25 more exciting European start-ups to watch

8 Dec 2016

25 of the fastest-moving start-ups to watch in 2017. Image: Cory Woodruff/Shutterstock

As part of our Europe Start-up 100 listing of companies to watch in 2017, here are 25 more start-ups set to take off in the next year.

25 wonderful web and mobile start-ups to watch in 2017

Here is a listing of 25 of the fastest-moving web, mobile, e-commerce, software and gaming start-ups to watch in Europe in 2017.

These are companies that are breaking new ground in new markets, addressing unmet needs and changing the dimensions of commerce.

Our Europe Start-up 100 has thus far rolled out 25 hot start-ups in fintech, IoT and SaaS and data. Now, we have our final collection of start-ups to watch, based on technological relevance as well as funding activity in the past year.


Citymapper opened 2016 with $40m Series B funding for its transport app, bringing total funding to date to $50m.

Founded in 2011 by Azmat Yusuf, Citymapper is headquartered in London with small teams around the world. The app harnesses open transport data and fills the gaps with its own useful data sets for navigating public transport.

User figures have yet to be disclosed but it looks like Citymapper will move into monetisation in 2017.

Up and running in 38 cities across Europe, Asia and North America, right now you can vote for Dublin to be the next city mapped.


Airbnb economy spreads as Airsorted chooses Dublin for global testbed

Airsorted’s Yvonne Pearse and founder James Jenkins-Yates. Image: Luke Maxwell

Airsorted targets the users of another start-up success – Airbnb – to take the hassle out of managing Airbnb properties in London, Edinburgh and Dublin. From cleaning and laundry to the handing over of keys, Airsorted manages what it claims takes hours per month for Airbnb hosts to do, in return for a 15pc cut.

Founded by James Jenkins-Yates in early 2015, the company now employs 35 people in London and has created jobs for hundreds of cleaners.

So far, Airsorted has raised £500,000 in private equity investment.


Jongla has developed a messaging app specifically for emerging markets in Asia, South America and Africa.

Jongla Social Messenger launched in Africa earlier this year to an “overwhelming” response, according to CEO Riku Salminen. This app allows users to send unlimited free messages using low-speed Wi-Fi networks, as well as 4G, 3G, EDGE and GPRS – which makes it useful in areas where cellular and data services are unreliable and expensive.

Headquartered in Helsinki, Jongla was founded by Arto Boman in 2009. To date, the company has raised about €12m across four investment rounds, the most recent arriving just last month.


Founders Milda Mitkute and Justas Janauskas have raised close to $60m to date for their online P2P marketplace for pre-loved fashion and accessories.

Headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania, Vinted has expanded to millions of users across Europe and the US since it was founded in 2008.

Crucially, Vinted appeals to a lucrative advertising demographic – women under 25 – and Insight Venture Partners’ Karl Karlsson told Forbes the team are “incredibly tech savvy and innovative”. He believes they have “revolutionised the way merchandise is being shown” with video snippets of outfits driving increased sales.


Founded in 2006 by Patrick O’Luanaigh, nDreams is a developer and publisher of virtual reality (VR) games and experiences.

For the first few years, nDreams established itself as a leading publisher of alternate reality games, before switching focus to VR when its team got their hands on the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus development kits.

The company recently received a £2m investment, half of which was from Mercia Technologies, which had previously invested £4.1m.

nDreams recently released the award-winning game, The Assembly for Sony’s PlayStation VR and Danger Goat for the Daydream.

Immersive VR Education

Immersive VR Education is an Irish start-up based in Waterford, which brings virtual reality into the classroom, combining gaming with education.

Founded in 2014 by David Whelan, Immersive VR Education aims to place students in any event to enhance their learning experience.

The company recently won their fifth international award for their educational experience, Apollo 11 VR, which allows users to not only relive the events of 1969, but also take control and fly the command module.

It also has a medical training simulation that was created for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.


Founded in 2014 by Mantas Kavaliauskas, Mantas Radvila and Damien Bruneau TutoToons was launched in 2014 as a free gaming app that lets users build their own games using drag and drop tools.

Based in Kaunas, Vilnius and Barcelona, TutoToons is a kids’ game developer and publisher. TutoToons’ app appeals to kids who are passionate about games and people who are interested in game design and development.

The company has published more than 260 educational and casual games, along with a ton of experience in game development. It hit 100m downloads in 2015 and, now, that figure is at 170m and growing.


With #Shopally, shop all the products your favorite trendsetters are sharing on Instagram #HeartItGetIt

A photo posted by Shopally (@shopally) on

If you’re a regular social media user, you will have seen that product placement is becoming more and more prevalent in the tweets, posts and instas of social influencers. Shopally makes it easier for those influencers to share and monetise shoppable posts.

Founded by Cathy Pill and Sarah Levin Weinberg in 2015, and based in Brussels and New York, Shopally connects influencers with brands they can rep, from Urban Outfitters to Westin Hotels & Resorts.

To date, Shopally has raised $1.4m in first-round seed funding.


Madrid-based start-up Packlink was founded by Ben Askew-Renaut in 2012.

The online comparison service seeks to make it cheaper for companies and individuals to send packages worldwide. By collaborating with international transport companies, and by regularly sending a large number of packages, Packlink – and its business platform, Packlink PRO – is able to cut shipping costs for users.

Packlink has raised $23.52m across three funding rounds to date. The most recent closed out in September 2015 with $12.6m in Series C investment.


Very proud to have been named the best fashion innovator at the @drapersonline awards last night!

A photo posted by Thread (@threadformen) on

Thread is an online clothes retailer with a difference, bringing personal stylists right to your browser, completely free of charge.

Founded in London by Ben Kucsan, Ben Phillips and Kieran O’Neill in 2012, Thread aims to help men – and, soon, women – to dress well without having to navigate high street shops or millions of choices. The start-up offers curated and personalised style feeds, from which users can buy recommended items.

Thread has raised $16.32m over five funding rounds. Its most recent round – a Series B, closed in June of this year – drew in $5.82m.


Swedish start-up Matsmart is an online grocery marketplace. Its goal is to cut down on food waste by bulk-buying soon-to-expire products and selling them at a discounted price.

It was launched in 2013 by Karl Andersson, Erik Södergren and Ulf Skagerström. “We started Googling and realised that the amount of food waste is gigantic. And since then it has grown ten times bigger,” said Andersson.

Last month, the start-up raised €3.7m in funding led by North Zone and GP Bullhound. This is in addition to the €3m it raised last year, currently valuing the company at roughly €25m.


Start-up of the week: Mama Bud

Sarah Martin, founder and CEO of MamaBud. Image: Luke Maxwell

MamaBud is an Irish e-commerce and logistics company selling Irish-sourced baby foods directly to homes in China.

The company is moving to capitalise on an opportunity that will arise in 2018 when the Chinese government moves to close down an informal grey market for baby food worth €1.5bn, after various safety scandals arose. MamaBud aims to fill the gap with quality and safe produce sourced in Ireland.

“MamaBud is a legitimised, encrypted version of this grey market, delivering premium products direct to Chinese mothers, and perfectly poised to scoop up that value,” said CEO and founder Sarah Martin.


As an e-commerce software company, Moltin’s mission is “to make commerce more flexible for everyone”.

Founded in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2013 by Jamie Holdroyd, Chris Roach and Adam Sturrock, Moltin provides e-commerce tools to developers, using an API-based framework.

Having previously gained capital investment from Ignite 100 and participated in the Y Combinator class of 2005, the start-up announced earlier this year that it had raised $2m in a seed funding round. This was led by Dublin-based Frontline Ventures and venture capitalist Gil Dibner, through AngelList.

The company is focusing heavily on the US and has established a new headquarters in Mountain View, California. Currently more than 5,400 agencies and developers are using the platform.


Founded in 2014 by Jacqueline Lam, Jonas Simkus and Dainius Dulinskas, UK-based Mihaibao is a global start-up that sells luxury Western goods to China.

Lam explained the challenges faced by the company as they aim to bridge a cultural divide via their online marketplace: “Western merchants are eager to serve China but many do not understand the Chinese culture … making China a high-risk investment.”

In January 2016, Mihaibao announced that it had received $1.6m in funding from European, Chinese and American investors, including Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups, and John Wu Jiong, former CTO at Alibaba.


Start-up of the week: Parkpnp

Parkpnp founder and CEO Garret Flower. Image: Timothy Shutz

Parkpnp is a parking marketplace app that allows users to generate additional revenue by renting their unused or underutilised parking space. It has been described as the Airbnb for parking.

The company is the brainchild of founder and CEO Garret Flower, who spent the last five years building Krüst Bakery, distributing specialty baked goods nationwide and exporting to the UK and Canada.

Previously featured as a Siliconrepublic.com Start-up of the Week, Parkpnp was recently a finalist in the ESB Spark of Genius start-up competition at the Web Summit in Lisbon.


Based in Northern Ireland, Hurree is a marketing automation platform for apps which aims to transform the push notification into a powerful tool for brands to engage more deeply with users.

According to the company’s founder and CEO, Aaron Gibson, Hurree is “all about making the marketer and developer’s life a whole lot easier”.

In November, Siliconrepublic.com reported that Hurree had raised more than £200,000 in a week as part of a four-week crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. The figure currently stands (at the time of writing) at £271,620, nearing the target of £300,000.


Headquartered in London with an R&D centre in Israel, Global-e develops cross-border e-commerce solutions for retailers keen to do business overseas.

The company was founded in 2003 and enables retailers of all sizes in emerging markets as well as the UK, Europe and the US to take part in cross-border e-commerce.

The company this year raised $20m in funding from Red Dot Capital and aims to use the funding to expand into high-growth markets such as Spain, as well as grow its offices in London, Israel and the Ukraine.


Founded and launched in Milan in 2013, Musement aims to consolidate the tours and activities market by providing a single online destination to discover and book in-destination activities.

Users of the site or app can ‘hack’ the city by getting hints and tips from local experts, as well as temporary or exclusive offers on certain locations across 450 cities.

Its most recent investment saw it raise $10m in Series B funding from a previous investor, Micheli Associati. This now brings the Italian start-up’s total funding to $16.5m with almost 50 people employed there.


25 wonderful web and mobile start-ups to watch in 2017

John and Stephen Quinn, founders of Jobbio. Image: Conor McCabe

From its headquarters in Dublin, career marketplace Jobbio has been making stride after stride since it was founded in 2015 by brothers Stephen and John Quinn.

With offices in Dublin, London and New York, Jobbio is growing fast and more than 3,000 companies are active on the marketplace. Every month, 100,000 new people are added to the platform and candidates make more than 500,000 job applications.

In September 2016, the company raised €5m in Series A funding to accelerate growth having secured €1.68m at the same time in 2015.

Culture Trip

London-based Culture Trip was founded in 2011 by Kris Naudts, aimed at serving up content for the “culturally curious”.

It raised $20m in funding in October, in a round led by PPF Group, adding to a previous round of $2m in seed funding.

Culture Trip claims to be one of the fastest-growing media start-ups, attracting nearly 3m monthly readers and 1m followers on social media.

Outside of London, Culture Trip also has offices New York and Tel Aviv, with 40 ‘contributor hubs’ around the world.


Busfor is a Moscow-based travel start-up that connects travellers with bus ticket sellers.

Strangely, while airlines and taxis have embraced digital disruption, bus providers have not and this is precisely the market Busfor wants to tackle.

The company’s service is used by more than 5,000 bus companies and more than 2m monthly customers. They recently raised $20m in a funding round from Baring Vostok, Elbrus Capital and InVenture Partners.


Soundtrap provides a platform for musicians to record and collaborate regardless of device or OS. Based in Stockholm, the cloud start-up has had a busy 2016.

In January, following a successful beta launch, the company released Soundtrap for Education, aimed at kids who want to record. By June, it was included in Google for Education’s Creative Apps for Chromebooks programme.

Soundtrap then raised more than €5.5m in funding, led by Nordic VC firm Industrifonden, bringing its total level of funding to €8m. Included in the most recent round was Peter Sterky, former CFO and COO of Spotify.


Ray Nolan’s XSellco to create 40 new jobs

Ray Nolan, chair, and Victor Corcoran, CEO of XSellco. Image: Leon Farrell

XSellco is a Dublin-based start-up founded by Ray Nolan, providing e-commerce help desk, manager and feedback solutions. Such has been its growth since creation in 2014, XSellco recently beefed up its management team and revealed plans to double its workforce to 80 by the end of 2017.

XSellco’s platform consolidates incoming queries and order data from sales channels like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, as well as the user’s own web store. This helps firms keep prices down and improve customer service.



The team at Bizimply. Image: Bizimply

Bizimply is an Ireland-based start-up that provides a SaaS platform to help with all aspects of running a business.

Founded by Gerard Forde, Mikey Cannon and Norman Hewson, Bizimply has so far raised in excess of €2.1m, with those involved including the Anglo-Irish private equity fund Causeway Capital, alongside Silicon Valley VC fund 500 Startups.

At the 2015 Web Summit, Bizimply surpassed 175 entries to be named the winner of the ESB Spark of Genius Award 2015.


Dubbed “the consumer Slack”, Pepo is a social messaging platform that connects users via public or private chats based on specific interests, ranging from food to fitness and travel.

Based in Berlin, the company is led by serial entrepreneur Jason Goldberg, founder of sites like Fab.com, Fabulis and Jobster.

Pepo has just raised $2.35m in a seed round led by Tencent with involvement from Greycroft, Vectr and Correlation as well as Goldberg.

Updated, 10.41am, 9 September 2016: This article was updated to correct the name of Gerard Forde, a co-founder of Bizimply.

Updated, 12.27pm, 9 September 2016: This article was updated to clarify that Hurree no longer uses iBeacon and coins for cash as part of its marketing platform.