This weekend, millions of us across Europe will descend on our TV screens to endure a few hours of cheesy, slightly tone-deaf live performances, made more bearable by the deprecating but comforting tones of Graham Norton.
Europe might not sing particularly well, but it does produce some brilliant business and tech talent. Below are five of the leading tech pioneers and businesses we’re keeping our eye on this year and beyond.
Anton Chirkunov, founder and CEO, Wheely
Anton founded Wheely in 2010 with a mission to build the number one premium ride-hailing service in Russia. Today, it’s the superior alternative to Uber Exec/Lux, designed for consumers who are looking for a premium, elegant experience that makes them feel good. It’s a way of extending the enjoyment of your evening out or adding a touch of comfort to your trip into central London.
You can hop in in real-time or schedule a ride, and there are no surcharges at any time, as well as a flat rate to Heathrow & Gatwick.
Already operational in London, with over 50m annual bookings, Anton’s ambition is to further disrupt the exec and VIP-class private hire market as the first app in the UK to exclusively offer premium ride-hailing services.
Guaranteeing users a 2016 E-Class Mercedes at the very minimum, Wheely is sure to sweep London of its feet this year.
Rav Bumbra, CEO & Founder, Structur3d People
After over 20 years’ working in the tech industry, Rav was inspired to start her own company with one simple objective; to empower people to achieve their potential while helping businesses achieve their diversity objectives. Rav wants to see more gender-balanced workforce to encourage greater innovation, creativity and growth.
A prominent thought leader, Rav is a force for change in technology recruitment and has made it her mission through her business, Structur3dPeople to create innovative ways for businesses to attract diverse tech talent and address the UK’s skills shortage.
Through an impressive global mentoring programme, Rav is enabling women to build confidence and develop new skills with the aim of going on to work in technology, progress into leadership or start their own business.
Over 250 women have so far taken part in the company’s #GettingMoreWomenIntoTech campaign, which identifies female role models in the tech industry, while Rav is also committed to providing children with the technical and entrepreneurial skills they need to build a career in the industry, through #GettingMoreKidsIntoTech.
Gustaf Öqvist Seimyr, co-founder, Lexplore
Swedish company Lexplore was founded in 2015, designed to ensure no child with dyslexia is left behind in education. It was built on the premise that the majority of schools were lacking an objective method of obtaining an overview of every student’s reading ability, with many reading difficulties not picked up before it is too late.
Co-founded by Gustaf Öqvist Seimyr, the business came out of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (which also presents the Nobel Prize in Medicine). Its AI that is now used to screen for reading difficulties was created after the business applied machine learning technologies to previous studies on children’s eye movement.
Lexplore has secured £6m investment to date and has been successfully implemented in primary schools across Sweden and the US. While children read on a screen, a tracker records their eye movements, with each recording uploaded to a Microsoft Cloud service. Here, an algorithm detects which children have proficient reading difficulties, and where each pupil sits on the scale.
Since 2007, Gustaf has led on the research and investigation into functional eye movement and eye tracking technology. Certainly an entrepreneur and business to keep an eye on this year and beyond.
Rodolphe Ardant, founder and CEO, Spendesk
This will come as music to the ears of those who are tired of team / corporate expenses, and the whole reimbursement and “do you have the receipt for that?” process. Spendesk has created a way to manage team expenses without lending out a company card or retrospectively filling out expense reports and meeting agendas. Simply, it combines prepaid cards with an expense report solution.
Paris-based entrepreneur Rodolphe Ardant launched the start-up in 2016 with the mission of revolutionising company expense procedures – from purchase requests to payments, to receipt processing. It’s been a success, raising a whopping $9.9 million (€8 million) in January this year
Picture this as an employee. When your company signs up, you receive a personal card. Your employer can top up its global Spendesk account and then define different sets of policies to limit the expenses you can rack up. All expenses are centralised in a modern interface, and as the employee, you can track your expenses and upload receipts. Spendesk will then help you match invoices with expenses (essentially scanning them) and you can export these to a format suitable for your accounts team to process.
Sounds like a good idea to us.
Tristan Leteurtre, CEO and co-founder, Mooncard
Another Paris-based fintech start-up that has caught our eye. Founded by an entrepreneur with a proven track record in building software companies from scratch, with expertise in telecoms & fintech. Tristan describes Mooncard as ‘Corporate cards, reinvented’ – quite simply, it aims to reinvent the banking and payment experience for SMEs.
Founded in 2016, Mooncard’s automated solution is well on its way to becoming Europe’s favoured payment tool for employees, CEOs, CFOs and entrepreneurs.
It’s currently only available in French, but rumour has it the solution is due to land in England in the not too distant future.
If you like the sound of our choices and want to talk about taking your PR outreach to the next level, contact us today.