TechWeekEurope takes a look at the best tech startups and entrepreneurs developing new services and ideas in Wales
Wales probably isn’t the first place that comes into your mind when you think of innovative technology. That honour goes to large tech hubs like Silicon Valley in America and Tokyo in Japan.
But what you may not have realised is the fact that, according to a report from TechCityUK, Wales actually possesses one of the fastest growing digital economies in the whole of the UK – just behind cities like London and Manchester.
There’s an increasing number of tech startups and entrepreneurs putting Wales on the map by developing innovative products and services. From Cardiff to Swansea, you’ll find enterprising hotbeds of tech businesses which prove Wales is capable of competing with the big guys on the world tech stage.
Based in Swansea, Veeqo is seen by many as one of Wales’s biggest and fastest-growing tech startups. Launched in 2013 by long-time entrepreneur and software developer Matt Warren, it’s a cloud-enabled inventory management platform for online retailers. The idea is that if you have a shop with multiple online presences, you have a way to coordinate all your stock. Since launching, the firm has raised over £1 million in crowdfunding and expanded to the States with the opening of an office in New York. Tom Singh, who founded fashion retailer New Look, is one of Veeqo’s top investors and advisors.
Nudjed is another start-up that proves Wales is a honeypot for tech and innovation. It was launched in 2013 by award-winning designer Warren Fauvel and geneticist Neil Atherton. With the aim of helping busy people keep fit and healthy, they created a platform that collects data across key areas of health to help companies determine how well their teams are. Using this information, they’re able to treat any complications. The start-up has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds since launching and now works with organisations such as NHS, GoCompare, GE and S4C.
Usually, turning an innovative idea into a business takes months of hard work. That wasn’t the case for polling platform Doopoll. In early 2015, its founders Steve, Marc and Samuel created a working prototype and pitched it to an audience within just a week. Since then, they’ve gone on to develop and launch a platform for making polls to enable effective decision-making. Currently available in English, Welsh, French and German, you can put polls to a live audience and watch results come in straight away. Prominent clients include Pernod Ricard, the National Museum of Wales and Swansea University.
Located in West Wales, EduKey is an exciting start-up doing great things in the education space. It was set up in 2012 by former secondary school teacher Duncan Wilson and Gintas Sasnauskas, an experienced software developer. It’s been working on two products for schools. The first is Class Charts, an AI-driven behaviour management platform for teachers and Provision Map, a special educational needs tool. Through these products, the firm has created a user base of over 350,000 teachers and 4 billion students. In March, TES Global acquired a stake in the company, putting its services in front of more than 8 million educators from right across the globe.
Paperclip is also a Welsh tech start-up worth watching. It’s a location-based app where you can trade unwanted items and is the brainchild of tech entrepreneurs Rich Woolley, Alan Small and Ziad Al-Ziadi. They launched the start-up after pitching it and coming second at the 2014 London Startup Weekend. Having launched the app last year, it’s gone on to attract thousands of users globally and be featured on Dave’s crowdfunding programme The Money Pit, where it raised investment. It’s just closed its second investment round and secured more than £150K for further development.