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

You won’t have heard of these start-ups, nor their products. But each of them could change your life – unless, that is, you’re not a fan of mountain biking.

News that Uber had lost its licence to operate in London was one of September’s biggest stories. As the fallout continues, a handful of start-ups are doing their best to fill the UK capital’s ride-hailing void – and one of them, despite an early setback, could stand to gain the most.

We reveal which one – and the four other start-ups that caught our eye last month – below. As ever, they’re a mixed bag – this time covering everything from mountain bike metrics to wireless charging. Scroll down to discover more.

5. Growfitter

Healthcare is among the biggest sectors in India but, despite its rapid economic growth, the country still faces huge public health challenges. Fortunately, start-ups are providing much-needed solutions. Growfitter, for example, has developed a machine learning-powered platform that points users in the direction of various fitness options like kickboxing and yoga.

The Mumbai-based start-up, which was founded in 2015, secured a $600,000 investment in June. It will use the capital to “beef up” its technology (which is also capable of providing users with preventative healthcare tips), in addition to expanding its presence beyond India (where it’s active in 15 cities) to Sri Lanka and Canada.

4. Taxify

Transport for London’s decision to revoke Uber’s licence represents a potentially huge opportunity for Taxify, an Estonian app backed by Didi Chuxing, the China-based car-booking group. Granted, it was banned days after launching in the UK capital owing to licence problems, but it’s reportedly making progress with having it lifted. Taxify’s arrival in Paris, meanwhile, is imminent.  

The start-up has a slightly different model from Uber. It claims to be around 10% cheaper than its better-known rival, while it also gives drivers a bigger cut of fares. And it tries to keep city authorities happy by offering training courses to drivers.

3. Pi 

It’s not new, wireless charging, but it is limited. California-based Pi wants to change that, so it designed the Pi Charger, which can charge numerous devices within a one-foot radius using magnetic waves and resonant induction. The device is expected to go on sale next year for less than $200.

Pi, which has so far raised $3.5 million, was conceived in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by John Macdonald and Lixin Shi. In the future, the pair hope to launch a device that’s compatible with smart home devices.

2. Collective Health

A 2013 study by the Journal of Health Economics revealed that just 14% of Americans fully grasped the basic components of their health insurance plans. So a year later, Ali Diab and Rajaie Batniji launched Collective Health – a company whose mission is to demystify health insurance jargon. 

The San Francisco-based start-up now uses words aimed at third-graders (children aged eight and nine) in its materials, which allows dense terms to be clearly explained. ‘Deductible’, for example, is defined as: ‘The amount you’ll pay up-front for care until your insurance kicks in.’ The strategy is working – Collective Health has been named by The Wall Street Journal as one of its tech companies to watch.

1. ShredMate

Downhill and dual-slalom mountain bikers spend a lot of time in the air. At least, that’s what it feels like mid-jump. But how long do they actually spend off the ground? Well, that’s where UK-based start-up ShredMate’s cycle computer, which recently broke its £10,000 Kickstarter target, comes in.

The device, which will go on sale in March 2018, clips to a bike’s forks. It’s fitted with a small spoke-mounted magnet, which determines a rider’s distance and speed by measuring wheel revolutions. An accompanying app highlights the jumps they’ve taken in addition to providing data on air time and landing g-force.