Startups 100 2019: 61 to 65

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Startups 100 Ranking: 61
Company name: Howamigoing
Founded: 2018

Holistic HRTech platform which provides a safe place for stress-free feedback

The employee appraisal usually reverts to one of two extremes: either it’s a deeply uncomfortable chat which creates resentment between manager and worker, or it’s a pointless box-ticking exercise which achieves nothing for either side.

Howamigoing has created a UX-led platform which offers a middle point. The platform provides a single repository for all performance management processes, including check-ins, goal-setting, Team 360s and individual private discussion. Its underlying goal is to create a safe, stress-free space for all relevant parties to give and receive constructive feedback.

The product is extremely smart, harnessing psychographic technology to create a tailored year-round development plan for each employee. Regular surveys and stats allow employers to gauge which feedback questions are generating most response among their team, and then adjust their approach accordingly.

Founder Julian Cook, a former banker with J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs, has built a tight team packed with big-game corporate experience. The company has already raised £1.1m in two funding rounds and is well-positioned to become a leading force in the HRTech market, which is currently undergoing significant disruption.

Startups 100 Ranking: 62
Company name: Learnerbly
Founded: 2017

Edutech startup which wants to be the LinkedIn of the (employee’s) future

Learnerbly wants to map out a person’s future just as LinkedIn maps out their past. That’s the core goal driving this edutech startup, whose platform enables employees to take ownership of their own professional development.

Learnerbly allows clients to set a learning budget for their team and then helps these employees decide what to spend it on, providing a curated online marketplace with access to myriad coaches, courses and conferences. If clients don’t have the resource to set a budget, Learnerbly can help their employees access informative blogs and videos.

Using Learnerbly’s analytics dashboard, managers can see exactly what their employees are studying and upload company documents, so learners are always aware of their own company’s stance on a key topic. The platform’s intuitive technology also ensures that learners receive personal recommendations, comprising offline as well as online resources.

The stats are seriously impressive. Learnerbly has managed nearly £1m of learning budgets for its clients and seen over 50% of monthly engagement with the platform, far higher than industry averages. What’s more, 97% of clients have been retained and several are now in their third year with the company. Learnerbly has even been invited to join Mercer’s Future of Work incubator, one of only six companies to receive this honour.

Startups 100 Ranking: 63
Company name: Skyrora
Founded: 2017

British space exploration firm designed for small, cost-effective satellite launches

Making space exploration cost-effective. It’s quite a challenging aim, to say the least. But Scottish company Skyrora are determined to make it reality.

Based in central Edinburgh, opposite the city’s historic castle, Skyrora is working to support the British space industry – which is aiming to capture 10% of the global market – by building an orbital rocket with a range of 500 kilometres, designed for small-scale satellite launches.

The rocket, known as Skyrora XL, will consist of three stages and be capable of carrying 315kg. However, it is merely the centrepiece of the Skyrora fleet: the company is also building four sub-orbital rockets to test key factors such as trajectories and payload development, in support of the main mission.

In its attempts to push the boundaries of orbital exploration, Skyrora is drawing strength from Britain’s proud and often under-estimated space heritage. The company’s rockets use the same propellant combination as Black Arrow, a British carrier rocket developed in the 1960s, and Skylark’s engineers say they have learned lessons from the Skylark programme of the same period.

Skyrora has already completed one successful rocket launch and says it aims to reach the Karman Line, the officially recognised boundary of space, within 12 months.

Startups 100 Ranking: 64
Company name: Atom Learning
Founded: 2017

AI-powered edutech startup using machines to make learning smarter

It’s about time the education industry smartened up. Reams of articles have been devoted to the notion that our school system is not fit for purpose, and that our students deserve something better. Now Atom Learning is aiming to meet this need, using machines to automate the tutor’s role.

Atom provides an online learning platform for students aged 7-11, covering the pillars of the school curriculum – maths, English, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. However its real USP is the use of technology.

A machine learning algorithm, which can work out a learner’s chance of answering a question to within 1% of probability, continues throwing up exercises to challenge the learner, difficult enough to push them without being so difficult as to leave them disheartened.

The algorithm has some serious choice, too. Over 30,000 questions and over 400 video and text-based teaching resources have been packed into the platform, so students will always have a fresh challenge to face. Atom is designed to be used in both the classroom and the home, with schools able to purchase an annual license and parents invited to take out a monthly subscription.

As more students join the platform, so the machine learning model will become more accurate and Atom’s courses will become even more closely tailored to each student’s needs. Atom’s founders are now eyeing expansion both internationally and into the senior school market, and they’ll shortly begin working with University College London on a paper discussing the positive benefits of their technology.

Startups 100 Ranking: 65
Company name: Nivo
Founded: 2017

Barclays spin-out providing a smoother onboarding process in regulated industries

Launched as the inaugural tech spin-out of Barclays Bank in late 2017, Nivo strives to help consumers connect with service providers in regulated industries such as financial services, which are hardly known for their accessibility.

The company’s core offering is an instant messaging platform which allows service providers to chat directly with their would-be consumers and send them personalised forms to request core details. If customers wish to send images and documents, they can simply press the ‘+’ button on the Nivo app.

This technology slashes the onboarding process for new customers to a matter of minutes without compromising on security or identity verification. Nivo says that 80% of financial services are abandoned during the sign-up stage, and its platform is designed to provide a more rewarding experience for both sides.

Since its launch less than two years ago, Nivo has facilitated more than £20m of loans and engaged more than 30,000 customers, signing up a raft of clients including Shawbrook Bank, Brookson One and NHS Credit Union. The Manchester-based company closed a £2m investment round and will use the runway to extend its coverage to banks, building societies, lenders and lending brokers.

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