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Here’s your weekly roundup of news about startup competitions, awards, accelerators, and any other exciting developments in the UK tech sector.

Bupa’s new accelerator

Private healthcare provider Bupa launched a new accelerator programme this week, inviting startups and small businesses to “tackle key challenges” in insurance and healthcare.

The Blue Table programme – launched by Bupa’s Customer Lab –  will run a 10-week programme with corporate innovation specialist L Marks. Successful candidates will be mentored by senior Bupa leaders.

Startup Weekly: Welsh tech accelerator calls for applications, Virgin StartUp partners with WeWork and more

The Lab wants pitches with “innovative solutions” in the areas of ‘Next Generation Insurance’, ‘Your Health Experience’, and ‘Healthy Behaviours’.

Transport for London’s startup cohort

Transport for London, the government body providing transport in the capital, announced its new cohort of six startups.

Each startup is working on innovative solutions to “keep London moving”, ranging from improving cycling experience to using AI and visual learning to improve passenger flow.

The selected startups are Alchera Technologies, Blubel, Faxi, NumberEight, Pedals, and TravelAi.

Eurostar launches innovation challenge

In other TravelTech news, continental rail service Eurostar this week launched a new innovation challenge, inviting startups to pitch innovative ideas to solve a series of industry challenges. 

Eurostar is asking for ideas on how facial recognition tech can improve customer experience; how machine learning and AI can “personalise” automated interaction; how tech can personalise the travel experience; and how tech can improve our understanding of passenger flows.

The first-place winner will receive a paid pilot with EuroStar.

Memrise wins at Google Play Awards

London-based startup Memrise has won ‘Best App’ at the 2017 Google Play Awards.

Memrise, launched two years ago, leverages technology to help users learn foreign languages.

Ed Cooke, co-founder and CEO of Memrise, said: “We founded Memrise on the simple premise that learning languages on your smartphone could, and should, be a joyful experience. The more fun it is, the more effective it is. Despite being around for a number of years, online services have yet to fully revolutionise the market. 95% of language learning is still done offline, suggesting that, until now, online experiences haven’t been as effective as classroom teaching. It’s our mission to change this, recreating the humour, the fun and the distinctly human experience of learning from an inspirational teacher, all on your mobile, available at any time.

“This award is testament to our hugely talented team. From our industry leading engineers and designers, to our polyglots and language experts who design our courses, we are deeply proud to be helping the world learn languages, breaking down barriers and enriching lives,” he added.

Vidsy wins Facebook’s Innovation Spotlight

London-based Vidsy has won Facebook’s Innovation Spotlight video category.

Launched in 2015, Vidsy focuses on snackable video for social media and says it has produced more than 3000 video ads for brands like Unilever and Barclays.

Alex Morris, Vidsy’s co-Founder, said: “We started Vidsy 2 years ago at University, with the vision of changing video advertising with a model that would work for everyone, from brands to agencies, creators to publishers. Being recognised by Facebook, the world’s biggest authority on mobile video, is a massive honour and it shows how much our team, clients and creators have achieved in so little time.

Vidsy currently employs 15 people and is now preparing to expand to the United States.

Curve triumphs at Wired Money 2017

In FinTech news, London-based startup Curve won Wired Money‘s Startup Pitch, a competition held in London yesterday.

The startup, which has raised £3.5m in Seed funding to date, is seeking to change the way consumers spend, see and save their money and competed against seven other financial technology innovators, including Finimize, AgentCASH and Lendr.

The judging panel included VC investor Ophelia Brown and Imran Gulemhuseinwala – EY‘s Global FinTech leader and advisor to the Open Banking project.

Female tech leaders head to Silicon Valley

Fifteen female tech entrepreneurs will travel to Silicon Valley next month as part of trade mission organised by Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (‘SVC2UK’) – a not-for-profit group bringing together tech entrepreneurs –  and the Mayor of London’s International Trade Programme.

Tech firms included on the trip are HealthTech firm Outcomes Based Healthcare, food sharing app OLIO, data science platform Pivigo and cloud-based education platform CENTURY Tech.

LegalTech incubator cohort

British law firm Mishcon de Reya this week named the six companies participating in its LegalTech incubator, MDR LAB.

Two of the six firms chosen are based in the UK: Belfast-based SaltDNA, which designs software to boost privacy in mobile communications; and Oxfordshire-based Orbital Witness, which uses satellite images to provide data to real estate lawyers.

The 10 week incubator programme will give the firms access to Mishcon de Reya’s lawyers as well as “other business experts from inside and outside the firm for advice, mentorship, and education”.

Forbes’ ‘Global Game Changers’ list

Two British tech firms were this week featured on 2017’s ‘Global Game Changers’ list published by international business magazine Forbes.

Digital remittance firm TransferWise, which this week announced it had achieved profitability, featured alongside Dyson, which makes vacuum cleaners.

Cisco’s $100,000 competition

Multinational firm Cisco this week launched a competition, inviting tech students and recent graduates to pitch technology ideas that will drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems.

The firm will award $100,000 to the first-place winner, it says. 

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