The Disruption50 Index: winners announced

The 3 Most Disruptive Companies In The UK Revealed

This March, Foundry4 set out to identify the 50 most disruptive companies in the UK. Hundreds of applications were submitted by major companies and emerging businesses, from the financial sector all the way through to advanced robotics.

In a pioneering process that augmented an expert judging panel with artificial intelligence, the list was whittled down to 50 organisations. Today, in an exclusive awards ceremony at Disruption Summit Europe 2019, the ranking of the final list was revealed.

What does it take to be a successful disruptor?

Each successful Disruption50 applicant was judged against a set of specific criteria, including the extent to which they had created a new market or ecosystem, removed friction points, changed consumer behaviour, and disrupted supply chains.

Applicants were also considered if they had experienced rapid growth, served an unmet need, and brought a radically different product or service to the market. Companies were also judged on their innovative culture – a fundamental part of adapting to change and encouraging ongoing experimentation.

Initially, the Foundry4 team formed a longlist that was put to a panel of experienced judges from organisations including Shell, IBM, Vodafone, Remitly, Pfizer and ReedSmith. After choosing the top 50 entrants, Foundry4 hosted a live, AI-augmented judging session in partnership with Unanimous AI to rank companies in order of overall disruptive potential.

Meet the UK's top three disruptors

As revealed at Disruption Summit Europe, the three companies who best fulfil the judging criteria are what3words, a revolutionary location service, AppyWay, an app to solve the urban parking problem, and food sharing platform OLIO.

what3words soared to the top of the Index with their ingenious solution for location data, which allocates three words to every three metre square on earth. The benefits of the system are clear: we've all been lost – struggling to find our way to a meeting, searching for a venue in an unfamiliar city, or simply after taking a wrong turn. what3words goes beyond GPS and maps by creating an ultra specific three word passkey for any location in the world.

While there is a keen consumer market for improved location services, what3words promises to help any business that has to get people, products, vehicles, equipment or anything else from A to B.

“There are so many amazing businesses in the UK who are changing behaviours and how people go about their everyday lives. For us to be considered at the top end of that is something that makes us hugely proud,” said Chris Sheldrick, cofounder and CEO of what3words, after receiving the award.

AppyWay also taps into advanced location technology to alleviate one of the most stressful parts of driving – finding somewhere to park. Founded in 2013, the mobility startup wants to ‘digitise the kerb’ and ‘make parking forgettable’ by listing parking options in major UK cities. The free consumer app and paid-for commercial app use big data from partner organisations like local councils, encouraging cross-sector collaboration and making cities more accessible.

“We're really pleased to come runner up, second to what3words, which is a fantastic company and congratulations to them,” said Ben Boutcher-West, Head of Mobility at AppyWay. “What's really interesting about a lot of the top 50 companies is the focus on the social element. For us, it's great recognition that the market is ready and keen for what we do.”

The third most disruptive company in the Index, OLIO, serves up food sharing with a generous side of social purpose. Given the concerns over providing food for ballooning populations, the ranking comes as no surprise. In the UK, a third of all food produced ends up getting thrown away. OLIO's app allows users to share unwanted or surplus food, helping to develop sharing economy mindsets, provide a platform for waste avoidance, and build local communities. Since it was founded in 2015, OLIO has shared more than 1,500,000 portions of food across 49 countries.

Tessa Clarke, cofounder and CEO of OLIO, said, “I'm absolutely blown away by winning one of the top three in the Disruption50 Index. Every day, we're challenging convention, we're challenging the norm. It can be really hard work, so it's lovely to get some affirmation and that's what this award does.”

What's next for the Disruption50?

Following the awards ceremony, Disruption50 companies were invited to a networking lunch where they could meet with fellow entrants. This gave organisations the chance to learn from the journeys of other fast moving, innovative businesses – something that's highly difficult to do without the help of an accelerator, incubator, or a well connected corporate partner.

This year's winners are also profiled in an exclusive report which explains their development as disruptors. A limited number of print copies were distributed at Disruption Summit Europe, and will also be made available to all premium Foundry4 members.

Foundry4 would like to congratulate all of the companies who made both the long and short lists of the Index.