I started doing these lists because I just can’t help myself collecting new business ideas, and thought I might as well share what I find.
I’m facinated by new business ideas that offer imaginative solutions to unmet customer needs, and say something about the way things are going. I also respect and enjoy the discipline of expressing new ideas in a succinct and compelling way.
Collecting new business ideas was also a useful part of my practice when I worked in agencies, where newness was a currency, and we’d need a constant flow of, ahem, inspiration. But now I’m an operator, my worklife is mostly about the execution, iteration and extension of one idea, so doing this provides light relief!
There’s a lot on the list this year. The main focuses are fintech (still), hybrid working (of course), sustainability and ethics. Lots of hybrid tech+human service propositions. Lots of verticalisation. And the ‘one-stop shop’ quotient is high this year!
The usual disclaimer: This list is in no way scientifically complied, exhaustive, or in any kind of sensible order, and I’m afraid it’s not very global. The ideas might not all be brand new, but they’re new to me.
- Perch — Build credit by paying your bills on time.
- Generation Home — “The mortgage lender built for first-time buyers, by first-time buyers.” (See also their Income Booster and Deposit Booster, very smart.)
- Flow — Your money on autopilot (AKA IFTTT for money, AKA far too complex for real people to ever use ;-)
- Nuula — A dynamic line of credit in an app, for small businesses.
- Penny — “Find your pensions from old jobs, and transfer them into your Penny app, automatically.” (Like PensionBee from a few years ago, but with cute design and writing.)
- Two — ‘Buy now, pay later’ for business customers. Makes it easy to offer invoices as a payment method.
- MainStreet — Helps venture-backed startups claim tax credits most accountants never claim.
(Sorry if I nicked ALL of these from Fintech Food 😳)
New investment classes:
- ANote Music — The marketplace for investing in music royalties.
- Fractional — Own real estate properties with others.
- Gotrade — Invest, commission free, in fractions of companies.
Modern digital mobile banking for…
- Trades: Vergo
- Builders: Flexbase
- E-commerce entrepreneurs & dropshippers: incard, Juni
- Gig workers: Moves
- ‘The young rich’: Monument (see also, Coutts ad featuring Creators)
- LGBTQ+: Daylight
- Black and Latino: Greenwood
- Divorced parents: Onward
Business ‘operating systems’ for…
- Creators: Passionfroot, Stir, Mighty Networks
- Professional services: B12
- Dentists, vets, opticians: Provide
- Wellness, fitness: Mindbody
- Productions: Wrapbook
- Gardeners, fixers and cleaners: Jobber
- Spot — “Sick of sitting on video meetings all day?” Spot is thoughtfully designed for walking meetings, with calling, notes, and transcription in one app.
- Remeet — Helps make meetings shorter, more productive, and synchronised into 2 hours per day.
- Teamflow — “Your all-in-one virtual office where teams can collaborate, meet, brainstorm, and hang out.”
- Gather — Virtual venue for meetings and conferences, focussed on serendipitous ‘watercooler’ moments.
- Patch — “Work Near Home workspaces”
- Hofy — “Equip remote teams globally. Provide and manage furniture and IT equipment, while staying compliant, wherever your teams work.”
- Rippling — “Magically Simplify Your HR & IT. Effortlessly manage your employees’ payroll, benefits, devices, apps, and more — in one place.”
- Radiant — A compact, portable, “low-cost” one-megawatt nuclear micro-reactor that fits in a shipping container, aims to replace diesel generators.
- Zipcharge — “Charge anywhere you park” (Portable EV charging)
- Sunfield — “A solar-powered neighbourhood designed for people, not cars.”
- Framework Laptop — The first laptop to ever score a 10/10 from @ifixit for repairability
- Raylo — TV-advertised branded store for refurbished tech. “Get better tech than expected.” (See also Back Market — “Your refurbished (Super) Market”)
- Woolcool — Insulated food packaging made using sheep's wool
- Tythe — “For the price of Amazon Prime, you can help save the Amazon.” Support up to 10 high impact environmental initiatives with a single subscription.
- Midnight Trains — Modern sleeper trains, “for comfortable and sustainable journeys”.
- H2 Green Steel — Eliminating almost all CO₂ emissions from the steel production process.
- Malta — Stores renewable energy until needed, using molten salt.
I got new tools, I count ‘em:
- Synthesia — “Say goodbye to cameras, microphones and actors! Create professional AI videos from text in 50+ languages.”
- Gamma — “The Modern Memo: Write like a doc, present like a deck.”
- Tricycle — Describe your design and the AI draws it, using your design system.
- Reveal — “Collaborative Growth” — helping b2b companies compare CRM data to identify common, high-potential accounts and new qualified leads.
- Skiff — Google Docs but with end-to-end encryption.
- Replit — The startup Silicon Valley is most excited by. “Code, create, and learn together” with a Google Docs-like editing experience and instant help from a community of other programmers, right in the browser.
- Mighty — Streams your browser from the cloud, enabling more tabs with 10x less memory.
- Soundtrap — Collaborative online music and podcast studio, from Spotify.
- Freewrite — A smart typewriter for distraction free writing.
- Clarity — The simplest workspace for decentralized teams.
- Buttondown — A small, elegant tool for producing newsletters.
Apps (like it’s 2010 or something):
- Brickit — App that scans a pile of Lego, shows you models you can build with them, and helps you find the right bricks in the pile.
- Dent Reality — AR app to help customers find what they want in a physical grocery store
- Ophelos — Compassionate debt collections.
- Wings — London’s ethical food delivery platform, a worker cooperative.
- DoNotPay — Fight corporations, beat bureaucracy and sue anyone at the press of a button. (Actually a very smart combination of SEO + RPA)
- Miles4Migrants — Donate frequent flyer miles and credit card points to help people impacted by war, persecution, or disaster reunite with loved ones and start new beginnings in safe homes.
- Tumelo — Explore the big companies your pension money is invested in. Vote to influence how they’re run.
- Applied — Recruitment software that improves diversity with anonymized applications and predictive, skill-based assessments.
New ways of doing old things:
- Ironclad — “Business contracts for the digital age. Digital contracting brings teams, processes, and data together to make better, faster business contracts.”
- Otter — “Find childcare that feels like family. Otter connects parents who need childcare with stay at home parents who can care for their kids.”
- Stationhead — An app that turns users into streaming radio DJs.
- After — “Direct cremation services. Simplicity, when you need it most.”
- Fluent — Learn languages by browsing the web.
- Shepper — Get paid to carry out checks for companies using just your smartphone.
Nice things to consume:
- Dishpatch — Restaurant meal kits from the UK’s best chefs. Cooked by them. Finished by you.
- Singular Society — ‘Products as a service’. Subscribers get exclusive access to responsibly made, high quality products, at cost.
- Coat — “High grade paint, made fresh, and delivered to your door. Decorate the new way, with the only climate positive paint company.”
- Screenbreak — Turns the longform articles or newsletters you bookmark online into personal physical booklet.
- Asphalte — Quality basics, only manufactured when enough people pre-order, to reduce waste.
- Yoto — ‘Carefully connected’ audiobook player for kids. No cameras. No microphones. No ads.
- Laylo — Premium boxed wine. Enjoy ‘the odd glass’, 90% less CO2 than glass bottles.
- Heygo — Live-stream a tour in one of 450+ locations around the world.
- Bother — “Shop fresh locally… for everything else, Bother.” Stay stocked up on home essentials with one simple delivery.
- Cuckoo — ‘Bulb for broadband’ (but hopefully with better price hedging ;-)
- Crisp — A consulting company with no CEO or managers, but self-employed consultants who choose their own assignments, and an open source model.
- Aligned Growth Management — “A growth firm helping brands scale, profitably, through a strategic growth marketing model.” < Remarkably simple and no-BS proposition for an agency!
- Varda Space Industries — “Space factories for Earth-bound products. The world’s first commercial zero-gravity industrial park at scale.”
- Relativity — Rockets built and flown in days not years, entirely 3D printed.
- Spinlaunch — Instead of using rockets, they… wang satellites into space, with a giant centrifuge. Seriously, watch the video!
- Tree.fm — Tune in to forests from around the world.
- SquarEat — delicious nutrient squares (!) delivered to your door.
- Museum of Forgeries — “One original Andy Warhol (worth $20k) mixed at random into a stack of 999 exact MSCHF forgeries.”
- Humanity — “Help all of humanity slow down, or even reverse, ageing”… with an app that combines movement, nutrition, mood and sleep tracking. Overclaim, much?!
- Xupermask — A $300 Covid facemask.
- Revive & Restore — Bringing back endangered and extinct species like the Wooly Mammoth!
- Co-Star — Hyper-personalised, real-time horoscopes. Powered by AI that merges NASA data with the insight of human astrologers.
What’s not on the list:
- 1 hour grocery delivery apps. There seem to be about 10 in London, all identical, all generic, just burning VC cash.
- Web3. I’m very excited about the potential of decentralisation, but most of today’s experiments are in the ‘skeuomorphic’ phase (making versions of web 2.0 apps) so not really new ideas.
- Fandom, creators, ownership. Despite having helped birth mobile brand giffgaff on similar principles 12 years ago, I haven’t properly engaged with this… yet.