Talent International has unveiled the Talent Unleashed Awards 2014 UK finalists, comprising ‘15 ones to watch’ for 2015. The awards, run in association with WIRED, celebrates individuals who have used technology in a creative or entrepreneurial way to transform business or the social landscape.

The overall winner will be announced at the Haymarket Hotel in London on the 23rd October, and will be whisked off for a once in a lifetime trip to Richard Branson’s Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa this November.

The shortlist includes a mix of entrepreneurs and technologists that solve problems for businesses and consumers, such as innovative ways of raising money for charities, helping businesses uncover untapped revenue streams, and making sense of big data in new ways, to name but a few.

The shortlist comprises (in alphabetical order):
1. Alex Short, founder of Old Street Labs – which is behind Vizibl, a platform for businesses to deliver real returns on their commercial relationships
2. Anton Gu, founder of Hitch – an online dating platform, on which friends match up their single friends on Facebook
3. Arpana Gandhi, CEO of Disarmco – a company that is helping to clear unused landmines and munitions across the world
4. Ben Hookway, CEO of Relative Insight – a language analytics firm which provide brands with unique insights into how to engage more effectively with their customers
5. Damian Simor, founder of – which enables people to fundraise by making and sharing videos with cleverly placed 'pause-points'
6. Gideon Lask, CEO and founder of BuyaPowa – a pioneer in using social selling for e-commerce by turning customers into brand ambassadors
7. John Agnes, CEO and founder of Constant Commerce – making it easier for consumers to buy products they see featured in adverts, web content and on mobile apps
8. Jude Ower, CEO of Playmob – which enables companies to raise money for charities by helping them create 'in-game giving' in their video games
9. Kerim Derhalli, founder and CEO of Invstr – a new social network for finance, making it accessible and enjoyable for all
10. Mutaz Qubbaj, co-founder of Squirrel – a tool that helps employers support their employees with money management and budgeting assistance
11. Nick Holzherr, CEO of Whisk – an innovative online food app, taken up by Tesco, Waitrose, Asda and Ocado, which makes shopping and recipe planning easier.
12. Paul Johnson, founder of Thortful – which enables people to sell their images for use as greeting cards, whether a photograph, illustration or a doodle.
13. Piers Ridyard, inventor of the Nifty Minidrive – a tiny easily-installed extra storage device designed for Apple Macbooks
14. Seb Lyall, founder of Locappy – which helps small businesses increase marketing effectiveness and sales in their local communities
15. Simon London, founder of Kidrated – a reviews site for ‘kids by kids’, making it easier for families to find great days out that all the family enjoy

Sir Richard Branson, who has been judging the Talent Unleashed Awards globally, said: “I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the quality of the entrants, and as you know I am a bit of an ideas man, so to see all these great ideas and businesses has been remarkable. Talent is one of those organisations that care about tomorrow and how we change the world today by inspiring tomorrow’s technological sector and the people in it.”

Richard Earl, founder and managing director of Talent, a global leader in IT and tech recruitment, said: “The UK is renowned for innovation and these 15 ‘ones to watch’ exemplify the entrepreneurial and creative spirit that exists today. Here at Talent, we’re all about discovering technology brilliance and these Talent Unleashed nominees are all potential worthy winners – not just people with great ideas, but a watertight strategy for delivery. We look forward to the 23rd October, when we’ll find out who’ll be crowned our overall Talent Unleashed 2014 UK winner.”

Jon Butterfield, CEO of Talent’s UK operation, added: “Our finalists represent some of the UK’s best technology talent and our nominees could be the names behind the Instagrams and Twitters of tomorrow, so we’re delighted to recognise their potential and support them in their development.”

The judging panel for the awards includes Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson; executive director of digital in the Cabinet Office, Mike Bracken; Telefonica’s head of channel, Jennifer Rigby; founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State, Emma Muqueeny; Balderton Capital principal, Rob Moffat; Nate Lanxon, editor at; and Talent founder, Richard Earl.

The awards were open to UK-based technologists and entrepreneurs and were nominated by industry peers, technology incubators and individually via the Talent Unleashed website. The UK awards follow the Talent Unleashed awards held in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and Hong Kong.

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Playmob enables gamers to give to global causes while playing their favourite games. We take the pain and hassle out of setting up charitable campaigns and allow game studios to embed campaigns quickly and easily into their games. Playmob’s goal is to raise $1billion by the end of 2016 to support global projects, by partnering with games studios and publishers. Charitable campaigns not only raise money but also typically increase engagement in-game, the lifetime value of players and conversion of non-spenders to spenders.