Home Business NewsBusiness Wendy Tan White: My top three most exciting London start-ups

Wendy Tan White: My top three most exciting London start-ups

by LLB Reporter
16th Nov 11 3:52 pm

For Global Entrepreneurship Week, the entrepreneur behind website builder Moonfruit.com picks her favourites

Whenever I’m asked to choose my favourite tech startups, I naturally judge them through the filter of my own experience. Since I set up Moonfruit.com, which allows people to build their own websites, shops and blogs, I have been fascinated to see companies use the power of the web to respond to the culture around them – offering innovative new services and products while being able to make money.

Having studied and founded my company in London, I’m also interested to see new companies build on the capital’s advantages and play on its many inherent strengths: its unparalleled media culture, its travel links and its unique sense of creativity.

So I’ve decided to look at three London-based online companies that I feel truly embody some of London’s greater business qualities: Demotix, Editd and Songkick.

1. Demotix

Demotix is a really interesting example of entrepreneurs using the web to respond to the world around them. With the advent of real-time and democratised online publishing – particularly through social networks and content-sharing platforms such as Twitter and Flickr – the ways in which news is reported and responded to have changed immeasurably.

Now, people who watch historical events unfold can capture the scene through text, video or photography. The power of this user-generated content has enabled us to connect with previously unreportable news stories – the Iranian ‘Twitter Election’ offering a pertinent example.

Demotix has responded to this change by creating a “streetwire”, aiming to “rescue journalists” and give newsgatherers (from amateur opportunists through to professional journalists) the opportunity to share their content directly with news outlets. In turn, media buyers can pay to use these images, videos and so on, giving them access to otherwise unobtainable content often from some of the most difficult war-torn parts of the world. As well as responding to a global shift in newsgathering, Demotix can take advantage of the global media outlets on its doorstep here in London.

What’s even better about Demotix is the community of writers and creatives it aims to foster. I have always believed that a successful business community combines creativity with the structure it needs to succeed – and this is exactly what Demotix is trying to encourage, by building a group of newsgatherers and allowing them to make money from their work.

2. Editd

Editd is a site that provides fashion retailers and brands with the market insights and data they need to make decisions about pricing, design and so on. I love Editd because it plays to London’s strengths as a fashion industry capital. And because it was started using passion and expertise from a previous career – former fashion designer Julia Fowles teamed up with tech and data expert Geoff Watts to found the company.

London is a natural choice to base a tech start-up with a fashion focus, with its world-famous Fashion Week and vibrant design community. The whole site is dedicated to fashion, trends and fresh design – so even though its service is aimed at businesses, it demonstrates an understanding of the industry and knowledge of its businesses’ target audience.

What’s different about Editd is that it spotted a B2B niche within a established industry; the company was started after the founders realised – from their own experience – that “the fashion industry was making decisions without concrete data, which led to a lot of mistakes, discounts and disposals”.

And that takes us on to the passion that clearly inspired the businesses and is evident throughout the site. Recent Moonfruit.com research, which polled 300 entrepreneurs, found that more than 50 per cent of startup businesses are formed from a passion. Aside from the industry expertise of Editd’s founders, their passion seems to be an important motivator that helps the business evolve and succeed.

3. Songkick

Based in London’s Silicon Roundabout, Songkick – a website that lets music fans find out about concerts in their area – has already received a number of plaudits in the tech industry, including a place in this year’s Telegraph Top 100 Tech Start-Up list.

By indexing concert information from ticket vendors, venue sites and newspapers, Songkick understands the power of aggregating information from multiple channels into one place. As well as appealing to music fans directly, its API allows third parties to access the database. In this way, Songkick can target other entertainment providers, such as the BBC for its Glastonbury coverage.

Like Editd, Songkick’s industry credibility is evident in everything it creates – from its engagement with music fans on Facebook and Twitter, to its integration with other music and social media platforms, including iTunes and last.fm. Again, this credibility can be partly attributed to Songkick’s location in London, with its myriad concert venues and position as a music industry hub – not to mention, of course, the vibrant tech start-up community that centres on Silicon Roundabout.

Find out more about website builder Moonfruit.com

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