Across the UK, the number of newly registered companies this year rose by 5.7% to over 660,000 – a record high . It is safe to say that despite all the current political chaos, business is still on the up. As a result of this, we at Differentology decided to research and write about some of the most exciting and innovative Startups that have been founded in recent years. We focused on 4 topic areas: Environment Under Stress, Living Differently, Multipolar World, and Technology.
Environment Under Stress
It was only the other week that scientists officially warned the public that we are in a climate emergency . The environment is arguably at the heart of our world’s problems, and startups have been hot on addressing this. Each company mentioned in this section acts upon one of the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) as they tackle the climate emergency in their own way.
Project Blue is a youth ran New Zealand based company who combat ocean pollution right at the core. Whilst most competitors are focused on the impact of mass-use of plastic through beach clean ups, Project Blue focus on the prevention of this. Their focus is to interrupt at the start of the cycle as they collaborate with companies, offering bespoke expert advice on how they personally can reduce their plastic use as a brand. Their journey is being kept under wrap for now as they are documenting their progress in a film, due to be released in November 2020.
Next, the fashion industry plays a major role in stress on the environment and are considered one of the most polluting industries in the world . In the first two years of life, the average baby outgrows seven clothing sizes , resulting in outgrown clothes ending up in landfill after only a short life. Eve Kekeh tackled this by setting up Bundlee, a baby clothing rental service that focuses on the reuse of baby clothing. Parents pay a subscription for a pack of baby clothing that they can exchange for a new size whenever they wish. The outgrown clothes are then sent off to another customer.
Other aspiring business owners have chosen to focus on recycling clothes to create new ones. TALA is an affordable and sustainable slow fashion activewear brand. Products are made from up to 92% upcycled material. By using recycled cotton, they save 4817 litres of water per tonne on their hoodies and joggers in comparison to using cotton-grown. Going forward, TALA are looking to use all 100% upcycled materials.
People are living differently, especially with the emergence of more advanced technologies which are helping communities to improve for the better. In education, as state school class sizes increase  and the number of teachers per class stay the same, tech help is becoming more prominent.
AskMyClass is a voice tech app that aims to facilitate classroom learning. AskMyClass focuses on helping children to set goals, overcome obstacles, build empathy, work with others, and own their emotions and behaviour. Bringing voice tech into the classroom adds a new dynamic, creating a fun and engaging environment for learning.
With increased uptake in higher education, there is greater awareness of the pressures of student debt. Year on year as tuition fees have crept up, the average student debt at graduation stands at £50,800 in the UK . Meanwhile in the United States, student debt has been labelled as a crisis . Pillar is a U.S.-based app which combines data science and human judgement to give strategic advice for graduates paying off their student loan balances. Pillar tracks income, spending and debt to come up with the best possible path to pay off the loan with the lowest impact on income. Is there a gap in the market for this in the UK?
As well as different ways of living, the attention paid to certain voices within communities are shifting.
Young people are often at the fringes of conversations pertaining to politics and social reform. The app Represent.me is designed to give young people easier access to politics. Users are able to vote on, discuss and compare policies whilst interacting with the community and local representatives, thus facilitating a connection between the young and mainstream political discourse.
The inequalities faced by certain segments of society, such as those on lower incomes, are also being addressed. Chilean Startup Algramo sells food products ‘by the gram’, as the name alludes to. Algramo follows a similar physical set up to similar to the zero waste shopping movement but was created with a purpose of making food more accessible to lower income individuals and families by allowing them to only pay for what they need. This helps to eliminate the ‘poverty tax’ that some people can face when having no choice but to buy smaller (and proportionately more expensive) packets of food.
Last but not least, technology. Technology is the modern means of making living efficient and effortless. AI is at the forefront of this trend and the scope for its applications is getting broader by the day. People are becoming increasingly trusting of it as an industry, with 64% of workers saying that they would trust a robot more than their manager . Do Not Pay is an app that showcases the abilities of AI. The app appeals parking tickets and has a 60% success rate when disputing parking infringements. The app is free and no data is collected or used. All you have to do is answer questions asked by a chat bot ‘lawyer’ which works on figuring out the legal technicalities of the ticket.
As well as AI, FinTech companies are on the up aiming to improve the financial sector through harnessing technological advances. Wagestream is a FinTech bank that offers a ‘get paid as you go’ service. It allows workers to access their wages in real time instead of payday, reducing the potential pressures towards the end of the month to take out a loan.
The companies referenced throughout this are just a few of the many new and exciting businesses that have been founded in recent years. We aim to follow these sectors in the future to uncover how innovation progresses even further! So, watch this space…