The UK is fast becoming recognised for its innovative start-ups revolutionising the way we travel, address climate change, and even how we do our laundry. Start-ups often demonstrate the direction an industry is heading, with popular start-ups addressing the desire for instantaneous services.
International business ambitions
Research by the EE has suggested that Britain’s small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) expect international trade to provide a 25% boost to their business growth over the next five years, with businesses in manufacturing, media and marketing, and IT and telecoms being found the most likely to be trading, or planning to trade, abroad. This international involvement has been praised by established businesses and shows no sign of slowing down; Lydia Hicks, director of SME product marketing at BT, said the research highlighted how “UK small-and-medium-sized enterprises show no sign of holding back on their international business ambitions”. This commitment to engage with international markets has showcased the UK as a startup nation to rival hubs of innovation such as Tel-Aviv and Silicon Valley.
Start-ups to watch
Start-ups in the UK are not concentrated in only one industry; small businesses involved in waste disposal, laundry services and web visualisation have been thriving in recent years. Here is a closer look at a few of these remarkable enterprises.
Head Box (1)
Described as an AirBnB for offsite spaces, Head Box now has 2,000 spaces across the UK, including London, Birmingham and Manchester. From spaces for workshops, brainstorms, meet-ups, product and business launches, company meetings and get-togethers to research and co-creation, training, media, production and photography shoots, Headbox has an extensive choice of spaces to suit every user’s needs.
Candy Kittens (2)
Through extensive publicity and an early commitment to creating vegetarian and vegan option, this confectionary brand has become the No. 1 confection brand at Selfridges, with 7,000 bags being sold at Waitrose every week and outposts in Europe, the Middle East and The US.
Digital Mums was created to tackle maternal unemployment and aims to reverse the 70% of women who leave the workplace because they find it impossible to combine their career and family life. Maternal unemployment in the UK is such that in Camden, maternal employment have dropped by 45% in the past three years, an issue which Digital Mums aims to address. The website provides mothers with social media management skills that allows them to set their own hours and work from anywhere, providing a platform for mothers to re-engage with the workforce whilst balancing their role as parents.
Maple and Fitz (4)
Based in Fitzrovia, London, this healthy eatery and juice bar has been named Time Out’s ‘Best Healthy Restaurant’ and has a legion of regular and loyal customers. The combination of unparalleled healthy food with a dynamic social media presence has enabled the small eatery to gain recognition across London’s healthy eating landscape.
Laundrapp is a convenient way to take care of laundry and dry cleaning needs, allowing users to order professional dry cleaning online with free collection and delivery. The service is available all across the UK including London, Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester.
Social Chain (6)
Social Chain manages almost all of the largest social media pages across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and utilises this position to create campaigns alongside established businesses to deliver a product to millions of people on social media. Social Chain has gained recognition for its influence in social media marketing, working with businesses such as Asos, BBC, Primark, Disney, MTV, itv, Microsoft and Haribo to advertise services or products to millions through various social media platforms.
This startup achieved the coveted No. 1 one spot in Startup 100’s top 100 list of 2016. Founded in 2013, Lendinvest claims to be the UK’s “first and largest” online marketplace for property, matching investors looking for prime retail opportunities with property entrepreneurs looking for short-term mortgage finance.
Founded in 2012 and launched with £500, Clearabee has worked with more than 60,000 customers including domestic households, local authorities, housing associations and businesses. Customers can arrange same-day refuse and recycling collection, which Clearabee delivers directly to its partner processing stations. This startup turned over £4.1 million in 2015 and is estimated to make £7 million in 2016- a 71% increase in earnings.
Snaptrip is devoted to providing last-minute countryside cottages in the UK, offering members exclusive discounts on more than 40,000 UK holiday cottages. The website works closely with the cottage owners to ensure high levels of customer service and satisfaction, achieving a loyal client base. The service has been featured in The Independent, “Eye for Travel”, and the Daily Mirror.
Zerolight provides an interactive digital experience for the automotive industry, allowing users to browse a visualisation platform to bring engaging and interactive technology to retail spaces and clients’ websites. Thus far, Zerolight has worked with established automotive brands such as Audi, Jaguar and Pagani.
If you are a start-up, you’ll need legal advice regarding contracts, privacy policies and knowledge of possible geographical or legislative restrictions on expanding your business. Linkilaw can provide you with such legal support or connect you with a legal expert better suited to addressing your concerns.