Welcome to Startup Weekly – your weekly roundup of news about UK startup competitions, awards, co-working spaces, accelerators and more.
‘FinTech For All’ winners
The winners of Tech City UK’s ‘FinTech For All’ competition have been revealed, after they delivered a four minute pitch before a panel of judges.
Mespo, the winner in the newcomer category, is a robo money saver, which analyses a customer’s bank accounts and spots ways to save money, for example by switching to a cheaper energy supplier.
Lukas Zorner, the founder and CEO, of Mespo, commented: “From day one I wanted to focus on the financially excluded so it will be brilliant to work closely with the Money Advice Service who are at the forefront of helping those consumers who really need a solution like this. By saving people money we can also increase their financial resilience by showing them how easy it is to save for the future.”
Pockit, which won the established FinTech category and the special Experian Spotlight Award, was started in 2013 by Virraj Jatania.
The mobile banking app targets those who find it difficult to get a mainstream current account. It now has 230,000 customers.
Wasabi raises $30m financing round
Ben Sanders, chief operating officer of Pockit, said: “I joined this company because the CEO/founder convinced me that we could build the world’s most inclusive bank. The problem of financial inclusion is getting bigger all the time and winning this competition helps to put Pockit at the forefront of helping to resolve it. We are so grateful to have the support of two great organisations like Money Advice Service and Experian at this stage because that will really help us to take the business through the next stage of growth.”
The six finalists were:
Abaka – AI powered financial advisor
Meniga closes £7.6m investment round
Aire – credit assessment tool that eliminates bias
Pockit – mobile banking app
Credscope – ethical credit reference service for people with a credit history
Decibel closes $40m Series B
Mespo – robo money saving app
Kalgera – digital personal finance manager aimed at older people
A new workspace in West London
Imperial College ThinkSpace and workspace provider Central Working have opened a new workspace in London’s White City, in a bid to create a new hub for technology and business in the capital’s western district.
All members will have access to Central Working’s wider network across eight UK cities and Imperial’s extensive network of researchers, academics and corporate partners.
Alongside the opening, Imperial and Central Working have announced the Scalable Business Award, providing five promising technology companies with support worth a combined £250,000.
Successful applicants will receive a year of free office space, and all the guidance, business connections and advice that Central Working membership brings.
The award is open for companies with teams of between two to five that are developing technology or a business that has potential to transform an industry. Companies can apply via scalablebusinessawards.com. Applications close on 8 December.
Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said: “London is a centre of excellence for education, research and innovation. Combined with a strong science base, first-class infrastructure, access to finance and ties with the business world, the capital is the best place for a business to grow. I’m really pleased to see Central Working launch its latest workspace in White City, which is further proof London is open to investment and innovative business ideas.”
Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital, added: ”Imperial’s White City Campus is at the heart of Europe’s fastest growing Innovation eco-system. It is the ideal environment for science, tech startups and scale-ups to thrive. The new Central Working facility in the Innovation Hub brings together entrepreneurs, researchers and industry partners – providing a vibrant co-creation workspace in central London.”
Airbus’ startup cohort
Airbus BizLab, the startup accelerator arm for the global aerospace corporation Airbus, has announced its latest cohort.
Twelve new startups joined locations in Hamburg and Toulouse in October, where they will have the chance to perfect their ideas for the aerospace industry.
Amongst them is a FinTech startup from the UK, bizpay, which enables consumers to pay for flights and holidays in monthly instalments rather than one lump sum.
“Working within the Airbus BizLab acceleration programme has helped ease our access to clients and allowed us to refine our B2B2C model,” said Ben Francis, the CEO.
“We were really amazed at the sheer quantity of applications,” explained head of Airbus BizLab Bruno Gutierres. “This year we received applications from around the world, and were in touch with over 2,000 interested contacts.”
On-boarded in Hamburg campus:
- Artisense (Palo Alto, USA): Intelligent sensors for live mapping and computer vision. The data collected feed a new 3D map which enables autonomous navigation.
- AlulA (Miami, USA): enables the real-time transmission of flight and maintenance data during the flight thanks to a ground-based crowdsourced network of antennas.
- Aerial Industries (Nigeria): works with high-performance drones which can operate crops spraying in emerging countries.
- Holo|One (Switzerland): Augmented Reality platform that allows companies to map their data and processes them in AR. This includes a video sharing mode where experts and employees can cooperate live while doing their tasks.
- Neuron SW (Czech Republic): With the help of audio sensors defects in machines are predicted and maintenance times reduced preventing failure.
- SkyBuys (Australia): is an online-to-offline mobile commerce app and platform which enhances the duty-free shopping experience for passengers, airlines, concessionaires and brands.
Welcomed in Toulouse campus:
- bizpay (UK): enables consumers to buy airline tickets with instalments. bizpay’s software helps airlines increase profitability and market share.
- BroadBit Batteries (Finland): Novel low cost sodium battery with better performance, scalability, safety & environmental friendliness compared to Lithium-ion.
- Iridium Dynamics (Australia): has developed the ‘Halo’ VTOL UAS: a platform adding extended hover capability to fixed-wing missions.
- SAFETYN (France): develops life preservation systems and intelligent assistance solutions for Pilots, unifying Human Factor, Common Sense and Technologies.
- VRnam (Vietnam): A real-time VR application in which trainees can learn/drill flows and procedures until perfection in an immersive 3D cockpit.
- Zéphyr Solar (France): develops solar balloons to quickly bring energy and services on isolated sites and promote NGO emergency response.
After beating over 200 applicants, 20 technology startups went head-to- head to pitch their businesses in front of four judges and a crowd of 300 investors at Tech North’s ‘Northern Stars Awards’.
The winning startups were BigChange, Membr, Nivo, Relative Insight, Ruler Analytics, Sport:80, Synap, Technically Compatible, Tutora and Vypr.
This year’s winners are based across the north in cities including Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sunderland, Sheffield and Lancaster and cover a wide range of sectors including Saas, cloud, EdTech, enterprise, cybersecurity and communications.
Esme Caulfield from Tech North, said: “Initiatives like Northern Stars help us to showcase the wealth digital talent we have across the region.
“This is the third year we have run the competition and each time I am overwhelmed with the calibre of applicants.
“This year’s winners are true innovators in their sectors and I look forward to working with our Northern Stars to help them to develop their businesses and reach their full potential.”