Startups 100 2019: 81 to 85

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Startups 100 Ranking: 81
Company name: ChargedUp
Founded: 2017

Environmentally friendly startup aiming to help ensure we never run out of phone battery again

‘Nomophobia’. It’s a word that’ll be new to most of you, but it refers to the fear of being without mobile access. It’s a fear that’ll be all-too-common for many readers; Despite the advent of portable chargers and longer-lasting batteries, today’s phone users continue to run out of juice on an all-too-regular basis.

ChargedUp’s goal is to make this a thing of the past. The company is currently creating the UK’s largest phone charging network, with over 600 powerbank vending stations dotted around the country’s pubs, restaurants and offices – and the entire network is powered by 100% renewable energy.

To unlock one of the powerbanks, which include cables for all phone types, users simply have to scan a QR Code through the app. Echoing the model used by the London cycle network, ChargedUp lets its customers take a powerbank from one station and return the device to any other in its network – a truly mobile solution for mobile technology.

The company’s environmental credentials are another key USP. ChargedUp partners with Octopus Energy to carbon offset the emissions generated by its stations, and the company has committed to recycle all its batteries responsibly. The whole venture is designed to power the shared economy, removing the need for people to own their own chargers and reducing the need for lithium, which carries a major environmental cost.

The company says it has already delivered over one million minutes of charge and recently completed a £1.2m seed round, which will help fund domestic and international expansion. ChargedUp has already partnered with Marks and Spencer on a major trial programme, and it seems only a matter of time before other major brands take notice.

Impressed by ChargedUp? Visit the Ethical Business Startups 100 Trends page to find other eco companies.

Startups 100 Ranking: 82
Company name: Factory 42
Founded: 2016

High-tech creative studio using virtual reality to create immerse, interactive experiences

From the Matrix to Fight Club, with a raft of blockbuster PlayStation games along the way, Factory 42’s creative team has an enviable pedigree in the entertainment industry. Now they’re tapping into their deep well of talent to create game-changing immersive experiences, using technology to push the boundaries of storytelling.

The Factory production studio work with virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to develop unique, multi-sensory experiences. Notable projects include the Hold the World exhibition with Sir David Attenborough, which enables Natural History Museum visitors to pick up dinosaur skeletons, and a collaboration with the Royal Academy allowing guests to paint the future.

Factory’s own talent roster includes a full mix of skills, from writers and artists to architects and neurosciences, and the company is happy to work with external leaders to fill any knowledge gaps that arise. Founder John Cassy and his team are constantly challenging themselves to improve, an attitude which is reflected in their fearless creations.

The company’s list of partners and customers already includes the likes of Sky, Google and the BBC, and it has been recognised by the SXSW film festival for the quality of its interactive experiences.

Love entertainment? Find out How to start a production company.

Startups 100 Ranking: 83
Company name: Hostmaker
Founded: 2014

Property management service which goes way beyond Airbnb

More than a decade has now passed since the creation of Airbnb, yet a raft of fellow startups are still battling to follow in its slipstream, offering management services to complement the company’s virally successful holiday lettings platform.

Twice Startups 100-featured Hostmaker is one of the companies competing for a slice of Airbnb’s action. But it goes way further than that. In fact, the company creates listings for its clients across more than 20 platforms. It’s even created its own booking platform, Stayy with Hostmaker, as well as an app which facilitates direct, streamlined communications with guests.

Hostmaker’s property management team handles everything from initial reservation to final check-out, as well as a specialist interior design service to turn users’ homes into a globetrotter’s paradise. Users also benefit from algorithmic pricing, which draws on hundreds of indicators to determine a fair market rate for each property, and a simple dashboard which tracks the key metrics of each home’s performance in real time.

Having completed a $15m (£11.m) funding round in 2017, Hostmaker’s growth parabola is still soaring skyward. The company now manages 2,000 properties across nine different cities, and placed third in Deloitte’s list of the UK’s fastest-growing tech businesses last year.

Startups 100 Ranking: 84
Company name: Reedsy
Founded: 2014

Marketplace for authors seeking word-perfect publishing professionals

Even the most hackneyed author can’t fail to grasp the irony which blights the self-publishing industry. On one hand more people are writing books than ever before, with over one million self-published books now published every year. On the other, book sales are falling for self-published authors, meaning it’s becoming harder and harder for budding writers to monetise their dream.

Enter Reedsy, an e-marketplace which connects authors to the publishing professionals who can turn their story into a polished, professional product. The site now numbers 1,700 vetted freelancers and they are bringing 800 books to market every single month.

The site’s owners proudly profess to know practically every editor or designer who’s worked on a bestseller in recent years and they take pride in their meticulously curated marketplace, whose participants are all hand-picked. In addition to providing world-class matchmaking for the authors who use it, Reedsy also provides educational content through a free online publishing school.

Backed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 innovation programme, Reedsy now receives 500,000 unique visits a month – 10 times more than it received just a year ago. In addition to its commercial success, the site has left a huge social footprint through its #IWriteBecause campaign, which has reached 6.7 million people since launch in May 2017 and allowed Reedsy to make a significant donation to Room to Read, a non-profit which unlocks educational opportunities for girls in Africa and Asia.

Startups 100 Ranking: 85
Company name: Emilia’s Crafted Pasta
Founded: 2016

Trattoria-style restaurant group specialising in fresh, hand-crafted pasta dishes

The clue’s in the name with this one. Inspired by founder Andrew Macleod’s pilgrimage across the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, Emilia’s specialises in freshly made, hand-crafted dried egg pasta, each dish matched with a sauce that brings out its individual flavour.

MacLeod, very much a pasta aficionado, takes pride in creating each new batch of gnocchi, ravioli and bucatini every day, and combining traditional recipes with a scientific approach to sauce selection. The pasta is made in a fully open kitchen, designed to create the warm, welcoming atmosphere of an Italian trattoria.

With two restaurants already established in trendy east London, located in St Katherine Docks and Aldgate, MacLeod is determined to build a stable, long-term business, as demonstrated by his decision to rely on sustainable suppliers in both Italy and the UK. With the UK’s Italian food market continuing to show impressive growth, the founder knows this is a venture which could reap rewards for years to come.

Want to make food your job? Find out How to start a food production business.

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