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Welcome to the
Zone, back again
for 2024! 


The Start-Up Zone is the ideal place to find the best new tech businesses at our show. These platforms and tools are fresh off the press, packed full of innovative and creative solutions to your most pressing problems.



The 2023 Start-Up Showdown with Bill Boorman

The 2023 Start-Up Showdown with Bill Boorman

In our 2023 edition, each exhibitor within the Start-Up Zone had the opportunity to enter our Start-Up Showdown! This competition, hosted by industry thought-leader Bill Boorman in 2023, allowed our Start-Ups to take the spotlight and show us what they're made of.

On Day 1, each Start-Up pitched to our judges – Charlotte Johns, Stanislaw Wasowicz, Melanie Hayes, Daryl Cohen, Tania Rahman, Adam Gordon, Debbie Mcgrath, George Galanopoulos and Alastair Cartwright – in the Start-Up Theatre.

Then, on Day 2, the four finalists – 50Skills, HealthKey, Zinc Work and Start From Today (pictured above with Bill Boorman) – took to the stage in our Keynote Theatre for the finals. It was a tough choice,
but after some deliberation, our victor emerged... HealthKey!

Participate in this 2025's Zone and Showdown!

Participate in this 2025's Zone and Showdown!

If you're a start-up in HR & recruitment technology, launching your shiny new solution in the UK market, we'd love to hear from you!

There's still room in our Start-Up Zone for fresh tech and fresher ideas. If that sounds like you, why not get in touch with our team today?

A place in the Start-Up Zone come with the opportunity to compete in the Start-Up Showdown, where you can demonstrate what your business offers to our fresh panel of judges.

Come out on top and you could win a free stand at HR Technologies UK 2026!

Join In

Our 2024 Start-Up Showdown Judges

Picture of Bill Boorman

Bill Boorman - Advisor to talent technology companies, keynote speaker and host, researcher and commentator.

Picture of Alan Walker

Alan Walker - Co-founder, Udder

Picture of Ali Hackett

Ali Hackett - Co-founder, Meet & Engage

Picture of Bill Fischer

Bill Fischer - CTO, VONQ

Picture of Howard Flint

Howard Flint - CEO, AMP

Picture of Mark Seemann

Mark Seeman - Founder & CEO, StaffCircle

Picture of Tania RahmanTania Rahman - Investment Manager at Foresight and Member Board of Trustees at Hatch Enterprise

Picture of Vessy Tasheva

Vessy Tasheva - Founder & CEO, Speaker, Author, Consultant, Startup Advisor, Angel Investor,



Who are Healthkey?

HealthKey is an integrated health and wellbeing infrastructure. We connect employers, insurers, health plans, and EAPs directly with health & wellbeing providers, providing one-to-many procurement and integration in an easy-to-use platform that gives end-users a unified user experience.

What made you decide to join us at HR Technologies UK in 2023?

A big part of it was the Start-Up option, being able to join a conference on a smaller commitment. We were so early that we’d just had the first version of the product just out, and we only had two people on the team. We wanted to go out to the market, meet people face to face, be able to have those conversations, really test our assumptions, but do it in a really safe, low touch, low commitment way. It was a way to test the waters in a sense, to see how well that works and learn from it.

How was your experience of the Start-Up Zone on the exhibition floor?

You could tell I think, because it was marketed in that way, that the people who came and talked to us were in that mindset of "This is something new. It might not be the most well-established brands." But people were sort of looking for, "What's the new thing, what's the new technology?" And we saw people who were primed for that. And then we also met other founders in the same space. It made sense to make some good connections with what other people are building and learn how we fit into that landscape.

What was it like to compete in the Start-Up Showdown?

Being at that stage, we used it as a way to test and perfect the pitch that, essentially, we end up going out and using for fundraising. It’s just great to be able to get on a stage and pitch in person in front of an audience. You do so many of those online, where you sit and pitch what you're doing. It's a different energy when you're doing it live to an audience, and I really like that. It's a lot easier to learn from I find, than when you're doing that online.

– David Tejs Jørring, CEO & Founder, HealthKey