'Startups of the Year' lists are, we'll admit, usually pretty arbitrary: they're made up of big name acquisitions and deeply cynical log rolling. We've decided to take a different approach and let you know about the startups of 2015 which might make a difference to your life, business and world.
Thanks to all those that contributed for opening our eyes to some truly innovative up-and-coming companies. And, listen up, it's not definitive!
So, if you'd like to nominate more, there's still time. Shout out to us on Twitter @clubworkspace using the hashtag #startupstowatch2015.
Startups that are good for your business:
Along with Cytora, Duco, PontusVision, Ripjar, Torusware and xWare42, Atsora was selected to join the 12-week programme at Canary Wharf's Level39. The startup provides financial institutions with innovative tools for small business owners. The core product, Momentum, is an integrated online and mobile application used for business planning, monitoring cash-flow and growth forecasting. This could make a difference to your business.
Recently valued at one billion dollars, Slack was founded by Stewart Butterfield of Flickr fame and is a startup aimed at developing workplace communication methods. It looks good; it sounds good; and both Business Insider and Mashable have touted it as a startup to watch in 2015.
Given banks continued reluctance to lend, if alternative finance wasn't a trend of 2014, it's set to dominate in 2015. But while the possibilities for funding proliferate, awareness of the options is not increasing at the same rate. Informed Funding is an online information resource designed to help growing businesses identify the range of options they have to raise finance. (And, full disclosure, it's sponsored by Workspace).
Startups that are good for the world:
Member of Telefonica’s Wayra startup accelerator scheme, and founder of Karisma Kidz, Erika Brodnock @ErikaBrodnock chose her favourite startups which are doing good.
Skin Analytics: 'A fantastic team committed to the early detection of skin cancer and other skin conditions. Their patented algorithms enable easy diagnosis and save lives!'
'Lingoing is like Hailo for translators and the deaf community, matching the talent with those who need it most in an efficient and effective way. The company was borne out of frustrations with translation services used by one of the founders who is himself deaf.'
Startups that are good for you:
Erika wasn't just altruisitic when it came to her choices for the startups to watch, she also chose Frugl. It's a business we've already featured on Club Workspace and it's dedicated to making your life cheaper:
'Frugl is a way for London's to connect with free or low cost events happening in their surrounding area. A fabulous female-founded startup that both saves me money and keeps me current each week.'
Oli Barrett, co-founder of @TeamCospa, @TennerFiverYE and @StartUpBritain, thought dogs, fruit juice and children's toys were going to make it big in 2015.
As he put it, 'I've met some amazing ones and especially like the people behind (and work of) @ArcherAndParry @poochandmutt and @zippykit.'
But he reserved his praise for: 'The product (and pitch) which hugely impressed me this year, was @Armourgel.'
Finalists at the Pitch@Palace event, Armourgel have invented a revolutionary new energy absorbing material, designed to alter the way we think about protecting the human body from impact and injury.
No mystery as to why startup writer and entrepreneur, Nik Darlington (@nikdarlington) chose Red Squirrel Wine, as a startup to watch. It's his own business.
He also wanted to mention @SimplyCookcom: 'There are lots of new food kit delivery boxes springing up and I've found Simply Cook to deliver the best flavour bar none. Also as it's just the seasonings (but oh my what seasonings!) and not fresh food the upfront cost is lower than others and there's no pressure to eat it all up immediately.'
And he couldn't resist mentioning @Mattsfudge: 'This family run Welsh fudge company is really on the up with their traditional tasty recipes and loveable packaging, having grown from the grassroots of markets and food festivals. Try their fudge sauces!''.
And the rest... startups we couldn't resist mentioning:
Sixty, social media manager for Club Workspace and tweets from @sixtylicious, had his own ideas for startups to look out for:
'I’d like to put forward Sure Chill because this company has developed a certain type of cooling technology that allows a household fridge to function for up to 10 days without electricity. This is a game-changer for the way we think about food preservation, and the transportation of life-changing vaccines.'
Khaleelah, a social media strategist who tweets from @KhaleelahJones, thought anonymous, location-based apps were going to be big in 2015.
She nominated Momentous: 'It's an anonymous social media app that allows you to share real time events/news/updates on what is happening within an x-mile radius. These posts fade after 24 hours. I can see it being used both by individual users and businesses.'
Do you think we've missed out some important startups that will be changing the world in 2015? We'd love to hear from you. Please shout out to us on Twitter @clubworkspace using the hashtag #startupstowatch2015.