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Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

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Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

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Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

UK start-ups: They are out there

Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson

I’ve been having conversations lately with a few people about British start-ups. As Tom Coates noted, it is a conversation we’ve been having for quite a while now, but rather than pontificate, I thought I’d do another one of my list blog posts. Who are the British start-ups? And what do they do? I’ll be editing this post as I go along to reflect new info, but here’s my starter for ten:

“Ning is the fast and free way to create custom Social Websites!”

“word-of-mouth community where people can remember, share and discover great places”

“etribes is used by thousands of people like you who want a simple, secure personal website.”

“Web Widgets. Snipperoo is for collecting and using them without hacking code. Add widgets to your account and they appear on your site. It’s like magic! And it’s free.”

“Webjam is a flexible tool that allows you to manage multiple pages, on your own or with people you invite, with just one account.”

“Blog instantly by speaking your entry into your mobile phone. Simply call your Speak-a-Blog TM number and speak your post. SpinVox converts it to text and posts the entry live to your blog, within minutes.”
“The social music revolution.”

“The marketplace where people meet to lend and borrow money.”

“Email large files easily and securely”

I just know I’ve forgotten some, so tell me… where are the other UK tech start-ups? And which ones do you rate? Equally, I feel pretty confident of the provenance of these start-ups, although it’s not always clear, so please correct me if I’ve got it wrong.

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17 Responses to “UK start-ups: They are out there”

  1. Simon Willison Says:

    Ning have their offices in Silicon Valley. I wouldn’t necessarily count Dropsend as a start-up - it’s one application developed by Carson Systems, who have publically announced that they would rather sell it on than continue to develop it. Carson Systems probably count as a UK startup though.

  2. alan patrick Says:


    I think Ning is US, its Marc Andreessen’s latest gig - for what its worth I set up the world’s first Anti Social Network (grumpybuggers.arg) on Ning about a year ago ;)

  3. alan patrick Says:


    I think Ning is US, its Marc Andreessen’s latest gig - for what its worth I set up the world’s first Anti Social Network (grumpybuggers.arg) on Ning about a year ago ;)

  4. Jeffrey McManus Says:

    Alfresco are an open-source enterprise content management company based in Maidenhead.

  5. Paul coletti Says:

    I believe fridaycities is a pure British thoroughbred…

    … started by the folks who used to run the now-deceased The Penny magazine . . I think.

  6. Danny Says:

    My Neighbourhoods is also a purely British affair, both in funding and developement. Users get to know their neighbours, local area and members from all over the UK.

  7. Vicky Says:

    I hope I am not breaching netiquette here (I am still rather new to all this) but one small British startup is:

    It is a bit like TrustedPlaces but specifically for parents

  8. Luke Brynley-Jones Says:

    Whoever says the UK startup scene isn’t happening in a major way really isn’t looking very hard. Here are five - just off the top of my head…

  9. Tom Says:

    I think these people are in the UK

    …but may have just got bought.

  10. Bobbie Johnson Says:

    I think the problem isn’t that there aren’t British startups, but that there’s not a buzz about the whole idea of British startups as a whole.

    Silicon Valley’s startup scene is small pieces loosely joined - large networks of inter-related entrepreneurs, ideas and buzz - but the UK’s just seems like a lot of small pieces operating more or less independently.

  11. Suw Says:

    Thanks for all the comments and suggestions - I’ll edit the post to reflect the new information soon as I get a moment. I was for some reason convinced Ning was British, but obviously not!

    Bobbie, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, and it’s one reason why I was interested to try and put together some sort of list, just to get a better idea of what is out there.

  12. Colin Donald Says:

    Hi Suw,

    No UK start-ups? Far from it. JigsawUK - the wiki for UK digital start-ups - lists more than 80 projects launched in the last nine months (some from the same company - so call it 70 start-up companies then).

    There are more in the mobile section.

    I’m with Bobbie. It’s all about visibility. Bet you didn’t even know JigsawUK existed until now - and it’s not for lack of effort on our part!

  13. Suw Says:

    Colin, I never said there were no British start-ups! Quite the opposite - I know they are out there, I just wanted to find out more about who they are. I’m not a business expert, hence the request for information.

    You’re right, though, I’d never heard of your wiki, so I’m glad you found this post and gave me the link. I shall spend some time looking through it and seeing what people are up to.

  14. Alfie Says:

    I’m not sure if we qualify as a start-up considering we’ve been around since 2003, but we’ve not been focused on generating revenue and being a ‘business’ until the last 12 months.

    Worth adding moblogUK - as a UK start-up in your list though.

  15. Andy Says:

    CharityCheckout is another UK start up. The site enables members to generate cash donations for a charity of their choice by doing their online shopping through the site. The concept is to promote social responsiblity and allow donations without a extra direct financial cost.

  16. Luke Says:

    I don’t know the US scene - but I was at an Internet People event last Thursday, then mashup* ( afterwards and both had a really strong entrepreneurial buzz.

    If I’d had a backpocket full of notes I would definitely have invested in (albeit about 6 months too late).

  17. Neil Ferguson Says:

    Here’s another:

    (Disclaimer: I’m one of the founders)