Watch out Shanghai and Silicon Valley – there’s a force brewing in the tech scene to be reckoned with, hailing from across the pond. While Britain receives less venture capital funding per capita than countries like Sweden or Israel, the country is seeing a boom in startup development. Over the past few years, London’s tech community has grown exponentially, thanks in part to the British government’s “cheerleading” efforts to eliminate administrative barriers and ensure fast-paced growth.
Sponsored by UK Trade & Investment, 25 up-and-coming digital startups from the UK pitched their services and plans for the future at the British Consulate recently in New York. PSFK was on hand to witness the 60-second rapid-fire pitches, and we’ve selected our five favorites:
Specializing in native app development, Gospelware prides itself on hiring multiple experts instead of overworking individuals who can’t possibly have expertise in all areas. “We are not a design agency who can build, or a development house that does some design,” said co-founder and commercial director Michael Dunn. “Our engineers have backgrounds in console gaming, big data, distributed systems and web, applying this knowledge to the small screen in your pocket.” Their augmented-reality app – Beam Me Up – enabled users to film themselves being elevated Star Trek-style against a special backdrop, and was awarded a coveted People’s Choice Webby Award this year. ”At the moment, AR is still in its infancy,” said Dunn. “Advertisers are only scratching the surface of what it can do to bring campaigns to life.
With fierce competition for screen slots these days, Popup Cinema helps bring great independent films to places outside of the typical film festival cities. Its web platform allows people and small towns to obtain licenses to show a new film anywhere and anytime. “We’ve seen hundreds of screenings take place in classrooms, boardrooms, bars, cafes, village halls – the list goes on,” says distribution coordinator Patrick Hurley. While this service helps bring indie films to public screens all over, it also allows fledgling filmmakers to receive more widespread distribution. Having already had great success in the UK, Popup Cinema is now setting its sights on the US and beyond.
Special 2 Us
Instead of leaving cherished family photos in dusty attic boxes, Special2Us offers a digital archiving service for people to store their most treasured personal photos, slides, and movies. The service is designed to bridge generations, and is accessible for everyone from grandma to the youngest iPad natives. Slated to become the “premier family-memories archive service,” according to Strategy Director Matthew Green, Special2Us also offers photo enhancement for damaged shots and the ability to create interactive family trees.
Social media ROI is hard to come by in the travel industry because companies don’t know what to make of the constant flood of place-specific holiday snaps, and they rarely impact booking decisions. Triptease turns the out-of-date travel review on its head and reinvents reviews for the Instagram generation. “Quick to create, sexy, and highly shareable,” explains “Chief Tease” Charlie Osmond, each Triptease review features user-generated photos and appears as if they came straight from the pages of Condé Nast Traveler. ”In five years, text reviews will be a thing of the past,” he said boldly.
For those looking for a great night out, YPlan cuts through the confusing jumble of event promotions and ticketing sites on the web, bringing listings and ticketing together in the palm of your hand. The event discovery app shows users 15 carefully selected events and lets them book tickets with just two taps, eliminating the need to visit many different sites and providers. With over 550 event partners in London, YPlan believes that their focus on curation is what sets them apart from the competition. The company’s launch in New York received a Series A investment of over $12 million, and they hope to expand into their next American city in 2014, says CEO Rytis Vitkauskas.
To learn more about these 25 bright startups, check out the Delegate Profiles to see them all.