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The Hottest Startups in London

by Elijah
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The Hottest Startups in London

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has always had a tendency to portray himself as the ‘tech bro’ politician. Such branding isn’t limited to pensive, sporty profile pictures: in November, Britain hosted its first AI Safety Summit, complete with a cozy fireside chat between Sunak and Elon Musk. The UK government has also set up a DARPA-like agency called ARIA (Advanced Research and Invention Agency), which is funding this to the tune of £800 million over four years. In July, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced £50 billion in pension funding for scale-ups by 2030.

The question now is whether Britain’s formidable tech economy can maintain its top position in the global arena – earlier in 2023, when Andreessen Horowitz and OpenAI announced the opening of their first offices outside the US, both chose London – while the rest of the world The British economy is showing symptoms of inexorable decline. Part of that challenge will depend on a functioning government. However, Westminster continues to show signs of being chronically preoccupied with the ongoing psychodrama. For example, the highlight of Sunak’s opening speech at London Tech Week wasn’t what he said about AI or technology regulation. Instead, it was his timid criticism of Boris Johnson for yet another political scandal.


Alan Chang decided to found Fuse, a renewable energy startup, for a simple reason: “I was extremely frustrated by the lack of progress on our net-zero transition,” he says. “So I decided I was going to be part of the solution.” Founded in 2022 with fellow Revolut alumni Charles Orr, Fuse is a renewable energy supplier that, according to Chang, offers customers the cheapest electricity tariff in the UK and allows them to track the consumption and source of their electricity in real time to follow. The startup has raised $78 million from investors including Balderton Capital, Lakestar and Accel, and is currently building solar farms on unused land and rooftops. Their plans for next year? “Fuse is building a one-stop shop to power your home and business,” says Chang. New features include installation and financing of solar panels and electric vehicle chargers. fuseenergy.com


In July, SOJO CEO Josephine Philips spoke at a TED summit about how “learning how to value things correctly is a climate solution.” “It was in the context of clothing, but the premise can be extrapolated to society when we look at our culture of overconsumption and hyper-disposability,” she says. It is a subject that has interested her since university. “I started shopping secondhand, but noticed that the clothes often didn’t fit me or needed repairs, but I had no idea how to sew,” she says. Modernizing and digitalizing the tailoring industry is the mission behind SOJO, a platform that allows users to easily book clothing repairs or alterations online with local seamstresses, with the items delivered via a bicycle service. Founded in 2020, the startup has raised a $2.8 million pre-seed round led by Capital T and is partnering with fashion brand Ganni. sojo.uk


“I have gone through all the reproductive processes: I have five children, gave birth to four; I went through three rounds of IVR; I had two pregnancy losses; I am now perimenopausal and on HRT,” says Eileen Burbidge, CEO of Fertifa, a reproductive health benefits start-up. miscarriage at work.” Fertifa offers employees of companies like Lululemon, Meta, Centrica and Space NK reproductive health benefits and services, such as helping women go through menopause, or men struggling with sexual health issues. “We have processed more than £1.5 million in compensation for employees through their employers,” says Burbidge. We have saved these employers around a quarter of a million pounds in compliance costs and ensured they were eligible for claims.” In July 2023, they raised a £5m seed round led by leading SaaS investors Notion Capital and Triple Point Ventures. fertifa.com

Stability AI

In October 2022, Emad Mostaque, the CEO of Stability AI – the company that funded and helped develop the text-to-image generator Stable Diffusion – threw a party at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Guests included Google co-founder Sergey Brin and venture capitalist Ron Conway, who were on hand to celebrate the company’s $101 million fundraising round. Since then, Mostaque has become one of the most vocal proponents of open-source AI: he was one of the signatories, alongside Elon Musk and Steven Wozniak, of an open letter calling for a six-month pause in AI research, and stated that AI will replace human programmers by 2028. More recently, on a call with UBS analysts, he said AI is the “biggest bubble of all time.” The company, which was founded in late 2020, is currently trying to raise funds for a valuation of $4 billion. The new tool, Stable Doodle, can transform a simple line sketch into a polished, full-color image in a number of different styles, including ‘cinematic’ or ‘origami’. stability.ai


In her previous career, Sasha Haco co-authored scientific articles with the late Stephen Hawking with titles such as “Black hole entropy and soft hair”. She is currently the CEO of Unitary, an AI-powered system that helps social media companies identify and moderate harmful content on their platforms. “We build ‘multimodal AI models’, taking into account all the different signals, such as image, text and audio, in a single algorithm to integrate context and more accurately reflect human understanding,” says Haco. “For example, our models can learn the difference between artistic, medical and explicit nudity – and apply this insight to predict the nuances of a platform or organization’s policies.” unitary.ai


“We are on a mission: to make a meaningful dent in the 39 percent of global emissions that come from buildings, and make the time we spend indoors healthier and more productive,” said William Cowell De Gruchy, CEO of Infogrid. Founded in 2018, the company installs a network of sensors in commercial buildings to capture data on energy consumption, space usage and air quality to provide owners with AI-generated insights. According to Infogrid, a recent trial resulted in an 80 percent reduction in virus risk and a 50 percent improvement in productivity, based on their indoor air quality monitoring. The startup works with more than 200 global companies, including partnerships with JLL and CBRE, and has raised $100 million to date. infogrid.io


Peppy, the healthtech startup launched in 2020 by Mridula Pore, Max Landry and Evan Harris, provides multinational companies with a support platform for their employees, focusing on issues such as menopause, endometriosis, fertility and infant health. “We saw the real need for individuals and organizations to gain support in underserved areas of healthcare – whether through working in healthcare or as leaders in large organizations, or when we all personally share the ‘holy nonsense!’ moment when you bring a baby home for the first time.” Through the app, employees can have free one-on-one video chats or virtual consultations with specialized healthcare professionals. More than 1 million users from 250 companies, including Accenture, Adobe, NVIDIA and Disney, use Peppy. Last October, the company expanded into the US, and earlier this year it announced a £36m in Series B fundingbringing their total to $56.7 million. peppy.health


FabricNano’s mission to replace petrochemicals with sustainable alternatives has attracted the likes of actress Emma Watson and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone as part of their Series A$25m fund raise. “We build and sell biocatalysts to enable sustainable production of chemicals on a large scale,” says Grant Aarons, CEO. “If you can string a few proteins together, you can start converting sustainable raw materials, such as sugars, into valuable products, such as bioplastics.” In April 2023, it announced a partnership with Sumitomo Chemical America to develop a biomanufacturing process for industrial chemicals. “It is the first cell-free startup ever to collaborate with a base chemical manufacturer to produce bio-based alternatives,” says Aarons. fabricnano.com

Wage flow

Peter Briffett’s biggest challenge when he first launched Wagestream in 2018 was convincing businesses about the benefits of the get-paid-as-you-earn model. “There is a real stigma around people talking about their finances, so in many cases we found that employers were simply unaware of the issues their staff faced, especially how many workers were forced into the hands of predatory payday loan companies. he says. In today’s economic climate, companies are no longer ignoring that reality. Last April, Wagestream, whose service is used by about 250,000 employees at companies like Burger King and Crate & Barrel, announced a $175 million Series C fundraising. loonstroom.co.uk


Last November, climate technology company Sylvera published a research report with relatively good news for the fight against climate change: according to their research, more than 40 percent of the carbon offset projects analyzed by the company were of “high quality,” meaning they contributed to the removal of CO2. The startup uses machine learning and satellite imagery to make such assessments, a method developed over the past decade by co-founder Allister Furey, who has a PhD in computational neuroscience and robotics. In collaboration with the government of Mozambique, it is currently conducting research using laser scanning to develop more accurate methods for monitoring forest carbon stocks. sylvera.com

This article appears in the January/February 2024 issue of WIRED UK magazine.

Updated 15/1/2024 4:00 PM GMT: The listing for Tesseract has been updated to reflect the company’s rebranding to Fuse.

This article was originally published by WIRED UK

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