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These young turks under 25 are taking up the baton in UK’s startup scene

The past year and a half has been an eye-opener from many perspectives. But a trend that has made people sit up and take notice is the sheer number of young startups in the UK blazing down the highway and making it big. They have, succinctly speaking, disrupted and reordered the new company lifecycle and how! And when we’re talking about young startups, we don’t merely mean the noveau startups but also their owners and founders who are in their 20s. And teens, too.

And this time it is not Facebook or Stripe or Zoom; it’s about KodyPay and Worldr and tens of other successful tech startups who are shaking up fintech, insurance, music and more traditional sectors. Let’s take a dive down and see how each of these brave whippersnappers are shaking up the tree and the forest in the UK.

Delivering easy payment acceptance

KodyPay

KodyPay

Founders: Yoyo Chang, Jack Howell

Age: 21, 21

Founding Year: 2018

Headquarters: York, UK

Funding raised: £4.6M

Founded in the summer of 2018 by a final-year high school students, the 21-year-old Yoyo Chang (CEO) and Jack Howell (CDO), KodyPay is on a mission to make payment acceptance easy. Paying in-store today presents common problems, like long queues and limited choices regarding payment methods. The startup is on track to fully integrate the payment ecosystem so that businesses can offer their customers more control over their payment choice (including leading e-wallets, buy-now-pay-laters and open banking), thus making their transactions quicker and more convenient.

The fintech startup which is already working with some names including Visa, MasterCard and IBM, has recently raised an additional $3.25 million, bringing the total raised to a whopping US$6 million in just under 12 months. Today, the platform is growing to connect thousands of customers with outlets across the UK.

Messaging platform gets a new twist

Worldr

Founder: Max Buchan

Age: 26

Founding Year: 2020

Headquarters: London

Funding raised: $3M

Founded by Max Buchan, the communications and messaging platform Worldr is built around privacy, security and data protection in team communication without compromising usability, has recently secured USD 3 million in seed investment from some of the biggest names in deep tech, defence and finance as it heads into public launch later this year.

Redesigning private investing

Vauban

Founders: Rémy Astié, Ulric Musset

Age of founders: 27, 27

Founding year: 2018

Headquarters: London

Funding: £1.6 million

Rémy Astié and Ulric Musset founded the startup when they were both under 25 and the firm is all about reshaping the world of private investing, this tech company’s platform makes it easier, faster and more cost-effective for anyone to co-invest in private companies. With Vauban, experienced investors can create an online community and invite others to co-invest, lowering the investment threshold for alternative asset investing. 

The platform is making alternative asset investing more affordable by providing the legal and financial infrastructure required to pool capital as a service online. It aims to open up alternative asset investing to anyone with deep expertise in their industry, so they can set up a Capital Club and use their knowledge and network to make better investment decisions.

Business of fashion

iDAL

Founders: Mariya Grinina

Age of founders: 24

Founding year: 2018

Headquarters: London

Funding raised: $1.07M

Starting out as a journalism student, Grinina launched her first startup Finda in 2018 right out of university to bring transparency to the modelling industry. The platform aimed to make the modelling industry safer and more transparent. In 2020, she relaunched the company as iDAL. The digital-powered global talent agency champions ‘modelpreneurship’ via a booking platform that empowers talented women to represent themselves, manage their own careers and receive fair treatment—and fair pay—from employers.

Share health data digitally

Healthyhealth

Qumata (previously HealthyHealth)

Founders: Luca Schnettler

Age of founder: 22

Founding year: 2017

Headquarters: London

Funding raised: $12.1M

Working on bringing health insurtech to life, HealthyHealth was recently rebranded as Qumata. It is using patient data to improve health and life insurance underwriting. Its unique solution allows life and health insurance applicants to share their digital health data instead of the time-consuming questionnaires or invasive medical exams. The proprietary algorithm has successfully gained traction with large insurance companies across four continents. In a recent development last month, the company also announced that it picked up $10 million (nearly £7 million).

Channelling brain power

CoMind

Founders: James Dacombe

Age of founder: 19

Founding year: 2018

Headquarters: London

Funding raised: £3.3M

Centred around improving human cognition and vision, this London-based startup is building brain-computer interfaces. It is creating non-invasive neural technological hardware and software to augment the human brain and connect advanced AI to the neocortex to help humans compete with the rapid advancement of AI. Their non-invasive brain-computer interfaces allow communication with the brain. The company’s mission is to create the next computing interface, whilst simultaneously improving our understanding of the human brain and neurological disorders. Interestingly, the company has also developed its own neural imaging technology.

eSports gets swankier

Edge

Founder: Scott Hiett

Age of founder: 17

Founding year: 2018

Headquarters: London

Funding raised: $1.5M

HQ: UK

The 17-year old self-taught coder founded Edge, the payments and advertising platform for eSports influencers. The eSports startup is developing a platform that automates and simplifies a lot of the financial transactions such as contracts with professional players and payments to influencers or other parties. The platform is currently being used by brands to create campaigns, track data and automate payments. The company says its niche is proprietary smart contracts.

Changing event ticketing commerce

Artos Systems

Founder: Annika Monari

Age: 28

Founding Year: 2018

Headquarters: London

Monari founded Artos in 2018, when she was under 25 to solve issues in event ticketing commerce with blockchain. Artos’ e-Commerce and deal negotiation platform helps Agrifoods companies, regardless of size, generate more new business, and close deals, faster.

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