COMPANIES: Mixcloud to Upscale

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on November 16, 2015, 9:00 am in News, Other





News about 9 UK growth companies and/or accelerators in the GRID marketplace 8th-14th November 2015


Acro Aircraft Seating £33m | Gaucho | Seraphine £11.1m  |  Upscale  | Camira |  Mixcloud | Fenner | Ubisense | Supreme Creations £10m


ACRO AIRCRAFT SEATING: Airline seat maker soars / Sunday Times. November 8, 2015.

DZ profile: Acro Aircraft Seating Limited

Business: Manufactures about 25,000 aircraft seats p.a. for more than 20 airlines, including Thomas Cook, Airbus and KLM. 

Launched: 2007. 

Location: near Gatwick airport in Crawley, West Sussex.

Founders: CEO Chris Brady + Andy Lawler and David Starkey.

Staff: 125 people.

Financials: revenues £33m up by 100% year-on-year for three years.

Investment: Raised £7.8m from BUSINESS GROWTH FUND in return for a 40% stake in the company, helping it to develop its designs.


1. International sales accounted for 90% of revenues last year, earning it second place in The 2015 Sunday Times SME Export Track 100 and a Queen’s Award for international trade.

2. Constant hunt for engineering talent.



GAUCHO: Private equity in £100m carve-up of Gaucho chain / Sunday Times. November 8, 2015.

DZ profile: Gaucho's Restaurants Limited

Business: Upmarket Argentine Steak house chain. 18 restaurants under the Gaucho brand. Budget brand: Cau. Restaurants also in Buenos Aires and Dubai.The chain opened its first UK restaurant in London’s Piccadilly in 1994.

Launched: 1976

Founder: Dutch entrepreneur Zeev Godik, chief executive. Opened his first restaurant in Amsterdam in 1976.

Financials: loss of £1.4m last year.

News: £100m battle for Gaucho between majority owner - Dutch businessman Zeev Godik - and potential buyers, private equity firms BC Partners and Equistone. Canaccord Genuity handling the sale.

UPDATE: Equistone takes £100m bite of Gaucho chain | Ben Marlow and Ashley Armstrong,  Daily Telegraph. 16 Jan 2016

Gaucho sold a majority stake to private equity in a deal understood to be worth more than £100m. EQUISTONE is buying the company from INTERMEDIATE CAPITAL GROUP, (ICG) which invested in the restaurant chain in December 2007 after Gaucho’s then owners, PHOENIX EQUITY PARTNERS, scrapped a £115m stock market flotation amid the choppy markets of the global recession. It is the second time Equistone has owned a slice of the chain, having held a stake in it between 2005 and 2006.



SÉRAPHINE: How I Made It: Cecile Reinaud, founder of Séraphine / Sunday Times. November 8, 2015.

DZ profile: Seraphine Limited

Business: Sells maternity wear and accessories. Celebrity customers include singer Gwen Stefani, actress Mila Kunis and Duchess of Cambridge. 

Launched: 2002

Location: 3 stores in London,1 in Leeds and 5 shops and units abroad, in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Dubai.

Founder: Cecile Reinaud, majority shareholder.

Investment: Raised £250,000 from six business angels + savings to open a boutique in  west London. 

Financials: Sales £11.1m of which 60% online and 5m exported.

Staff: 70 people.

News: Expects US to become biggest market next year and hopes to open 10 stores there in the next three years.

My First Million: Cecile Reinaud, founder of Seraphine | Natalie Graham, FT. February 23, 2019

1. Turnover increased from £450,000 in 2003 to £17.8m by March 2018

2. exports designs to more than 30 countries. ...employs 110 people and has 10 stores: 3 in London, 1 in Leeds, 2 in New York, 2 in Paris, 1 in Hong Kong, 1 in Dubai (since end of 2018). Online sales account for 60 per cent of turnover. 65 per cent of sales from overseas custom.
3. The clothes are made in China, Turkey and Portugal.
4. 2017: sale of a majority stake to private equity firm BRIDGEPOINT
5. plan to open five more stores in the US over the next two years, in Los Angeles and San Francisco.   ...looking at a third store in Paris and another in London.

6. premium brand ....typical customer is between 30 and 45 years old. not target ladies in their 20s  ...want to strengthen and keep position as an international maternity brand.



UPSCALE: Tech City launches programme to help address UK's scale-up issue / City A.M. November 12.

DZ profile: Upscale / Tech City (UK)

Business: Upscale is a programme that will connect 25 promising scale-ups – companies that have grown beyond the start-up phase – with free expertise and advice to grow their business to their fullest potential. Criteria: need to be headquartered in the UK and growing by 40 per cent month-on-month over the last quarter on key business metrics such as active users or subscriptions.

Funding: Government-backed initiative.

News: Tech City UK, a publicly funded non-profit focused on nurturing digital businesses, launched Upscale.The businesses chosen will be given advice from business leaders including Zoopla chief executive, Alex Chesterman, and Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström.


CAMIRA FABRICS: Burberry investment highlights Leeds textile revival / FT.  November 9.

DZ profile: Camira Fabrics Limited

Business: Provides fabric for the office furniture, rail and office markets. Clients include London Underground and BBC.

Location: Mirfield, near Leeds. 

Financials:  revenues £68m, of which more than half comes from abroad.

Staff: 700 people.

News: Burberry to invest at least £50m in new trenchcoat factory, creating 200 more jobs. 



MIXCLOUD: A licence to take on a bigger music streaming rival / FT. November 10.

DZ profile: Mixcloud Ltd

Business: Music streaming service. Allows anyone to upload legally a DJ mix, podcast or radio show containing songs. Pays royalties to music rights owners of about 2p an hour of listening. Users: 14m month, up 30% over the past year.

Launched: 2008

Location:  Based in Shoreditch, East London.

Founders: Nikhil Shah and Nico Perez, two friends from Cambridge university.

Financials: is profitable and has never taken external investment.

Team: 12 people.


1. Talking to VCs about raising funds for the next stage of growth.

2. Break came when introduced to Gregor Pryor, a digital media specialist at international law firm REED SMITH.



FENNER: Fenner earnings slide 35% as miners tighten their belts / FT. November 12.

DZ profile: Fenner Dunlop Limited

Business: Makes conveyor belts for the mining sector, seals for the oil and gas industry, hoses for firefighting and containers for blood and biological fluids.

Location: Hull.

CEO: Nicholas Hobson. 

News: Made a pre-tax loss of £5.3m. Fall in crude prices and tighter spending by mining groups lowers earnings outlook.



UBISENSE GROUP: Ubisense warns of fallout from VW investment cuts  / FT. November 13.

DZ profile: Ubisense Group Plc

Business: Intelligence solutions company. 

Location: Cambridge.

Investment: listed on AIM in 2011.

News: VW is a big customer for Ubisense’s “real-time location system” division, which provides tools to improve efficiency during manufacturing processes. Contracts have been scaled down, delayed and cancelled.



SUPREME CREATIONS: In the bag? Ethical outfit Supreme Creations seeking a lift from new levy / Evening Standard. November 9.

DZ profile: Supreme Creations Limited

Business: is the world’s largest ethical manufacturer of reusable bags. 55,000+ clients: including the Cambridge Satchel Company, Tesco, Topshop, Defected Records, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Anna Wintour and Kate Moss….

Launched: 1990

Location: operations in London and southern India, with a factory in Pondicherry. 

Founder: Dr. Sri Ram (father)

Staff: 25 in UK, 700 in India. CEO - Smruti Sriram; Oxford graduate; Worked at Deutsche Bank and PwC.

Financials: Group turnover £10m

News: expects the introduction of a 5p levy on carrier bags last month to increase business.