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UK tech stars aiming to change the world: Leo Anthias and Isabel Bescos

Techworld is showcasing 12 young UK entrepreneurs over six weeks

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An enthusiastic and passionate 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 hundreds of 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 new generation of talented young 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 as part of a new six-part series. Each week we'll bring you two new entrepreneurs until the winner and the runner-up are unveiled at the end of April. 

Those that feature on the list have been 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

Other tech entrepreneurs to make the Techworld's list can be found at the end of this article.  

7. Leo Anthias (23), Co-founder and CTO at

How would you describe what your business does?

Kivo takes away the headaches of working on documents with other people; it allows you to easily share and track changes from within Microsoft Office. Instead of emailing around 'Sales_presentation_v22_JOHN_FINAL(3).pptx', you just click a button and your team instantly gets your change, and instead of digging through your folders for an old version, you have the document’s entire history available to you. 

What do you consider your greatest achievements to date?

Getting into Y Combinator in California. It is the world's best tech accelerator, and has funded the likes of Dropbox, Airbnb, and many more of the world’s best tech companies. We flew out to Silicon Valley for a 10 minute interview, which paid off when we got a call from [Y Combinator co-founder] Paul Graham that afternoon saying they wanted to fund us. It ended up being the most exciting, tiring, and fun three months I’ve had, plus it was super-rewarding and did great things for the company.

What are your targets for the next five years?

Build a massive business with happy employees. There are tonnes of problems revolving around how regular people currently work together, and lots of them have already been solved for programmers. We want to change this: v1, v2, and v3 have no place in the modern world!

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

Matt Clifford: he runs Entrepreneur First, is super-bright and has been a massive help to us; he's also a great guy and really goes out of his way to help.

Matt Robinson: the founder of GoCardless is relentless, awesome, and has helped us a lot.

Raj De Datta: the CEO of BloomReach just ‘gets it’ and knows how to run a great company. 

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

More people need to leave school with programming skills; it is so essential, fun, and I think everyone should learn it. It would change the UK completely if we had a generation of techies building things and starting companies. Coding is cool (and we'd have more people to hire)!

8. Isabel Bescos (23), International Marketing Co-ordinator at BlaBlaCar 

How would you describe what your business does?

The business I am currently a part of is called BlaBlaCar. It’s Europe’s largest ride-sharing platform and connects drivers who have empty seats in their car with passengers who need to travel the same way. One million people travel with BlaBlaCar every month in Europe.

What do you consider your greatest achievements to date? 

Being able to ski backwards. But really, the thing I am proudest of is using my multi-national background to support the growth of a disruptive company. What I do today basically involves co-ordinating European growth with brilliant people from six teams across Europe. I recently spent a week in London and Paris and the next in Hamburg, looking deeply at different market dynamics, and helping these countries grow simultaneously and efficiently at a large scale. So what I am really enjoying is building a company that is truly European and not contained by national boundaries.

 What are your targets for the next five years?

Learning how to code in order to have a better understanding of tech when I build my own business. I speak four languages fluently, but none of them are programming languages; I’d like to change that.

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

Avid Larizadeh: her incredible product skills helped her launch Boticca.

Alice Bentinck: she is the co-founder of Entrepreneur First. She's focused on supporting top tech talent in building high growth technology start-ups. 

Marie Curie: for constantly reinventing herself. 

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

More encouragement for girls to work in tech and in leading tech positions. This means presenting tech in school as a viable career path and demystifying this male-heavy space as early as possible in a young woman's career decisions.


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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