3 min read

Look at any business periodical and it’s crystal clear that the UK is definitely Europe’s top hub for tech start-ups. This is even true despite all the furore around Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. We’re going to take a brief look at five start-ups that are taking advantage of the UK’s prime position to make an even bigger splash in 2019 than they already have.

Leveraging ‘age-tech’ – Birdie

‘Age-Tech’ is emerging as the buzz-phrase for identifying the intersection between Longevity and Technology. Forbes magazine has described it as “the next frontier market for technology disruption.” Birdie, a start-up from London, is developing a wrap-around care platform to help elderly adults to continue living independently at home.  They will utilise apps and connected devices to monitor their well-being. Birdie has developed a three-pronged approach to enhancing care services.

They intend to make care providers paperless by digitising time-consuming admin and reporting. They’re also looking at easing communications and information-sharing of a person’s care between care professionals, families and health practitioners. Finally, they’re looking at permitting family members to track and monitor their loved one’s health and welfare status 24/7.

Birdie is also developing health analytics technology and effectively using the data captured by care professionals and remote sensors. Its algorithms track health conditions, predicts issues at risk of worsening, alerting the right people at the right time.

Bridging the carer gap – SuperCarers

SuperCarers is filling a small bit of a massive hole (600,000 shortage of carers by 2025). It already covers 25,000 hours of care a month and plans to quadruple this in 2019. SuperCarers works across the UK, matching carers with those in need and making the whole industry more efficient, affordable, and professional. One of the ways they do this is by creating new certifications in fields like Dementia care.

Virtual mental health care – Oxford VR

Oxford VR is a startup that are revolutionising the field of ‘virtual reality therapy’. This therapy is psychological treatment using state-of-the-art immersive technology. Oxford VR’s mission is aimed at developing VR-based, clinically validated, and cost-effective cognitive treatments for clinical conditions.

Using VR and a cognitive-behavioural therapy approach, patients can go into the situations they find difficult and practise more helpful ways of thinking and behaving. This is obviously something that is impossible to do in face-to-face therapy. There is an undoubtedly worrying rise in mental health conditions among young and old alike. However, this company will help to drive a significant impact on patients, the NHS, and the economy as a whole.

Unearthing hidden skills – Chatterbox

Given that an increasing number of people in the world are displaced from their home countries by war or political turbulence, it is great to see a startup that really highlights the skills these (often over-qualified) people have to offer. Chatterbox is an online language school created and delivered by refugees.

Mursal Hedayat, who fled her native Afghanistan as a three-year-old founded Chatterbox. She settled in the UK with her mother, a civil engineer who spoke four languages but nonetheless struggled to find work.

The ethos of the company is to help refugees who face endemic levels of unemployment even though they are often very highly qualified. Working with partners like the Refugee Council, the Red Cross, and Citizens UK, the company provides digital tools including online booking and video classrooms.

Chatterbox won the inaugural Next Billion prize at the Global Education & Skills Forum in March 2018, which recognises ed-tech startups having a positive impact on education in poor and emerging countries.

The B2B reuse market – Globechain

With 10,000 big and small customers, Globechain is the middleman for businesses looking to get rid of expensive waste items from fixtures to construction materials. Rather than simply sending them to landfill sites or recycling plants, Globechain connects them with people and communities who need them all over the world. The company has already prevented 5.1 million kilos from going to landfill as well as helping over 14,000 communities globally. It is truly a forward-thinking company with an ethical business model, making waste management green and cost-effective.