The Shift 100 has been put together to identify retail technology entrepreneurs who are bringing new ideas and products to market, creating integrated customer experiences and leading the move away from traditional ‘clicks and mortar’ e-commerce.
These entrepreneurs have been selected because they are dynamic, agile and shifting gears. They have brought an innovative product to market, cleverly harnessed a technology or process, led the revolutionary execution of a new technology and disrupted their markets.
Their inclusion has been validated by a panel led by Fresh Business Thinking group editor, Michael Baxter.
Michael Baxter, editor at Fresh Business Thinking, said:
“Retail’s hand is being forced by the impact of current tech innovations and these entrepreneurs are the driving force behind industry gear shifts, giving consumers more power to shop on their own terms.
These digital disrupters are building cutting-edge solutions and creating better shopping experiences. Within the Shift 100, we’ve identified start-ups revving up and creating strong proof of concepts through to retail technology entrepreneurs operating at full throttle, scaling solutions across multiple enterprises.”
Bivek Sharma, head of KPMG Small Business Accounting, said:
“We’re super excited to be associated with the Shift 100, as our service is built around supporting innovative and ambitious small businesses as they scale up. There’s some fantastic firms listed, and it shows the sheer breadth and depth of the UK retail tech start-up sector.”
Adam Taylor and Lexi Tamasan founded PetShop.co.uk after Adam’s experience of his mother’s struggle to carry heavy bags of dog food due to her arthritis. Adam also noticed that supermarket prices were really expensive so he decided to set up a business with his partner Lexi.
PetShop.co.uk provides home delivery of over 10,000 pet products also offering a unique subscription service to ensure people don’t run out of pet food.
USP: A nationwide home delivery subscription service for pet food.
4thBaseCosmetics Co-founder Lisa Dodds came up with the idea for 4thBaseCosmetics after working in a cosmetic surgery for a major blue chip company for over 10 years. Lisa found that many beautiful women were undergoing drastic and unnecessary cosmetic surgeries when she felt they didn’t really need it. Lisa believed the only thing she could spot a fault in, if anything, was the make-up on their skin. 4thBaseCosmetics provides a high-quality range of beauty and skincare products so all their ocustomers can look and feel the beautiful person that they are. USP: High-quality beauty and skincare products.
Co-founder Lisa Dodds came up with the idea for 4thBaseCosmetics after working in a cosmetic surgery for a major blue chip company for over 10 years. Lisa found that many beautiful women were undergoing drastic and unnecessary cosmetic surgeries when she felt they didn’t really need it. Lisa believed the only thing she could spot a fault in, if anything, was the make-up on their skin.
4thBaseCosmetics provides a high-quality range of beauty and skincare products so all their ocustomers can look and feel the beautiful person that they are.
USP: High-quality beauty and skincare products.
Co-founder Richard Hurtley started his retail journey in just his second year of University by creating a successful brand Rampant Sporting. He then went into a joint venture with James Davey in 2014.
Rich Insight build and delivered successful multi-channel retail strategies for some of the most exciting UK luxury and high-street brands. From customer contact strategies and CRM programmes to rebuilding a channel mix from the bottom-up, Online or offline.
USP: A retail consultancy that helps brands develop successful multi-channel strategies for accelerating growth and revenue return.
The Kukadia brothers founded the designer fashion site Secret Sales in 2007. The brothers were influenced by fashion and took an interest from their father, being one of the early directors of Pepe. After studying, they went into import-export until they decided taking on a family friend’s French model and making it relevant for the UK.
Although it has taken time to make a profit, the founder’s claim, as revenues rise 20pc year on year to hit £47m in gross turnover for 2015. The aim of the site is to offer over half price discounts for members only.
USP: One of the largest flash discount websites in the UK offering luxury brand products for the fraction of the price.
Jenny Griffiths founded Snap Fashion while studying at the University of Bristol as an undergraduate. In 2009, she won the university’s New Enterprise Competition and received £15,000 to help her develop the idea. She has received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Snap Fashion is an application designed for users looking for items across UK retailers. The app allows the user to take a picture, on their phone, of an item of clothing they like before scanning more than 110 UK retailers online to find similar items.
USP: An app that allows you to find similar products by taking a photo.
The former Look magazine editor Ali Hall together with former Look and InStyle publishing director Julie Lavington have spent their careers speaking to thousands of women about what they want from their clothes and hearing complaints from women about appropriate clothing. It was clear that there was a real gap in the market to provide clothing women want.
Sosandar is an online women’s wear platform that fuses a fashion-forward clothing line with style inspiration, news and advice.
USP: Delivers instantly wearable pieces that truly reflect the seasons and make women feel chic and feminine.
The founders formed the company in 2011 after speaking to potential suppliers and investors and researched the market, before taking the leap by quitting their jobs.
SportPursuit.com runs seven day pop-up shops promoting hundreds of great brands every month to their base of 1,000,000 sports men and women. SportPursuit is encourages customers to trial and discover new brands and products.
USP: Sports flash sales for hundreds of brands to its members.
Jules Quinn launched The Teashed in 2011 at the age of 22 while finishing her degree in fashion marketing. Jules has made it into the list of top names in the retail of commerce, and is being singled out for setting up a business to fill a gap in the market for fun and unusual blends of tea.
The Teashed largely imports from Sri Lanka and are available online and through high street retailers such as Fenwick, John Lewis and Moonpig. She is now focusing on the international market, with a distributor in Japan and many direct overseas customers.
USP: Unique and fun blends of tea.
truRating was founded in 2013 by Georgina Nelson after noticing the strong influence of online review sites for businesses.
truRating allows retailers to receive reliable feedback as well as enabling customers to have their voice heard with a simple 0-9 rating. The firm has collected more than 2 million snap reviews from retail customers as they buy products.
USP: The world’s first mass point-of-payment consumer rating system.
Ve is a world-leading technology company whose platform has become an essential component for any online business to acquire, engage and convert customers. Ve implements online efficiency strategies for domestic and multinational retailers and increases their online conversions.
USP: A software platform that tracks customer activity on websites, encouraging them to complete their transaction.
Anthony Ganjou and Henry Stuart founded the company in 2012. The idea started after the success of Henry’s work as a 360-degree photographer and videographer which he started doing in 2006.
Visualise are a leading VR production studio offering 360 production.
USP: Creating virtual reality and 306 immersive experiences and films.
Michael Rolph is the co-founder of Yoyo Wallet which launched in 2004 by Imperial College London. Michael previously has held senior sales and strategy roles in several large businesses. He was also a Director and EiR at Anthemis Group.
Yoyo adds value to both customers and retailers. It allows people to pay, collect rewards and receive offers. Whenever customers make transactions, a basket date is produced where you can find out individuals habits gaining valuable insights on customers, and increase sales and provide better customer service.
USP: You can pay for everything with your mobile phone, and receive benefits.
The idea behind ZapGo was from frequent business traveller Stephen Voller, who was dependent on his mobile phone but found it frustrating sitting on airport floors waiting to charge his phone. This fuelled the development of ZapGo.
ZapGo is a graphene supercapacitor-based charger that claims to be able to recharge mobile phones, laptops, cordless appliances and even electric vehicles in five minutes or less. The aim for ZapGo is for its supercapacitor to replace the lithium-ion battery inside mobile phones.
USP: Able to charge anything from a mobile phone to an electric car in five minutes or less.
Lorenzo Franzi and Florian Färber founded ZipJet in 2014. Prior to setting up the business, Lorenzo worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company as well as working with a start-up called Voice.ee in business development in Paris and New York, and spent four years at JP Morgan in London.
ZipJet helps thousands of time-poor users across London, Berlin and Paris. You download the app from Google Play or Apple App store, and schedule thirty-minute collection and delivery slots convenient for you.
USP: Provides and on demand 24 hour Laundry delivery service.
Brooke Roberts is both a science and fashion graduate and is passionate about combining science, technology and fashion in her own work.
Brooke Roberts is an award-winning digital knitwear designer and consultant, who has over a decade of experience as a diagnostic radiographer within the NHS. She uses inspiration from scan images of the brain and sinuses to create knitwear using the latest digital knitting technology and yarns.
USP: Offering fashionable digital knitwear.
Founded in 2013 by Oliver Bridge, Cornerstone is a retailer and deliverer of razor blades and shaving supplies for men.
Inspired by everything from his aversion to skin rashes from shaving to shopping for shaving products, Oliver’s master plan was for an online service offering a wide variety of men’s toiletries and quality razors, that would be delivered to the client’s front door.
USP: A flexible online service for men’s toiletries.
Established in 2012, the idea for Mallzee began while Callum Stuart was trying to buy a pair of black jeans online that he realised there was a demand for an app that “makes it easy to find stuff that you like.” The company raised £2.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Royal Mail.
Described as a “Tinder for fashion,” Mallzee’s app lets users to swipe through more than a million products from hundreds of retailers.
USP: An app to swipe through fashion products.
Vicky Brock launched Clear Returns, a software-based business whose technology depends on algorithms. Retailers lose millions on the fact that items are often returned because they are the wrong size, or their appearance varies from what the customer thinks they are buying.
Clear Returns aims to detect patterns of high-return rates amongst online customers buying fashion clothing. They specialise in proprietary and patented algorithms and processes are based on industry-wide returns data, enabling them to detect significant micro-patterns and make statistically accurate decisions.
USP: Software solutions to reduce return rates and customer attrition, boosts sales and improve the customer experience.
Founder Ryan O’Rourke and CEO Assean Sheikh turned down a £75,000 joint investment from “Dragons’ Den”. Instead, Flavourly launched a campaign on Crowdcube, and smashed its £300,00 target to raise £515,000 in the biggest round of crowdfunding for a Scottish company yet.
Flavourly delivers packages of food and beer from independent suppliers to subscribers on a monthly basis, which include products such as bacon jam and chilli popcorn.
USP: Monthly food and beer deliveries from independent suppliers to subscribers.
Nick Hynes founded Somo in 2009 with Carl Uminski in response to rapid changes in consumer and employee behaviour. They aim to help companies make sense of the huge opportunities and the disruptive potential of mobile technology.
Somo helps brands increase sales, customer engagement and productivity. Somo takes advantage of the latest technology, including mobile, wearables, mixed reality and the Internet of Things to create actionable innovation for clients.
USP: Somo delivers mobile transformation programmes for global brands.
WaveOptics was founded in 2012 by Sumanta Talukdar and David Grey. They met whilst running the HUD (Head Up Display) and HMD (Head Mounted Display) group in the optics division of defence giant BAE Systems. The start-up has developed a patented technology that can display a high quality, full colour, see-through display for AR applications.
Waveoptics is at the forefront of the augmented reality revolution – it involves wearing a pair of everyday glasses. The technology can insert images into the real world that are digital but look completely real.
USP: Viable and accessible immersive augmented reality.
The founders created Holition for the luxury retail segment, knowing how hard it was for premium retail and high-end fashion to embrace new technologies and engage online consumers more effectively.
Holiton is an innovative creative agency using emerging technology, bridging the gap between technology and retail. The artist approach to the design of technology sets it apart, working with some of the most recognisable brands and supporting projects around the world.
USP: A digital studio creating cutting-edge augmented reality retail and holographic experiences.
The App Business
Daniel Joseph was previously European planning director for Apple at TBWA/Media Arts Lab, launching the iPhone, App Store and hundreds of apps. Rob Evans previously led the European Audience Planning team at TBWA/Media Arts Lab for Apple, specialising in app audience behaviours across Europe.
The App Business enables organisations to scope and identify new opportunities, and quickly overcome obstacles along the way. They help organisations plot their own unique path toward mobile transformation.
USP: Helps businesses and operations of the world’s leading organisations through mobile.
Hedgehog Lab was founded in 2007. The founders started out doing web-based software and products until they realised that mobile was the future.
Hedgehog Lab deliver engaging multi-platform software and digital products that combine great user experience with robust & reliable technology platforms. They help brands, enterprises & start-ups prepare for a world dominated by post-PC technologies.
USP: A leading global enterprise app developer & post-PC technology consultancy.
David Levine came up with the idea of DigitalBridge after not being able to fully visualise how redecorating would look like by using wallpaper scraps. He then created DigitalBridge using advanced computer-vision technology to allow users to visualise virtual home decorations and furnishings in their own rooms.
DigitalBridge uses a software that allows home and furniture retailers better insight when suggesting products, improving customer service and engagement. Potential customers can use a mobile platform to visualise retailers’ products in their own home.
USP: A visualisation tool that lets consumer virtually “try on” products and decorations in their own homes.
Jacyn Heavens is the founder and CEO of Epos Now. After taking over a bar in Norwich, Jacyn searched for a POS system that would suit his business. After extensive research, he identified a gap in the market and began to develop his own affordable and reliable software for retail and hospitality businesses.
Over the last four years Jacyn has built Epos Now from a standing start, with no external investment, to be the fastest growing POS company in the UK, relied upon by over 30,000 businesses.
USP: A customisable cloud-based software provider, specialising in the design and manufacture of electronic point of sale.
Castore was founded by brothers Tom and Phil Beahon at the ages of 26 and 23 respectively. Both come from professional sporting backgrounds which gave them an appreciation of what serious athletes want from their sportswear.
After noticing the lack of high-quality sportswear available to men, the brothers sought to build the lightest, most durable, highest performing sportswear in the market. They test each product on on elite athletes to ensure they excel at the highest level.
USP: High performing technical sportswear.
David Billingham founded Advanced Retail after understanding the challenges of retail operations. Billingham has more than 25 years of experience working on both sides of the retail fence.
Advanced Retail offer solutions for retailers such as stock control, purchasing and merchandising, loyalty and gift cards, omnichannel, EPoS reporting, integration and warehouse management.
USP: Retail business solutions and innovative retail systems using trusted businesses technologies.
In 2009 Daryl Adie decided to leave university and found Ampersand using his student loan to fund the business.
Ampersand helps established high street retailers build better online stores. Ampersand works with multi-channel retailers, such as Poundland, Harvey Nichols and Bensons for Beds, to help increase conversion and efficiency through the strategic use of technology.
USP: Helping top retailers improve their online stores.
Apadmi was founded in 2009. The founders have developed apps for smartphones starting with the Ericsson R380 in 2000.
Apadmi is a mobile app developer that’s ranked within the top 10 app developers globally. Clients include the BBC, the X Factor, the NHS, Jaguar Land Rover and EE.
USP: An end-to-end service in mobile app and server development.
To view the full Shift 100, click here.
André Brown is the CEO and co-founder of Attraqt, previously known as Locayta. Brown has undertaken a number of previous roles, including the introduction of Adobe Acrobat to the UK as well as providing insight into the current and future status of the e-commerce markets for Susan Aldrich.
Attraqt specialise in online visual merchandising comprising of 3 key elements: Visual Merchandising, Advanced Site Search & Navigation and Product Recommendations, all controlled through a single intuitive dashboard.
USP: Online Visual Merchandising tool that enables retailers to increase online sales, boost conversions and tailor customer experiences.
James Brown and Fraser Doherty co-launched Beer 52 in 2013. James discovered a passion for craft beer after a father and son trip from Edinburgh to Faro. He decided that he had to help other beer lovers to discover great beers. Beer 52 started life as part of the Entrepreneurial Spark accelerator.
Beer 52 is based on a subscription model where they personally handpick and approve beers from more than 12,000 microbrewaries across the word. They now have thousands of subscribers, have shipped over three million bottles of beer, and hit turnover of £2.6m in 2015.
USP: A craft beer company sending you handpicked crates from around the world.
Bijou was founded by Olly Cooper after a team has trialled UX / UI with a fashion marketplace app called the EDIT. Immediately they saw conversion data three times higher than retailers were currently achieving from their web channels. From this, they saw the potential for a B2B opportunity in the fashion retail space.
Bijou Commerce is part of Blenheim Chalcot, and is a leading venture builder and is a business-to-business (B2B) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that builds native mobile apps specifically for fashion brands.
USP: Developing tailored mobile apps to help fashion brands optimise their e-commerce sale.
After graduating from Economics at Oxford University, Emily Bendell worked as a journalist for several years. Emily then went on to quit her job to set up Bluebella in 2005 after finding a gap in the market to find high-quality, fashionable, but affordable lingerie.
Bluebella sells in department stores such as Selfridges and House of Fraser as well as websites including ASOS. Bluebella designed ‘50 Shades of Grey’ lingerie one collection at Tesco (F&F) and another ‘Black Label’ collection.
USP: High quality, luxurious and affordable lingerie offering exceptional customer service.
Launched in May 2015, Alastair Campbell and Stuart Noad and Mark Smithson founded Carsnip to fill a gap in the car search marketplace. They founded Carsnip due to their research showing them that every year, over four billion car buyers view adverts on untrustworthy aggregator ‘classified-ad’ type sites rather than car dealer websites.
Carsnip is a car search engine delivering personalised car results for buyers based on the real search terms they use, allowing dealers to make more informed sales decisions.
USP: A faster way to search for a used car with the tools to make better-informed decisions.
Craft Gin Club
Jon Hulme and John Burke founded the company in January 2015. Their founders were business school friends who met while studying in Madrid. The pair hit upon the idea for Craft Gin Club while reminiscing over some of their favourite, Spanish-style gin and tonics in a London bar.
The subscription service which brings the “world’s most amazing” craft gins straight to your door. They recently secured an investment of £75,000 on BBC television series Dragons’ Den resident Dragon Sarah Willingham.
USP: A monthly subscription service of a selection of the world’s finest small-batch gins.
Direct Online Services LTD
Will Rees and his son Martyn founded Direct Online Services Ltd in 2009 whilst based in Gloucester during the recession.
The aim of promoting solid wood products online, combined with technology with sustainability, quality delivery and affordability. Their most popular brand is the Worktop Express®, the UK’s leading online solid wood worktop specialist, stocking a huge range of oak, beech, iroko and other wood worktops.
USP: Affordable, fine-quality, solid wood worktops.
Before they founded the company in 2013, Alec Dobbie was running his own software company, and Raphael Marsh, was running his own digital design consultancy. Nick Hadfield is a serial entrepreneur who set up the successful airport transfer firm Ski-Lifts.
FanFinders offers brands genuine connections with target consumers as well as performance marketing and insight through its own channel of membership clubs. Its first consumers club created was YourBabyClub which has become the UK’s fastest growing community for new mums.
USP: Connects businesses with their target demographic through dedicated ‘clubs’.
Farfetch was founded in London in 2008 by the seasoned Portuguese entrepreneur with over 10 years experience in the retail industry, including establishing contemporary shoe brand Swear in London in 1996, followed by B-Store in 2001. José combined his interest in fashion and technology to launch Farfetch.com
Farfetch is a British international fashion website that stocks designer clothing from around the world. The company ships fashion products to more than 170 countries from over 300 partner boutiques represented on the website.
USP: A large range of unique boutique clothing from established luxury brands and new designers.
Bertie Stephens started out in the film industry after studying at university. When buying equipment for his production company online, Bertie realised there was something fundamentally flawed about the e-commerce market. When he called companies to see if they would price match they would always come back and say yes, giving him the idea to create a price match through automated technology.
Flubit was founded in 2011 and is an online platform is an online marketplace inviting users to demand lower prices on products which they’ve seen for sale elsewhere online.
USP: Helps online sellers sell more, more efficiently, and buyers buy more, at cheaper prices.
Girl Meets Dress
Anna Bance studied at The London College of Fashion and managed PR for the designer brand Hermes before spotting a gap in the market for online luxury fashion rental. Bance then founded the company with Xavier de Lecaros-Aquise, who was leading the UK digital media efforts for an investment bank before the launch.
The e-commerce rental site enables women to be on trend and wear an exclusive designer clothing that they may not be able to afford or need to wear again.
USP: Allows customers to rent the latest designer dresses and accessories for a fraction of the retail price.
GoInStore Go in Store was founded in 2015 after Andre Hordagoda arrived at his sister’s shop , which was empty with four sales people. He told his sister that there must be hundreds of people browsing the store’s website. He then thought that there must be a way for idle in-store assistants to access online customers. Go in Store offers an in-store shopping, online. Using mobile technology to stream live from the viewpoint of an in-store sales person directly to the website visitor who has expert knowledge of the products they are interested in. USP: Providing a first person shopping experience for online customers.
Go in Store was founded in 2015 after Andre Hordagoda arrived at his sister’s shop , which was empty with four sales people. He told his sister that there must be hundreds of people browsing the store’s website. He then thought that there must be a way for idle in-store assistants to access online customers.
Go in Store offers an in-store shopping, online. Using mobile technology to stream live from the viewpoint of an in-store sales person directly to the website visitor who has expert knowledge of the products they are interested in.
USP: Providing a first person shopping experience for online customers.
Richard Thwaite and Mike Altendorf have extensive experience in the IT industry and were formerly joint managing director of Conchango PLC, acquired by EMC in April 2008. David Tymm held various sales and marketing positions in US and European technology companies and has over 26 years experience of banking, retail and marketing technology.
i-movo is one of the largest secure digital voucher networks in the world. Our extensive experience enables us to add real value to all stages of any campaign.
USP: Deliver ‘secure digital vouchers’ via any media such as mobile phone.
Tim Antos and Richard Hall launched Kokoon Technology in 2015 with the aim of combating the common challenge of getting a good night’s sleep by using a soporific mix of audio and brain-sensing technology.
In the pre-launch stage, Kokoon already raised $2m in funding and pre-sold 10,000 units through Kickstarter, which at $229 a pair, has already generated revenues of £1.4m before a single product has even been shipped.
USP: The “world’s first” smart, sleep-sensing headphones – giving the wearer a better night’s sleep.
The idea for LovetheSales formed when McClure, who became a father as a teenager, began looking for cut-price shopping. Stuart McClure and Mark Solomon came up with the idea to bring all retailer’s discounts into one searchable platform. With the technical skills of David Bishop this was able to become a reality.
The London-based startup is preparing for Series A funding after securing a six-figure sum from VC the Collective earlier this year. They feature sale items from over 500 retailers.
USP: Aggregates retail sales products into one site.
After Charlie Casey graduated from university he worked at Deloitte as a consultant for three and a half years, and then decided it was time to set up his own business. The idea began when he divided an A4 sheet of paper into four sections and filled each one with topics he knew about and then, LoyaltyLion was formed.
LoyaltyLion allows e-commerce stores to create their own online loyalty and engagement program. They have a customisable platform helping to increase purchase frequency, customer retention and encouraging referrals.
USP: Helps e-commerce stores retain their customers through their own loyalty and engagement programme.
Maybe* was launched in early 2016 by Polly Barnfield, OBE. Polly previously created the multi award-winning Everyclick and Give as you Live platforms for the Charity sector.
The Maybe* platform aims to make shopping easier and more connected, working with shoppers, retailers and places to deliver a seamless retail experience across all channels and devices.
USP: Helps consumers to come to an easier decision by bringing the different elements of choice together in one place.
My 1st Years
Jonny Sitton founded My 1st Years with his best friend Daniel Price. They decided to found the business after one of their friends gave birth and they struggled to find a ‘timeless yet original gift, both truly personal and which wouldn’t break the bank’.
Five years on and they have expanded from personalised baby shoes to a wide range of products including a signature luxury gift box free with every gift. They now have a concession in Selfridges.
USP: Offering personalised baby gifts.
Perks Loyalty The former professional footballer Achille Traore launched digital tech firm Perks Loyalty in 2015, attracting a number of independent investors. Perks Loyalty uses app-based technology for retailers to set up and run customer incentive and loyalty schemes. It enables retailers to devise and set up new bespoke programmes in minutes allowing them to ‘push’ promotions and gain insights into their customer base; eliminating the need for traditional loyalty/award cards. USP: An app that allows customers to use their phones as a virtual card, where they can register visits and purchases as well as bank/redeem awards.
The former professional footballer Achille Traore launched digital tech firm Perks Loyalty in 2015, attracting a number of independent investors.
Perks Loyalty uses app-based technology for retailers to set up and run customer incentive and loyalty schemes. It enables retailers to devise and set up new bespoke programmes in minutes allowing them to ‘push’ promotions and gain insights into their customer base; eliminating the need for traditional loyalty/award cards.
USP: An app that allows customers to use their phones as a virtual card, where they can register visits and purchases as well as bank/redeem awards.
After realising a ‘customizable connectivity’ tool didn’t yet exist, Kate Unsworth decided to quit her job and build it herself.
Vinaya is a tool that would allow people to facilitate how connected they wanted to be throughout the day and filter the notifications that mattered most. Vinaya’s first product is Alturis, a collection of mindful wearable technology in the form of smart high-end and high-tech jewellery.
USP: High-end wearable technology jewellery enabling notifications from your phone.
Chris Griffin is the founder of Anatwine. He came up with the idea after working in the fashion industry and noticed that the different systems being used by major brands were highly complex, resulting in inconsistencies for customers.
Anatwine’s cloud-based portal allows you to create, edit and launch the best possible selection of a brands product range. This means that the brand is able to mirror the retailer’s service level agreements and customer promise, while the retailer still has visibility across the customer journey.
USP: A cloud-based portal for retailers for a seamless experience for the customer.
Tom Adeyoola came up with the idea of Metail after seeing his girlfriend’s love of clothes shopping and how it was a lot less fun to shop online. Adeyoola then wanted to find a way to help his girlfriend love shopping online as well as in-store.
Metail is a virtual clothes try-on where you can choose clothes and see how they fit on you. This also helps retailers engage with consumers more.
USP: Allows people to try on clothes virtually online.
Chris Morton is the CEO and co-founder of Lyst, Chris Morton started the company in 2010 after working as an investor at Balderton Capital and Benchmark Capital.
Lyst is an online fashion marketplace that lets users follow their favourite shops. In January 2014, Lyst announced that it had raised $14 million (£9 million) in funding from Balderton Capital and Accel Partners, among other investors.
USP: A social curation platform for online fashion.
Before founding ASAP54, Daniela Cecilio previously worked at Farfetch.com. She came up with the idea after seeing a pair of sunglasses that she wanted, and after searching everywhere she couldn’t find them. She then decided to create a new way of searching for fashion.
Asap54 is a site that uses image-recognition technology to help people discover fashion online. Shoppers can use the site to scan clothes they’re interested in by snapping a photo, and it automatically finds it online, or suggests similar items.
USP: A fashion app that provides customer’s information about items of clothing based on customer photos.
Chic By Choice
Co-founders Lara Vidreiro and Filipa Neto were both scheduled to attend an event, but didn’t want to spend money on dresses that they would probably only wear once. That’s where the idea of Chic By Choice came from. The co-founders were just 21 at the time and left Portugal soon after to move the business to London.
Chic by Choice lets users hire evening dresses and ball gowns for special events letting people rent designer wear for much less than it would be to buy them.
USP: Affordable rental platform for designer wear.
Sam Middleton and his Father Joe Middleton founded The Chapar in 2013 aimed at revolutionising the way men shop.
The Chapar is aimed at men over the age of 27 and sends regular packages of clothes based on a man’s tastes. Customers then try on the clothes and return anything they don’t like. Chapar stylists work with customers through phone calls and online chats to find out what their tastes are and send more relevant items of clothing.
USP: Regular packages of clothes are send to customers based on a man’s tastes.
Nuji was founded in 2011 Vincent Thome, Dean Fankhauser, and Anton Meryl Nithianandan.
Nuji brings together millions of fashion and lifestyle products and over 10,000 designers from the best online boutiques and department stores across the web. Customers can discover items from people and stores they like and earn exclusive rewards for shopping at your favourite retailers.
USP: An e-commerce site that where you can start your social wish list, selling clothing and lifestyle goods.
Giacomo Summa launched Stylect in 2013. He previously worked as director of business development for online fashion retailer Dafiti. He moved to London and started his business helping women find the perfect pair of shoes.
Stylect calls itself the “Tinder for shoes.” It lets users find what shoes they like by swiping through different pairs using a Tinder-like interface.
USP: A tinder style app for shoes.
Co-designers Ryan and Francesca founded CuteCircuit in 2004. They both share a passion for future fashion, participating in conferences, campaigns, and events on the subjects of innovation, STEM education, and fashion design.
CuteCircuit has introduced many ground-breaking ideas to the fashion world by integrating new beauty and functionality through the use of smart textiles and micro-electronics.
USP: Innovative wearable technology.
Cooking Marvellous is owned and run by Joan Woulfe and Katie Smith, who are passionate about cooking and food and are always on the look out for new and exciting products.
They selling cookware on their Cooking Marvellous site, and groceries and health & beauty products on their Tastes Marvellous site. They consider themselves to be personal shoppers for people who wish to access groceries and other products that they cannot get in their own location.
USP: Online retailer offering food and health & beauty products.
Founded in 2005, Erwan Krotoff and Pascal Therond set up Kalista after both having extensive experience in the retail and supermarket industry.
Kalista offers expertise in merchandising to retailers and their suppliers adding value to perceptions of brands and stores, develop customer loyalty and optimise sales efficiency. Their software Perfect Shelf is a 3D collaborative platform that enables the creation, design, management and execution of the shopping experiences across the entire consumer decision journey.
USP: Precise 3D models of representative supermarkets, placing the virtual products directly onto the shelves.
Founder Andrew Nowell entered Dragons’ Den, seeking investment to grow PitPat in the UK and abroad and to raise awareness of pet health.
Pitpatpet Ltd is focused on designing and manufacturing affordable products that augment traditional pet care with the latest technology. PitPat, their innovative dog activity monitor that allows owners to see how much exercise their dog has been getting from an app on their phone.
USP: Helps owners monitor how much exercise their dog has done.
Christian Lane founded Smarter in 2013 with the launch of the world’s first Wi-Fi connected kettle. His vision was to create a truly connected home that was accessible, affordable and understandable.
The iKettle is a way that users can save a huge amount of time and effort by using a remote kettle. In 2015, Kettle 2.0 and a brand new product, Smarter Coffee was launched.
USP: A remote kettle using smart technology.
Joe & Sephs
Joe Sopher founded Joe and Sephs with his wife Jackie and eldest son, Adam. Joe came up with the idea after his love of popcorn on his regular trips to the USA , bringing gifts for family and friends each time. He realised that the UK had nothing quite like it and decided to create his own flavours.
Joe & Sephs uses 100% natural ingredients and a unique flavour sequencing process to create different flavoured popcorn.
USP: Gourmet flavoured popcorn.
Julian Corbett was troubled with the lack of ROI on advertising spend. He felt there should be a better and more effective way to reach consumers at the moment that mattered. He partnered with his brother Giles, a successful entrepreneur who had been leading innovation at Orange and a pioneer in mobile gaming.
Ksubaka is a breakthrough platform to remotely manage and monitor tablets and provide gamified apps over the air. They provide an end-to-end service to brands retailers, data analysis and campaign managers.
USP: Offers gamified branded experiences.
Launched in 2013, young founders Liam James and Matthew Green have turned a relatively simple concept into a multi-million pound company with growth on the ascent.
Capitalising on the second-hand phone market and the rise in SIM-only contracts, The IOutlet buy in iPhones, smartphones and tablets in bulk, refurbish them where needed, and then sell them on for a discounted price using eBay as their main sales channel.
USP: Quality second-hand refurbished smartphones and tablets.
Kiryl Chykeyuk and Art Stavenka founded the company in 2012. They won Richard Branson’s ‘Pitch to Rich’ 2015 competition, and appeared on BBC investment show Dragons’ Den, receiving three offers, which were all refused.
Kino-mo have developed smart high-impact technologies that allow projecting 3D images and video in the air. It is a portable, quick to set up holographic display grabbing the consumer’s attention.
USP: Affordable holograms available to retailers and the high street.
Pocket high Street
Alex Schlagman founded PocketHighStreet, helping retailers use the internet to increase their sales online and in-store. He didn’t believe that the high street was coming to an end, and instead that we are moving towards a new phase where the high street will be connected by the internet.
PocketHighStreet is a platform that better connects local retailer supply with local consumer demand. It is the 1st click & collect shopping marketplace for London’s cycling community, helping cyclists find, order and collect products for sale today over local bike shops.
USP: Free service for local and independent shopkeepers for a 1 hour delivery of cycle products across London.
Kieran O’Neill founded Thread in 2012. O’Neill previously co-founded a number of businesses, including Playfire, a social network for gamers.
Thread helps people love how they look by giving them their own personal stylist. It’s all done online, is completely free to use, and they work with some of the top stylists in the industry.
USP: Thread is a service offers personal styling online for free.
Le Salon was founded by Natasha Pilbrow and Jean-Michal Chalayer in 2014. The idea began after Natasha’s love of beauty products, however, she found it difficult to get to a salon. Her friends referred her to a number of different freelance beauty therapists and it was through them that she became aware of the difficulties freelance professionals faced.
LeSalon is an elite service that gives you the freedom to book your beauty appointments from your mobile device at a location that suits you.
USP: A mobile app for a premium salon experience.
Levi Young studied journalism, and prior to Enclothed, was head of sales at a branding and marketing firm, whilst Dana Zingher worked in the city as a technology consultant.
Enclothed makes shopping personal through a combination of software and expert stylists, helping customers to discover great brands and great clothes with the ultimate aim to make shopping a hassle-free experience.
USP: A personal shopping experience online.
The founders created Unmade as a response to their frustration at the fashion industry’s stagnant approach to mass-consumption.
Unmade controls existing industrial knitting machines to make thousands of really unique items of knitwear for the same price as making thousands of pieces that are all the same. Colours can be adapted and patterns rearranged by merely dragging a finger across the tablet screens (or cursor on a desktop). On hitting “buy”, items then join a digital queue to be “printed out” by the machine.
USP: Real time, customisable knitwear.
The former footballer Bruce Bannister started B-Sporting, which was rebranded to Sportsshoes.com when his son Brett became managing director.
When Brett took over leadership of the company, he put a large focus on digital which has seen the company’s web traffic continue to surge upwards. The store that Bruce opened in 1982 was closed down in 2012. With more than 9,000 products available to choose from online, the team of 125 is delivering to over 100 countries.
USP: Offering a large range of online sports shoes.
Prior to setting up POD Point, Eric Fairbairn studied mechanical engineering and worked at Ford for several years before launching an exclusive supercar share club, ecurie25. Its members rented out the likes of Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Although successful, he wanted to create a more ambitious business that was reducing the carbon footprint.
The market leading manufacturer of EV (electrical vehicle) charge points, which sells its charge points to EV owners, workplaces and public destinations with car parks, such as supermarkets.
USP: A charge point for electric cars.
Extreme Couponing and Deals UK
Emma Mumford started Extreme Couponing and Deals UK started her savvy savings in 2013. After finding Couponing in her hour of need due to her ex-partner leaving her in £7k debt. Emma had to find a way to save money and fast.
Emma started the company on Facebook back in 2013. With over 200k+ followers across the board, it became apparent that there is a need regardless of your income or situation to save money on everyday essentials. Updated daily with all current coupons, deals, glitches and bargains.
USP: Offering online deals and coupons.
Peter is an experienced software-as-a-service entrepreneur. He started building SaaS software before the term was even invented. Peter previously led a successful startup platform TeamSeer, which became the UK’s leading absence management platform.
Founded in 2014, StorIQ is razor-focused on retail operations communication. Our cloud-based software-as-a-service helps retail operations stakeholders improve the performance of the retail portfolio through better communication and task management.
USP: Delivering cloud solutions for the improvement of retail operations.
After graduating from University of Reading, Grace Quantock turned her attention to her health and enrolled in Healing University, doing all she could to understand and manage her own health conditions. From her healing journey grew Healing Boxes. She co-founded the business with her husband Linus Harrison.
Healing boxes provide thoughtful, useful and customisable gifts that say “I’m thinking of you”, “Hang in there”, or simply “You are loved”.
USP: A gift platform for people who are unwell.
Prezola was founded by husband and wife team, Ali & Dom Beaven in 2010. Ali Beaven is a qualified interior designer and Dom Beaven was previously managing director at one of the UK’s leading magazine companies responsible for the technology media brands.
An independent wedding gift list company, designed for style-savvy couples who want the greatest choice, flexibility and service.
USP: An online wedding gift list.
Tropic Skin Care
After appearing on BBC’s The Apprentice in 2011, Susan Ma was given the opportunity to present her passion and vision for natural and cruelty-free skincare to Lord Alan Sugar. Impressed by the products, he spots a unique business opportunity and invests to become a 50/50 partner.
Tropic Skin Care are natural beauty products. They also empower people all over the country and provide them with the means to start their own beauty business with Tropic.
USP: Natural and cruelty-free skincare, allowing others to start their own business selling Tropic products.
Darren Beale started out in business while still at school. With the help of his parents, he managed to keep his businesses running while completing a computing degree at Loughborough University. Previous successes have included the affiliate marketing agency MoreNiche.com, design agency Soula.com, and weight-loss supplement Proactol.
Musclefoods.com supplies high protein foods including top quality fresh meats as well as supplements and other innovative products such as protein bread and crisps.
USP: Online retailer offering high protein foods and supplements.
The founders saw the problems brands were having dealing with legacy e-commerce solutions. After noticing that these solutions didn’t scale enough to enable brands to build distributed or native apps at a reasonable cost, the founders decided to create Moltin.
Moltin is a feature packed e-commerce platform that provides features like a shopping cart, checkout, payment aggregation, inventory management, a customer service module and order management.
USP: E-commerce platform using cutting edge enterprise technologies.
Qudini, run by entrepreneurs Imogen Wethered and Fraser Hardy, is a digital queue management solution that tells customers how long they have to wait for a shop assistant and then sends a text when one is available.
Qudini help retailers improve customer satisfaction and prevent them walking out, encouraging shoppers to browse by giving them a more accurate prediction about when they’ll be served.
USP: A digital queue management solution.
Jan Farrarons and George Karibian set up a card payment service that is dedicated to making card payments safer, simpler and more affordable for smaller businesses.
They provide the same services as the banks, but at lower prices.
USP: A merchant service provider
Gousto was created by Timo Boldt and James Carter who found their busy lives a limiting factor when it came to buying and cooking wholesome meals. They both worked long hours and didn’t have the time to shop for ingredients, they then came up with the idea of delivering all the ingredients in exact portion sizes.
The customer selects the dishes they want from a changing weekly online menu, and all the fresh ingredients are packaged and delivered to the door, in exact portions, along with a recipe card. All the customer needs to do is cook it.
USP: Food delivery service with exact portions and an online recipe.
The group launched Brewbot in 2013 after deciding to combine their interest in home brewing with the knowledge and expertise gained from their day jobs as mobile software developers to create an easy-to-use, controlled brewing process using the latest sensor technology.
The brewer connects to the machine via the Brewbot mobile app, recipes can be chosen and the machine starts adds the ingredients when prompted. The team travelled to Portland, Oregon to launch it on Kickstarter in September and took Brewbot on an 11,000-mile journey around America. They sold 52 Brewbots during the trip and exceeded their target on Kickstarter.
USP: A robot that brews beer.
Ian Scott founded Taggled in 2013 after hearing a friend complaining that he’d seen a jacket he liked on TV and had spent hours trying to find it on Google. This gave Scott, who was running a business software company in Belfast, the inspiration to start Taggled.
Video bloggers or brands coming to the platform can tag the content very easily through drag-and-drop. Then, whether on a blog or social network, they can access the info by clicking on the tag.
USP: A video tagging platform with a focus on fashion.
The Whisky Exchange
When their parents decided to retire from their family run business in 1999, the brothers took the difficult decision to sell business and launch The Whisky Exchange.
The Whisky Exchange site has grown to become the web’s no.1 specialist retailer of whisky & other fine spirits and liqueurs, with a range of over 4000 products available online at any one time.
USP: Specialist retailer of whisky and other spirits.
Shopological, formerly SalesGossip, is a UK based website and mobile app that offers access to sale and promotional updates aggregated from over 1,300 fashion and beauty retailers.
The site that lets consumers get first-look access to all the best fashion and beauty product sales from the likes of ASOS, Ted Baker, Debenhams, NET-A-PORTER and many other major industry names. The site works by collating promotions from across the UK in real time.
USP: An online and mobile service that enables sellers to communicate their fashions and promotions to targeted customers.
MyShowcase was founded by Nancy Cruickshank, Kate Shapland, Rodrigo Dauster and Olivier Beau de Loménie. The founders formed the company from their passion for entrepreneurial-ism, technology and beauty.
MyShowcase is a personal beauty shopping service helping women to discover the best beauty products, from the best independent brands selected by award-winning beauty editor, Kate Shapland. MyShowcase helps to generate exposure for up-and-coming brands but also opens up opportunities for women to start their own flexible businesses.
USP: A personal shopping service for beauty products.
Founding Toucan Box in 2012, Virginie Charles-Dear has built a business loved by children nationwide. Inspired while watching a children’s TV programme with her daughter who was four at the time, Charles-Dear realised that the ‘everyday objects’ featured on the show were not so every day.
ToucanBox, is a subscription service delivering a personalised package of activities for children and toddlers every month containing materials and instructions for various DIY projects.
USP: Home delivery of activities for children.
Alice Hall founded Pink Boutique in 2012 after struggling to pay her bills. She decided to use £90 to buy a pack of dresses to sell online. When they sold, she bought two more packs of dresses, and when they sold, she bought four more packs.
Pink Boutique sells over 2,000 dresses a day, exporting to 59 countries, and has achieved turnover of over £7m while bringing in profits.
USP: Online fashion retailer specialising in women’s clothing and party dresses.
In 2012 Debbie Williamson quit her digital product development role at The Telegraph to co-found Swoon Editions. Williamson took home the prestigious title of Women in Business at the Startups Awards 2015.
Swoon Editions is an e-commerce platform specialising in hand-crafted, low-cost furniture shortening the supply chain by only creating a limited quantity of designs each day.
USP: Online retailer of hand-crafted quality furniture for affordable prices.
Jenier World of Teas
Founded in 2009 by Anita Clark, Jenier World of Teas is dedicated to excellent, high-quality teas and infusions.
Jenier World of Teas sell over 200 varieties of teas and infusions from single sourced teas to traditional blends and new and exciting infusions.
USP: A large collection of teas and infusions.
Look Fabulous Forever
Look Fabulous Forever was founded in 2013 by Tricia Cusden. Tricia wanted to create a business which would be a source of help and inspiration to older women.
The makeup range was created to bring specific benefit to older faces, eyes and lips and they chose feature only age appropriate ‘models’ in all their gallery photos and video tutorials.
USP: Makeup for older women, specifically formulated to suit more mature faces.
Carpet Runners UK
Myles Shaw founded Carpet Runner in 2011. Myles started out by selling carpets on Amazon in his spare time while working for his father’s business. He recognised the niche of an online e-commerce flooring industry. His success led him to found Carpet Runner.
Carpet Runners UK has become the largest retailer of hall and stair carpet runners in the UK.
USP: Supplying hallway, stair and event aisle runners.
Colleen Wong has worked in Asia for 10 years as an entrepreneur and has also been a senior government official for the Canadian Government. Colleen set up TechSixtyFour after hearing a little boy was lost and felt that there could be a better way to stay more connected with her own children.
Techsixtyfour delivers innovative technology products which help families stay active and healthy.
USP: A wearable mobile phone and tracker for children.
Matt Eames and Andrew Mabbutt co-founded Feefo after running several other businesses together.
Feefo is a global ratings and reviews provider, offering genuine feedback as used by the world’s most trusted brands.
USP: A global ratings and reviews solution for businesses and consumers.
Carwow was formed after James Hind saw how hard it was for people to choose the right car. He teamed up with his fellow graduates Alexandra Margolis and David Santoro on his project of making a website to help people choose their car.
Carwow lets you choose a car and find up to 5 of the best offers from local and national dealers. You can compare offers by price, location, and dealer ratings and reviews dealing directly with the dealer.
USP: A platform for buying new cars from franchise dealers.
Mark Roberts and Chris France set up the firm in Harrogate in 2012 and it has grown rapidly in the last several years.
Beer Hawk scans the world for the best that craft beer has to offer, delivering hand-picked selections of more than 300 individual bottles to customers at competitive prices.
USP: The online craft beer delivery service.