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Companies Killing it — Startups that will Change the World in 2018

Revolut — Solving the problem of modern banking by removing the boundaries between nations through instantaneous transfer of capital, whether that is for payment for goods, conversion of currency or transfer to other individuals.. Exchange rates are at the ‘bank to bank’ exchange rate meaning negligible commission and more money for consumers. security controls on where your money can be spent according to geographic location can be set through the app and purchases show up instantaneously. Soon to have Crypto compatibility which opens up an entirely new market if they are able to remove the current fee based model for purchasing and selling.

My vision of the future of banking

Kry — Healthcare sucks. Whenever you need help doctors seem to be unavailable and by the time you get an appointment the issue has either worsened or disappeared. Kry is disrupting the existing model by enabling an on demand connection with healthcare professionals. It eradicates the wasted time between appointments as patients are routed to doctors when they are available immediately. Incredibly, the service already accounts for more than 1% of all of Sweden's GP visits.

H2ops — We are currently living in the age of peak craft beer. What do these people drink through the week? Not a traditional investment by any stretch of the imagination, but an out the box company which provides the potential for outsized returns due to the uncertainty of an industry that doesn’t exist with the possibility to create a huge market. They make craft brewed hop water which is completely alcohol and sugar free. The founder has an extensive history of product innovation in the space developing coconut water before it gained popularity and having worked as a brand manager at monster. — Impressive team currently raising money at Seed+. They focus on providing the maps that autonomous vehicles will use. This will evolve to be huge business at AV’s proliferate the market.

Vainu — Sales leads are incredibly hard. Vainu simplifies that through the use of technology for discoverability, uncovering potential customers who would never previously have been considered. By expanding the net, users are able to diversify their pursuit of sales enabling the growth of new markets for existing products and services. They already have more than 1,200 subscribers paying $470 a month.

Landmrk — As jobs are replaced by automation we are going to witness a surge of people deriving meaning for their lives from experiences. Landmark aims to be at the forefront of location-based experiences which utilizes AR to place digital content in physical spaces. They utilise geofencing tech to provide personalized journeys to travellers. We sit at the inflexion point of AR breaking into the mainstream, see apples ARKit tech incorporated into the next generation of iPhones, and Landmrk possesses an interesting white-label tech which can incorporate any advances in AR onto its platform.

Earny — A company I have championed personally. For consumers who are left frustrated when a product they have just bought drops in price. They work on your behalf by using AI and ML to track your purchases through Amazon and if something drops in price they get you back the savings. Currently only available in the states, but I have spoken to the CEO a few times and know they are looking to launch in Europe shortly.

Instabridge — Everyone has a wifi-connection at home but, depending what country you live in, must depend on an unreliable mobile connection while everywhere else. Instabridge is an app which allows you to list your wifi as a public access node and in return you get access to the whole platform wifi-web.

Snips — Voice is the next UI that is already here. Snips allow companies to add an AI-powered voice assistant to their own products.

Burner — A company that has been around for a long time which finally seems to have found product-market fit. Whether that is in B2B or B2C burner offers users the opportunity to create disposable phone numbers which can be anything from a number to give to your acquaintances of tinder or craigslist of for companies to use as customer service lines. Their app integrates seamlessly with Slack and Dropbox so it can provide a line to record feedback or handle customer service issues while their app on your phone operates like a typical messaging service.

Natural Cycles — Utilising technology to tackle the age-old problem of fertility and contraception, it informs you when and when you can’t get pregnant by using a thermometer and a personal algorithm to make predictions. Interesting because of its potential to become a companion through life. It safely prevents pregnancies until you are ready then assists you in falling pregnant more efficiently.

Norsepower — Never have unsexy industries been so sexy. Flexport have blazed a trail for what’s possible in the freight industry and Norsepower could have a similar impact in reducing the energy consumption of vessels carrying cargo. Their sails offer the opportunity to reduce fossil fuel consumption by up to 20%, good news for the bottom line and the environment. The system can be retrofitted to existing vessels which offers exciting possibilities for immediate adoption.

Social Construct — Currently raising series A. Building isn’t getting any easier. Labour costs are spiralling out of control as are material and construction costs. Social construct hopes to bridge the gap through modular design. There will never be a time where we don’t need new buildings — in fact, our need for more increases each year. Social Construct already has a growing number of LOI’s to create a product they have prototyped and installed.

De-ice — Team consists of a number of MIT PhD’s solving a real-world problem — frozen aircraft. Company is raising £3m and £6.5m pre, with a number of impressive LOI’s. They’re product sends an electrical student throughout the fabric of the plane which means it doesn’t need to be de-iced before flights which save 45 minutes and $9,000 per de-icing. Aircraft de-icing alone if a $5billion a year business but the utility of the product extends to oil equipment and anything else that must be unfrozen before use.

Mush — In an increasingly tech orientated world real connections become more difficult with the launch of each app. Mothers in particular are hit hard by this. When you have a child you become detached from both your social circle, your former work colleagues, friends and family. Where your life stops their’s continues and it is incredibly easy to become isolated. Mush seeks to change this by fostering real world interactions through a tinder-like service which connects Parents with other Parents within their geographic location. By connecting Parent’s going through similar things the app enables chat, discovery of activities, as well as the ability to buy, swap or sell items.

Islands — My perception of this product may be misplaced — and that would be understandable as I only know the little that has been released to date — but this is what I hoped Snapchat would evolve to become. Group chats are the new social media, the ability to connect with like minded individuals in similar geographic locations is the hyper focused network I hoped all social media would mature into. Snapchat is a transformational product that has stalled. Snaptags, the same as hashtags, or something similar would have allowed movements to arise and topics to gain traction. It would have maintained the disposability of the service, married it to anonymity while enabling the platform to become the place where all stories are told and consumed instantly. It would have allowed connections to be made and collaboration to occur. Islands has this potential. A group chat which fosters community and exploration — that is the future of social media.

Companies I want to fund

  • Companies who can reduce the need for human carers for the elder population, with a focus on utility. Something that can assist the elderly in doing simple daily tasks, e.g. showering, will have massive growth potential as the % of the population above 65 swells.
  • Companies who offer a flexible alternative to childcare — with a focus on connecting supply and demand between teachers and working parents. Teachers are an intriguing proposition due to the fact they have all the necessary safety documentation etc.
  • Companies which can disrupt the vehicle rental space. A Zipcar like service which connects incoming arrivals with departures at airports to negate the need for leaving your car in an expensive car park. Arrivals could rent your car for the period you are away making you money instead of costing you while it sits idle.
  • Companies that augment our ability to maintain the love in our lives. What happens after you swipe right? Divorce is a growing problem, disconnection with the people we care about is huge, loneliness is the biggest problem nobody talks about. Where technology has forced us apart it can be used to bring us closer together. This can be done by taking care of our spontaneity and acting in our self-interest where life gets in the way and makes us forget.
  • Companies that subsidize appliances in return for the market intelligence afforded from consumer usage. Think fridges that measure the types of food you are consuming and how quickly. In return for cheaper appliances, services etc. consumers see adverts related to their consumption with the ability to order directly from them.
  • Companies that tap into the peer-to-peer economy but reward participants instead of paying them. Whether that’s a fast food business that provides a customer with incentives to deliver other customers food, or a beer company giving a consumer beer token to redeem in the future for delivering a parcel.
  • Companies that provide bespoke products tailored to individual consumers, such as clothes specifically made for your body shape based on your exact measurements.
  • Companies who find innovative ways to pay creators without the need for consumers to pay any money. I envision a future where micropayments are covered for the duration which the creator’s product is consumed through mechanisms such as crypto mining using a % of the consumers CPU.
  • Blockchain companies doing anything!
  • A company that takes the current social network model and destroys it. Groups chats are the new social media. Here is how I imagine this could be achieved.

How Venture Investment will Evolve

I’m massively intrigued by the prospect of a token-based fund. The tremendous increase in liquidity it offers to LP’s is something that will be transformational, inspiring individuals to more freely trust their investments in such vehicles, while the opportunity for coin’s to be ‘mined’ by those who contribute to the growth of the businesses invested in would be revolutionary.

Where to Find Innovation

For innovation I often I look towards opportunities which straddle legality. In the same way Napster was a precursor to Spotify or LimeWire was to Netflix, what will the Spotify of online consumption look like? Sites like ‘thePirateBay’ who must find ways to make money out with the typical google ads displayed on each search. Companies will emerge that enable the consumption of content without the necessity for users to pay creators or service providers directly. For low CPU usage tasks — watching video, reading articles, social networks, photosharing, almost every task you undertake online — services will tax you a % of your CPU usage and use that to mine Crypto which will be distributed to the creator according to how long you spent watching, reading or using what they made. That is where the next great company will emerge from, enriching creators in a way that rewards their contributions. Those are the companies and the idea’s I seek to fund.

Written by

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌

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