13 Cool Startups We Just Met In London

Matthew Luhks and Daniel Joseph of The App BusinessThese guys used to work for Apple’s ad agency. Now they make apps for Sony and the BBC.

Photo: Dan Frommer, Business Insider

This week, we hosted “Office Hours” in London, where 13 tech startups signed up, dropped by, and introduced themselves.They ranged from 2-person startups just getting their feet wet to bigger companies that have already have significant traction and more than a dozen employees.

(Thanks to White Bear Yard, a startup incubator where some of these companies are based, for hosting us. And for all those we weren’t able to meet with, we’ll be back sooner than later!)

Matthew Luhks and Dan Joseph from The App Business

These guys used to work for Apple's private Media Arts Lab 'agency within an agency' at TBWA, and now make mobile apps for clients like Sony, Sky, and the BBC.

The team is up to about 17 people now, and they're starting to work on their own products. (Still under wraps.)

Their advice to would-be app developers: If you really want to make money, don't think about selling apps, think about using your app to sell something else.


Ian Hogarth and Dan Crow from Songkick

This one is simple and useful: Help find out which bands you like are playing concerts in town, by giving them access to your Facebook profile, iTunes library, Pandora or Last.fm profile, etc.

They can then help you buy tickets (and get a cut of the sales). They hope to become bigger online than Ticketmaster's site, which has about 22 million monthly uniques, they say. They're working on mobile stuff now. (We personally use an iLike app to find local concerts, but would love an upgrade.)

Started at YCombinator in San Francisco in 2007, now 20 people. Investors include Betaworks, angels, OMGPOP's Dan Porter, Index Ventures, etc.


Ben Poynter from ColourDNA

A social discovery/recommendations site. Log in, tell them some of the things you like, and get recommendations based on like-minded people. (Location-based info, too.)

Ben joined the company last summer (he's on leave from a Berkeley MBA).

One of the things the site asks you to do is pick your favourite colour. Ben says blue and red are the most popular, purple also popular. Finance and CEO-types go for blue; techie people often choose green or orange, he says. Designers go for turquoise or purple. Yellow is the least popular.


Julian Keenaghan and Alex Parish from Tastebuds.fm

Tastebuds.fm is a dating site focused on music. Build your profile by importing your Last.fm or Pandora info, get matched with people, connect with each other based on music you like, and go to concerts together.

Just the two founders full-time right now, self funded. They met playing together in a band called Years of Rice and Salt. Around 12,000 users.


Ed Freyfogle and Vuk Trifkovic from Lokku/Nestoria

Ed worked for Yahoo search for a long time in the Web 1.0 days, left to get an MBA, and was looking for a startup where he could apply his search knowledge. He didn't find one that was building interesting products, so he started a company called Lokku to build vertical search engines.

Nestoria is the company's real estate search engine, now in 8 countries; just launched India. The company has NO plans to enter the U.S. market. About 13 people full-time, 5-6 part-time. Angel investors and an institutional (bank) investor. Profitable.

www.nestoria.com and www.lokku.com

Alex Kelleher from Cognitive Match

Targeting technology for advertising and content. Clients include Net a Porter, Hotels.com, the FT, etc. Kelleher sold his previous company to Omniture (now Adobe).

It's interesting how many factors you don't think about can be useful for web ad targeting, including weather conditions and time of day.

Around for 2 years, 25 people. Backed by Dawn Capital, a UK-based VC.


Ken Tindell from Vidiactive

Service that helps you watch web video on TV screens. Sort of a 'Delicious for web video,' but designed for non-geeks.

The key will be getting their software (or web browsers) hooked up to more TVs, as right now it's hard to get web video on your TV unless you hook up a laptop.

6 people, funded by Enterprise Ventures.


Alistair Hill from On Device Research

Alistair was a mobile analyst at M:Metrics, which was acquired by comScore.

On Device focuses on market research and surveys administered through mobile devices, which is especially helpful in areas of the world without lots of desktop Internet users.


Damien Tanner and Max Williams from Pusher

Pusher lets developers add any real-time updates to apps. Useful for social networking, gaming, collaborative tools, etc. Let these guys take care of any real-time updating aspects of your app and focus on the rest.

Simple pricing plans start at $9 per month. They're powering Slideshare's new real-time Zipcast meetings.

3,000 accounts have been set up since last March.


Damian Kimmelman and Federico Biroli from Duedil

Aggregating a bunch of UK business data, then cross-referencing it and making it available for free. (Very interesting, and nice design.)

Learn all kinds of information about companies you want to do business with. ('Due' 'dil'-ligence.)

Eventually could become a platform/marketplace for data sales.


Noam Sohachevsky and Tim Morgan from Picklive

Real-time fantasy football (soccer) with betting!

Pick 3 players, bet £1, get into a room with other players, and accumulate points as the players do stuff. Person with the most points wins the prize money. (80% of the pool.)

About 8,000 users in UK, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand, etc. Can't operate in the U.S. currently.

The day I visited, these guys were starting a track suit contest. Most everyone at the company was wearing an identical track suit. The person who wears it the longest wins. Awesome!


Adam Paulisick from Qriously

Real-time, geotargeted sentiment tracker. A market research play. Still in stealth mode, big reveal set for March 4.

'Faster than Twitter with more depth and colour.'


Geoff Wagstaff and James Gill from GoSquared

Real-time analytics, sort of like ChartBeat. Also includes historical data, so you can compare real-time to history.

Over 1,000 sites on board. Started by these two 19-year-olds, has a third (part-time) employee, hiring two more.


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