Startups 100 2019: 96 to 100

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Startups 100 Ranking: 96
Company name: BIOS
Founded: 2015

Neural engineering firm using artificial intelligence to rewire a person’s faulty nerve signals

Blending neuroscience with artificial intelligence, BIOS is providing a bridge between artificial intelligence and the human nervous system. It’s technology is designed to correct faulty nerve signals in real time, leading to the treatment of chronic conditions. Just your run of the mill startup then, eh?

BIOS describes the nervous system as “our biological internet” and aspires to build tools capable of logging into it. Using applied materials and machine learning, as well as advanced surgical techniques, it is building a hardware and software interface which can plug into the human body and identify misfiring nerve signals.

The company’s initial product is a neural implant which has been likened to a “USB connector for the body” which can be placed in a body and rewire the body’s natural control signals. Around 10,000 nerve impulses are analysed every second using AI, before being corrected and reintroduced to the body.

The company is initially focusing on chronic conditions, anything from a failing organ to paralysis; in fact it’s inaugural product allows patients who have lost upper limbs to control robotic arms with their minds and feel sensations. But this is really just the start: a range of academic and commercial partners are working with the BIOS team to explore the full, staggering potential of their technology.

Startups 100 Ranking: 97
Company name: Yapster
Founded: 2015

Mobile messaging app designed for deskless employees

With the rise of flexible working and the gig economy, the relationship between a company and its workers has fundamentally changed. Many employees now occupy a rather nebulous zone between hired help and full-time staff, working away from the office and without an official email address. Such people are often forced to rely on non-specialist communication channels such as Whatsapp, which are neither monitored nor GDPR-compliant, to stay in touch with their teammates.

Yapster is designed specifically to cater for the ‘deskless worker’. Its workplace messaging app allows members to chat one-to-one or in groups in a secure, closed-network environment. Members can access a company-wide directory as well as an ‘Insta-style’ newsfeed, and can plug in to a plethora of HR, IT and operations technologies via Yapster’s integration partners.

The product is extremely price-competitive against the larger communication suites, making it well-suited to bigger companies with hordes of mobile workers, and has been tweaked using feedback from the retail and hospitality sectors, in which it was initially incubated. No wonder big names such as Ann Summers and Krispy Kreme have signed up.

In fact Yapster’s customer base has grown from eight to 30 customers in the space of a year, while the staff base has increased four-fold. Co-founders Rob Liddiard and Craig McMillan are dreaming of turning their product into a mobile version of the email inbox, helping deskless employees access employment information, rotas, benefits and online training courses. As the world of work becomes more and more flexible, expect to hear more and more Yap-ping in the years ahead.

Startups 100 Ranking: 98
Company name: Baby2Body
Founded: 2014

Coaching app helping pregnant women and new mums look and feel fantastic

We’re living in a world sculpted by selfies and six-packs, and it can be brutal for women either side of pregnancy. As they prepare to give birth, today’s women are expected to stay in shape; afterwards they’re expected to get back on the wagon as quickly as possible, despite all the new responsibilities they have to juggle.

Baby2Body preaches a softer, more reasonable message. It gives pregnant women and new mums access to a holistic health and wellbeing journey, backed by disruptive technology. The platform provides individualised and personalised programmes, designed to help women feel as well as look good.

The Baby2Body algorithm allows the platform to detect exactly where a woman is in her pregnancy or motherhood journey, and integrates additional data points such as the user’s age, lifestyle and the number of children she already has.

This data feeds into an expert-led coaching platform which includes fitness routines, nutrition advice, meal plans and even meditation exercises. The platform even offers advice on beauty and skincare, ensuring users live their best life during what can be a hectic period.

Launched back in 2014 by Melinda Nicci, a mum-of-two and fitness trainer, Baby2Body has hundreds of thousands of users. Ultimately Nicci and her team want to expand the program to cover all stages of a woman’s life, from poverty to menopause.

Startups 100 Ranking: 99
Company name: Linkilaw
Founded: 2015

Legaltech startup helping small businesses source advice with none of the traditional hassle

To Alexandra Isenegger, the legal industry always seemed a bit stale. An industry of fusty rooms and flabby thinking, populated by people more concerned with the bottom line than the big idea.

So she decided to create her own digital-first business to create a gap in the market no-one had seen. Four years on, Linkilaw is helping startups across the country with its blend of simple advice and marketplace connections.

The service has two distinct tiers. If startups need help drafting everyday legal documents, they can source advice from Linkilaw’s team of experts. If they need something more complicated, they can connect with one of 500 pre-vetted lawyers via the Linkilaw platform without a finder’s fee (although lawyers using the site do have to pay a small amount to join).

However this is only the start of it. Linkilaw offers specialist sessions on relevant business subjects such as GDPR, and its series of online blogs aim to demystify common headaches such as forming a company, finding a co-founder and choosing the right business structure. The platform even provides a relationship management service, acting as a ‘marriage counsellor for business’.

Isenegger says the advice provided by Linkilaw is speedy, affordable and community-minded… attributes you might not automatically associate with traditional legal firms. Little wonder she’s been profiled by TechCrunch and the Huffington Post and been named in the Law and Policy stream of Forbes’ blue-riband 30 Under 30 list.

Startups 100 Ranking: 100
Company name: Vet-AI
Founded: 2018

High-tech petcare app which delivers smart diagnoses without an eye-watering bill

With veterinary inflation rising by 12% year-on-year, many pet owners are wary of taking their pet for a check-up even if there’s an issue which could develop into something serious. Vet-AI is aiming to address this problem with Joii, an app which, according to the founders, will reduce the price of veterinary care by 60%.

The core of the app is a bespoke triage system, powered (as the company’s name would suggest) by artificial intelligence. In fact, Joii’s developers have created a clinical reasoning system that can ‘think like a vet’ and factor in variables like the pet’s history and the risk of misdiagnosis.

Once users have entered the details of their pet, and its condition, into the triage module they’ll receive tailored recommendations, ranging from basic advice to a video call with a vet. Those practitioners who use the site are engaged via Joii’s very own remote platform, allowing them to choose when and where they work.

In addition to the razor-sharpness of its technology, Joii and Vet-AI are distinguished by the quality of the personnel to the project. From design guru Jonathan Sands OBE to the President of the British Veterinary Dermatology Study Group, the Vet-AI team have left no stone unturned in their quest for best-in-class expertise.

Little wonder, then, that the company has already secured £1 million investment and forged relationships with 18 global animal health companies, even though the app only went live in May.

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