Interesting propositions I discovered in 2020

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The Roli Lumi — “The fun, instant, rewarding way to learn to play the piano”

New media

  • Gumroad — “Super-simple commerce for creators”
  • Superpeer — “The tools you need to have paid 1:1 video calls and livestreams with your audience and paid subscribers”
  • Community — “Instant and direct communication with the people you want to reach, using the simplicity of text messaging”
  • Parler < 😂 “Twitter for people banned from Twitter” — Benedict Evans

Lending

  • Pipe — “Itrade your recurring revenue streams for upfront capital”
  • Sugar — “A financing platform for games and app studios”
  • Mythra — “A Debit Card for Gamers, by Gamers. Each swipe gets a random reward”

Crap tasks made easier

  • TaxScouts — “We sort your Self Assessment for you. £119, all in.”
  • Atticus — “The easiest and most affordable way to settle an estate and help distribute inheritance”
  • FloodFlash — “Rapid payout insurance that is changing the way landlords and businesses recover from flooding” < 🥽 Also that rarest of things, a non-crap IoT proposition!

Banking as a service

  • Privacy — “Create single-use cards that close themselves automatically”
  • Wise — “We built Banking so you don’t have to”
  • Plaid — “The easiest way for users to connect financial institutions to an app”

The layer above banking*

  • Dwelling — “A new, modern and easy way to buy a home”
  • Gather — “Where couples do their finances together”
  • StorkCard — “The first family finance app designed for parents by parents”

SME services

  • SeedLegals — “The legals for growing your company. Sorted.”
  • Deel — “Localized contracts & international payroll for teams without borders”

SME ‘operating systems’

  • brightwheel — “Your complete child care management software solution” < 👶 OS for child care businesses
  • Toast — “Toast gives your restaurant the technology you need to succeed in today’s fast-paced environment” < 🍔 OS for restaurants
  • Slice — “A one-stop shop for your pizzeria tech and marketing” < 🍕 OS for pizzerias
  • AppFolio — “Mobility for the Modern Property Manager. Anything you can do at your desk you can do from the road” < 🏠 OS for property management businesses

FMCG / CPG

  • Bother — “Fast delivery of boring basics”
  • Zero — “Zero-waste groceries, delivered fast. You’ll receive groceries in reusable containers, so go ahead, throw out your trashcan”
  • WashPass by Candy — “Simply subscribe, receive your smart washer and detergent at home, and enjoy never worrying about buying and dosing detergent again” < 🤔 Hmm, do people really worry about dosing detergent?
  • Personalise your tin of Quality Street < 🟠 Silly but mass and probably quite hard to do at scale

Agriculture

  • Agrisea < 🌱💧 A way to grow crops in the sea
  • 80 Acres Farms — “A new kind of farm, Completely indoors, using 100% renewable energy, without any pesticides. Using robots and AI to do the heavy lifting.”

Sustainable manufacturing

  • Aquapak — “(Plastic-style) packaging that is non-toxic, marine-safe and soluble in warm or hot water”
  • Hylo Athletics — “The world’s most sustainable running shoe. Made with seven natural materials and weighing only 215g.”

Energy

  • Ripple Energy — “Part own a new wind farm to power your home with cheap, truly green electricity”
  • Ryse < ⚡ Uses surplus energy from wind farms to make hydrogen for cars and buses
  • Ecologi — “Become climate positive for less than £1.25 per week”

Cars

  • Fisker Ocean — “An EV with vegan interior, upcycled materials and solar sunroof. Lease with insurance and service included, return the car at any time with zero penalties.”
  • Care by Volvo — “The flexible car subscription from Volvo. Stay safe, order online. Home delivery included. Get a car within 1 month, no deposit.”
  • Citroën Ami < 🇫🇷 A 2 seater electric car, that can be driven by 14 year olds, for €20 per month!

Diet / health

  • Xero — “Your personal fasting coach”
  • Zoe — “Discover your best foods to reduce dietary inflammation & improve gut health”
  • Levels — “Track your blood glucose in real time, so you can understand your body’s reaction to food and exercise, and tune your diet to optimize your health”

Remote working

  • mmhmm — “Funner Zooming. Add a little magic to virtual business meetings” < 👋 Also the best and worst brand name of the year, so fun trying to watch people who take themselves seriously trying to say it
  • Loom — “Show it, say it, send it. Record video messages of your screen, cam, or both. Faster than typing an email or meeting live”
  • Tandem — “A virtual office for remote teams”
  • Snack — “Replicate the spontaneity of meeting people in the office hallway, grabbing coffee in the break room, or sharing lunch” < 😏 AKA Chat Roulette for Slack!
  • Focusmate — “Work quietly in tandem with a stranger and experience the power of human accountability”
  • Krisp — “AI-powered noise filtering. Worry less about background noise”
  • Descript — “An audio/video editor that works like a doc” < 🔥 Decript is just magical, you have to try it
  • Around< 📹 The language on the website is over-written and unclear, but look at the image: Around crops video call participants down to just circles that float on your screen so you have space to work together on other collaborative apps. Hat optional…
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Remote networking

  • Connect.club — “Real networking in a virtual world”
  • Lunchclub — “Professional introductions via 1:1 videocalls”
  • Bridge — “Simple, smart and fast intros”
  • PepTalk — “20-minute PepTalks powered by over 400 real-world experts”
  • Leapers — “We’re the team for people without a team”
  • Guild — “A messaging platform for professional groups, networks and communities”

Lockdown tourism

  • Amazon Explore — “Connect one-on-one with hosts arounds the world to explore anything room lessons to landmarks” < 💨 Don’t expect this link to work for long, Amazon are always trying and moving on from) these kind of experiments
  • Footways — “A network of quiet and interesting streets for walking in central London”

Post-lockdown living, working & playing

  • Culdesac — “(The ‘5-minute city’) with all needs (grocery, cowork, cafe, etc) a 5 min walk from home”
  • Juggle — “How professionals work on their terms. Sign up for flexible jobs and we’ll make sure you have a smooth hiring process and are paid on time once you’re placed”
  • Lumi — “The fun, instant, rewarding way to learn to play the piano”
  • Supernatural — “Exercise in the most beautiful places on earth, without leaving your home” < 😲 Also a non-bogus, non-gaming use of VR?!

Crossing the buzzword streams

Eh?

  • journey colab — “Psychedelic therapies, for all of us” < 💠 Really?!
  • Shreddies — “Flatulence filtering underwear”
  • StockX — “A stock market for things” < ⌛ Things like rare sneakers or PS5s
  • Boom Overture < ✈️ Re-making Concorde, but with modern materials. ‘Space X for celebs who want to fly from London to New York in 3 hours’
  • Humane < 🤔 Absolute gobbledegook website, but rumoured to building the first heads up phone

Written by

Leading a customer-led transformation at a PE-backed #SMEtech. Previously CSO at Albion, a business innovation consultancy.

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