UK urban tech startups to watch

Urban tech is a growing sector, which closely aligns with different industries from smart cities to automotive and infrastructure and energy, with a particular focus on making urban spaces in cities more connected.

Smart cities continue to gain more prominence as we get closer to meeting the 'everything connected' predictions of over 50 billion connected devices by 2020, and it seems the rise of urban tech has taken off immensely over the past year.

In fact, research shows that the smart city industry is estimated to be worth $400 billion (£305 billion) globally by 2020, with London's smart city initiative to be worth £8.9 billion by 2020.

The UK government is also hopeful about this prediction, believing that urban technologies are what will make this possible.

"UrbanTech – that is, technology that makes cities and urban spaces more connected, liveable and efficient – can transform old-style services relatively inexpensively," said Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands in the 'Rise of Urban Tech' report.

Read on for some of the most promising startups working on making connected urban spaces a reality.

Read next: AI startups to watch: The hottest machine learning startups in the UK

Novoville
iStock

Novoville

Novovillewas founded in 2016 by co-founders Fotis Talantzis and Iraklis Bourantas as a way to transform the way government interact with citizens.

The mobile-app platform was built to capture citizen’s request for new services, whilst delivering and monitoring response in an effective and seamless way.

One of its platforms, e-frontdesk, includes incident management and map visualisation to enable citizens to report any issues in their neighbourhood from their smartphone with automated notifications of responses and how the issue is being resolved.

It also includes a cloud-based dashboard with real-time visibility and smart parking management.

Novoville has been adopted in multiple regions across the UK, including Watford and the West Midlands.

GeoSpock
iStock

GeoSpock

Founded in 2013, GeoSpock is an intelligent software company that assists organisations with big data engineering to unlock the value of hidden data silos.

GeoSpock claims to provide the world’s first spatial big data platform, which includes built-in data management, connectivity and exploration features. The platform is built on AWS, providing a low-cost cloud solution that scales to meet the data analysis needs of users with the ability to preview data before ingestion.

The company works across multiple industries including smart cities, automotive, asset management and more.

GeoSpock has raised $32.8 million (£25.85 million) in funding since its launch.

Beryl
© Beryl

Beryl

Formerly known as Blaze, the smart mobility startup was founded by CEO Emily Brooke in 2012 to make urban cycling smarter and safer for everyone.

Following a rebranding in 2018, the name was changed to Beryl as it progressed to deliver more consumer products and technologies along with the mission to get more people biking across cities.

Already Beryl has shipped its first product, Laserlight, to over 60 countries around the world. Its 'Laserlight' projection technology is designed to tackle the issue of cyclists being caught in blind spots.

It is built with laser technology, LED and enhanced visibility. The technology has also been integrated into all Santander bicycles around London.

Beryl has received a total funding round of $2 million (£1.52 million) since 2014.

Bulb
© Bulb

Bulb

Green energy supplier Bulbwas founded in 2014 to tackle the problems people were previously having with big energy providers, making energy simpler, cheaper and greener.

The London-based startup was founded by two friends, Hayden Wood and Amit Gudka, with experience of working in the energy industry themselves.

It offers low-cost renewable energy using technology to improve the way energy is used and produced in the UK. Bulb remains in competition with big providers such as British Gas and NPower, signing up over 300,000 households across the UK.

Chargifi
© Chargifi

Chargifi

Chargifiis a wireless charging network, founded in 2013 to enhance user's power experiences in public places.

It partners with wireless power manufacturers to install software that enables the management and monitoring of power in public spaces.

Chargifi provides a cloud management platform that drives the mass deployment of wireless charging.

The London-based startup has raised a total of $10.5 million (£7.99 million) in funding, following a recent funding round of £5 million led by Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) in April 2018. This was also backed by HPE and Firstminute capital.

Switchee
© Switchee

Switchee

Switcheeprovides a smart connected thermostat that is designed to help affordable housing providers fight fuel poverty.

Founded in 2014, the UK-based startup works to help customers reduce energy bills, improve boiler services and other household services by learning its weekly routine, and saving heating and electricity when residents are away from home.

It also provides remote boiler tests and easy installation for landlords, while promising to save residents money.

Switchee has raised total funding of £2.4 million, following its latest funding round of £1.3 million from the 'Fair by Design fund' in June 2018.

Calipsa

Calipsa

Calipsaoffers an AI-based traffic video monitoring solution to track scenarios while interacting with users' monitoring equipment.

The London-based startup was founded in 2016 and is focused on automating traffic data collection and analysis using deep learning algorithms.

Its software solution analyses CCTV videos with applications in transport around urban cities. The startup has been working with both public and private sector companies, as well as local councils in UK, France and the Netherlands.

Hiyacar
© Hirola

Hiyacar

Hiyacar, an online peer-to-peer car sharing platform, was founded in 2013 to enable drivers to hire cars from private car owners.

The platform provides flexibility for users as car owners can easily share their cars to other drivers via the app; with the opportunity to set their own prices either at daily or weekly rates. For users that want to hire a car, the platform allows them to choose any make or model vehicle at cost effective prices.

Hiyacar also provides comprehensive, collision and liability insurance coverage via a third-party insurer.

The startup has raised £3.5 million in funding, following its latest equity crowdfund of £1.2 million in May 2018.

Gigaclear
© Gigaclear

Gigaclear

Oxfordshire-based startup Gigaclear provides ultra-fast fibre broadband to homes and businesses in rural areas.

The startup was founded in 2010 by Matthew Hare, a resident of Oxfordshire, who decided to tackle the problems people faced of getting a fast and reliable internet connection in rural areas.

Gigaclear delivers 'fibre-to-the-premises' (FTTP) service for customers who are after better internet. In 2017, it raised £111 million in equity funding backed by Infracapital, Woodford, and other shareholders to build full-fibre network to 150,000 premises in the British countryside.

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