Last year Ento, probably the most alternative food start up you’ve ever heard of, won the award for Most Innovative Business at the O2 Smarta 100 Awards. Sustainable insect-based food of all kinds is the order of the day here, which Ento claims could solve the global problem of food sustainability. Today the team is still putting together a range of delicious and healthy foods using insects and organising regular pop-up tasting events around the country.
2013 saw the best technology Award go to Eyetease, a London-based technology firm specialising in taxi-oriented innovation. iTaxitop enables the transmission of uniquely catered advertisements to customers from taxitop ‘light boxes,’ by utilising gender recognition, eyeball tracking and temperature sensors, while Cabwifi does what it says on the tin: turns taxis into wifi hotspots for their passengers. Since winning at the O2 Smarta Awards last year, Eyetease have been expanding fast, and have now landed deals in America, Russia and the UAE.
After setting up his own business as a producer of exquisite, personalised cakes Mr Cake and his gorgeous cakey creations have been going from strength to strength. If you’re a veteran social media user you may have heard his legendary story of resigning from his job via cake, which went viral on Twitter. Naturally, this garnered huge (and free) media coverage for his new start up, earning him the well-deserved Best Use of Marketing Award last year. Mr Cake has continued to make incredible cakes ever since, expanding the business through some overwhelmingly positive customer feedback.
Winner of the Best People Business Award, prezzybox.com offers a plethora of individual and surprising gifts for everyone. However, while all the cool stuff on the site makes it a definite winner, it is its customer service which is earning it the loyalty of legions of customers. Employees too get real benefits like flexible working hours, training opportunities and serious perks. Major growth since 2013 and a flood of eager customers show that this business is expanding at an intimidating rate.
Set up in sympathy with all those poor students faced with the daunting prospect of boxing up their lives every holiday, Uni Baggage is an online courier service enabling students (and anyone else who wants to use it) to easily and cheaply transport their luggage from A to B. Winner of Micro Business of the Year, today, it is growing larger than ever, shipping to more than 200 countries and spreading more tales of its good deeds through great customer feedback.
Give as you Live
Combing two truly great things, online shopping and charity, Give as you Live is revolutionising the way people shop online, by allowing its customers to raise money for their favourite charity while shopping online. With over 2,500 retailers having committed themselves to donating a percentage of the profit and over 200,000 charities to choose from, Give as you Live has raised around £5 million, and counting. Working with the likes of Amazon, ASOS, lastminute.com and Expedia, it is continuing to raise millions for charity, well deserving its award for Biggest Social Impact.
The Underfloor Heating Store
Underfloor heating service with a difference, the Underfloor Heating Store takes pride in offering its customers real know-how and technical advice so they won’t feel ripped off. Detailed videos and instructions mean customers receive some understanding of what services they actually require and, as winner of the O2 Smarta Made in Britain Award, over 80% of their materials are from Britain itself. Its technical edge on its competitors mean its website and Essex store are still going strong today.
We granted SalesGossip, an online platform for insider fashion and beauty deals, the O2 Smarta award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year. SalesGossip offers its customers personalised weekly alerts for promotions on all your favourite brands. Founder Elizabetta Camilleri launched the website in 2012, and since winning at our awards last year it has grown into a community with more than half a million members and over 1,000 fashion and beauty partnerships.
Start-up of the Year went to Mi-Soul, a new music broadcast platform set up by Gordon mac which specialises in Soul, R&B, rap, house and reggae. We wanted to reward this young team of DJs for their passion and hard work. Videos online, live chat, news and articles are supplemented by popular events, interviews with performers and newsletters for fans.
Last but not least, we awarded bypost.com the Mobile Business of the Year award for its amazing personalised postcards. With this app, any photo you take on your phone or tablet can be transformed into a themed postcard with a personal message to send to your friends and family. Next up for this innovative little business is cracking the passport photo market.