13 Hot London Startups You Need To Watch

lulu dating appLulu is a London-based app that lets women anonymously rate men they know.

We recently visited London and toured the startup scene there. We met with investors and executives and found out which early-stage companies are buzzing abroad.

While there are large, promising tech companies coming out of London (Hailo and MindCandy to name a few), we’re highlighting very early stage startups that few people have heard of but are up and coming. 

With some more work, they could grow to become the next big things in tech.

Disclosure: London & Partners, a not-for-profit funded by the city’s mayor’s office, paid for my trip to London to explore England’s startup scene and Tech City.

YPlan helps you find what's going on in your city tonight. Pay to attend an event in two taps.

Founders: Rytis Vitkauskas, Viktoras Jucikas

What it is and why you should care: YPlan launched in February 2012. It's a mobile app that curates events going on in your city tonight and lets you pay for a ticket in two taps. Right now it's only in London.

Funding: $1.7 million from BaltCap, Sherry Coutu, Tom Hulme, Peter Read, Gi Fernando, Andy Phillipps, Brent Hoberman, Robert Linney, Wellington Partners, Octopus Investments

Website: yplanapp.com

Citymapper is a transportation app for London that tells you how to get places by foot, car or Tube.

Founder: Azmat Yusuf, who formerly worked for Google

What it is and why you should care: If you're familiar with HopStop, Citymapper is a lot like that. The iOS app helps people get around London by giving driving, Tube and walking directions. It also shows how long it will take to get to the destination and, if you're walking, how many calories you'll burn getting there.

Funding: Connect Ventures, Peter Read

Website: Citymapper.com

MOVES uses your phone's sensor and location data to determine how much you've run, walked or biked in a day.

Founders: Sampo Karjalainen, Aleksi Aaltonen, Juho Pennanen, Jukka Partanen

What it is and why you should care: MOVES is a free mobile app that tells you have much you've walked, biked or run in a day. It looks at sensor and location data from the phones and displays the data on a user-friendly map and in a daily storyline. The app has already been downloaded more than 1 million times. Unfortunately, we're told it's not as accurate as other activity tracking tools like Fitbit or Fuelband. One person told us it's less accurate by 40%. And because the app is always on, it drains battery life.

Funding: $1.6 million from PROfounders and Lifeline Ventures

Website: moves-app.com

Future Ad Labs turns annoying security CAPTCHAs into mini games.

Founders: Howard Kingston, Andy Williams, Jacques Kotze

What it is and why you should care: If you're familiar with SOLVE Media, Future Ad Labs plays in a similar space. It turns CAPTCHAs, the hard-to-read letters websites ask readers to fill in for security purposes, into advertisements and minigames. It's calling the technology PlayCaptchas. It hasn't launched yet, but it will soon.

Funding: Funding has been raised but the round is unannounced.

Website: Futureadlabs.com

Lulu is an anonymous women-only app that rates men. The average user opens the app eight times per week.

Founder: Alexandra Chong

What it is and why you should care: Lulu is an app that lets women anonymously rate men they know. Men aren't allowed in, and women can pick their favourite qualities about the guys and their least favourite. They can follow their crushes on the app too. 80 million profiles have been viewed by Lulu users since January. The average user visits the app eight times per week.

Funding: $3.5 million from Passion Capital, PROfounders Capital, Alex Vratskides, Yuri Milner, Hosain Rahman, Alexander Asseily, Bill Tai, Vivi Nevo, Dave Morin. It's nearly finished with another round of funding too.

Website: onlulu.com

GoCardless is an easy, cheap way for small businesses to accept direct debits

Founder: Matt Robinson and Hiroki Takeuchi

What it is and why you should care: GoCardless lets small businesses set up interbank transfers for customers. It charges 1% per transaction capped at £2.

Funding: $1.5 million from Accel Partners, Passion Capital, SV Angel, Start Fund, ACE & Company

Website: GoCardless.com

WireWAX adds annotations and tags to objects and people in online videos.

Founder: Steve Callanan

What it is and why you should care: WireWAX is kind of like RapGenius for videos, adding tags and information to objects and people in clips online. It's promising from an advertising and e-commerce perspective. With WireWAX, viewers can follow tagged objects straight to shopping destinations, for example.

Funding: Passion Capital

Website: wirewax.com

Memoto is a camera you can wear around your neck that lets you livelog your life.

Founders: Martin Källström, Oskar Kalmaru, Björn Wesén, Sebastian Björkelid, Erik Hampusgård, Simon Pantzare

What it is and why you should care: Wearable technology that takes tons of pictures in rapid succession so you can 'livelog' your life. You can pre-order a device in orange, grey or white for $279.

Funding: $550,189 from 2,871 people on Kickstarter.

Website: Memoto.com

Duedil is a free database with hoards of information about private companies.

Founders: Damian Kimmelman (CEO)

What it is and why you should care: Duedil was founded in October 2010. It's building out a free database of information on private companies, including their financial information.

Funding: More than $5 million from Passion Capital, Jonty Hurwitz, Federico Pirzio-Biroli, Sherry Coutu, Tom Hulme, Ntion Capital, Oak Investment Partners, Shakil Khan

Website: Duedil.com

RolePoint lets employers see job candidates who are connected to current employees via social networks.

Founders: Chris Le Breton (CEO), Roger Toor, Rick Tank, Kes Thygesen

What it is and why you should care: Rolepoint is an enterprise solution for businesses that helps them find candidates through current employees' social media connections. Unlike Branchout, which helps you find friends who work places you want to be working, Rolepoint charges companies to give them access to employee referrals, without the employee having to do any work.

Funding: A 'large seed round' from Silicon Valley investors. Its a 500Startups and AngelPad company.

Website: Rolepoint.com

MixCloud is a bootstrapped startup that makes it easy to upload, embed, share and listen to large audio files online.

Founders: Chris Le Breton (CEO), Roger Toor, Rick Tank, Kes Thygesen

What it is and why you should care: MixCloud is a way to upload, share and embed large audio files such as podcasts. It also lets you listen to radio announcers and DJs. It has 10 million files you can listen to across its platform.

Funding: Bootstrapped

Website: Mixcloud.com

Digital Shadows finds confidential information about companies that's leaked online and helps protect them from cyber attacks

Founders: Alastair Paterson (CEO), James Chappell (CTO)

What it is and why you should care: A cyber-security company that finds confidential documents across the web and helps companies protect themselves from cyber attacks.

Funding: n/a

Website: Digitalshadows.com

TransferWise lets people move money internationally without paying high bank fees.

Founders: Taveet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarman

What it is and why you should care: Launched in January 2011. TransferWise offers a way to move money internationally without charging crazy bank fees. It uses accounts set up by TransferWise in multiple countries. TransferWise acts as the trusted middle man, moving money for users and charging £1 on transfers up to £300. With TransferWise, a pound never has to leave London. It's licensed by the FFA in England and it's fully authorised.

Funding: $1.3 million led by IA Ventures with participation from Index Ventures, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, and other angel investors.

Website: Transferwise.com

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