Mine aren’t big enough yet (it’s for ages 6-18), but I like aspects such as the pre-paid debit card, the ability to control spending – you can limit where/how it is used, and setting tasks in return for ‘pocket money’ uploads. I use the word ‘intrigued’ as I think there’s still a place for good old fashioned weekly pocket money, but I like the proactive approach to teaching children early about the realities of spending and saving.
-Lizzy Stallard, Marketing & New Business
Alexa came into our lives late last year in the form of Amazon’s Echo Dot. “Alexa, what’s in the news today?”, “Alexa, call me an Uber” and “Alexa, meow meow” are the extent of relevant commands to me that are understood (the latter prompting a range of meows, much to the bemusement of my cat) – however, it’s an exciting glimpse of what the future holds. She’s my personal robot that needs a bit of growing up. I’m quite happy to wait!
-Faten Mahmood, Design Director