Overview of the UK market
I asked Colin to tell me about the UK market. He said firstly that the UK has a "unique Internet environment" and that cloning Silicon Valley apps is more difficult in the UK:
"It’s more challenging to start up a pure Web 2.0 application in the face of direct US competition, without the language barrier that enables someone in Poland to clone US apps and sites."
Colin reckons this makes UK entrepreneurs look for radical and disruptive solutions. He said that sites/apps that are heavily localised or aim for a niche demographic, are more defensible against US incomers (applies to both B2C and B2B).
He noted that talent is hard to come by for UK 2.0 startups - with competition from "well-paid IT jobs in The City", online marketing, Yahoo and Google UK, and even working for Silicon Valley.
even bigger plans (n.b. some prominent ex-BBC techies have been sniping about this recently). On the other hand, a lot of Web action has been by major media companies - especially newspapers pre-empting 2.0 threats to their online readership (e.g. Guardian).The BBC is also a looming presence in the British market, with its large public funding and
In terms of startup activity, Colin said that British entrepreneurs with experience from the last bubble "have only got involved in 2.0 start-ups in the last 12 months" - and many of those are just about to launch. As for young British 2.0 entrepreneurs, Peter Cooper and Peter Nixey are good examples (click the links for their stories).
Also there are interesting crossovers in the UK between Internet and mobile. To track this trend, check out Londoner Ajit Jaokar's blog on mobile 2.0.
The top UK web apps are after the jump...
Top UK Web apps
Comments by Colin Donald of JigsawUK.
The Telegraph (major conservative newspaper) - RSS everywhere, journalists podcasting and blogging with comments, tag clouds and post to del.icio.us - see examples from fashion and society blogs (esp the fashion tag cloud).
The Guardian (major left/liberal newspaper) - Comment Is Free moved all columnists over to having comments made on their articles (more than a little culture shock involved as columnists were confronted by hostile readers!)
The Sun - Colin calls it "a typically Murdochian response to a commercial rival - check out their Craigslist killer er… Craigslist scraper".
Pure-play 2.0 successes
Last.fm - widely adopted outside the UK, attracted Joi Ito and others, founders slept in tent on roof of the office thanks to the expense of accommodation in London
Chinwag jobs Good 2.0 jobs site built on success of mailing lists that are about 10 years old
Carson Systems, Bath-based 2.0 workshop organisers, which runs:
- DropSend - I know people who are using it for data backup
- Vitamin - "a resource for web designers, developers and entrepreneurs"
Potentially disruptive - could break out of UK
TIOTI - Web2.0 social media hub for TV fans
Trexy - New Search Trails Technology
Majestic-12 - distributed search engine
Localised and defensible
Mobile blogging - I think much of this is still in walled garden mode with individual network operators. For an open version, see MoblogUK
Some social networking services have strong followings in particular demographics, such as Don’t Stay In for clubbing.
Property (ie real estate) services
OnOneMap - Google mashup based
Nestoria - a pure property search engine
Reevoo - seems to be gaining traction in consumer review space (b2b because funded by retailers)
Second-time around entrepreneurs
Crowdstorm - social shopping, experienced execs
FriendsAbroad - claims to be largest community of language learners
garlik - already got VC funding and run by former execs from the online bank, Egg
Snipperoo - widget management tool from the founders of UK’s first Web design and domain registration companies
Zopa - P2P lending