COMPANIES: Genius Foods to XL Recordings

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on November 23, 2015, 9:00 am in News, Other


Wednesday January 1st 2020


Adele / XL recordings
IMAGE: courtesy of XL Recordings


News about 8 UK growth companies and/or accelerators in the GRID marketplace 15th – 21st November 2015:


XL Recordings | Whistles £63m | Love Crafts | Move Guides | Genius Foods £50m | Informed Solutions | Water Babies £5.3m | My Flash Trash £1m


The Sunday Times:

XL RECORDINGS: Rolling in the dosh. Adele label cashes in on singer’s appeal

DZ profile: Xl Recordings Limited

Business: music label for Adele. Has returned a total of £54m in dividends since the release of her 21 album four years ago - has sold more than 30m copies worldwide, including 4.8m in Britain. The label, which was specialising in rave and dance music, also includes the Prodigy and Radiohead among its acts.
Launched: 1989

Founders:  Richard Russell, Tim Palmer and Nick Halkes
Financials: pre-tax profits fell from £12.3m in 2013 to £7.1m last year. Its bank balance fell from £16.9m to £4.1m over the period.

Investment: jointly owned by music producer Richard Russell and independent music business the BEGGARS GROUP (Martin Mills).
News: Adele’s new album, 25, is set to be released on Friday. Her comeback single, Hello, has already sold more than 600,000 copies in Britain in the three weeks since its release.

WHISTLES: ‘Feminist’ T-shirt maker pays price of expansion

DZ profile: Whistles Limited
Business: fashion label. Its “This is what a feminist looks like” T-shirt - worn by politicians, including Ed Miliband last autumn - boosted its sales by 11% last year. Run by Jane Shepherdson, ex-Topshop.
Financials: turnover hit almost £63m, but moved from a pre-tax profit of £1.9m to a loss of £2.3m after costs related to expansion in America (opened four stores in Bloomingdale’s in the year to January and now has 10 outlets), the launch of a menswear range and the revamp of its website.

LOVE CRAFTS: Craft site sews up £12m backing

DZ profile: Lovecrafts Collective Limited
Business: Online craft network and sales platform. Owns brands including and Users can share designs and connect with like-minded craftsmen and women, as well as buy materials.LoveCrafts combines a social network for craft enthusiasts with an independent marketplace for pattern designers. 
Launched: 2012
Location: west London.

Founders: Nigel Whiteoak, Cherry Freeman and Edward Griffith
Staff: 70 people.
Financials: has tripled revenues each year since it started trading.

Investment: has won £12m of investment from HIGHLAND EUROPE and BALDERTON CAPITAL, which backed the company earlier this year.

1. Growth has earned Love Crafts a place in today’s Start-Up Track, a list of the country’s fastest-growing young businesses of the past five years. It forms part of The Start-Up List, a guide to starting your own business published with this week’s Sunday Times.

UPDATE: Online craft network and sales platform sews up £26m in investment round | Alys Key, City A.M. April 25, 2017
2. The company also sells crafting supplies to users, with its distribution centres in Manchester and Missouri delivering over ten million balls of yarn to date.
3. has raised £26m in a funding round which marks the largest investment in a venture-funded UK business so far this year. The fundraising was led by SCOTTISH EQUITY PARTNERS (SEP), which has previously invested in Skyscanner and, along with current investors. Freeman said that the funding will allow the company to expand into other areas including sewing, quilting, cake decorating, jewellery-making and fine arts. She also said there were plan to expand into new countries and double down on existing markets in North America and Germany, as well as reinvesting in technology.


Give us a fair crack of whip, Whitehall. Fast-growing companies want better access to public-sector contracts so they can be world-beaters.

DZ profile: Move Guides Limited

Business: specialises in ‘talent mobility’ — the task of helping companies relocate staff overseas for projects and job openings. Has created more than 100 jobs.
Launched: 2012
Location: Hatton Garden, London. Offices in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong.
Founder: Brynne Herbert, 31.
Investment: raised more than £16m
Financials: In the past year has grown by 500% and intends to double headcount next year.
1. The growth places Move Guides in the scale-up category, where a company increases its staff or revenues by 20% for at least three years. Britain is home to more than 8,000 scale-ups.
2. Brynne Herbert: “We can find talented people at the management level but we struggle to hire executives in Britain. When we look for people who have had one or two experiences as part of a company from founding through to an exit, it’s difficult. You can count people in that bucket on one hand.”

DZ profile: Genius Foods Limited

Business: makes gluten-free products. Customers in the Netherlands, France, Sweden and the Middle East.
Launched: 2009
Location: Edinburgh
Founder: Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, 44.
Staff: 650 people
Financials: revenues of more than £50m.
News: Bruce-Gardyne would like:
1. More government support for those who are committed to making things at home: “It would be good to be introduced to overseas equipment suppliers, distributors and large corporates that can help us expand…We want to invest as much as we can in our manufacturing facilities and we need more support. We have always struggled to keep up with demand and this is where there could be much more help.”
2. More collaboration between university research labs and company founders. “Grants for work with universities would be fantastic,” she said.

DZ profile: Informed Solutions Limited

Business: IT consultancy. Exports to more than 50 countries. About 50% of contracts are with the government.
Launched: 1992
Location: UK - Manchester, London, Edinburgh. Australia: Sydney and Melbourne.
Founder: Elizabeth Vega
Financials: 50% growth year-on-year for the past two years.
News: much more can be done to bolster the export ambitions of like-minded founders, according to Vega: “The government is unwilling to provide testimonials. We have competitors in America and Germany, and those countries have no qualms about endorsing their own national businesses. Britain has got the quaint ‘we can’t be seen to be favouring’ attitude.” “They could encourage small and medium-sized businesses to bid for the more credible contracts,” she said. “The types of opportunities that are easily accessible are those that keep you small.”


WATER BABIES: How I Made It: Paul Thompson, founder Water Babies
DZ profile: Water Babies Limited

Business: swimming school for infants, launched in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.Teaches 45,000 children how to swim each week through a network of 54 franchises in the UK, and 800 instructors worldwide. Has franchises in Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand. It opens its first swimming centre in Xi’an, China, next year.
Launched: 2002
Location: Honiton, Devon.
Staff: 32 people.
Financials: revenues of £5.3m. Last year the company made a profit of more than £1m.


The Evening Standard

MY FLASH TRASH: Entrepreneurs: Made In Chelsea star Amber Atherton finds true calling with My Flash Trash
DZ profile: My Flash Trash Ltd

Business: Charm-jewellery business selling about 100 pieces a day at an average £38 each. Grew out of a blog Anderton started, taking photos of jewellery and her friends.
Launched: 2009
Founder: Amber Atherton, 24. Ex-model and a reality TV star, featuring in the early series of the Made In Chelsea show. Will appear as a judge in a BBC show called Pocket Money Pitch, a children’s version of Dragons’ Den. Atherton was named in the Standard's Progress 1000 list this year.
Staff: 12 people.
Financials: about £1m turnover in 2016
Investment: Lion Capital founders Lyndon Lee and Robert Darwent are backers. Atherton is still a significant minority shareholder.