10 superb London start-ups to watch

6 Jun 2019

Image: © samott/Stock.adobe.com

London’s tech scene is booming, characterised by a strong blend of AI, e-commerce and fintech platforms ready to take the world by storm.

London often vies with Berlin in terms of the sheer scale of European start-up activity and investment, but also in terms of culture and character.

The city leads tech investment in the UK with £9bn in funding raised between 2015 and 2018, according to the most recent TechNation report.

According to the report, London accounts for 36pc of UK tech investment. Not only that but the UK capital is scaling fast – from 2018 to the present day, London scale-up firms grew by more than 56pc, more than anywhere else globally.

The city is a hub of innovation and talent, and entrepreneurs are not short of hubs to work in, from Huckletree to Uncommon, Central Working, Google’s Campus London and Plexal.

Active venture capitalists are many, and some of the most active include LocalGlobeIndex Ventures, Atomico, Passion Capital and Draper Esprit, to name a few.

Key accelerators include Level39, Pi Labs and Wayra, while important events on the calendar include the upcoming London Tech Week, Noah London, Unbound, The Europas and Big Data London.

And so, here are 10 London start-ups to look out for in the year ahead.


BlackCurve is a cloud-based price management and price optimisation platform that helps businesses to grow their profits. It optimises the prices of more than 1m products. Founded in 2016, BlackCurve recently raised £1.5m in a funding round led by Nauta Capital.

Butternut Box

A direct-to-consumer pet wellness company, Butternut Box makes freshly prepared dog food that can be ordered online and delivered at home. Founded in 2016, Butternut Box recently raised £15m from Five Seasons Ventures and White Star Capital.


Cytora has developed a risk engine that uses AI to learn the patterns of risks over time, to enable insurers to underwrite more efficiently and deliver fairer prices to customers. Founded in 2014, Cytora, whose clients include Axa and Starr, recently raised £25m in a funding round led by EQT Ventures with participation from Cambridge Innovation Capital, Parkwalk and angel investors.


Hadean is a deep-tech player that has built a cloud-first operating system to allow developers to write, ship and scale applications at hyperscale in the cloud. Founded in 2014, Hadean recently raised £7m in a round led by Draper Esprit with participation from Aster, London Venture Partners, Luminous Ventures and Entrepreneur First.


Nivaura deploys digital investment platforms for banks, exchanges and various financial institutions that ensure compliance. Founded in 2016, the start-up recently raised $20m in a funding round led by London Stock Exchange Group, with participants including Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Santander InnoVentures and Transamerica Ventures.

The Plum Guide

Travel platform The Plum Guide combines hospitality experts with algorithms to identify ideal holiday homes for affluent travellers. Founded in 2015, The Plum Guide recently raised £14m in a round led by Talis Capital with participation from Latitude, Hearst Ventures and Octopus Ventures.


Described as “PowerPoint for VR”, VRtuoso has made it easy for enterprises to create VR training materials without the need for in-depth technical knowledge. Founded in 2016, VRtuoso recently raised $650,000 in funding from Symvan Capital and Compagnia Bresciana Investimenti.


Wazoku is an idea management company that has created a platform called Idea Spotlight. The platform combines idea capture with collaboration, workflow and social tools to link the best ideas with the right people. Founded in 2012, the SaaS player recently raised £2.5m in a round led by Calculus Capital and including existing investors.


An AI-only tech platform, Yapily is an enterprise fintech that allows companies of all sizes to connect with retail banks. It currently works with 35 banks across Europe and wants to scale this to hundreds of banks. Yapily was founded in 2017 and has just raised $5.4m in funding.


Yulife is an AI-based insurance platform that helps businesses ensure that their employees have life insurance, rewarding activities such as walking and meditation with air miles and gift cards. Founded in 2016, Yulife recently raised £10m in a funding round led by Creandum Funds.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years