London is quickly turning into a European technology hub with new startups appearing on a weekly basis. We hear London startups success stories everywhere, and UK startups have begun to create real competition for the Silicon Valley.
If you surf the Internet for the accounts of major London startup events, you are definitely going to come across references to new successful projects that have been launched in London or in the UK and be amazed by the boldness, innovation, and entrepreneurship displayed by the new startup companies of the UK.
In this article, we have selected five success stories of London startups showing how a non-traditional approach to problem-solving together with the brilliant application of new technologies can create unique solutions in various industry sectors.
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According to Ambarish Mitra and Omar Tayeb, the startup idea was born when they joked about the Queen coming out of the £20 note. This idea grew into a startup that experiments with augmented reality, computer vision and deep learning.
This London startup was founded in 2011. In less than a decade, it has rolled out a line of augmented reality products and has earned a reputation of a company that is not afraid to try new technologies and unusual integrations to create unique solutions.
One of Blippar’s products that is definitely worth mentioning is their AR building platform. By downloading the Blippar SDK, you can create augmented reality even if you have absolutely zero coding skills. Another version, for more code-savvy users, is also available.
Another technology that Blippar uses in building its applications is face recognition allowing to create various promotional apps, such as virtual try-ons.
Right now, Blippar has taken up a challenging task of building a whole new AR-based browser. Imagine a browser where you do not need to type the search string; instead, just point your smartphone camera at the object you need the information on – and there you go. The application is already available for download, and the team continues adding new objects and enhancing its functionality.
At the moment, Blippar is valued at more than $78 million and has reached the revenue generation stage. Their bold experiments and the application of the cutting-edge technology has earned the investors’ trust and helped the company to start making a profit. Blippar’s story is an example of startup ideas literally lying around, you just need to reach out and grab them.
What Touch Surgery is doing may seem a bit eerie, as they are developing an application where you can practice surgery in a very realistic simulator. At the same time, this is not a game at all, as the app serves a noble purpose of bringing quality surgical services to as many patients around the world as possible. According to Touch Surgery CEO and founder, Dr. Chow, “There are around 7 billion people on the planet, but 5 billion people don’t have access to safe surgical services. That’s why we created Touch Surgery – to be part of that story that helps scale surgery to really meet global demand.”
Touch Surgery is used in many surgery training programs in various educational institutions. The application has a vast library of default surgical simulations and allows building custom ones. Showing the step-by-step surgery sequences, the accepted techniques and the components of each surgery, the application provides a truly “hands-on” training for young doctors.
Touch Surgery has been on the market for six years after its founding in 2012. A number of investors have already chosen to support the startup in their research and development seeing the potential of their work.
Touch Surgery shows what you can achieve when your solution is created by acknowledged industry and technology experts – an advanced product that can serve a great mission.
Darktrace was founded in 2013 as a response to the growing threat of cyber attacks. The concept of a new approach to cybersecurity was created by a team of mathematicians, machine learning experts and intelligence professionals of MI5 and GCHQ. As a result, a unique security solution, Enterprise Immune System, was developed. The system allows proactive response to cyber attacks and is focused on preventing threats, thus minimizing the possible damage.
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In the five years that have elapsed since its founding, Darktrace has released several security products for different types of customers – enterprise-scale security solutions, industrial solutions, solutions ensuring security in cloud and several others.
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The cyber defense solutions that Darktrace develops use the most advanced technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. The principle that lies at the core of Darktrace’s security algorithms is the comparison of cyber threats to viruses that attack the human body. Viruses mutate making counter-measures more difficult and rendering previous medicines ineffective. Cyber viruses do the same, thus it is of utmost importance to quickly adapt to the situation and respond to a new threat with adequate measures.
Artificial intelligence analyzes all components of the network, from individual users to devices and nodes, and uses this analysis to detect possible threats and nip them in the bud.
At the moment, Darktrace has reached the latest stage of venture capital financing which shows that its operation style, business management, and product line have proved their value to investors. The company closely cooperates with the national security agencies with Darktrace products currently protecting critical components of the national infrastructure. Darktrace’s success is largely due to their highly professional and scientific approach to one of the top priority issues of the current time. Cyber threats are growing and developing at a scary speed, and adequate protection mechanisms are in high demand.
This is another startup that has chosen healthcare as its major area. The company was founded in 2013 after Kenneth Mulvany sold a biotech business he had been running. The idea that is behind BenevolentAI is that the human mind is unable to process the rapidly growing mass of information that is being accumulated in the world. That leads to a noticeable disbalance between the available knowledge and the amount of insights and usability it can create.
The startup took on the challenge of applying artificial intelligence where the human brain was lacking and using it to process the health-related information that may be omitted by traditional research methods. BenevolentAI focuses on using artificial intelligence to accelerate the knowledge processing and the development of useful methodologies on its basis, particularly, the development of new medicines.
The development of medicines is not the only line of BenevolentAI product. Its other solution, BenevolentTech, is intended to help researchers make discoveries by optimizing their access to the available information. Again, this platform heavily uses artificial intelligence and is constantly learning from its interaction with scientists.
BenevolentAI products are made to bring together the immense computer capacities and the abilities of the human brain to create unique solutions and methods. AI can process gigabytes of data within seconds finding trends, patterns, and connections that humans may overlook. Making AI work for the benefit of the humans is the startup’s mission.
This commitment and dedication have not gone unnoticed by investors, and BenevolentAI is steadily enjoying support from venture capitalists. Recently, the startup has opened a research facility in Babraham Science Park, Cambridge, where it is working on new treatments for major diseases.
The success story of BenevolentAI shows that even such tradition-bound and heavily regulated industry as healthcare can benefit from advanced technologies when they are combined with profound professional experience.
While we have listed Starship Technologies among the tech startups of London, the company’s geography has reached far beyond the UK. Today, Starship Technologies also has offices in Germany, Estonia, and the US, and its user base has amounted to twelve million.
The company was founded in 2014 with the aim of revolutionizing the delivery service by implementing the robotics technology. Their goal was creating a new smart delivery system that was faster and more cost-efficient than the traditional ones. As a result, the delivery service consisting of self-driven robots has been developed.
One of the priorities that the developers had in their research was the utmost safety of the delivery robots. The Starship Technologies robots are light (up to 50 pounds without the load), they move at a walking speed and can navigate around obstacles. The robot’s journey can be tracked in a special application.
Also, the robots produced by Starship Technologies are incredibly environment-friendly, as they produce minimal emission and consume very low energy. This way, the costs of delivery are also reduced which is one of the major benefits of using robots to carry loads.
Starship Technologies is one of the young tech startups of the UK and is now in its seed investment stage. However, with one of its investors being Daimler Corporation, the future of Starship Technologies looks rather bright. A small local idea, when backed by a powerful technology, can mean a true revolution.
As you can see, the range of tech startups in London is rather diverse and colorful. By no means, we claim to have listed all top tech companies from London, but you can get the idea of the immense brainpower that is at work there. If you are looking for the London startups that are worth supporting, see our pick of the best London startups of 2018 where you can find companies working in different industries and applying different technologies.
At the same time, London is welcoming blockchain startups, too, as the UK regulations seem to be rather favorable in this respect. We have put together a list of top blockchain startups in London that you can follow in 2018, and we believe that you can find some truly disruptive projects among them.