Startups 100 2019: 91 to 95

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Startups 100 Ranking: 91
Company name: Stasher
Founded: 2016

Bag storage network helping tourists enjoy their holiday with none of the hassle

It’s a problem many readers will be grimly familiar with: we’ve checked out of our hotel, or we’ve arrived too early to check in, so we’re forced to traipse around some dreamy foreign enclave with our luggage weighing us down.

It was a problem with no known solution, but then Stasher came along. Founded by two former Oxford University students, Stasher is the world’s first luggage storage network, allowing weary tourists to dump their bags in a nearby shop or hotel with all the security of a locker and none of the hassle of finding it.

The Stasher website is simple. Tourists key in their city, or the location of their hotel, and Stasher flags up a network of nearby outlets which have offered their space via the platform. Prices and opening hours are clearly displayed and insurance is provided at no additional cost.

Described in some quarters as ‘Airbnb for storage’, Stasher has already raised over $1m in funding and is now looking to branch out. Phase 2 of the project will connect Stasher’s service up with delivery services, so users can get their belongings sent wherever they need.

Like Stasher? Find it alongside others on our Sharing Economy Startups 100 Trends page.

Startups 100 Ranking: 92
Company name: Bibblio
Founded: 2015

AI-content recommendation platform helping publishers reach the Netflix gold standard

The old ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to content recommendation is dead. Digital publishers can’t simply fling any old material at their visitors anymore; sites such as Netflix and Amazon have raised the bar with their highly sensitive algorithms, and consumers have come to expect the best.

Bibblio’s content recommendation platform is adapted to this new reality. Harnessing artificial intelligence in the form of machine learning and neuro-linguistic programming, the SaaS platform is specifically designed to provide more relevant results for brands and their users without invasive and irrelevant adtech.

Specifically, Bibblio’s platform provides three key functions. It helps digital publishers drive down bounce rates with finely tuned recommendations; maximize the value of their revenue-generated content, without spamming their readers; and pursue syndication opportunities with other sites to increase brand reach.

Founders Mads Holmen and Rich Simmonds, who set up the business in 2015, say this three-pronged model reduces publishers’ reliance on search and social for the traffic, and enables them to diversify their revenue streams. Indeed Bibblio’s clients see an average uplift of 5-7% in engagement, as well as a five-fold increase in ROI.

Bibblio’s own brand is performing pretty well, with an impressively low bounce rate: it has already built a loyal base of over 900 sites, reaching approximately 100 million users a month. The company may be dedicated to helping clients towards a more prosperous future, but it’s not doing too badly itself.

Startups 100 Ranking: 93
Company name: Encore Musicians
Founded: 2014

Easy-to-use marketplace helping events planners find their perfect musical accompaniment

Offering over 25,000 musicians and groups across corner of the soundscape, Encore has taken the old-fashioned talent agency and made it digital, bringing the self-service convenience of marketplaces such as Amazon and Gumtree to the events industry.

Encore’s slick platform, comprising both app and website, invites event bookers to enter a series of core details about their big day – such as the date, their price range and the type of atmosphere they expect – and lets them browse a series of musicians in their chosen genre who fit these criteria. The company has created its own payment platform, Encore Pay, for secure financial transactions and it requests reviews after each event, to ensure a better experience for future customers.

Unlike traditional talent agencies, Encore’s platform works 24-7, so event planners can book their chosen talent whenever they like. What’s more, planners can chat directly with artists to ensure they’re a good fit for their venue and audience for hitting the ‘book’ button.

The platform has provided musical accompaniment to over 6,000 events since 2015, including some real headliners such as a filming of The X-Factor and a launch party for Game of Thrones. What’s more, it’s paid out over £3m to the musicians in its orbit – the definition of a booming gig economy.

Startups 100 Ranking: 94
Company name: Sideways6
Founded: 2014

Idea-generation startup help employees get their ideas to the people who matter

Ask any management consultant and they’ll tell you that employees are more motivated, more proactive and more likely to stay with the company if they feel they’re being heard. Yet research suggests the vast majority of today’s workforce feel their ideas are falling on deaf ideas, rejected by a rigid corporate culture which closes itself off to up-chain suggestions.

Sideways6 is bridging this gap with a virtual suggestion box which ensures an employee’s ideas never go unnoticed. The interface is designed to be as simple as possible, and the company now boasts ten times the level of engagement of its competitors.

Unlike rival idea-sourcing platforms which require the installation of an app or specialist platform, this London-based startup hooks up to the tools employees are already using, such as Slack, Yammer and Workplace by Facebook. By fusing its vision with products staff are already familiar with, Sideways6 leaves blue-sky thinkers with no excuse for keeping their vision under a bushel.

Sideways6 has already helped three million employees reach the C-suite with their ideas, and it’s striving to ensure its own employees ride the wave as well. Through creation projects such as the (unsurprisingly) popular Idea Beer and Clever Bean Coffee, the company is building a culture which rewards innovation from all levels – and ensures the suggestion box is always full.

Startups 100 Ranking: 95
Company name: Vestd
Founded: 2015

‘Guided SaaS’ platform taking the hassle out of employee share programmes

For startup business owners, employee share schemes are a headache to do without. The paperwork, the lawyers’ bills, the ad hoc fees and stumbling blocks… it can really get in the way of running a company. So Vestd has come up with a digital platform to distribute equity around the company in a simple, tax-efficient way.

Vestd operates on a ‘guided SaaS’ model: a self-service digital platform backed up by a team of humans. This means that prospective clients will get a free person-to-person consultation and, if they sign up, they’ll get expert support to build their scheme and carry out onboarding. However they’ll also be able to exercise full control of their share options at the click of a mouse and get an overview of all issued and outstanding capital via a series of simple charts.

The platform can handle all stages of a share scheme’s management, and all of the manifold HMRC submissions, with no recourse to third parties. Prices start from just £100 a month, and there are no set-up charges or hidden costs.

Founders Ifty Nasir and Naveed Akram say theirs is the only FCA-regulated and automated platform of its kind. It’s certainly blazing a trail on the commercial front: Vestd has achieved 10x customer growth since the start of 2018 and monthly revenue growth is running at 15%. As a fully remote team whose members work wherever they want, the company is also in the vanguard of modern business practices.

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