Samantha Tomaszczyk reports on the UK’s 20 ‘best of the best’ mobile start-ups selected by the government organisation UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to appear at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
Government organisation UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) earlier this month showcased 20 mobile technology start-ups deemed to be the most innovative in the UK and the most capable of disrupting the mobile industry.
Around 60 firms entered UKTI’s ‘most innovative mobile company’ competition, and only five of the 20 shortlisted companies (see boxout, above right) were selected to join its delegation at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.
Mobile News was invited to meet the final 20 at an event held at the offices of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in London.
UKTI sector specialist for mobile John Davies said that while the judges were primarily looking for innovation, novelty and monetisation were also taken into account.
Davies said: “We try to make sure the companies have global opportunity, which goes back to the scalability issue. One of the things we do in UKTI is try and help particularly SME tech companies access global markets, which are often far harder to get into, and get them into value opportunities where their innovation has real scalability.”
The winners were app developers Real VNC, Skin Analytics, Paddle and Open Signal and hardware manufacturer Made in Mind.
Made in Mind will be demonstrating its universal ‘folding’ charger at MWC, which it claims is 70 per cent smaller than regular chargers. The product has been on sale in O2 stores since Christmas, priced around £25.
Made in Mind CEO Matthew Judkins told Mobile News the firm is currently in discussions with other retailers and manufacturers about offering the charger as part of a bundle with mobile devices.
The aim at MWC will be on promoting its products and gaining new partnerships with manufacturers, he said.
“It was a great result, particularly because we are the only hardware vendor to make the cut,” said Judkins. “Winning is especially important to us now because we are trying to widen our channels.
“Hopefully, UKTI’s recognition will help.”
Real VNC has created an M2M product which enables certain in-car components such as radios and CD players to be controlled by a smartphone.
The firm told Mobile News it hopes more than a million cars will incorporate the software by the end of the year. It has already sold millions of licences globally.
Skin Analytics has created an app which allows smartphone users to monitor changes in their skin, such as moles and lesions which may indicate the early signs of cancer.
Paddle has created an app which encrypts credit card and debit card details in the cloud for secure mobile payments. The product launched this month.
And finally, Open Signal have created an Android app which provides customers with live, detailed information on the positioning of mobile masts and signal strength.