The top 25 UK web 2.0 start ups

Watch out Silicon Valley - the Brits are coming!


Tech Digest Web 2.0 isn't just about startups in California hoping to get bought by Google - even if it can sometimes seem that way. There's loads of sparky Web 2.0 startups here in the UK, even if they don't fall into a lazily-definable scene, trend, or movement.

With no agenda other than they're interesting, here's 25 UK-based startups that I think are worth watching in 2007. It's a very personal list - it's not based on financial metrics, user bases, or likelihood of being bought by Google. So this isn't the top 25 UK startups, in other words. It's just 25 cool ones.

Who have I missed out? All comments welcome, as are corrections of any mistakes in this list (i.e. someone's based in Santa Monica...)

1. Garlik
Set up by some ex-Egg executives, Garlik is an online privacy firm that monitors your personal information online, and lets you know if there's any problems (e.g. Russian gangsters publishing your credit card details). I'm on the beta, and right now it basically tells me my credit record and a list of known associates. But as online data privacy becomes a wider concern in the coming months and years, Garlik's time will surely come. Read an interview.

2. Tape It Off The Internet
It's like Last.fm, but for telly. You can share details of what you're watching with friends, and it also points you in the direction of (legal) places to download shows. The site says it indexes more than 2,000 shows and 90,000 episodes. As online distribution becomes more of a factor for TV, especially once gadgets like Apple TV roll out, this could become as essential for couch potatoes as Last.fm is becoming for music fans.

3. OnOneMap
Neat property site that plots houses for sale onto Google Maps, and bills itself as a property search engine, NOT an estate agent. You can also look for secondary schools, supermarkets and even phone masts too, which is how it's broadening its functionality. I think word of mouth will be important in this case – I've recommended it to loads of friends who're property hunting.

4. WeHangHere
More location-based Web 2.0 goodness, this time wrapping social networking elements around Google Maps, with clusters of people who hang out at the same places you do. It's the sort of service that'll need a certain amount of growth before it becomes truly useful, but the idea is great (especially if it gets buy-in from people who run the actual venues).

5. MailSpaces
Another relatively early-stage company, MailSpaces is a grab bag of Web 2.0 features, including RSS, tagging, and wikis, which aims to organise information among communities, connecting it all together and keeping members updated. That's not a great explanation: it's the sort of service you have to try to really grasp, in my experience.

6. Webjam
More content-sharing among communities, where you create your own pages, share them, but can also replicate other people's and pass them on. You can also use it as your content aggregation homepage too, pulling in feeds from different places. The replication aspect is what caught my attention though – seeing how that develops will be interesting.

7. Zopa
Social lending, matching borrowers and lenders like eBay matches buyers and sellers. It's not going to threaten the big banks any time soon, but it's an innovative spin on the personal finance market, with potential to be expanded to other kinds of transactions. Another company founded by former Egg execs. Read an interview.

8. Design The Time
One of the more mysterious startups in this list, but also one of the most original ideas. It'll be a "virtual reflection of time", with a timeline that anyone can upload their content (photos, videos, text) to, as well as holding footage and info on public events. You'll then be able to navigate through the site chronologically. Not live yet, but sure to make a splash when it does launch.

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