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10 EU automotive tech startups driving change in the industry
Israeli company Mobileye – which develops driver-safety tech solutions and supplies technology for self-driving cars – was recently valued at about $8.4 billion after debuting on the New York Stock Exchange. With the big news, we thought it would be appropriate to put a spotlight on emerging automotive tech projects coming out of the European tech ecosystem. Headquarters: London, UK. Gist: Carwow started as “a research site making car choosing easy” but has since shifted to helping users with the whole car-buying process. Gist: Tech startup High Mobility, founded in 2013, wants to change the way people interact with their cars. Gist: Founded by Patryk and Anna Szymczak, Cloud Your Car offers a tool for small businesses to monitor and manage company cars for small businesses. The startup, which launched its core product Car Beacon earlier this month, has received about $435,000 in funding. Gist: Didn’t think cars could “Speak” to each other? Think again. Gist: MyBus, a startup spun off from the Technische Universität Berlin and currently part of Startupbootcamp’s Smart Transportation & Energy programme, offers a cloud-based fleet management and passenger information system for public transportation. Headquarters: London, UK. Gist: ClickMechanic, which participated in seed investment programme Entrepreneur First in 2012, is an online marketplace aiming to connect consumers with car mechanics. Gist: While not exactly a startup, we thought this tech project, which was partially funded by the European Union and involves a consortium of companies, was worth noting. Harken is a project developing sensors to be used to detect driver fatigue and thus prevent fatigue-induced car accidents. Any particularly interesting European automotive tech startups we missed? Let us know.
Europe’s hottest startup capitals: London
Here are the 100 companies causing the greatest buzz, according to the local commentators, investors and entrepreneurs we surveyed. LONDON “London is on top of its game,” says Joanna Shields, CEO of the government’s Tech City initiative. A number of high-growth companies were snapped up in the first half of 2013, including Summly and Mendeley, acquired by Yahoo! respectively and Reed Elsevier. The app has been downloaded over 15 million times and was the best-selling Android app globally in 2012. The company has been licensing its technology to manufacturers and it estimates it will be embedded in 100 million devices by the end of 2013. 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX.Fintech startup GoCardless allows users to tap into the direct-debit network, usually reserved for utility companies and mobile operators. “We set out to blend toys with games.We make toys our customers can personalise through games and apps, then their toy is locally 3D-printed. Each toy is unique, and ‘born digital’,” explains founder Alice Taylor. Founded by four ex-Googlers, the company says it has doubled revenues in 2012. 20 Broadwick Street, W1F 8HT.DueDil’s free-to-access database brings together a wide range of company info – including Companies House data and credit ratings – in a simple interface. Users can search for accounts, shareholders and company directors. The company was founded by New Yorker Damian Kimmelman, who says the company, whose user base has grown around 20 per cent per month, is “Close to turning a profit”. Hailo Cab.Somerset House, WC2R 1LA.Hailo Cab’s mobile taxi-hailing app Hailo launched in London in November 2011 and is now used by more than 13,500 London cabbies – around half – and has been downloaded by 250,000 potential passengers.
Startup Professionals Musings
As a business advisor, one of the things I see most often as a drag to productivity and growth is employees who, despite their best efforts, can’t change things that they know are hurting the company. Perhaps you remember as well when the norm in business was a no return policy, or one size fits all, or getting support meant waiting hours on the phone to reach an unhelpful and unhappy employee. If these still exist in your organization, they are huge red flags and you can be certain that you are losing your best employees as well as customers. You need to hear first-hand what is working well, and what is not delighting customers. Plan to redesign and realign employee teams every quarter. Don’t let your team get stuck in the “Way we have always done things.” New perspectives are invigorating for the team, as well as for your customers. New and better technology is becoming available every day to present dashboards and metrics to show how well processes and empowerment are working, assess workload backlogs, and capture customer feedback and satisfaction. Identify team champions to drive initiatives and processes. Employees who have the respect of other team members, and have shown more motivation, are typically more effective than managers in driving new processes, and identifying areas that need tuning or change. The reality is that customer and employee expectations have changed, and your competitors have stepped up to the demands for positive experiences. Of course, every successful business is about achieving the right balance between costs and returns, as well as keeping up with marketplace demands. So while you must continue to strive for repeatable processes, it’s time to recognize that your customers are now much more empowered, and you must do the same for your team.