7 of the Best Problem-Solving Start-Ups
The minds behind start-ups are known for their innovation, out-of-the-box thinking and entrepreneurship. However, in many cases by just offering fresh solutions to life's daily problems and challenges some people have opened a door for a successful business and attracted the funding and investment needed to expand.
Here’re seven of the UK's best problem-solving start-ups, well on their way to success.
For those days when you need a tradesperson or service at short notice, Bizzby removes the need to trawl through business listings and phone around. The app offers on-demand access to cleaners, plumbers, electricians, handymen, gardeners, childcare workers, beauticians and more in under 60 minutes with just a tap of a smartphone. Bizzby guarantees all its jobs and its 'InstantPay' system pays out to the supply network the moment jobs are completed. The company has received $10 million backing from an unnamed US investment firm and is available in the UK, US and Canada.
Described as the 'Airbnb of car parking spaces', JustPark is an online marketplace that enables homeowners to make money from their parking spaces and drivers to find low-cost alternatives to traditional car parks by putting them in touch with each other. Simple, but effective, JustPark has the backing of BMW and Index Ventures and its recent crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube was oversubscribed by £1 million.
For busy people, doing laundry or even going to the launderette can be a real pain. In these cases, the solution is Laundrapp, an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service that collects, cleans and delivers clothes and linen door-to-door. A laundry load costs from £2.50 per kilo and £2 per shirt, depending on the garments and type of service. Collection and delivery is free, although there is a minimum order.
Its most recent funding round secured £4 million and it is backed by a consortium of angel investors including Michael Spencer, founder of interdealer broker ICAP. The company currently operates in several UK cities including London, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
The UK's frequently inclement and unpredictable weather prompted founder Caner Veli to develop Liquiproof – a special coating to protect clothing and shoes from damage through rain, bad weather and spills. Veli has a background in pharmaceutical science and business, which has proved a brilliant combination as Liquiproof's shoe protector is now available in more than 170 stores, and the company is securing partnerships with leading fashion brands. Veli also managed to secure £100,000 for 50% of his business on the BBC's Dragon's Den with his eco-friendly, non-toxic product.
Lovespace’s purpose is offering its customers a by-the-box storage service that will collect and deliver anywhere in the UK. This can cost as little as £1.95 per box per month in its climate-controlled, CCTV-monitored warehouses. It does have a small fee for collection and delivery but customers can store and move as many boxes as they want to, for as long as they want, all around the UK.
In 2014 Lovespace closed its funding round on Crowdcube by raising £1.55m – exceeding its target by 167%. To date it has looked after tens of thousands of boxes for customers.
Much like many essential innovations, intelligentpos was created out of founder Robin Knox’s personal experience with another endeavour entirely. Needing an EPOS system to manage profit and sales at his Edinburgh based paintball centre, he found that traditional PC based suppliers were both prohibitively expensive and absurdly unwieldy. After speaking with his close friend Paul Walton about the idea of developing an app to replace the need for heavy-weight computer systems, voilà, intelligentpos was born. With great uptake rates in their first years, Intelligent Point of Sale grew rapidly finding funding with angel investments of £500k and a further £50k from ScotEdge (the Scottish Edge fund).
Founded in Northern Ireland by Adam Ewart, when he was trying to help his girlfriend move her belongings back from university, he encountered huge excess baggage fees. Send My Bag picks up and delivers items from extra bags, golf clubs and boxes door-to-door for a fraction of the cost charged by airlines. Send My Bad had a completely different luck than Liquiproof on Dragon’s Den and failed to secure capital, however a Belfast-based angel investment firm liked what they saw and invested significant seed funding in Send My Bag, enabling it to continue its expansion into key international markets.
… Do you have the next big idea?
Anywhere where a common problem needs to be solved and the seed of an idea has begun to sprout. That’s the beauty of a start-up. With the right dedication and the growing accessibility to angel investment opportunities, your ideas’ biggest hurdle in getting up and running may just be your willingness to get up and run with it.