Update: Check out our Startups to watch in 2013 list
Hot on the heals of the top 20 entrepreneurs to watch, here are my top 20 UK Startups to watch in 2012. Their really are some great companies coming out of the UK right now and these 20 are no different.
Founders: Jamie Ward, Mike Blake, Neil Harmsworth
Gym memberships can be expensive especially if you have to sign up to an annual contract. Well no more is this a problem, Pay As U Gym does 'exactly as it says on the tin.'
The website allows you to purchase discounted pay as you go gym passes. Although launched only in London at the start of 2011, Pay As U Gym now has over 250 gyms across the UK with no membership, no fees and no inductions.
2012 could be a big year for Pay As U Gym.
Founders: Jenna Anians, David Hickson, Steve Reid, Andrew McDonough
Tribesports is a social network aimed at helping to motivate people to do more in their sports. Setting and sharing goals and having a peer network helps users keep improving on their sporting achievements.
Users in the community can set challenges and users join tribes dedicated around a chosen sport.
Created for sports enthusiasts and powered by sports enthusiasts, Tribesports delivers a social platform supported by a refreshing mix of affiliate marketing and social integration to the under-serviced active sports market.
Founder: Tim Morgan
Picklive is a live Fantasy Football game where users make bets in real time. Users can play for free or for cash and basically choose a team and can see live stats for players as they pick up points. The game is split into 5 minute sections and so you can win multiple sections to win overall.
In what is an entertaining and addictive game it can certainly become a big hit as the quickness of the game and continuous live scoring and sections means that users are engaged throughout the game whilst not distracting from the game.
Starting of in football Picklive hope to expand into other countries and sports as they grow. As word spreads I can see Picklive picking up many sports fans over the coming year and expanding into other sports.
Founder: Simon Prockter
Housebites allows you to order gourmet takeaway from great chefs in your local area. Any chef can start selling their home cooked meals (after being vetted) on Housebites and even make a living out of it. And all of this can be delivered to your door for the price of a pizza delivery.
The ease of the takeaway, but with the quality of a restaurant meal, delivered to your door, not bad. It also allows you to rate chefs and it's delivered to your front door via a Housebites courier.
It's a very cool idea and is backed by Paul & Michael Birch, who sold Bebo for $890m, the startup could take off massively this year.
Founder: Andrew Hunter, Doug Monro
Adzuna is a job search engine. It aggregates jobs from across multiple networks so you can search and apply for jobs from one site. But Adzuna is more than a massive jobsite, it integrates your social connections so that you can leverage your connections to give you an advantage when looking for a job.
Adzuna raised $300,00 from Passion Capital last summer to ramp up and start them on the way to becoming the biggest and best classifieds search engine globally.
Founder: Damian Kimmelman
Duedil is a free database of information on companies in the UK.
Drawing on data from Companies House, Intellectual Property Office, Google, Social Networks, basically scraping the internet to pull in multiple data sources to build a company profile with financial records, litigations, director profiles, company credit check, stock information & more.
The fact that it is free and so simple to find so much aggregated data for companies it makes it informative & addictive for those looking for company information. It also has a ton of features and can already claim to be the largest database of free company financials in the world!
Founders: Ambarish Mitra, Steve Spencer, Omar Tayeb
Blippar was launched in the summer of 2011 and already it has seen it's augmented reality app put into the spotlight as they have teamed up some big brands for some cool interactive campaigns. Blippar allows brands to create interactive ads to engage audiences in a way which is more fun than the usual billboard or poster.
Augmented reality regularly comes up as one of the future next tech trends and Blippar is getting on the potential augmented reality advertising bandwagon early. As it's popularity increases and more brands take up the idea Blippar is in a good position to grow rapidly as well.
Founders: Jay Bregman, Russell Hall, Caspar Woolley, Gary Jackson, Ron Zeghibe, Terry Runham
Hailo was founded in 2010. It's a network that matches passengers and licensed taxi drivers. I have the app myself and it has been brilliant.
It uses your GPS to find where you are and locate the nearest taxi to you. From there you can hail the taxi at the touch of a button and choose how you want to pay. The taxi will then get your, umm 'order'? and come pick you up. When I used it, the taxi driver called me straight away to confirm where I was and that he was on the way.
Jay Bregman partnered with 3 taxi drivers as co founders, as well as two other internet entrepreneurs, and looks to change the way we hail taxis in London, and eventually other cities as the company grows.
Jay has already created a great business in eCourier which will be valuable in making Hailo a similar success.
Founders: Anil Stocker & Charles Delingpole
These two university friends escaped the city in 2010 to startup their own company. Anil & Charles launched Marketinvoice, an innovative new cloud-based working capital platform, which enables small businesses to flexibly raise cash from a network of global investors.
They look set to disrupt an industry which has generally been lagging behind when it has come to innovation and have made some great strides in 2011 and the two young, smart entrepreneurs hope to take it to the next level in 2012.
Founder: Sanchita Saha
With people socialising more and more online Sanchita founded UberLife to help people meet online in order to enable real world community and connections, in what she has coined an 'Online2Offline' service.
UberLife allows you to arrange a hangout when you're doing or want to do something & see who's free to come join you or you can simply join a hangout.
As we go more and more social online I think this will translate into more offline meetings and Sanchita's creation, UberLife could go big in 2012 making this happen. It is already getting a large number of the tech startup scene using it, who tend to be the influencers of these kind of apps.
Find out a little more abut Sanchita here.
Founders: Darren Westlake, Luke Lang
Crowdcube is the brainchild of Darren Westlake & Luke Lang and launched in February 2011 to much fanfare. The idea is that entrepreneurs invest in business ideas in an effort to crowdsource funding. It's crowdfunding.
The benefit of the model is that those who pitch their ideas and businesses on Crowdcube then promote and share it across their networks and look to help get as many people to share it as possible which in turn brings traffic to the site and helps minimize the amount that the guys need to spend on marketing at this early stage.
With Dragon's Den bringing the concept of angel investing to the masses, Darren & Luke realised that many people will have watched many ideas come out of the Den without any funding and thought to themselves that they would have put in a bit of money into that.
Now they can, with the ability to invest as little as £10 anyone can now invest in a business idea and see it come to life!
Founder: Peter McCormack
Bantr is a social network for football fans. Fans can use Bantr to check-in to games, vote on the action, view live stats and as their name suggests, banter with other fans.
With social networks becoming more and more common in our daily lives, niche sites which cover a topic, especially one as popular and team based such as football will continue to grow as users can share and interact with others with the same common interest rather than the general nature of broader social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
That is why I see Bantr doing well this year, especially fans from older sports forums, from the likes of the BBC, are closing down due to streamlining of their services. They have already now expanded into covering Spanish and Italian leagues and I'm sure many more will follow in the near future.
Check out our interview with Peter here.
Founders: Geoff Watts and Julia Fowler
What happens when you get a fashion designer and an expert at analysing big data? You get Editd, a fashion intelligence startup. The company based in London is able to offer market intelligence and spot trends using huge amounts of data crawled from multiple sources.
Editd offers customised industry trend data to clients which include retailers, merchandisers, designers and buyers.
They already have 10 high street retailers as customers & having raised their first bit of funding, $1.6million of seed funding they will hope to use that to grow further this year.
Founder: Sacha Labourey
CloudBees allows you to build, run and manage java applications in the cloud letting companies build and test different user interfaces without having to worry about servers.
With more and more companies moving various IT services over to the cloud, the startup founded in 2010 could be in a good position to make the most of the interest as companies look to become more efficient and save costs.
2012 could be a good year for this cloud company.
Founders: Ning Li, Julien Callede
Made.com are a online made to order furniture store. Made allows you to order furniture straight from some of the best furniture makers in the world. What's best is this cuts out the plethora of middlemen that normal take a cut along the way and put prices up.
By cutting out the middleman made.com can offer very competitive pricing for furniture and with original designs, and the chance for users to vote on new designs to see them commissioned, I think once more people find out about made.com they will just have to worry about scaling the business quick enough.
Founders: Damien Tanner, Max Williams
Another cloud based service, Pusher allows developers to quickly and easily add realtime functionality to webapps. This means that people can create collaborative tools, multiplayer games, chat, realtime dashboards and more.
They raised $1million in seed funding in the last quarter of 2011 and can be confident of further funding at some point as they look to help developers make awesome stuff.
Founders: Natalie Downe, Simon Willison
Social is everywhere right now, even at this conference directory startup Lanyrd. The directory of conferences, events and speakers allows users to sign in with Twitter to see what events their friends are attending and add their own events or even build a personal speaking profile.
It's an interesting idea which has lots of potential to grow it's offering in an attempt to make conferences even more social.
Founder: Joel Gascoigne
Buffer is a social media app that allows you to store content in Buffer and schedule it to be posted on your social networks through the day. Just add content that you find, as you find it and add it to Buffer, it will then automatically be shared by Buffer and you can see all the analytics from your tweets inside the app.
Founder: Gilbert Wedam, Tamas Locher, Andreas Klinger
Lookk connects designers with consumers. Designers can showcase their fashions building their brand and selling their fashions to an engaged audience.
You can support your a favourite designers and help influence what is in the Lookk store. Is this the future of fashion shopping?
The company raised funding last August led by some great investors in Eden Ventures, Dave McClure and Sherry Coutu.
Founder: Charlie Muirhead
Rightster is a technology and services company which makes distributing, marketing and monetising digital video content simple.
Digital media strategies are becoming ever more important for companies, including ITN, the British news producer, who are using Rightster to manage its online ad sales platform so that it is unified and Rightster will also syndicate all of ITN’s content online.
This is a big step forward for the startup and they will hope to get bigger deals like this over the course of the next year.
Who have I missed? Who do you think are the startups to watch in 2012?
Let us know in the comments we would love to hear from you!
Update: Check out our Startups to watch in 2013 list