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Our top 5 start-ups of the month: January 2017

They’ll change the way we store our food, identify smells and keep our kids safe online. These are the start-ups that caught our eye in January.

It’s really annoying, isn’t it, when food in the fridge goes off without you noticing? And it’s equally frustrating when your electric bicycle can’t be folded away into your backpack, right?

Well, these problems will soon be consigned to the food bin of history thanks to our top five January start-ups, whose remit extends to smell recognition, the fight against cyberbullying and gender-neutral beauty lines.  

5. Nanoscent

Voice and face recognition are firmly established – is smell recognition next up? Israeli start-up Nanoscent, founded in 2017, is developing technology that enables smartphones to easily identify, recognise and analyse smells. Building on research from scientist and engineer Hossam Haick – inventor of the Nano-electric Nose – Nanoscent’s aim is to make “scent recognition technology a part of everyday life”.

4. Ovie Smarterware

“To improve the usage of the food that gets thrown away, what we really need to do is alter people’s habits,” Ovie Smarterware co-founder Ty Thompson told Built In Chicago. “Our product uses visual reminders to help people locate their food and use it before it expires.” These reminders take the form of Bluetooth buttons that stick to your Tupperware; press them and tell your smart assistant what’s inside, and the button will slowly change colour from green to yellow to red (when it’s time to throw the food away).

3. Smacircle Technology

By July 2017, the Smacircle S1 – an e-bike that fits inside your backpack – had reached 927% of its Indiegogo target. Developed by China-based Smacircle Technology, the bike, which unfolds in five easy steps after being unlocked via an app on your phone, weighs just 7kg. Its silent 240w motor – powered by a Samsung battery – helps the Smacircle S1 reach speeds of 12mph. There aren’t any brakes (nor pedals, in fact), but there are embedded stoppers.

2. Keepers

Israeli start-up Keepers’ award-winning app provides parents with a means to protect their children from cyberbullying. It uses a natural-language processing (NLP) algorithm to detect when a child is being threatened over text or on WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook – before alerting parents in real time. Keepers also shows parents their child’s location and sends an alert if their phone battery falls below 10%.

1. Panacea

In November 2017, US-based skincare brand Panacea launched a new line, encompassing a cleanser, moisturiser and SPF, targeted at… everyone. “We wanted to create a brand aesthetic and identity that speaks to the blurring of gender lines,” co-founder Terry Lee told Allure. “For us, gender-neutral simply means inclusivity. We wanted to create a brand that embraces you, regardless of your gender.”

Stylus members can keep track of the most innovative new businesses, as identified by our in-house experts every month, with the Stylus Start-Up Index.