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The most diverse tech startups of London in 2021

Oddbox

Despite Brexit, London is at the centre of Europe’s burgeoning tech scene, and the tech companies from the capital backed Europe to reach record levels of tech venture capital funding in 2020.

UK’s tech industry has expanded 10-fold in the last ten years, enabling the creation of hundreds of fast-growing tech companies that are set to challenge Silicon Valley in the coming decade, according to a recent analysis by Dealroom.co and the Digital Economy Council.

Tech investment grew from £1.2bn in 2010, £4.1bn in 2015, to £11.3bn in 2020. This demonstrates the strength of the UK tech industry, with sustained investment helping to develop world-leading tech companies that have transformed how we live and work.

But which are London’s most exciting and diverse startups and scaleups? Which are the ones to watch in 2021? We at UKTN, in association with London & Partners – the business growth and destination agency for London, have shortlisted more than 15 exciting startups we think you need to know about and keep a tab on in the coming years.

OweMe

OweMe
Image credits: OweMe

Founder/s: Nisha Singh, Nishant Singh

Founded year: 2016

Funding: £785K

Sector: Fintech

The London-based blockchain-based fintech startup helps companies move money efficiently through their supply chain by increasing profitability and removing supply chain costs using provenance and disintermediation for banks, large corporate buyers and suppliers.

Blend Network

Blend Network
Image credits: Blend Network

Founder/s: Yann Murciano

Founded year: 2016

Funding: £10.3M

Sector: Fintech

This peer-to-peer property lending marketplace connects lenders directly with the borrowers. At the same time, the London-based company also offers lenders access to property-secured loans starting from £1,000 and earn up to 15% per annum.

Howamigoing

Howamigoing
Image credits: Howamigoing

Founder/s: Julian Cook, Kim Monney

Founded year: 2018

Funding: £1.1M

Sector: HR tech

After seven years of toil and terrible performance review processes at J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Gresham Partners, investment banker Julian Cook founded Howamigoing in 2018 to empower employees across the globe while doing away with pointless performance reviews.

The employee performance management company is based in London and provides solutions that allows employees to transparently and confidently manage their year-round feedback and performance plans. In 2019, the company also raised a seed investment of £1.1m from angel investors including Chris Hadley (founder, Quadrant Capital) and Richard Elmslie (CEO, Rare Infrastructure).

Oddbox

Oddbox
Image credits: Oddbox

Founder/s: Deepak Ravindran, Emilie Vanpoperinghe

Founded year: 2016

Funding: £3.3M

Sector: E-commerce

According to Oddbox, over 3 million tons of fruits and vegetables are wasted before they even leave the farm and that’s why London-based tech startup Oddbox exists. Founded by a husband-and-wife duo, Oddbox’s mission is to fix UK’s food waste problem by rescuing unwanted produce and delivering it to customers in fruit and vegetable boxes every month. They’ve already got backing from the Northern Venture Capital Trust (VCT) Funds managed by Mercia and now the startup for good is planning a nationwide expansion.

Kidadl

Kidadl
Image credits: Kidadl

Founder/s: Sophie Orman, Hannah Feldman

Founded year: 2017

Funding: NA

Sector: E-commerce

This one is a female-founded, London-based edtech scaleup serving families across the globe looking for content and resources designed to entertain and educate their children. When the COVID-19 hit, it also pivoted from an app-based business and showcased family events and activities.

Oja

Oja
Image credits: Oja

Founder/s: Mariam Jimoh

Founded year: 2018

Funding: NA

Sector: E-commerce

Founded by a serial entrepreneur, strategy consultant, and diversity specialist in 2018, Oja is an attempt to transform access to cultural groceries & world foods. The company connects local cultural grocery stores to customers via fast & eco-friendly delivery across the UK.

VeeLoop

VeeLoop
Image credits: VeeLoop

Founder/s: Patricia Salume, Randa Bennett

Founded year: 2017

Funding: NA

Sector: Retail tech

VeeLoop is an online payment system that lets teenagers put items in a virtual cart for their parents/guardians to approve and checkout. This also protects teens from giving out their personal details leaving themselves vulnerable to cybercrime.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Ealing-based startup also volunteered to do their neighbours’ shopping in the early lockdown. Further, they also launched a new payment system for volunteers shopping for vulnerable people — for quick reimbursements.

Neu Robotics

Neu Robotics
Image credits: Neu Robotics

Founder/s: Cyril Lutterodt, Jonathan Chavez

Founded year: 2016

Funding: NA

Sector: Infrastructure

Neu Robotics provides handy custom robotic solutions, including practical and user-friendly AI-powered robotic platforms. These solutions automate repetitive and manual tasks to collect, store and analyse data.

Headlight AI

Headlight AI
Image credits: Headlight AI

Founder/s: Jameel Marafie, Puneet Chhabra

Founded year: 2017

Funding: NA

Sector: Infrastructure

London-based tech firm Headlight AI is a technology company developing sensing, mapping and data processing solutions for extreme environments. It focuses primarily on solutions for subterranean infrastructure, such as tunnels, sewers, and culverts, where GNSS or GPS signal is denied, which makes accurate localisation challenging.

Circulor

Circulor
Image credits: Circulor

Founder/s: Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, Veera Johnson

Founded year: 2017

Funding: $14 million (nearly £10 million) in Series A funding

Sector: Blockchain

Circulor has developed a cutting-edge software platform to trace the movement of materials and components in industrial supply chains, from source to manufacturer. The system applies multiple verification methods at each step in the process to spot errors or attempted manipulation of supply chain data.

The blockchain tech firm has signed up major global mining and manufacturing companies, delivering for example solutions to track CO2 emissions resulting from battery production and tracing recycled cobalt from a Chinese recycling plant. Late in 2020, Volvo Cars also invested in Circulor through the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the company’s venture capital investment arm. The firm recently announced closing $14 million (nearly £10 million) in Series A funding, led by The Westly Group along with participation from Salesforce Ventures, BHP Ventures and Sky Ocean Ventures, Future Positive Capital and 24Haymarket. to accelerate its rapid growth.

Koalaa

Koalaa
Image credits: Koalaa

Founder/s: Nate Macabuag

Founded year: 2020

Funding: £125K

Sector: Health tech

London-based soft prosthetics company, Koalaa’s innovative soft prosthetics are the first of their kind in the world. It has reimagined prosthetics from the design to the way they are fitted. Rather than being heavy and rigid like traditional prosthetics, Koalaa’s products are made from material, lightweight and flexible. As such, they can be used by children as young as one year old.

Its functional design sees wearers putting on a sleeve that can be fitted with different tool attachments, depending on the task or activity they would like to do. For example, to hold a pen or cutlery, chop vegetables, skip, paint, saw, ride a bike, or play the drums or a guitar. Alongside, wearers become part of the Koalaa Community and are provided with a ‘limb buddy’, which supports them every step of the way. The founder, Nate Macabuag, was recently named in Forbes’ 30 under 30 listing for social impact, highlighting the most influential people under the age of 30 from across the world.

Do It Now Now

Do It Now Now
Image credits: Do It Now Now

Founder/s: Bayo Adelaja

Founded year: 2016

Funding: NA

Sector: Business Services

Do It Now Now is re-purposing government, corporate and charity resources for the benefit of Afro-Caribbean people living in under-served communities around the world.

The open innovation organisation is committed to bringing social empowerment to communities across the globe bringing together entrepreneurs, startup teams, social innovators, investors and philanthropists together to tackle tough issues.

BYP Network

BYP Network
Image credits: BYP Network

Founder/s: Kike Oniwinde

Founded year: 2016

Funding: NA

Sector: Business Services

BYP Network is a platform that connects young black professionals and corporations. The company provides a social network, professional development blogs, leadership podcasts and events, and newsletters. It intends to see black people represented in all industries.

In 2020, BYP held a historic million dollar crowdfund, grew the team by ten-fold and doubled down their efforts of ‘changing the Black narrative’. Founder, Kike Oniwinde is a Forbes 30 under 30, Maserati Top 100 Most Innovative Founders and a Financial Times Top 100 BAME Leaders in Technology.

Foundervine

Foundervine
Image credits: Foundervine

Founder/s: Izzy Obeng

Founded year: 2018

Funding: NA

Sector: Business Services

This one is an international training consultancy which specialises in startup and scaleup acceleration programmes. Foundervine has helped over 2,000 diverse, future leaders create, test, sustain and develop entrepreneurial ventures.

Vendoir

Vendoir
Image credits: Vendoir

Founder/s: Yoma James, Oshoma Zekeri and Charles Ofoegbu

Founded year: 2020

Funding: £170K

Sector: Event tech

Vendoir is an online marketplace to instantly source, plan, book, and manage event vendors as per their budget. The company works with the mission to create the largest on-demand app for services within the events industry where it is possible to book DJs, photographers, videographers, caterers in minutes.

This year, Vendoir also secured £163K in pre-seed funding via crowdfunding on Crowdcube.

Xplorealms

Xplorealms
Image credits: Xplorealms

Founder/s: Reedah El-Saie

Founded year: 2019

Funding: 272K

Sector: Edtech

London-based Xplorealms is the world’s first educational mobile games app offering diverse and inclusive fact checked subjects, aligned with the National Curriculum, through mini-games, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality targeting 7–14-year-olds.

Fixing Dad

Fixing Dad
Image credits: Fixing Dad

Founder/s: Anthony Whitington, Ian Whitington

Founded year: 2013

Funding: NA

Sector: Publishing

Fixing Dad is an international health engagement organisation that works with organisations and policymakers to help inspire patients, consumers, and citizens to engage with their health. It produces content across a wide variety of health arenas to help inspire, engage, manage, and reverse a range of conditions, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, mental illness, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, heart failure, and some forms of cancer.

The international TV production company has worked with organisations, including AstraZeneca, Novartis, NHS (National Health Service) England, BBC, RTL, Nestlé Health Science, Diabetes UK, Swiss Reinsurance, and many others.

All of these diverse tech startups have been through London & Partners’ Business Growth Programme, a free 3-month accelerator programme that helps London-based startups grow in the capital.

Of the 1200 businesses that the Business Growth Programme has helped since its inception, nearly one-third of the founders were female-led and more than one-quarter of the founders were from underrepresented backgrounds. A sample of some of their most innovative members revealed they had created more than 300 jobs and raised more than £141 million in funding.

To find out more about how the programme could support your London-based startup to fulfil your growth ambitions, visit businessgrowth.london.