The startups getting you most excited
How many of these did you miss first time around?
We’re switching things up a bit for today’s edition of PreSeed Now, with a round-up edition that several readers have suggested would be useful. Scroll down to explore the UK-based B2B and deep tech startups that have got PreSeed Now readers most excited recently.
Check out this Coadec analysis of how Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement last week will affect UK startups
A shout out to recent PreSeed Now startup Piing, whose tech helped AutoTrader beat a world record last week.
The startups exciting PreSeed Now readers the most
One thing people have repeatedly told me is that they sometimes miss good startups from this newsletter because their inboxes are so busy.
I get it. Early on in the life of PreSeed Now we published a monthly roundup edition, but I was mindful about not overloading your inbox so decided to put it on ice.
So today I’m rounding up the startups from the past three months of this newsletter that have made the biggest impact on the audience. I’ve taken into account newsletter opens, web traffic, and direct responses from readers.
Oh, and this list is in no particular order. Enjoy!
…because Google shouldn’t be the ‘Google for doctors’
This is probably the startup I’ve heard mentioned most from readers since the article was published, and it makes sense: ‘Google for doctors’ is a clear value proposition that anyone can understand.
Medwise.ai is a search engine aimed squarely at healthcare professionals. The aim is to make it easy to find the latest, most relevant guidelines for any kind of care without having to keep on top of the latest rules, research, and clinical data.
Not just another symptom checker, this product integrates with individual health authorities and care providers to offer not just up-to-date specialist advice but information that is useful for that specific doctor in their specific part of the world.
Location: Cambridge (team distributed)
👉 Read more about Medwise.ai
Tackling ‘shadow IT’ with a clever data mining tool
Workscope drove one of the best open-rates yet for an edition of PreSeed Now. This startup looks to expose the hidden workings of companies - spreadsheets that bosses don’t know about but are actually critically important to the running of the business.
Think of it as a fresh way to shine a light on ‘shadow IT’.
CEO Omar Quraishi describes Workscope as “helping companies identify where there are potentially operational risks and data risks within their spreadsheet operations. But we also allow them to understand how spreadsheet processes are executed on the ground so that they can identify potential areas to improve efficiency. It's an old problem and a new way to solve it.”
Quraishi says that in addition to security concerns, another big use case is businesses planning migration to Microsoft 365, and other digital transformation projects. Understanding the scale of their reliance on spreadsheets can give them “insights to help them on that journey in a more strategic and orderly manner.”
👉 Read more about Workscope
PreSeed Now profiles a UK-based B2B or deep tech startup every Tuesday and Thursday.
A platform that breaks down barriers for electronics companies
Publishing this article last week led to a rush of electrical engineers subscribing to the newsletter and adding me on LinkedIn.
And the startup is well worth paying attention to, as it is making a timely push to help electronics manufacturers design their own chips without significant capital investment. With the future of geopolitics particularly uncertain right now, that makes a lot of sense.
With technological advances in chip design and manufacturing, smart, forward-thinking electronics companies are figuring out how to secure chip supply chains that give them a competitive edge and secure them against the turbulence of a rapidly shifting world.
ChipFlow is a new startup that wants to make it easier for electronics manufacturers to embrace this shift in approach by simplifying the chip design process.
Location: Remote-first (Sheffield office planned)
👉 Read more about ChipFlow
The startup fighting a top-10 threat to humanity
Biotech has provided this newsletter with a rich seam of fascinating startups doing groundbreaking work.
MetalloBio is a great case in point. It wants to tackle our increasing resistance to antibiotics, but has also found another, much less time-consuming way to monetise its creation…
As amazing as antibiotics are for the world, they’re not much use if they no longer make us better due to pathogens building up resistance to them…
MetalloBio is a University of Sheffield spinout looking to solve the problem. They’ve developed a novel antimicrobial compound that co-founder and CEO Kirsty Smitten says “represents a new antimicrobial class. It’s broad spectrum and can target all World Health Organization and CDC priority pathogens.”
While the startup is understandably keeping the specifics of what’s new here close to its chest, Smitten says it exploits “a new chemical space that's different from anything in the clinical pipeline” and should be better at avoiding problems with resistance faced by similar antibiotics.
As you’d expect, bringing new drugs to market based on MetalloBio’s compounds isn’t an overnight process. So while they work towards this in the coming years, the startup has found another use for the technology that it can start selling much sooner - antibacterial coatings for medical devices.
👉 Read more about MetalloBio
Onbord thinks more businesses should 'know their customer'
In PreSeed Now’s original article, I summed Onbord up as ‘KYC for the rest of us’". They’re also the first startup we’ve covered to be raising a round through Seedrs.
KYC–Know Your Customer–rules are an essential part of the financial services world. But in the battle against fraud, wouldn’t it be better if a wider range of businesses were able to run background checks on the people they serve? That’s the idea behind London-based Onbord.
“We use technology to stop bad people doing bad things to good businesses,” CEO Edward Cahill snappily explains.
“Our thesis is that KYC is fundamental. When you're dealing with somebody, you should know who you're dealing with. Forget about what the regulator tells you, it's just good business practice.
👉 Read more about Onbord
A carbon-capture moonshot in the soil
Alkama’s profile has driven more web traffic to PreSeed Now than any other, thanks to someone who shared it on Flipboard, where it clearly became very popular. They’re also an example I often give to people when discussing the variety of startups covered in this newsletter.
This startup is looking to transform wheat production in the UK by boosting farmers’ profits and capturing carbon in the soil while replacing the need for agrochemicals and satisfying increasing demand for organic produce.
Alkama is developing a replacement for chemical fertilisers when growing crops - initially targeting wheat farmers in the UK. The product is called FITS, standing for ‘Factory In The Soil’ because of its ability to make all the nutrients the crop needs.
It takes the form of micro-organisms supplied in a thick liquid form, around the same consistency as ketchup. This is then either diluted and sprayed on the crop in the field, applied to seeds before drilling, or the soil itself can be treated with the product.
👉 Read more about Alkama
Getting physical to do more with small data
This startup wants capitalise on a growth in interest in the value of ‘small data’ to make useful predictions for business that combine A.I. with physics.
‘Small data’ is a growing field that looks to bring the benefits of machine learning to businesses that lack large data sets. Gartner predicted last year that by 2025, “70% of organizations will shift their focus from big to small and wide data, providing more context for analytics and making artificial intelligence less data hungry.”
Sheffield-based TUBR (pronounced tube-er) is looking to carve out a unique niche in the space by leveraging expertise in physics to make predictions about physical space and objects to help customers make the most of their resources and optimise customer experiences.
👉 Read more about TUBR
Bringing 100,000+ people together with the same experience, in the same place
As you might have read at the start of this newsletter, Piing last week helped AutoTrader deliver a record-breaking event. And the startup has worked with a number of big name sports clubs and other clients as it grows its business providing mass-scale events for crowds.
“We believe that by 2030, all of the mass audience events on Earth will be participative,” says CEO Gareth Langley. “People will be taking out their mobile phones to join in with mass audience engagement and activities with everybody else in the stadium.”
Piing wants to bring this future to life with its games. Langley paints a picture of sitting in a stadium at half-time during a sports match or waiting for a concert to begin. A QR code or short URL appears on a big screen, or maybe you receive a push notification.
You pull out your phone, load up a web page in your mobile browser or embedded in an app, and suddenly you’re playing a penalty shootout game or interactive gameshow with 100,000 people.
And because it’s on the web, people watching live at home can take part too.
👉 Read more about Piing
Unlocking nature's secrets with A.I.
Another fascinating biotech startup, this time a spinout from Queen’s University Belfast. This one has the potential to become something of an intellectual property factory.
AMPLY Discovery has developed software that can analyse digital biological data and identify compounds that could be useful for human and animal healthcare. They’re using it to identify new antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, and anti-parasitic drugs among others.
A.I.-based drug discovery is nothing new, but AMPLY Discovery sets itself apart with its unusual approach.
“Small organisms fight one another. Bacteria fight other bacteria for supremacy, larger organisms have to try to fight off smaller organisms. So what we're doing is we're finding those compounds that these creatures are already producing, shaped by years of evolution and appropriating them for human beings,” says CEO Ben Thomas.
And finding these compounds is just the beginning…
👉 Read more about AMPLY Discovery
Back on Thursday
PreSeed Now covers a new UK-based early-stage B2B or deep tech startup every Tuesday and Thursday. Members can explore the archive of more than 50 profiles of startups published so far via our home page.
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