2023 Startups 100 | Just Started shortlist and award winner

Age is just a number - and these startup prodigies are proving it. Find out which of the newborn-businesses on our shortlist took home the Just Started crown for 2023.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

What were you doing at twelve months old? Taking lots of money and growing exponentially year-on-year? Well then, you’ve got a lot in common with the fantastic, brand-spanking-new businesses nominated for our 2023 Just Started award.

Having yet to celebrate their second birthday, our group of overachieving startups have collectively raised millions in funding and, between them, employ over one hundred staff members. Plus, their respective founders have done it all during the cursed year of 2022; battling the post-COVID and Brexit economy, rising inflation, and the energy bill crisis.

The Startups 100 was created fifteen years ago to champion new UK firms and provide a platform for those that might struggle to get noticed in the infancy of their business journey.

That’s why, in collaboration with entrepreneurial legend and founder of Buy Women Built, Sahar Hashemi OBE, we’ve picked out the four businesses from our list which we think demonstrate the most impressive growth and success – despite barely being old enough to sit at the boardroom table.

Read on to find out how they did – and who Hashemi chose as her Just Started hero for 2023…

Sahar Hashemi
Introducing Startups 100 guest judge, Sahar Hashemi

Veteran entrepreneur, Sahar Hashemi OBE has no fewer than two successful ventures (Coffee Republic and Skinny Candy) under her belt and is also the author of the bestselling entrepreneurial guidebook, Anyone Can Do It. Hashemi also recently launched the consumer campaign, Buy Women Built, which aims to boost economic recovery by bringing consumer support and recognition to female-founded firms.



Startups 100 WINNER
2023 Startups 100 | Winner of the Just Started award

For the company which, despite being in business for only one year, has already demonstrated impressive growth, success, or disruption in their field.

Learn more about SURREAL

SURREAL’s very real achievements means it takes home this year’s Just Started trophy!

It might be the youngest startup on our list, but SURREAL needs anything other than a head start. The company is bringing colour back to UK cereal aisles with its cheerful product line that’s all made with zero sugar, low carbs, and 14g of protein in every serving.

Despite launching in June 2022, founders Jac Chetland and Kit Gammell have already raised angel investment, become listed in Holland & Barrett’s, and have plans to launch in a further national retailer later this year.

Plus, how many cereal brands do you know with a die-hard fan following? Well, now you know one: SURREAL’s witty and engaging tone of voice has clearly caused a stir amongst social media users, with the brand already boasting over 13,000 followers on Instagram.

Guest judge Sahar Hashemi’s breakfast bowl overfloweth with admiration for the fledgling founders, telling Startups: “SURREAL is a real innovation in the cereal space – their branding and marketing campaign has been superb and a real stand out. That’s why they deserve to win.”

Runner Up: Climate X

Climate X

Climate X might have launched in December 2021. But its business model is all about looking very far ahead.

The risk-assessment service exists to protect organisations from the largest financial risk the world currently faces: climate change. Using its award-winning climate risk modelling software – Spectra – Climate X aims to reduce business disruption fuelled by extreme weather events, enabling firms to become more profitable and sustainable.

The company’s growth rate and sizeable accomplishments is undoubtedly impressive. Despite only entering the UK market in January 2022, the Climate X team has grown to 20 full-time staff members. Meanwhile, operations have also expanded into Europe in August, North America in October, and the moon in February 2023 (kidding, we think).

Runner Up: Ambl


Founded by Essex-based entrepreneurs Aaron Solomon and Jed Hackling, Ambl is essentially Uber for eaters. Its handy mobile app helps users search for a bespoke, eleventh-hour reservation to match hungry customers with cash-starved businesses that have availability due to last-minute cancellations.

The startups’ origin story is the definition of a hard graft. After the initial lightbulb moment, the partners needed to establish their market. They took to the streets – literally – and walked around London each evening to learn about how the market wanted to use the app and how it could be different.

The graft paid off, and the Ambl app officially launched in October 2022. It’s still early days, but the company has already raised an impressive £1.3m in funding and had over 1,300 sign ups from big name hospitality chains like Barrio, Alchemist, and Simmons.

Runner Up: Packfleet


It’s the younger generation that drives change – and Packfleet is no different. Launched in June 2021, the carbon-neutral delivery service is challenging the Amazon model with its twin focuses of sustainability and ethical employment standards.

Packfleet is still a very small company. But, thanks to savvy integrations with WooCommerce and Shopify, the service currently caters to over 100 ecommerce merchants, with an incredible 0% churn. As cofounder Hugo Cornejo says, “They really seem to love our service!”

And, with a genuine sense of care for their drivers and warehouse teams, and a 30% MoM growth rate, Packfleet apart from the gig-economy mindset – proof that businesses do not need to sacrifice employee wellbeing to scale fast.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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