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Key Startup Sector Index

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by Startacus Admin

Startup sector index
Technology and digital startups have been at the forefront of business innovation over the last few years; in that time there has also been a categorisation of startups into ‘verticals’ based on their innovation and which market they operate in.

As an overview of these most burgeoning and topical verticals, we have collated our recent articles on the matter into one startup sector index. 

We will be updating this index on an ongoing basis, with the aim of growing it into a comprehensive collection spanning all manner of digital and technology verticals.

If you can suggest any areas that you think we should cover, email

Sport and Wellbeing Startups

With people becoming ever more conscious of their overall health and fitness levels, the sport and wellbeing industries are perfectly positioned to take advantage of new and innovative ideas.    Mobile technology has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for innovators, with the area of wearable tech and the possibilities it holds to contribute to goal tracking and performance enhancement, taking centre stage in many of the fastest growing sport and wellbeing startups.  A special mention also to live streaming exercise classes, VR, and sport related gaming, which are all seeing huge growth as technologies begin to deliver experiences which were never before feasible.

We have selected 7 Sport and Wellbeing startups which demonstrate the diversity of innovation taking place in the space.


Two-sided Marketplace Startups 

Starting a business and trying to build up a consumer base is never an easy task. Building up two separate consumer bases at the same time is an even bigger challenge, however in recent times a number of high profile startups have emerged which do just that, with 2 notable examples being Uber and Airbnb.  The growth in this startup vertical is closely linked with the development of the sharing economy, with many startups creating platforms on which customers can both sell and purchase goods / services.

Here we highlight 8 two-sided marketplaces which show the scope that exists for startups working in this field.

 Startup sector index

Software as a Service Startups (SaaS)

Back in the day, companies who wanted to avail of a particular software had few choices but to purchase it outright; this was often very expensive and put the onus of maintenance and upkeep onto the user.  SaaS startups allow their software to be licensed on a subscription basis, with the software itself being centrally hosted, rather than stored within the customer's own system.  This brings a huge range of benefits many of which can be attributed to the development of cloud technologies, which have made the widespread growth of the SaaS business model possible. 

We have recently looked at 8 startups which are doing interesting things within the SaaS space.


Geographical Technology Startups (GeoTech)

GeoTech startups utilise the vast developments in mapping techniques and technologies to create innovative location related services and products.  Although you may not realise it, these technologies have had an enormous impact on the way you live your life, with GeoTech playing a key role in the development of everything from social media and advertising, to law enforcement and logistics.  

We took at look at 5 GeoTech startups that show some of the varied uses of these new technologies, and how innovators are using them in practice.


Smarter Homes and Internet of Things Startups (IoT)

Just a few years ago, the very suggestion of everyday household items being connected to the internet was a pretty ridiculous thing; I mean, who would want a toaster that could also send you an email? But as the technology has developed the potential useful and valuable applications for the Internet of Things and the smarter home movement have begun to emerge.  In particular In areas such as energy tracking, analysis, and management, innovative products with internet connectivity are beginning to find widespread popularity, with energy providers investing heavily in things like smart meters to radically change the way that customers experience their service.

There are of course a huge number of other ways that IoT startups are helping to make homes smarter, and we have highlighted some of the most innovative that we have come across.

 Startup sector index

Marketing and Advertising Technology Startups (MadTech)

To give it its fancy definition, MadTech is the intersection between Marketing, Advertising, and Technology.  

Madtech is particularly topical at the moment as new technologies have revolutionised the way that businesses reach and engage with their customers, particularly when it comes to advertising and marketing.

There are a number of areas where MadTech startups are disrupting the traditional marketing and advertising landscape; we’ve selected 9 MadTech startups which should give you an idea of the range of possibilities which come from this emerging field.

Travel Technology Startups

With a strong focus on social media, TravelTech startups are often built around improving your experience of travelling, particularly when it comes to things such as planning your journey, and sharing your experiences with friends, family, and anyone else you want to make envious.

Some of the most popular travel tech startups have been those which find new ways of helping you to discover exciting and fascinating places, using technologies such as data analytics combined with proximity, and geographical innovations.

Here we have highlighted 9 travel tech startups worthy of note.


Food Technology Startups  (FoodTech)  

FoodTech is one of the lesser-spotted of the startup verticals and rarely excites the same level of public intrigue as other technologies, despite the monumental impacts that innovations in this field will continue to have.   

Food production has been one of the areas that has benefitted most from the rise in FoodTech startups with some really exciting innovations in things like aquaponics, which have the potential to greatly impact the production of food both on an industrial scale, and within people’s own homes.  Urban farming has also found itself at the forefront of discussions around FoodTech, with ever more emphasis being placed on maximising and diversifying the use of space within urban landscapes.

Here are 9 FoodTech startups that demonstrate the range of innovations that are taking place within the industry.

 Startup sector index

Cyber Security Startups 

The development of digital technologies surged ahead with barely a thought for the enormous security risks they were creating; with the lesson now learned, Cyber Security has become one of the most investable sectors, with VC funds and corporate partners realising the enormous amount of money which could be made through innovations in this area.

This is a far-reaching industry so we recently took a look at 9 Cyber Security Startups which demonstrate the diverse range of innovations being developed.


Financial Technology Startups (FinTech)

Whether you are an individual consumer looking to benefit, or a business hoping to find simpler, cheaper ways of conducting your finances, the world of FinTech should have something to pique your interest.  Covering everything from alternative sources of business finance to online consumer banking it’s not surprising that FinTech is the hottest topic at business, startup, and technology conferences the world over.   

We recently highlighted some of the UK and Ireland startups doing interesting things within the FinTech space.

Drone Startups

Just like Smart Homes technology, the advancement of drones would have been better suited to the world of science fiction than our own; and the practical application of drone technology is truly mind boggling.  From agriculture, to the delivery of fast-food, drones are one of the hottest topics of discussion amongst the great and good of the technology world, offering opportunities which really do have the potential to change the way that we view and experience the world. 

But of course, the ever-increasing prevalence of drones has forced us to face the risks which can develop when technology accelerates beyond our ability (or willingness) to control it.

We recently highlighted 5 drone startups which are exploring a range of innovative practical applications for this technology.  

 Startup sector index

Wearable Tech Startups

The wearable technology market is estimated to be worth $19bn by the year 2018, and despite a number of high-profile flops, such as the ill-fated Google Glass experiment, innovations in wearable tech continue to come thick and fast, with investors and pundits still expecting it to be one of the biggest developments of the next decade.

But it isn’t just consumer products which are set to become a more mainstream feature of our lives, with great advances in wearable sport and health care technologies already being developed, and in some cases, rolled out on a broad scale.

Check out 6 wearable technology startups which are poised to make an impact with their innovations.


Artificial Intelligence Startups(AI)

Another technology which may strike fear into the hearts of the uninitiated, Artificial Intelligence isn’t the same murderous prospect as science fiction often painted it to be (yet). It is instead innovative ways in which technology can be made to behave in a seemingly intelligent way, to carry out tasks with an appearance of independence or autonomy, and whilst we are a long way from the day when technology can convincingly mimic sentience,  there have been a number of very interesting developments in recent times. 

Another term which is key in any discussion of AI is ‘Deep learning’, this describes giving technology the ability to ‘learn’ and adapt, making itself more useful and more effective in delivering the tasks it has been set.

Here are 6 startups that understand the opportunities that AI presents and intend to take full advantage of them.

 Startup sector index

Education Technology Startups (EdTech)

Quite simply EdTech startups utilise innovations in technology to develop products or services which help people learn things.  It crosses a broad spectrum of topics and disciplines, and can encompass a whole range of products or services which might also fall into other categories of technology.  This could include computer software, mobile devices, and even things like wearable technology.

Here are have highlighted 6 EdTech startups which demonstrate the scope of this area of technological innovation.


Data Science Startups

In simple terms, data science and ‘big data’ startups are businesses using innovative technologies to collect, examine, and analyse large sets of data to uncover hidden patterns, market trends, and other useful information that would have not otherwise been accessible.

Data science innovations have already proven very useful in a number of industries, particularly things like marketing and advertising, where a large amount of data is available to be utilised. You are probably under the influence of data science technology throughout your daily life, without even realising it, and as innovative startups continue to emerge, you can expect it to have an ever greater impact on your life.


If you can think of a vertical that we haven’t covered in our startup sector index, let us know! Email


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Published on: 24th November 2016

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