News about 10 UK growth companies and/or accelerators in the GRID marketplace, 24th – 30th January 2016:
Paul Smith £191.7m | Twig World | Xelect £300k | Ultramatis | Bento Lab | Smootheelicious £10m | Gordon & Eden £1.5m | Fever-Tree £59.2m | Apollo Therapeutics Fund | HonestBrew
PAUL SMITH: Founder shares in £3.1m payout despite sales fall | Oliver Shah, Sunday Times. 24 January, 2016.
DZ profile: Paul Smith Limited
Business: fashion label and brand, which also makes stationery and jewellery
Location: more than 200 stores worldwide. This year it plans to open more shops in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney and Paris.
Founder: Sir Paul Smith, 69
Team: Ashley Long, 53, managing director
Financials: 8.4% decline in sales to £191.7m; pre-tax profits more than halving to £9.7m. Like-for-like sales were down by 3%.
Investment: Japanese licensee, Itochu. Itochu owns 40%
1. Sir Paul Smith has shared in a £3.1m dividend despite a fall in sales and profits
2. Ashley Long said the lower takings reflected “a mixed performance across our core markets and the temporary closure of our Heathrow Terminal 5 shop” and attributed the drop in profits to “increased investment as we go through a period of realignment”. Paul Smith is streamlining its main men’s and women’s ranges, and preparing to introduce a new line called PS by Paul Smith. Long, said that successes during the year included the launch of crease-free suits for travelling and a range of leather goods called “No 9”.
Sir Paul Smith sees sales rise at his fashion empire | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. 8 January, 2019
3. turnover rose 6.7% to £197.3m in the year to June 30. Comparable retail sales leapt 11%. Paul Smith singled out the Albemarle Street and Covent Garden branches for doing particularly well, and added that a new site will open in Bow Lane in the City this year. 2019 will also see further expansion in Germany and the US.
4. ...has 166 directly operated and franchise stores, also cheered online and wholesale growth.
Pre-tax profits edged up slightly to £3m and a dividend of £2.3m was paid to majority owner Smith and other shareholders.
TWIG WORLD: Imperial invests £3.5m in online science lessons | The Sunday Times
Business: fast-growing technology company that produces online maths and sciences lessons for schoolchildren. Digital catalogue is used by students in 70 countries. It produces bite-sized films that explain scientific concepts, using documentary footage from a range of sources, including the BBC.
ICB Classification: 5379 Specialty Retailers
Location: offices in Glasgow and London
Founders: Chief executive Anthony Bouchier, a media entrepreneur who created Wisden Online in partnership with the Getty family
Staff: 60 people
Investment: Imperial College London is investing £3.5m for a stake of about 20%.
News: Twig World has also developed a product with Imperial to help British primary school teachers learn about science and impart their knowledge to children. Launched in late 2014, the Reach Now programme is used in 20% of UK primary schools.
Universities call the tune on spin-outs. Are entrepreneurs in academia being deterred from starting up ventures by the large amounts of equity demanded by their colleges? | Kiki Loizou, Sunday Times.
Business: provides genetic services such as sex determination, stock tracing and disease identification to the aquaculture industry. St Andrews University spin-out.
ICB Classification: 2791 Business Support Services
Founder: Tom Ashton, 34,
Staff: 5 people
Financials: earns profits on revenues of more than £300,000
Investment: St Andrews University 30%
News: had to give 30% of his equity to a university even though he pays royalties for its technology. The firm’s intellectual property (IP) is owned by St Andrews, which now charges Ashton and his co-founder, Ian Johnston, for its use. The company, despite being part-owned by St Andrews, has to pay to use the university’s offices and labs.
Business: anticounterfeit technology using gas plasmas to create “optical fingerprints” for glass bottles in the pharmaceutical, alcohol and perfume industries. Leeds University spin-out.
ICB Classification: 2791 Business Support Services
Founder: Matthew Murray, 28.
Investment: Leeds University 30%
News: Turned to the Royal Academy of Engineering for support through its entrepreneurship programmes.The Royal Academy taught Murray how to negotiate in business and provided other training courses. It often works as a mediator between an entrepreneur and a university.
Business: portable biology laboratory, aimed at budding scientists.
ICB Classification: 2791 Business Support Services
Founder: Bethan Wolfenden, 25.
News: When launched business, was still an undergraduate at University College London. Luckily, there was no negotiating with the university - “As an undergrad you keep your stake,” she said.
SMOOTHEELICIOUS: How I Made It: Gillian Pearson, founder. My smoothie brainwave let me buy the company I worked for | Laura Onita, Sunday Times.
Business: award-winning smoothie brand supplies the likes of Crussh and Boost juice bars with sachets of frozen fruit and veg sourced from 15 countries. Has more than 3,000 clients and two factories on the Continent. Overseas sales include Spain, Cyprus and Dubai.
ICB Classification: 3537 Soft Drinks
Founder: Gillian Pearson, 32
Financials: Sales passed £10m last year — of which £3m was made overseas — and are expected to double this year.
1. Gillian Pearson asked her boss to let her sell frozen smoothie sachets to local juice bars and launched her sub-brand of Newberry International Produce in 2002. She called it Gills Fruit Fusions — and within six months it had sales of £1m. She used her profits to focus on expanding the venture and to buy shares. She bought Newberry in 2013, when Gills Fruit Fusions turned into Smootheelicious.
2. Has now launched an online store that delivers the frozen smoothie ingredients to people’s doorsteps. Its ambitions this year include a protein-heavy smoothie recipe that Pearson hopes will tempt fitness fans. A deal with two of Britain’s biggest supermarkets could be on the cards in the near future.
3. Hopes to move into the Australian market this year and has plans for a third factory, to be built in Britain.
4. Last year Pearson won a NatWest Everywoman award for female entrepreneurs.
GORDON & EDEN: Recruiters are taking digital start-up stars to new heights | Jamie Nimmo, Evening Standard. 25 January.
Business: executive search boutique which spots top-end technology talent for big multinationals including HSBC, Deloitte, Facebook and Betfair
ICB Classification: 2793 Business Training & Employment Agencies
Location: Shoreditch, London.
Founders: Sophie Eden and Sam Gordon
Staff: 5 people
Financials: turnover £1.5m and turns a profit
1. Have already rejected five takeover offers for their business
2. Convinced the next generation of blue-chip bosses will come from the current crop of budding digital start-ups. “Today’s bootstrap start-up CEO could well be a chief digital officer at a major corporate in their next move,” Gordon explains. “And we could start seeing chief digital officers becoming chief executives soon.”
FEVER-TREE: sparkles with strong sales performance | John Murray Brown, FT. 26 January.
DZ profile: Fevertree Drinks Plc
Business: Aim-listed producer of upmarket tonic waters. Sources quinine for its tonic waters from the Congo-Rwanda border, oranges from Tanzania, lemons from Sicily, while ginger for ale comes from India, Nigeria and Ecuador. Appeals to consumers wanting healthier drinks and premium products with high-quality ingredients and no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or flavourings. Sells at a significant premium to the competition with packs of four 200ml bottles selling at £2.99 compared with 89p for a litre of Schweppes, the Coca-Cola-owned brand. Roughly 70 per cent of sales are outside the UK with distribution to more than 50 countries.
Founder: Tim Warrillow, chief executive.
Financials: revenues up 71 per cent to £59.2m; full-year profits ahead of forecasts. Group revenues at Fever-Tree up 135 per cent since 2013. UK sales for 2015 expected to be 84 per cent higher, US 65 per cent higher, and in Europe they have risen 66 per cent. Investec is lifting its profit forecast by 9 per cent from £16m to £17.3m.
Investment: originally backed by Fleming Family & Partners - the family office of the estate of the James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Floated on AIM in November 2014 when LLOYDS DEVELOPMENT CAPITAL sold part of 49 per cent stake
1. In the past year has won key distribution contracts to supply supermarkets. It has also successfully produced a canned version to secure a distribution deal with British Airways and made inroads in the on-trade market in pubs and restaurants.
UPDATE: Fever-Tree reaches new heights as tonic sales soar | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. January 24, 2017.
2. ...value hit £1.4 billion on Tuesday after the City cheered a sales surge from a string of contract wins with Sexy Fish and other London businesses. ...revealed that 2016 UK sales are expected to be a bumper 118% ahead of the prior year. That has contributed to full-year group revenue being on track to hit £102.2m, up 73% from 2015.
Fevertree looks to ginger ale drinkers for sales growth tonic | Matthew Vincent, FT. March 26, 2019
3. full-year results, on Tuesday, showed more forecast-beating growth. Group revenue rose 40 per cent to £237.4m, beating the company's own previous guidance. Adjusted earnings were up 34 per cent to £78.6m — 2 per cent above the analysts’ consensus estimate. UK sales were some 53 per cent higher, as 66m bottles of gin were consumed last year — nearly double the 2016 volume — and four in 10 British drinkers bought Fevertree mixers.
APOLLO THERAPEUTICS FUND: Global pharma groups reveal tie-up with universities | Andrew Ward, FT. 26 January.
Business: £40m fund to help turn promising scientific research into new medicines and ease funding shortages for early-stage research. AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline of the UK and Johnson & Johnson of the US will contribute financing and expertise to the collaboration with Cambridge University, Imperial College London and University College London - among the world’s top five universities for medical research.
ICB Classification: 8985 Equity Investment Instruments
Investment: AstraZeneca, GSK and J&J will each contribute £10m to Apollo over six years while the three universities will each put in £3.3m via their technology transfer offices.
1. AstraZeneca, GSK and J&J will have first option to take assets backed by the fund into clinical development, with a bidding process among the trio to decide which gets the licence. Half the royalty income from any successful drugs will go to Apollo with the rest paid to the university where the product originated.
2. Apollo will employ its own team of drug discovery experts to work with academics and the individual companies may also contribute additional resources.
3. Investments are likely to range from tens of thousands of pounds to a few million pounds on experiments to identify and validate promising compounds.
HONESTBREW: Hipster dollar carries heavy weight as millennials come to market | Scheherazade Daneshkhu, FT. 30 January.
Business: sells craft beer over the internet
ICB Classification: 3533 Brewers
Location: London’s East End
Founder: Andrew Reeve, 27
Financials: sales in December were 10 times higher than a year earlier
Investment: Since launching, it has raised £650,000 from investors.