Our Top 5 Start-Ups of the Month: October 2018

Date:Thursday, November 8, 2018
Author:Charlie Gilbert

These are the start-ups that caught our editors’ eyes in October, and they cover everything from creating a new life to positively contemplating the end of your own.

Death. It comes to us all. But is it time to view our inevitable demise in a more positive light? One of our top five October start-ups certainly thinks so. Another, meanwhile, is striving to help more of us bring a new life into the world…

5. Wormup

Sending food waste to landfill is something that should make all of us wince. But unless your local authority collects kitchen scraps, it’s often the most convenient – and relatively odourless – solution. Now that WormUp is on the scene, however, that could be about to change.

Founded in Switzerland in 2017, the start-up develops practical worm composting systems that look at home in people’s kitchens, on their balconies, or in their basements. The worms they contain help to convert bio-waste into nutrient-rich bio fertiliser. Or, as WormUp calls it, “black gold”.

4. Talk to Spot

Almost one third (32%) of young women, according to figures from the UK-based Young Women’s Trust, aren’t sure how to report sexual harassment in the workplace. A further 24% would be reluctant to report it anyway, for fear of losing their job.

Could the solution be reporting inappropriate moments to a chatbot? Launched in the US in February this year, Talk to Spot – an online bot that combines artificial intelligence and memory science – enables harassment victims to talk through their experiences. Answers are collated into a PDF, which can be emailed to HR.

3. The Stork

In The Kinship Economy, we uncovered how elective co-parenting – where non-romantic partners raise a child together – is gaining momentum. Capitalising on this trend is The Stork, an introduction agency for people wanting to co-parent.

Launched in the UK in 2016, its website is a masterclass in how to connect with a target audience (in this case, people in their late 30s who want children before it’s too late). Prospective members are required to pass a phone interview before an in-person interview is scheduled with Fiona Thomas, The Stork’s founder.


Its founders’, in their own words, “accept the challenge to innovate the future of fashion”. And they plan to do so by developing new textiles that are relevant for a range of applications, and by researching alternative digital manufacturing systems.

LABELEDBY. – which defines itself as a research and technological development studio – was founded in the Netherlands in 2017. Among its successes is a 3D printer that prints on textiles, which offers a new dimension for personalisation and textile embellishment.

1. A Mortician’s Tale

On Halloween – when else? – we published The Death-Positive Movement, which revealed how grief is being confronted more frankly, and how people are more willing to contemplate their mortality. This positive attitude to death has now filtered into the video games industry.

A Mortician’s Tale, by Canadian developer Laundry Bear Games, lets players assume the role of Charlie, a rookie mortician trying to run a funeral home – which involves everything from preparing the bodies of the deceased to attending their funerals.

Stylus members get access to our Start-Up Index. Updated monthly, it collates the most innovative businesses by industry and region.

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