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Uber proved that applying new technology to an old industry is a recipe for a successful startup.
Now we’re seeing lots of new companies following suit, using technology to create all kinds of fresh and exciting business models.
In this post I’m going to cover 10 of my favourite tech startups and explain why I think they are true trailblazers in their fields.
Researching these made me wonder how people coped in a world where it actually required effort to do things like book a taxi, hire a cleaner or pay your restaurant bill. Down with effort!
If you want to learn more about the latest tech trends, get your ticket for our Festival of Marketing in November and come check out the Tech Trailblazers stage.
Lost My Name
Thought the Kindle was the pinnacle of literary innovation? Think again, luddite. Dragon’s Den stars Lost My Name combined modern tech with the traditional joy of holding an actual book in your hands to create a brand new type of children’s story.
When you enter a name into the site it instantly creates a personalised book based on that name, which you can preview and then have printed and posted as a physical book.
Here’s a video explaining it far better than I have:
This is one I personally experienced a couple of weeks ago in a Soho cocktail bar and I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about it ever since.
One of my pet hates when dining out is the rigmarole of getting the bill at the end and then waiting for somebody to come over again to actually take the payment. Basically I’m impatient.
The Cake app solves this categorically first-world problem by letting you start a digital tab and then pay for your bill at the end using your smartphone. No human interaction required.
You can even split the bill with fellow diners or only select the items you personally ordered, avoiding all those embarrassing conversations about who owes what.
This one is a great tool for all you email marketers. Phrasee generates human-sounding subject lines using artificial intelligence algorithms based on hundreds of emotions, sentiments and phrases and predicts what your audience will respond to.
The more you use the platform the more intelligent it becomes and the more effective your subject lines become.
You can also have a lot of useful fun using the free Phrasee Pheelings Lite tool. Just enter your subject line and get the results send straight to your inbox. You can see my lacklustre effort below.
Filling the gap between production and design in the fashion industry, Knyttan allows individuals to contribute to the design of a garment and have it produced by an industrial knitting machine within hours.
Essentially Knyttan lets you customise designs for individual garments, and it is able to do this because modern digital fabrication technology means the per-item production cost is the same whether it’s one or 10,000 garments.
This means people can now get unique designer clothes for a fraction of what it would traditionally cost.
Knyttan is planning on selling its platform to a whole range of fashion outlets and is even looking to branch out beyond the fashion industry into other creative fields.
There were already plenty of places to research events or venues in the capital, but YPlan lets you do it in real time.
Just open up the app and get a list of recommended things to do in your immediate area.
Great for those moments when you’ve got to the end of your drink and you’re not sure where to go next. Plus it helps you be a little bit spontaneous with your plans, which is always more fun.
Sadly the only UK city YPlan operates in is London, but hopefully it will spread to other parts of the country if it continues to prove popular.
If you live in a major city and you don’t want to own a car, Zipcar lets you borrow one local to you as and when you need it without the usual hassle of going through a hire company.
Effectively it’s a giant car club. You sign up and pay a monthly fee and then you get access to the hundreds of Zipcars parked across the country.
When you need a car you go online or use the app to see what cars are parked local to you. It works on an hourly rate, so you can have it for anything from just one hour to a whole week.
When you find the car you want you use the app or your ‘Zipcard’ to unlock it and away you go. Once you’re finished you simply park it back in the same spot for the next person.
This simple app lets you book a cleaner at short notice wherever you are. You can either book someone as a one off or set up a weekly or fortnightly clean.
The best part? No matter where you are it will only cost you £10 per hour.
Whether you’re a local business or a freelancer, making yourself known to potential customers in your area can be a daunting and extremely time-consuming task.
Signkick makes finding local advertising opportunities ridiculously straightforward. Just enter your post code and instantly see what is available in that area. Then click to see the options on a map along with the cost to buy them.
The price includes printing and placement of the advert, so all you need to do is book online and send over your creative.
Dubbed ‘the Airbnb of parking spaces’, JustPark lets you search for parking spaces from half-hour slots up to six months across the whole of the UK .
According to the company itself the service is on average 60% cheaper than on-street parking, another example of a business providing both convenience and cost savings.
Why don’t all restaurants do home delivery? You tell me. Luckily we don’t have to wait for them to wake up and smell the opportunity because Deliveroo has already solved the problem.
Go online, enter your post code and get an instant list of local restaurants you can eat from without the need to leave your home or office.
No matter what you order it will only cost a flat delivery fee of £2.50. So effectively you’re sacrificing half of a fiver for the type of service previously only available to rich types with servants.
You can learn even more about the technology landscape at our two day Festival of Marketing event in November. Book your ticket today and head to the Tech Trailblazers stage to discover the latest disruptive and innovative trends.