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UK sets standard for social good startups

New rankings have revealed UK startups are among the best when it comes to solving international and domestic social challenges.

19 London startups have made the second annual NT100, a catalogue of the best businesses from around the world using technology to benefit society.

Run by the Nominet Trust, the list includes international giants like Codecademy and Google’s self driving car as well as much smaller projects like the recently-funded Open Utility, a peer-to-peer marketplace for renewable energy.

WikiHouse's project

London rises

The London startups in the list range from a hidden app for human rights activists at risk in the field to low-cost 3D printed housing.

Elevator Pitch alumnus Speakset, who produce a paired-down Skype for the elderly (and has been used by the Queen), were also included.

The significant size of some of the startups in question has led to increasing confidence in ‘social good’ businesses of late.

“Social tech has been bubbling away under the surface in recent years but the 2014 NT100 demonstrates that now is the time we should all sit up and pay attention,” said Simon Devonshire, Director of Wayra Europe.

“Many of these projects are beginning to scale up, or have the potential to do so in the near future.”

US dominates with others on their tail

As one might expect with the global startup ecosystem, American businesses dominated the list, with a total of 37 originating from the US.

However, when it came to mobile ventures Africa led the way and European startups dominated projects that involved physical computing. One such example includes British ‘Teddy the Guardian’, a soft toy that reads children’s vital signs when they touch its paws.

Nominet Trust CEO Annika Small added the progression of the startups in this year’s list was indicative of “a wider evolution in the ‘tech for social good’ sector as a whole”.

Full list of London’s NT100 startups

  • Buffalogrid: Pay-as-you-go phone charging at a network of solar-power hubs in some of the world’s poorest communities
  • Casserole Club: FutureGov’s project to share home-cooked food with others in the community
  • Digital Explore: Using digital technology to create immersive and engaging learning experiences
  • DrDoctor: User-friendly SMS and web tools to interact with the NHS
  • GravityLight: A pioneering low-cost clean energy invention using gravity alone to generate power
  • Ianxen-rapid: Mobile app and attachment to accelerate the speed and improve the accuracy of Malaria diagnostics
  • iprobono: Building a pro-bono law network to help legal battles around the world
  • Lend with Care: Peer-to-peer lending to eradicate poverty
  • Lifebox: Low-cost blood oxygen measure that clips onto a patient’s finger
  • Open Utility: peer-to-peer renewable energy marketplace
  • Openstreetmap: Co-creating a free map of the world that anyone can edit
  • Panic Button: Amnesty International’s hidden app for human rights activists at risk in the field
  • Restart Project: Community the repair and maintenance to combat tech waste
  • Reverse the Odds: Allowing casual gamers to advance cancer research as they play
  • Sapelli: Crowd monitoring extreme environments
  • Smart Glasses (RNIB): Making the world more visible for the visually impaired
  • Speakset: Paired-down Skype for over-65s
  • Teddy the Guardian: A soft toy that reads children’s vital signs when they touch its paws
  • Wikihouse: Low-cost 3D printed housing