my series on international Web apps, today I’ll be covering the top products in the
United Kingdom market. In case you missed it, over the past week or so I’ve reviewed Germany, Holland, Poland and Korea. This week
I’ve got more great non-Silicon Valley startups for you!
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
“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.
is also a looming presence in the British market, with its large public funding and 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
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
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
- 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
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