An enthusiastic army of teenagers and young 20-somethings are largely to thank for the tech movement that has swept across the UK over the last few years. 

Inspired by the millions of dollars that have been made by the likes of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Bebo's Michael Birch, Snapchat's Evan Spiegel, and Box's Aaron Levie, the next generation of talented tech-types are looking to turn their start-ups into the next big thing. 

Techworld asked some of the leading start-up experts in the UK to nominate who they believe are the most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 25 and here we've caught up with them. 

Those that feature on the list were nominated by the following people:

  • Benjamin Southworth - former deputy CEO of Tech City
  • Matthew Clifford - co-founder of Entrepreneur First
  • Alice Bentinck - co-founder of Entrepreneur First
  • Oli Johnson - co-founder of Rain Making Loft
  • Sam Shead - senior reporter for Techworld

3. Alex Klein (23), Co-founder of Kano

How would you describe what your business does?

Kano is a computer that anyone can make, like Lego. It comes as a kit, and gives all ages, all over the world the ability to make their own technology, rather than just consume it. It’s simple, step-by-step, and powered by storytelling. It’s also hugely fun, and draws from game design and art. Plus you’ll learn code. We started Kano to give a new creative generation open, accessible tools to take control of the world around them. 

What do you consider your greatest achievements to date? 

We’re the most crowdfunded learning invention ever, after raising $1.5 million in 30 days on Kickstarter, supported by folks like Apple’s Steve Wozniak, and a tribe of 13,367 backers from over 50 countries. We brought the kit to the crowd after a year of making computers and games with artists, engineers, and kids all around the world. “Epic…amazing…I had no idea what I could do…code isn’t boring… fantastic” and the dozens upon dozens of big grins from young creators – that’s what we’re proud of. Also assembling an incredible team of storytellers, makers, and reshapers here in London – 17 of us from 10 different countries. We did all this in one year.

What are your targets for the next five years?

We want to inspire 200 million young people around the world to make computers, games, stories, connected devices, radios, and basestations. We’re already in 10 languages, we want to be in 30 ­– a computer kit that’s as accessible in Shenzhen as it is in Shoreditch. Ultimately, the goal of the business was not just to make the coolest computer kit around. It was to democratise technological creation, to make it accessible and human for the new majorities, and give everyone a way into a type of invention that has traditionally been locked away in closed hubs, Valleys, and accelerators.

Who are your top 3 role models in tech and why? 

Alan Turing: the first computer scientist, and the first to show that, beyond mere “calculation,” a computer could be a mind and meaning machine. He also beat the Nazis by cracking their codes. Brits sent him to jail though (for being gay). 

Neal Stephenson: programmer and science fiction author, plumbing the intersection of storytelling and calculation, and one of the greatest futurists around. Extrapolate forward, and even if you get it wrong, you’ll know yourself and your product far better through the exercise.

My cousin Saul: he started the company that became Lovefilm, Firefly, etc. A co-founder of Kano who helped us think big. A humanist (also used to be in journalism, like me) and storyteller who puts real human experiences and emotion at the centre of tech.

What initiatives would you like to see introduced in the UK to support young tech entrepreneurs?

I'd like to see an emphasis on computer arts as well as sciences in school. I also want the broadband fixed because fibre internet is becoming the lifeblood of thought, invention and entrepreneurship. Then I would like to see support given to teachers in delivering the new UK computing curriculum by endorsing open, accessible tools and focusing on creation, instead of just vocation.

4. George Burgess (21), Founder and CEO of Gojimo 

How would you describe what your business does?

Gojimo is a mobile revision platform – we bring study guides and quizzes from the world's top educational publishers to a student's mobile phone and tablet. Students can also interact with one another and their teachers.

What do you consider your greatest achievements to date?

When I was on my gap year I did our first publisher deal with Pearson – the world's largest publisher of books. They're also a FTSE 100 company. Having a company like that on board was pretty reassuring. This year we also closed a $1 million+ seed round, which was led by Index Ventures and included the Innocent Drinks founders – that certainly made dropping out of university worthwhile!

What are your targets for the next five years? 

We want to become the number one provider of digital educational resources worldwide, so the next few years are all about international expansion. We're also looking into personalised, adaptive learning – essentially tailoring our experience to individual users to make it an even more effective learning experience.

Who are your top three role models in tech and why?

Steve Jobs: reading about Jobs reminds me that it's OK to be a perfectionist and that CEOs really should be product-focused as great products sell.

Elon Musk: Musk is one of the few entrepreneurs who is truly innovative and thinks big (really BIG!). He's an inspiration to all.

Richard Branson: not strictly in tech, but Branson's biography is what first got me really interested in entrepreneurship when I was 12 or 13.

What initiatives would you like to see introduced in the UK to support young tech entrepreneurs?

Students always have fantastic ideas but often lack the courage to try them. We need to get more entrepreneurial mentors into schools and provide schemes, which enable students to run a business or experiment with an idea while in school. This also means that we need to convince teachers that business is not always bad! I've come across one or two teachers in the past who believe money-making to be purely inspired by greed, when it really doesn't have to be.

PREVIOUS NOMINEES

5th and 6th: Andrew Brackin (19), Founder of Spot, and James Anderson (16), Founder of Thinkspace 

7th and 8thLeo Anthias (23), Co-founder and CTO at Kivo.com, and Isabel Bescos (23), International Marketing Co-ordinator at BlaBlaCar. 

9th and 10thElia Videtta (23), co-founder and VP of engineering at AdBrain, and Tade Oyerinde (20), co-founder and CEO of Gleepost.

11th and 12thEmma Walker (21), ‎programs producer at General Assembly, and Duncan Peters (23), founder of eRiple.

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