The UK continues to be the start-up capital of Europe and is slowly catching up with its rivals in San Francisco.
A report by City AM showed that the number of start-ups in the UK increased by 14% in the last year, with around 5,000 tech companies now based in London.
In 2020, start-ups will be responding to changing attitudes towards personal and mental health, and other opportunities than aim to respond to increased regulation in areas such as finance.
There has been a greater adoption in recent years of products that promote flexibility, wellbeing and diversity.
Whether it is for individual consumers or employees, Silicon Valley is attracting a lot of interest and investment into this niche and it is becoming one of the key things that companies are incorporating into their businesses.
Below, we run through some of the UK’s most interesting start-ups to watch in 2020.
London-based Equipsme has developed an employee benefit product that offers affordable health insurance for company employees.
With plans from just £7 per month per person, companies of all sizes can offer health insurance to their staff and offer things like 24/7 GP service, free physio sessions, diagnosis cover, optical and dental
Whilst many in the UK consider private healthcare to be a luxury, Equipsme has partnered with the likes of Thriva, AXA and Health Assured to provide an affordable solution.
For many employers, this product will provide a significant employee benefit, promote wellness and reduce absenteeism.
On the consumer wellbeing side, Calming Blankets, has recently launched in operations in Northampton, following the success of selling over 50,000 blankets across Australia in the last 3 years.
The company specialises in weight blankets, which are soft and comforting blankets that added weights of 4.5kg to 9kg and have been proven to activate the nervous system and help people with sleeping disorders, insomnia and children with autism.
Retailing from £149.000 with a bamboo cover, the company launched in the UK in Q4 in 2019 and plans to expand across the UK in 2020.
Nutra Tea, a start-up specializing in herbal teas for wellbeing has launched in London.
The start-up follows 3 years of product testing and sourcing ingredients from across the world to help with symptoms such as anxiety, sleep, stress, alcohol recovery, cholesterol and thyroid.
With over 40 products available, the teas are made up with 100% of natural ingredients, compared to tea off the shelf that is regularly filled with flavorings and sweeteners.
Nutra Tea works to remove the UK’s dependency on heavy medications and wants to promote natural ways to help those with prolonged illnesses and ongoing symptoms.
Moving away from wellbeing to the heavily regulated loans and finance industry, the last year has seen some of the UK’s largest lender fall in administration, including the likes of Wonga, The Money Shop,
QuickQuid and PiggyBank.
To respond to this, Waterloo-based Fund Ourselves has set up a loan start-up that provides lower rates and greater flexibility.
Loan terms are for 2 to 4 months, but if customers are struggling, they may receive up to 12 months with no added fees – whereas other lenders will add fees and encourage revolving credit.
The funds are raised through a peer-to-peer lending platform, allowing investors to earn up to 15% by lending out to customers with good and poor credit histories.
Responding to the same strict regulation in the UK, Badger Loans offers short term loans up to £5,000 and analyses customer data to help find the products with the highest approval rate (taking a commission if the loan is successful).
Working with over 40 lenders across short term, vehicle, guarantor and secured, Badger Loans avoids the dangers of customers and their data being sent to multiple companies.
Instead, the Devon-based start-up puts you in touch with one lender directly, with no upfront fees for applying.
Camden-based start-up Optalitix is comprised of a team of 20 data scientists and actuaries – and is using AI and machine learning to help businesses grow.
AI solutions are focused around building systems that create predictive behaviour which then learns and improves when it receives new information.
Already working with the likes of Go Compare and Vitality, the Optalitix team analyses millions of data points to create AI models for firms to improve their processes and analysis of customers.