The UK has always been a country of ingenious folk. We’ve led the way with everything from engineering and medicine to the TV and the internet. And while the world is seemingly getting smaller with how we connect through technology, there are some businesses on our little island that are making waves worldwide, especially in the realm of the start-up. 


We have always thrived when it comes to start-up companies. If it weren’t for folk going out there and trying there all we wouldn’t have things like Grand Theft Auto or apps that help us meditate every day. That ingenuity is still alive and well today with UK based start-ups coming to make something more, and we thought what better way to look at our innovation than highlighting some of the small companies brave enough to push us towards new and exciting ways to look at the world. 


Here are some of the top UK start-ups right now making a name for themselves: 


  • PureLifi 
  • Mindmate 
  • Sunamp 
  • Copronet 
  • Airsorted 
  • Chatterbox 
  • Birdie 
  • Celtic Renewables 



Disruptive Start-ups Making Waves. credit: Pixabaycredit: pureLiFi

Starting close to home, Edinburgh based Purelifi is doing something that sounds like it comes directly out of sci-fi. Using light’s sensitivity and being able to change it ever so slightly, you can send information between two points, just like a telephone call or instant message. 


Purelifi founder Harald Hass did a TED talk about how he sees every light bulb in the world having the ability to send and receive data. It might go over your head a little, but if the firm succeeds in making light a source for helping people stay connected, we’re going to be living in the future before we know it. 



Disruptive Start-ups Making Waves. credit: Pixabaycredit: MindMate Co-Founders Patrick Renner, Roger Arellano and Susanne Mitschke

Another Scottish startup born out of two savvy students at Glasgow and Strathclyde University, Mindmate is an app designed to turn brain stimulation into a fun game. The statistics into the growing number of older people with dementia and related illnesses can be staggering, but apps like this are helping those with memory problems combat cognitive decline and stay sharp. 


It’s the first of two start-ups mentioned in this article helping older folk. We’ve been following the story of the company for a few years now, and with their success on the iTunes app chart, we hope more people get to know about the incredible work they’ve been doing 



Disruptive Start-ups Making Waves. credit: Pixabaycredit: Sunamp

Much like how our first start-up sees light as a source of data, Sunamp is turning around the way we look at water to heat our homes much more efficiently. Their small heat batteries are a radically new way to get energy for your home, being able to use it for electricity, running the shower and even heating your living room.  


If more people take to using these batteries for their homes, it would dramatically lower the level of wasted energy we have and reduce fuel poverty. Imagine no longer having to turn on the boiler to get hot water when a small box can use the sun to do it in no time at all. 



Disruptive Start-ups Making Waves. credit: Pixabaycredit: Copronet

We’ve all been there. You have a job that needs doing at home, you ask around for help, and someone says, “oh I know someone”. It’s a bit of an archaic way to find a joiner or builder. Surprisingly, when it comes to big construction and property work, that’s the way a lot of it works. 


Copronet is trying to pull the construction industry into the 21st century by providing a network for builders and companies to connect and work together, as well as an online management system to make all the complications that arise when doing anything from building a house to running a team working on a multi-storey building. 


It aims to reduce the time people in the industry spend just finding that connection to help on a project; something which surprisingly can costs big firms thousands a day. 



Disruptive Start-ups Making Waves. credit: Pixabaycredit: Airsorted

We’ve all had a notion to start renting out a spare room or holiday home on the likes of Airbnb, but for those of us who have zero experience in how to list a room or look after it, the process can be bewildering. 


London based Airsorted is a start-up looking to make sure those with space to let can do so without any hassle at all. They have a team who will come to your home to see the space you want to advertise, take photos and get your profile looking as good as possible, get the bookings sorted out and even get a cleaner over to make sure the place is looking spick and span between guests. 


If you’ve been on the fence about putting up that spare room, this might just change your mind. 



Disruptive Start-ups Making Waves. credit: Pixabaycredit: Chatterbox

Any startup that strives to make the world a little bit better is always worth mentioning. For many refugees who come to the UK, their years of experience in working from all kinds of backgrounds can go to waste simply because of the language barrier. There are thousands of people from backgrounds like engineering and medicine that are missing out on contributing to society. 


Chatterbox does something quite simple yet brilliant. It employs refugees as language tutors, matching them with people who want to learn a language or organisations that are missing that gap in their workforce. It’s helping people who come from highly skilled backgrounds to get back on their feet in the industry they work best in, helping reduce the language skills shortage that is costing the UK more and more every year. 



Disruptive Start-ups Making Waves. credit: Pixabaycredit: birdie

Loneliness is becoming more and more of an issue. A 2016 study by AGE UK estimated that there are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK, and over half of people aged 75 and above live alone.  To help reduce worry for families with relatives living alone, Birdie is a digital assistant helping families know those little worrying thoughts, like if a carer has been today, if medication has been taken and how their older relative is getting on when they can’t be there. 


It’s an ingenious use of existing technology and a reminder that we should be using our smartphones for more than checking our profiles all the time. 


Celtic Renewables 

Disruptive Start-ups Making Waves. credit: Pixabaycredit Celtic Renewables

We’d be remiss if we didn’t end without raising a glass to the greatest invention to ever come out of Scotland: whisky. While we all know about the angel’s share of a barrel, you might be surprised to know that making whisky is surprisingly wasteful.  


In the process of making a dram, about 90% of the by-products created from the whisky-making process are usually just discarded. Prof. Martin Tangney realised that all that waste could be put to more than good use and created Celtic Renewables. With his knowledge of biofuels, he realised that the bulk of that by-product could be turned into a sustainable biofuel. 


If there was ever an excuse to raise a glass, we can’t think of a better one than that. 



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