Meet the Rising Stars semi-finalists: London’s top three startups

Esme Caulfield, January 11, 2019 5 min read

It’s now less than a week until the Rising Stars Semi-Final in Manchester. With three early-stage startups from each UK region pitching at the event on on 16–17 January, let’s take a look at our competitors from the capital.

Leading the way in London

Not just the tech engine of the UK, with a digital tech turnover of over £64bn in 2017, London has well and truly established itself as a powerful global tech ecosystem. According to the Tech Nation Report 2018, the capital is the world’s third largest startup ecosystem and the second most connected tech ecosystem globally, helping to drive innovation, collaboration and extend the UK’s international market reach – 33% of London’s tech company customers are based outside the UK, compared to 30% in Silicon Valley and 7% in Beijing. The city also boasts the fourth biggest international tech startup workforce, with 54% of workers born outside the UK.

With countless industries, including creative, finance, fashion and much more, the capital’s companies benefit from close proximity to other startups, and the ability to learn from their peers. Well-established and active networks thrive across the city, along with myriad accelerator programmes – including Seedcamp, Startupbootcamp, RocketSpace and Founders Factory, to name just a few – and bustling co-working spaces. There are now more than 170 co-working facilities in London, with global workspace provider WeWork operating 42 of them.

Activity in London is underscored by good access to finance and large investments, and many venture capital firms choose to call the city home. With leading investors, a highly supportive community, appealing location and the best tech talent from around the world, it’s no wonder so many startups have blossomed here – in fact, the city reported an impressive digital tech enterprise count of 51,690 in 2017. Below, we find out more about our London-based semi-finalists, The Square, SeedLegals and Heliocor.

The Square: Get your next job in 5 minutes

The Square is an award-winning automated hiring marketplace for specialist skilled industries, currently construction. On the whole, construction companies are forced to hire through means such as costly online and print advertising, job boards or agencies, or organically through their network. Founded in September 2016, The Square puts the power back into the hands of employers and job searchers. It enables companies to hire skilled professionals quicker, easier and cheaper than ever before, and provides professionals with a single place to find the best jobs.

The marketplace is the first universal rating system for specialist skilled industries. Accessible any time, anywhere, on any device, companies can connect to relevant, vetted professionals in seconds and contact and hire as many of them as they want. There’s a simple, consumer-like monthly subscription for employers, with no success fee – unlike conventional recruitment businesses – and the service is free for construction professionals.

Using smart technology, The Square provides a number of benefits for users. As well as a quick and easy user experience, it’s incredibly cost effective. And, the money saved from what was being spent on conventional advertising and agencies can be passed on directly to candidates, meaning better rates for professionals. The marketplace also works to improve employer and professional accountability in unregulated verticals, which increases the quality of work, health and safety, and employer training and benefits. Finally, offering a free service for the promotion of apprenticeships, the company is helping to attract more people to an industry desperate for new talent.

To find out more, follow them on Twitter – @thesquarepayapp.

SeedLegals: The fast and easy way to do a UK funding round

Founded in September 2016, award-winning fintech company SeedLegals makes startup legals simple. Leveraging a combination of big data and human experts, the company solves the problem of expensive, time-consuming legals for startup funding rounds. SeedLegals lets founders and investors complete their funding round online 10 times faster than with a law firm, and at a fraction of the cost.

Previously, the legal aspect of growing and funding a business was the only component that hadn’t been digitised. Companies found themselves in a constant boom or bust cycle, with founders rushing to secure funding, and funding rounds taking months to close. With SeedLegals, founders are in control. The platform dynamically creates the legal documents they need in minutes, extracting data from Companies House, and intuitively navigating founders through every process, including employment contracts, EIS applications and term sheet creation. Unlimited legal support is also available on demand. This results in dramatically reduced overheads for starting and running a UK company.

SeedLegals is now the largest legal provider for UK startups, supporting over 4,000 organisations. It’s partnered and been adopted by major UK startup funding and support services as the status quo for creating startup legal contracts – partners include Stripe, Virgin Startups, AIN and Seedcamp. Moreover, the company recently pioneered Instant Investment, letting companies on-board new investors outside a traditional funding round, as well as an automated EMI Scheme service, which makes it easier for UK startups to incentivise their team with shares. Ultimately, the company is working towards a future where the legal and financial aspects of growing a business are the easiest part.

To find out more, watch the company’s video pitch for the Rising Stars competition below, or follow them on Twitter – @seedlegals.

Heliocor: Building a digital identity ecosystem

Heliocor intends to change the way the world does business by restoring trust. Born in August 2014, the startup has developed regulatory technology to help companies cope with the ever-changing demands of regulation, and build trust in global transactions. With industry-leading blockchain experience, the company is growing rapidly and its products are already in use by some of the largest financial institutions and foreign exchange companies globally – including Santander, Barclays, State Street and SPD Bank – as well as cryptocurrency exchanges and organisations.

Currently, Heliocor offers two products, Robolitics and Dokstor. Robolitics is a real-time monitoring and alerting solution for identifying financial crime. The AI engine is installed in banks to carry out surveillance on global transactions, identifying fraud and hostile actions. The company’s consumer product, Dokstor, is a blockchain-based digital identity mobile app used by clients’ customers to self-onboard their identity documents, enabling clients to carry out compliance checks. Together, these solutions exponentially increase the complexity and cost of impersonating individuals, and help to safeguard people against identity theft and fraud.

With a strong technology background in legal, blockchain and regulatory experience, and its own development team in the company’s Barcelona Technology Centre, Heliocor is now looking to accelerating its growth globally. The company has further products in development, and is engaging with security token offering (STO) platforms and exchanges to build on STO liquidity and trading in 2019, ahead of anticipated growth in the STO asset market.

To find out more, watch the company’s video pitch for the Rising Stars competition below, or follow them on Twitter – @HelioDID.


The Rising Stars Semi-Final will take place on 16–17 January 2019 at Barclays Eagle Labs in Manchester, where the semi-finalists will receive pitch training before presenting to our expert judging panel. Only 20 of these companies will make it through to the Grand Final at London’s Rich Mix on 5 March 2019.

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We’d like to thank our Rising Stars sponsors, Microsoft, Bing, BDO Drive and TLT LLP.

London, Rising Stars, Early Stage