Talent Unleashed Awards finalists highlight thriving UK tech startup sector

Talent Unleashed Awards finalists highlight thriving UK tech startup sector

Phil Szomszor

Phil Szomszor

Last week we announced that we've been involved in helping to run the UK Talent Unleashed Awards and yesterday we announced our shortlist. They are 15 inspiring entrepreneurs and technologists who are making their mark and demonstrate massive potential.

Talent Unleashed logo

Next week we'll be heading down to the Haymarket Hotel for the awards night, where we'll find out who is our overall winner. He or she will be whisked off to Sir Richard Branson's Centre for Entrepreneurship for an intense programme of mentoring and skills workshop (and the odd safari trip, I'm sure).

What's interesting looking at the shortlist is the breadth of business problems that are being solved. And almost all of them find new ways of using data or digital content and turning it into something useful for consumers or businesses.

[caption id="attachment_8836" align="alignnone" width="600"]Dynamic London Skyline - picture courtesy of Prad Patel (@pradip) London is a tech start up capital - picture courtesy of Prad Patel[/caption]

When we started working with Talent, the Australian-based CEO Richard Earl told us that the UK - and London in particular - is widely admired around the world for its tech start up scene. A few months ago, the Wall Street Journal asked the question, "Is London overtaking Silicon Valley in Tech Growth?" It feels like we're doing something right.

These awards - and others that exist in the market - serve to remind us of the potential of the tech market in the UK, and help to highlight those people who are doing their bit to effect change.

Here's the Talent Unleashed shortlist in full. Stay tuned to @UK_Talent and @Firefly_Comms to find out who wins.

  1. Alex Short, founder of Old Street Labs – which is behind Vizibl, a platform for businesses to deliver real returns on their commercial relationships
  2. Anton Gu, founder of Hitch – an online dating platform, on which friends match up their single friends on Facebook
  3. Arpana Gandhi, CEO of Disarmco – a company that is helping to clear unused landmines and munitions across the world
  4. Ben Hookway, CEO of Relative Insight – a language analytics firm which provide brands with unique insights into how to engage more effectively with their customers
  5. Damian Simor, founder of Givetoview – which enables people to fundraise by making and sharing videos with cleverly placed 'pause-points'
  6. Gideon Lask, CEO and founder of BuyaPowa – a pioneer in using social selling for e-commerce by turning customers into brand ambassadors
  7. John Agnes, CEO and founder of Constant Commerce – making it easier for consumers to buy products they see featured in adverts, web content and on mobile apps
  8. Jude Ower, CEO of Playmob – which enables companies to raise money for charities by helping them create 'in-game giving' in their video games
  9. Kerim Derhalli, founder and CEO of Invstr – a new social network for finance, making it accessible and enjoyable for all
  10. Mutaz Qubbaj, co-founder of Squirrel – a tool that helps employers support their employees with money management and budgeting assistance
  11. Nick Holzherr, CEO of Whisk – an innovative online food app, taken up by Tesco, Waitrose, Asda and Ocado, which makes shopping and recipe planning easier.
  12. Paul Johnson, founder of Thortful – which enables people to sell their images for use as greeting cards, whether a photograph, illustration or a doodle.
  13. Piers Ridyard, inventor of the Nifty Minidrive – a tiny easily-installed extra storage device designed for Apple Macbooks
  14. Seb Lyall, founder of Locappy – which helps small businesses increase marketing effectiveness and sales in their local communities
  15. Simon London, founder of Kidrated – a reviews site for ‘kids by kids’, making it easier for families to find great days out that all the family enjoy

The judging panel for the awards includes Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson; executive director of digital in the Cabinet Office, Mike Bracken; Telefonica’s head of channel, Jennifer Rigby; founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State, Emma Muqueeny; Balderton Capital principal, Rob Moffat; Nate Lanxon, editor at Wired.co.uk; and Talent founder, Richard Earl.

The awards were open to UK-based technologists and entrepreneurs and were nominated by industry peers, technology incubators and individually via the Talent Unleashed website. The UK awards follow the Talent Unleashed awards held in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and Hong Kong.

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