From delivery droids to mail order femcare: Startups to watch in 2018

Dec 28, 2017



Many world-changing ideas come from the Bay Area, but London’s startup scene is catching up slowly but surely, revolutionising the world we live in, the devices we use and… creating hundreds of new jobs.

From a new way to deliver pizza to the new current account you didn’t know you needed — these are some startups to watch in 2018.

Monzo — the intelligent bank account

Officially securing a banking licence in April 2017, Monzo calls itself “the bank of the future”. Monzo isn’t just a budgeting app (those are ten a penny), it is your bank, and your current account is managed exclusively on your smartphone.

Monzo founder Tom Blomfield wanted to create a new kind of bank account that was intelligent and suited those who already spend a lot of time on their phone. The 400,000 current users reportedly love it. They get real-time spending notifications, and many no longer fear their bank balance because they’re in control.

Guardian’s Money section editor Patrick Collinson confesses the app launch was met with “a bit of a ‘so what’ response” from the press. Plus, the founder “reported losses of nearly £7m” in July and “casually admits he’ll burn through far more than that before making a profit”. Monzo will hopefully continue its momentum in 2018 and open it up to more users, and soon we could even be closing down our bricks-and-mortar current accounts.

Starship Technologies — pizza delivery of the future

Bringing us even closer to Blade Runner is the Self-Driving Delivery Robot, designed and created by Estonia-based Starship Technologies and already being tested in 16 different countries. Domino’s are onboard too, despite their 2015 April Fool’s campaign teasing that delivery robots were all a big joke.

Starship’s Self-Driving Delivery Robot carries items for up to 2 miles, its journey can be monitored by smartphone, and it moves at pedestrian speed, navigating around people easily and safely. There’ll be no pizza thefts to worry about either — the cargo bay can only be opened by the recipient.

Starship received $17.2 million in seed funding in January 2017, but they’re struggling with San Francisco laws restricting their activity. Could 2018 be the year that AI starts to mix seamlessly on our streets?

Nowait — the app London restaurant-goers have been waiting for

Recently bought by Yelp for $40 million, Nowait is the app that pairs up with restaurants and lets diners ‘queue’ for a table digitally. Users can check average wait times for restaurants in their area, receive a text when their table is ready, and let the restaurant know if they’re running late instead of losing their coveted spot.

Yelp’s takeover means their data is going to be integrated with Nowait, showing local restaurant reviews and giving users the ability to get in the queue in one handy place.

Currently operating just in the US with a Pittsburgh HQ, Londoners who like to try the latest no-reservation dining hotspot should keep their fingers crossed a UK launch is on its way.

Lola — environmentally friendly feminine hygiene to your door

We can get pretty much anything sent to us in neatly designed monthly subscriptions, and the products most obviously suited to that monthly window are feminine hygiene.

Lola subscribers can choose a selection of liners, pads with wings, and applicator and non-applicator tampons, all made from organic cotton. They choose how many they want and when they need to receive them each month, with prices ranging from $10 a box for regular compact tampons.

Lola was “made by women, for women”, and combines modern convenience with environmental responsibility. There are no synthetic fibres or fragrances used, and the founders have even developed a Cramp Care package, including a daily supplement and soothing essential oils.

Currently available to US subscribers, this subscription service could do well wherever there are women crying out for a convenient natural product.

Others worth a mention

· The startups changing the way we buy and sell property — Nested and Habito.

· The fraud detection platform aiming to make our favourite apps and services safer — Ravelin and Pindrop.

· The platform that lets you drop bags off in insured places in 8 cities — CityStasher.

· The robots making pizzas in Silicon Valley — Zume Pizza.

· The mapping tool getting us ready for driverless cars — Deepmap.

Do you know a startup we forgot to mention?! Let us know in the comments!

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