Start-ups in all sectors from articfical intelligence and healthcare to financial services and insurance were celebrated and showcased at the Digital Festival 2018 in Cardiff
Despite being a hugely profitable market, the world of start-ups is a perilous one.
The combined annual turnover for SMEs was £1.8 trillion as recently as 2016 and in 2017, companies with zero to nine employees accounted for 96% of businesses in the UK.
But with more than 50% of new businesses failing within their first five years, discerning the difference between a start-up with a bright future and one doomed for failure can be an inexact science.
Those showcased at the sixth annual Digital Festival 2018 in Cardiff had the backing of the event’s organisers to go on to be global successes.
David Warrender, CEO of Innovation Point, which hosted the event, said: “We’re extremely proud to have gathered some of the most promising start-ups in tech today to come and discuss their stories with us.
“It feels like we’re on the verge of something special.”
Here are seven tech start-ups that were showcased at the Digital Festival.
Dr Elin Haf Davies is the founder and CEO of Wrexham-based Aparito, which provides wearable devices and mobile apps that deliver critical data in real time between patients and clinicians outside of the hospital to support diagnosis, treatment and drug development.
Speaking to Compelo at the Digital Festival, she said: “I founded the company three and half years ago, but before that I worked for 20 years in child health.”
Dr Davies was one of seven winners of the Top Women in Welsh Tech awards ceremony held at the event.
She added: “At the moment in medtech, only 11% of digital health people are women.
“I think part of the reason is the misconception around what ‘tech’ is, sometimes it’s just thought of as coding.
“But when you look at the role technology plays in our lives – I don’t think there’s many tasks we can do without its aid – you realise it’s so integrated that there’s so much you can do with it.”
Founded by Martin Britton and Martyn Mathews, Red Cortex supplies cloud transformation services and resources to businesses of all sizes in multiple sectors.
The start-up’s team of experienced cloud tech experts offer both on-site and virtual delivery models.
Based in Cardiff, its services help business take control of their ICT, reduce delivery timeframes using the cloud, and ramp up their security against cyber attacks.
Born and raised in Frankfurt, Luca Schnettler started HealthyHealth in London last year with the aim of using digital technology to change the insurance sector and help customer become “healthy”.
“I left my university in London because I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. I didn’t stumble across a problem and think how to solve it – I actively searched for something I could do,” said the 20-year old.
“At the time I was working with lots of universities who had huge data sets which they didn’t use so I negotiated with some of them that I could use those data sets for commercial reasons.
“This was about eight months ago, it took three or four months to form the first big partnerships with big brands whilst we also built the team.
“Now we are operating in a few countries, we have a deal in the UK with employer benefits and insurance, and we do reinsurance in the middle-east and Germany.”
Manchester-based start-up Wool Digital plants a tree for every hour it spends working with its clients delivering web design and support.
Founder David Dowdall started the company in order to provide business with the tools necessary to keep pace with the amorphous digital industry.
Its services range from web design, social media, and email marketing to Search Engine Optimisation, PPC and online maintenance.
Ben Ryan, who lives in Anglesey, created his own design for a 3D-printed prosthetic arm after his son Sol tragically had to have his arm amputated ten days after being born.
“The NHS told me I’d have to wait a year before I could get a prosthetic arm, and even then it would only be a rigid socket with a silicone hand, that wasn’t good enough for my son,” he said.
The psychology graduate has since established an online prosthetics service, Ambionics, and providing the customer can offer a scan of the amputated area, sends 3D-printed arms around the world to those who needs them at a fraction of the cost offered by established medical organisations.
“I’m currently trialling remote 3D scanning with families in Australia, North and South America, Europe and Africa and am working with Warwick University School of Engineering,” added Ben.
Computer science graduate Toby White founded Artimus with the intention of accelerating the current generation into the golden age of AI and machine learning.
The company, working out of Cardiff, offers advanced AI solutions to be applied across various sectors and markets.
Its services are intended to remove the repetitive tasks involved with everyday business management and make more time for your human resources department.
In the banking sector, 24-year-old Ollie Purdue spotted the desire among millennials, particularly the 16-24 age group, for better ways to manage their money – and founded Loot in 2015 just after he finished university.
“Only 17% of people would recommend their bank, and 57% would change bank if there was a better technology solution,” said Ollie in his talk on the Digital Festival’s main stage.
“The millennial market is very money-aware, they know they want to go out and do lots of cool things but at the same time making their budget last until the end of the month is a challenge.
“In our experience, 80% of them worry about making ends meet and want answers to really basic questions like how much they spend, how much they can spend and if their spending is normal.
Ollie’s answer, London-based Loot, lets users access their financial information through their mobile and provides functionality like real time spending updates and the ability to set weekly budgets to help customers manage their money.