How startups find new solutions to old problems

Founded in 2012 by Randel Darby, a former finance worker, Portr currently operates out of Gatwick and City airports. Darby’s background and choice of locations point firmly towards the company’s target audience – business users. Businessmen and women often get a flight before or after work and this service would save them from carting their luggage around the office all day. Portr, therefore, offers a niche service to a niche problem.

Another of the capital’s startups, Velocity, promises to expedite billing at restaurants. Co-CEO Alex Macdonald explains, “You can walk into our venues and tell the waiter you're paying with Velocity. You can see the bill in real time in the app, pay any time and even split the bill with your table”. With a user experience that takes its cues from Uber, the business is currently partnered with 300 restaurants in London and has its eyes on 12 other international metropolises.

Moving over to Europe, app based startups like Tink, look to streamline through integration. The app keeps track of your personal accounts, spending and investments in an all-in-one solution. Its owners, Daniel Kjellén and Fredrik Hedberg, say that Tink “remove[s] the hassle from managing your personal finances. It's generally something that people find boring, time consuming and stressful – Tink allows people to set budgets, keep track of spending, and see how much they have left to spend in a very straightforward and attractive way.”

While very different concepts, all three businesses have something in common. None of them try to reinvent the wheel, but they attempt to change how consumers experience a process. To do this, they look at how something could be made easier, quicker and more efficient. In today’s saturated markets, startups, therefore, are looking at new solutions to old problems.


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