startup weekly 26th august

Here’s your weekly round up of news about startup competitions, awards, co-working spaces, accelerators and any other exciting things happening in the UK tech sector.

A new FinTech accelerator

Fund management firm Octopus Investments  has announced the launch of Octopus Labs, its new FinTech accelerator based in London.

Octopus Labs will seek to fix the broken financial services sector by developing technology-enabled solutions fit for mainstream financial services and is now accepting applications for its 12-week programme.

Richard Wazacz, head of Octopus Labs,said: “When our founders launched Octopus sixteen years ago, they did so with a belief that the financial services sector was broken, that customers deserved better, and that we could deliver it. The world has changed dramatically for our customers since then – but our ambition hasn’t. We want to rebuild financial services the way it should be.

“Octopus Labs takes the existing strengths of our business – our established customer base, distribution channels, skills and expertise – and adds a start-up dimension. The result is a powerful new force that will quickly develop new products and services to form part of the Octopus stable.

“Our accelerator is a great example of the ambitions we have as a business unit. We want to take existing innovations and ready them for our mainstream audience of advisers and retail investors.
We’re excited to start receiving applications – and even more excited to start supporting our selected teams on their growth journey,” he added.

Those interested can apply here, applications will close on 16th September.

Celebrating tech startups

Two tech startups have been named among the 100 small business in the UK to be celebrated by Small Business Saturday, the campaign that culminates in the UK’s dedicated day for small businesses in early December.

Teddington-based Techsixtyfour, a tech startup which produces wearable mobile phone and trackers for young children; and OLIO, a London-based firm whose free app connects neighbours and local businesses to ensure that surplus food is shared and not disposed of.

Colleen Wong, founded of Techsixtyfour, said: “As my understanding of the wearables market and technology for families has grown, I have taken this knowledge and sourced new manufacturers to test new products which I feel would be beneficial for families in the UK and throughout Europe. I hope to be launching my next product later this year,” said Colleen Wong.

“A lot of people I know tell me I have inspired them. At first I had no idea why or how but as time goes on, I realise that sometimes, it just takes one person to take that leap and go for it for another person to say to themselves ‘I can do that too’. I have started a small business where I work from home and yet I am talking to some of the industry’s largest players. I want other mums and dads to know they can do it too,” added Wong.

“We are a small business having a big impact and we believe that small businesses have such an important role to play in changing the world for the better,” explained Tessa Cook, OLIO’s co-founder.

Talent Unleashed Awards 2016

UK company Therapy Box has been named Best Digital SME in the 2016 Talent Unleashed Awards, hosted by IT and recruitment firm Talent International.

The firm provides speech and communications solutions on mobile devices for those who have communication difficulties due to disabilities.

Steve Wozniak, commented on the initiative and the 2016 winners: “The Talent Unleashed awards represent people who have had ideas, started companies and created products that either do good for society, help people and give us more in our life.”

Commenting on UK winner Therapy Box, Wozniak added: “We often suffice with ‘adequate’ – any voice will do. But this [Therapy Box] focuses on the person and their own voice. Technology should adapt to let humans be humans, not vice versa. What a beautiful concept.”

As part of the prize, Therapy Box and the other winners will travel to Silicon Valley for an exclusive tour of some of the world’s leading technology companies, and will receive mentorship from Steve Wozniak.

Winton Labs accelerator

Applications are now open for Winton Labs, an accelerator program which will seek to attract early stage companies whose business objectives centre on the creation of data, or the application of data science.

Matt Ridley, VP at Winton Ventures, said: “Given Winton’s history and expertise in this area, we recognise that entrepreneurs building data science companies have a unique set of needs.

“There are some good accelerator programmes currently running in Europe, but none are focused purely on companies which acquire data, sell data, or unlock insights through world class data science. By providing access to our facilities, our people, and our external network, we believe we can offer a truly game-changing programme for participants,” added Ridley.

Each participating team will receive a £5k-£15k stipend but will give up no equity.

The programme will commence on 14th November 2016. Apply here.

Google Campus London showcase

Ten startups were showcased at Google Campus London.

Selected from 100 startups from across the country, the firms will be mentored as part of the Campus Exchange Best British cohort.

Those showcased included:

  • Sentimoto: which helps the elderly to safely live in their own home by using sensors to ensure that they are connected to the people who care most about them.
  • Earthmiles: which turns the idea of air miles on its head, with “Earthmiles” you are rewarded every time you walk, run or cycle.
  • Ramp: The fastest t-shirt ordering service in the world, and which makes the process of ordering branded T-shirts incredibly simple by predicting the likely range of sizes require.
  • Hiver: Hiver is a smartphone app that enables you to make the most of the time you spend networking. It uses advanced geo-location technology together with powerful analytics to identify and automatically remember each interaction you have so that you can connect with people and follow-up directly.


MIPIM UK has teamed up with FUTURE : PropTech* to launch the inaugural hackathon at this year’s event, with over £15,000 worth of prizes to be won.

#HackRealEstate will bring together Real Estate professionals with coders, software developers, UI / UX designers, marketers and technology innovators to create products and apps that can enhance and improve the property sector.

Anyone with a bright idea or the technical skills to transform the real estate industry is eligible to enter the competition which will take place live at MIPIM UK from 19th – 21st October.

The themes that will be tackled include how to help ‘generation rent’ get on the property ladder, smart technology in buildings and cities, the impact of blockchain & bitcoin on property transactions and how tech will impact the future of property search.

Universal Basket wins Future of Retail Challenge

Universal Basket, which makes the internet one single shop, has today been announced the winner of the Venturespring Future of Retail Challenge, backed by corporate partners IBM, Argos Home Retail Group, Iceland Foods and Unilever Foundry.

Marcus Greenwood, co-founder and CEO at Universal Basket, said; “Online shopping is a £60bn market today and we’re aiming to make online shopping experiences easier and shorter, removing barriers to complete transactions online.

“Because we’re retailer agnostic – meaning the app has zero integration with retailers, shoppers can benefit from Universal Basket no matter where they shop. We’re excited to have won the challenge and to work with major brands to help scale our business to become the de-facto way people shop online,” said the co-founder.

UK tech startups go to Silicon Valley

Four UK tech startups have been selected to represent Europe at the Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley (SEC2SV) programme from 12th to 20th September:

  • MENIGA: a provider of personal finance software for European banks and financial institutions.
  • METAIL:  a fashion technology company that allows shoppers to try on clothes online.
  • PCA PREDICT: best known for its address validation technology used to quickly complete your address when buying online.
  • STREAM TECHNOLOGIES: the company behind IoT-X, a Connectivity Enablement, Management & Billing platform (CMP).

CivTech® pilot launches challenge 

Scotland’s CivTech® pilot has launched a new challenge for developers and entrepreneurs to stimulate the nation’s cybersecurity agenda.

Backed by Scottish Government, the CivTech® pilot is harnessing new technologies to drive innovation in the public sector.

One successful applicant will receive £15,000 in funding and a place on the CivTech® pilot’s dedicated three-month accelerator programme in Edinburgh.

Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, said: “Threats in cybersecurity come in many guises. Equally, ways of combating them come from varied sources.

“The Scottish Government-backed CivTech® pilot presents a great opportunity for talented teams – whatever their size and background – to come forward with innovative ideas to address these issues, and give them appropriate support to accelerate their idea to commercial success in both the private and public sector markets,” concluded Mackay.

For more information, click here.

… Until next week!