COMPANIES: A Suit That Fits to Blackcircles

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


Thursday February 14th 2019


Thursday February 14th 2019


Sunday Times start-up list 2015


News about 16 UK growth companies and/or accelerators in the GRID marketplace 15th November 2015, with extracts from The Sunday Times start-up list:


Justpark | A Suit That Fits | Pai Skincare £2.3m | Blaze Laserlight £250k | Blackcircles.Com | Salesgossip | Buddi | Love Home Swap | Better Bathrooms £60m | | Charles Tyrwhitt | Thread | Pieminister £11.5m | Company Shortcuts | Pact

Article - Show me the money: Crowd pleasers


DZ profile: Justpark Parking Limited

Business: parking app which lets householders and organisations profit from unused parking spots.
Launched: 2006
Location: Camden, north London
Founder: Anthony Eskinazi
Staff: 25 people. Chief executive, Alex Stephany, 33
Investment: Backers including INDEX VENTURES and BMW. In March, raised a record-breaking £3.7m on Crowdcube in 34 days — more than tripling its £1m target. It surrendered about 16% of its shares to nearly 3,000 investors. Included £500,000 from an entrepreneur.

DZ profile: DW Clothing Limited

Business: bespoke tailoring

Founder: David Hathiramani.
Investment: began a CROWDCUBE campaign raised £1m, more than twice what it expected from almost 500 investors, 85% of whom were existing customers who now own more than 8% of the £10m business.

Article - Show me the money: Skin in the game. Are lenders ready to meet small business demand again?


DZ profile: Pai Skincare Limited

Business: sells natural beauty products for sensitive skin. Supplies Fortnum & Mason in London and Le Bon Marché department store in Paris.
Founder: Sarah Brown
Financials: five years of profitability ...made £2.3m of sales last year.
News: ... loans helped expand her business & to invest in manufacturing facilities, development team and sales staff. Approached HSBC five years ago, ... more than a year to approve. ...second loan, for £70,000, two years ago and a third this year, for £210,000, plus £100,000 through equipment finance.. 

Article - Me and my mentor


DZ profile: Smidsy Ltd.

Business: innovative new bike light
Launched: 2014
Founder: Emily Brooke, 29, invented the bike light, after fearing for her safety as a cyclist.
Financials: sales of more than £250,000 in its first year, and Brooke expects revenues to hit £1m this year.

Investment: Seed Investors - ENTREPRENEUR FIRST, INDEX VENTURES, LocalGlobe, Richard Branson

1. David Easton, 31 - introduced at 2012 Entrepreneur First mentoring - a former McKinsey consultant and adviser to Tony Blair on investment in Africa. Now a director, direct investments, at CDC, which invests in companies in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

2. SMIDSY Ltd, named for the acronym that stands for "sorry, mate, I didn't see you."

UPDATE: Boris bike lights snapped up by New York scheme | Simon English, The Evening Standard. January 11, 2017.

...has clinched a contract in New York. Blaze, backed by PEMBROKE VCT, will fit the lights into 250 of the Citi-sponsored cycles used in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.   ...a small slice of the 10,000 bikes available in New York, but the deal could be expanded.


DZ profile: Limited

Business: online tyre retailer.
Launched: 2001
Founder: Mike Welch, 37, remains its managing director and is setting up a charitable trust.
Investment: Sold to Michelin for £50m this year.
Mentor: Sir Terry Leahy, 59, ex chief executive of Tesco and adviser to PE firm CLAYTON DUBILIER & RICE. Has invested in EAGLE EYE SOLUTIONS GROUP and METAPACK.


DZ profile: Salesgossip Limited

Business: gives subscribers access to the latest deals in the fashion industry and personalised alerts about favourite brands.
Launched: 2012
Founders: Elizabetta Camilleri, 45, chief executive and Emilio Sanz
Mentor: Dale Murray, 45, entrepreneur and angel investor. OMEGA LOGIC, the mobile phone top-up company, which she sold in 2003. a non-exec at the DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND SKILLS. Camilleri and Murray met at London Business School where they studied for MBAs.

Article - How We Made It. Take four winning entrepreneurs and find out what set them on the road to success


DZ profile: Buddi Limited

Business: tracking device for vulnerable people.
Launched: 2005
Founder: Sara Murray, 46. Studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford. Started her own consulting firm and developed the idea for INSPOP, which owned the brand, was sold in 2002 and the consultancy was sold to Publicis in 2003.
Staff: 50 people.
Investment:  more than £10m in investment.
News: Exports will make up 75% of Buddi’s sales next year.


DZ profile: The Social Travel Club Limited

Business: online travel club - allows homeowners to enjoy cheap holidays by swapping their properties. Started with 200 & now more than 80,000 members in 160 countries. They pay a monthly fee, currently £12-£20.
Launched: 2010

Location: Fitzrovia, central London
Founder: Debbie Wosskow, 42, chairs the trade body Sharing Economy UK. Degree in philosophy and theology from Oxford and ex- management consultant. Sold MANTRA, her first business, in 2007 to marketing services agency LOEWVY.
Investment:  MMC VENTURES invested £1min December 2011 (+ later  another £2m). Hotel operator Wyndham Worldwide


DZ profile: Betterbathrooms (UK) Limited

Business: 11 showroom/stores, recently expanding into the Midlands and southeast. 10-year plan including a portfolio of 70 stores.
Launched: 2005.
Location: Wigan.
Founder: Colin Stevens started trading out of his bedroom at his parents’ house through eBay and his first website. Sister, Paula, is company secretary; mother, Linda, is head of tiles; father, Peter, is chief operating officer.
Financials: expects to turn over £60m this year – double what it was just three years ago.
Investment: £10m investment by the BUSINESS GROWTH FUND in 2013 for 30% of the business.

Article - If I'd only known that...The gift of hindsight is an invaluable commodity, as many a successful entrepreneur is only too willing to admit



DZ profile: Diabetes Digital Media Limited

Business: Europe’s largest diabetes community. 2.2m visitors a month to the site. More than 400,000 members. Provides an online forum and an app that helps patients to lose weight and control their blood sugar.

Launched: 2012

Location: University Of Warwick Science Park, Coventry

Founders: Arjun Panesar, 31, chief executive and family friend Charlotte Summers, 25, chief operating officer.

Pitching to the NHS can damage your health | Peter Evans and Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. December 16 2018 

1. Panesar and Summers run DDM from WARWICK UNIVERSITY and have 40 staff. The business has attracted more than 1.2m users for its products and forum, and is on track for sales of £1.7m this year. However, though individual GPs have suggested the app to patients, it is not “prescribed” by any of the more than 190 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England. Most sales come through health insurers in Canada and America.


DZ profile: Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts Ltd

Business: shirt business

Launched: 1986
Founder: Nick Wheeler, 50. Started the business during his second year at Bristol University in 1986 with £7,000 left to him by his great-aunt.
Financials: this year will turn over £200m.


DZ profile: Thread Online Ltd

Business: fashion technology company to help men in need of style advice to find the right outfit. More than 200,000 users to date. Works with Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Urban Outfitters to give customers suggestions and receives a fee each time clothes are bought through the site.

Launched: 2012

Location: Shoreditch, east London
Founders: Kieran O’Neill, 28, Ben Phillips and Ben Kucsan. O’Neill's third business - video sharing website when he was 15 and (sold four years later for $1.25m); social network for video gamers ($3.1m funding from investors including the founders of Skype and Bebo and the former chairman of Sony).

Staff: 30
Investment: £5m of investment so far. Backed by Wonga founder Errol Damelin, William Reeve, co-founder of Lovefilm, Michael Birch, co-founder of Bebo, and Edgar Bronfman Jr, ex-boss of Warner Music. Also from VC firm BALDERTON CAPITAL
Recruitment: intricate hiring process - prospective employees are scored out of seven on between five and 10 hiring criteria. 


DZ profile: Pie Minister Limited

Business: Its meat, veggie and fish pies are sold in more than 400 delicatessens, as well as Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
Launched: 2003
Location: Bristol
Co-founders: Jon Simon, 43 and Tristan Hogg
Financials: will turn over £11.5m this year.


DZ profile: Company Shortcuts Consulting Ltd

Business: provides advice on leadership and motivation
Founder: Lara Morgan, 47. She started her first business, PACIFIC DIRECT, in Hong Kong at the age of 23 which was sold for £20m in 2008.


DZ profile: Your Grind Ltd

Business: Delivers coffee from Colombia, Brazil and east Africa. Customers pay a big premium for coffee sourced with even higher ethical standards than fair trade.
Launched: 2012.
Founder: Stephen Rapoport, 33. Previous successful businesses included Crashpadder, which allowed users to rent out their homes and was sold to Airbnb.
Investment: investment of more than £5m.