The fin-tech darling: GoCardless
Similar to Stripe or Square, GoCardless isn’t all that sexy, but it’s seriously useful. This startup makes it cheap and easy for businesses to accept direct debit payments online.
How does it work? The startup helps businesses establish automatic bill pay, direct debits, and recurring payments. It’s designed for merchants who can’t or don’t want to take credit card payments.
What’s cool about it? GoCardless has worked with banks to create a simple API that makes it easy and cheap for small businesses to take debit payments. They won’t need to pay credit card fees in the process. It’s solving a real problem for vendors. “As a merchant, card companies are a ripoff and the application process is eye-wateringly complex,” the founders wrote in a Wired U.K. guest post. “With GoCardless, merchants can sign up and start collecting in seconds with fees of just one percent.”
Funding: Accel Partners, Balderton Capital, Passion Capital, ACE & Company, SV Angel, StartFund
The billion-dollar opportunity: DueDil
DueDil offers an easy way for people to look at a private company’s financials. The company primarily caters to startups in the U.K. — it may not even need to scale to the U.S. in order to rake in revenues.
How does it work? DueDil aggregates over 30 billion data points on every company and director in the U.K. and Ireland. Most of its data comes from public sources, although it also buys information from Companies House and the Ministry of Justice. The website is free to use (for now — it will launch subscription quotas), and the data visualization tools are top-notch. Company document downloads need to be purchased on a pay as you go system.
What’s cool about it? DueDil recently raised $5 million, which it will use to expand its service throughout Europe. It will focus initially on countries that tout an open-data policy. The company also works with publications to support data-driven journalism. DueDil was part of the Guardian’s data journalism efforts, including its recent exposé on companies that ferret their money away in tax havens.
Funding: Passion Capital, Oak Investment Partners, Shakil Khan, Notion Capital, Jonty Hurwitz and angel investors.
The hot new app: Citymapper
This app makes your commute to work a bit less painful. Londoners, New Yorkers, and Parisians use it for driving, public transport, and walking directions. According to the founder (ex-Googler) Azmat Yusuf, the app on about 50 percent of iPhones in London, and the recently launched Android app is taking off, too.
How does it work? Type in a request for directions and Citymapper instantly provides a list of options, including the time and calories burned to walk or bike as well as a time and price estimate for a cab. It also offers up to date weather information, which is specific to each neighborhood. In terms of features and functionality, Citymapper is a step ahead of services like HopStop, Apple and Google maps.
What’s cool about it? The iOS app has received glowing reviews on the App Store. It’s also impressed the media; it was recently described as the “best travel app introduced in New York City” by the New York Times.