New technology start-ups continue to excite. The start-up world is buzzing with new ideas—many resembling our dreams of far-flung planets or the plot of a 1980s sci-fi blockbuster.
Here, Kate Jack, who is the country lead at UK Innovation Hub, lists some top innovator start-up companies that have caught her attention. From Silicon Valley to Silicon Roundabout, she explores the technology which is transforming the world we live in.
Smart and connected – Neos
London-based Internet of Things (IOT) start-up, Neos, is revolutionising the traditional home insurance market with its smart connected technology. The innovative, consumer-centric tech, is designed to help people manage home security – or other risks such as flooding or fire – remotely from their mobile phones.
Neos was the first home insurance product to step in before any kind of damage had been done to a house. Using smart home security sensors, a wireless indoor camera and an app, Neos is able to provide customers with live risk updates from anywhere in the world. To complete the package, a home emergency assistance team is on standby 24/7 to fix any issues that arise.
Neos is one of many innovative start-ups disrupting the insurance sector. Since launching in 2016, it has secured strategic investment from Zoopla and Hiscox, and plans to expand into new markets later this year.
Disruptive digital – Smappee
Headquartered in Kortrijk, Belgium, Smappee develops innovative solutions that foster sustainable consumption. Its smart monitors analyse the use of solar energy, gas, water and electricity—right down to appliance level in the home or business environment.
It identifies itself as the ‘Shazam of the energy monitor world’, providing real-time data to tell you exactly how much energy your washing machine or television consumes day-to-day. It then offers solutions based on this insight to help consumers change their habits and reduce their energy consumption by up to 30 per cent, without compromising on comfort.
Smart meters have been disrupting the energy market for years, with their promise of saving cash for consumers. Start-ups like Smappee are flying the flag for this tech, and we predict it to become commonplace in homes throughout the UK in the near future.
Urban solutions – agritech
A green revolution is underway. Pressure on land and a rocketing global population has forced the agriculture sector into the brave new world of agritech, or ‘smart agriculture’. Self-contained ‘indoor vertical farms’ are popping up in cities around the world, harnessing new technologies to optimise growing conditions and maximise space in an artificial environment.
The unpredictability of climate change and increasing urban populations makes urban farms a practical and innovative solution to global food production. Companies like Spread Co. in Japan and Sky Greens in Singapore are leading the charge towards a modernised and technologically savvy agriculture sector.
Machine learning – Cleo
Developed by computer science graduates Barney Hussey-Yeo and Aleksandra Wozniak, Cleo is a machine learning messaging platform which helps people to be smarter with their money.
The AI financial assistant, which closed a $700,000 Angel round earlier this year, uses deep learning techniques to learn about its customers’ spending habits and preferences; making informed decisions to help people manage their finances better. Cleo helps its users to manage over £120 million and now plans to grow its user base in the UK and abroad.
As its website states, ‘Imagine if you had your own team of McKinsey consultants, Goldman Sachs associates and hedge fund analysts whose sole job it is to advise you on your money.’
Big data – Nexla
Using machine learning, AI and analytics, California-based tech start-up Nexla is transforming the way businesses adapt and move data between organisations. Founded in 2016, the company has developed a revolutionary data operations platform which is able to process data from multiple sources and transfer large volumes of data between organisations securely and in real time.
Nexla was launched in a public beta in February this year, and has already secured investment from the likes of Blumberg Capital, Storm Ventures and Engineering Capital. In the modern – data-driven world – being able to process and decant large volumes of data is crucial. Nexla does this and more, allowing businesses users (of all sizes) to send, receive, transform and monitor data in their preferred format.
Big data is massive business, and we see it expanding exponentially over the next 12 to 18 months. Nexla is leading the pack but other solutions exist including ControlUp, Ambition and Retail Solutions.
Cybersecurity – Darktrace
Darktrace is an established security start-up from Cambridge. Similar to the film Minority Report, it uses machine learning and advanced algorithms to spot patterns and catch criminals before they strike—except it’s cyber criminals and not murderers that are in the frame.
Darktrace’s Antigena technology uses AI to learn about the day-to-day activities of company networks. As a result, any anomalies are picked up and dealt with before the crime takes place. So far the technology has identified 48,000 previously unknown threats in over 3,000 networks, including zero-days, insider threats and subtle, stealthy attacks.
The company was recently privately valued at $825 million after raising a new round of funding worth $75 million. Darktrace has raised a total of $180.5 million to date, and with cybercrime costing the global economy an estimated $450 billion in 2016, it’s an area that will continue to expand in the future.
Kate Jack is the director of the UK Innovation Hub by Innogy.