News about 8 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace, 24th – 30th July 2016:
Enertor | Widecells | Tastetech £5m | Eyetease Media | Coconice £3.6m | TrialReach £3m | Memrise | Autins £19.9m
ENERTOR: Insole trader sprints ahead | Ben Harrington, The Sunday Times. July 24 2016.
Business: makes specialist insoles for top athletes – including Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt - the Ministry of Defence and the NHS. The company is looking to sell its insole on the high street and abroad.
Founder: husband and wife team Christopher and Bente Smith-Rewse
News: Investment fund, Provenance Investment Partners, has bought a secret 21% stake that values Enertor at about £10m. Provenance was set up this year by Simon Henderson, a former partner at US private equity giant TPG Capital. The firm’s fund, which is expected to raise about £50m over the next year, targets growth companies. It is backed by some of Britain’s top businessmen, including former Diageo boss Paul Walsh, former BBC director-general Greg Dyke and John Lovering, who used to chair Debenhams.
WIDECELLS: Stem-cell pioneer in £2m float
Business: stem-cell storage company that plans to make life-saving cancer therapies more affordable
News: will list on London’s main market this week and raise £2m with the float, which includes £500,000 from the investment manager Miton. It will use the cash to build stem-cell storage facilities and roll out a healthcare insurance plan, which will provide people with a more affordable way to tackle diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis using stem-cell therapy.
The perfect formula - less red tape and more support | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times
Business: food technology developer whose scientists and technicians create formulas that help increase the shelf lives of certain foods or simply improve tastes and textures.
Founder: Janis Sinton, 60, with her late husband
Staff: team of 50
Financials: makes half of its £5m revenues overseas
1. Is now investing £75,000 in a new lab to boost expansion. “We want to be a £10m company and we know we can be. It’s just about how we get that growth”
2. Has benefited from government loans and grants over the years, and research and development tax credits have been of huge help in developing new products. Would like to see more support for job-creating companies such as Tastetech from Theresa May’s new government.
Business: technology company which makes advertising screens for black cabs. Plans to roll out to taxis in New York
Founder: Richard Corbett, 31
1. “I spent £250,000 on corporation tax last year,” said Corbett. “With that I could have doubled my head count and invested in new products. “We import parts from abroad and there are huge duties to pay. All these things make it really difficult for us to compete. As a start-up you pay taxes hand over fist.”
2. Corbett would appreciate some clarity when it comes to hiring from Europe. So far, he has looked to the Continent when adding to his workforce. For his company to succeed, he said, he needs easy access to skilled European workers.
COCONICE: My little boy’s allergies inspired quest for healthy ready meals | Emma Broomfield, The Sunday Times
Business: range of allergen-free ready meals for adults which is stocked by retailers including Waitrose, Ocado and Sainsbury’s. Henshaw received orders from 320 independent shops before signing with Tesco and the premium food chain Booths.
Location: Preston, Lancashire.
Founder: Kirsty Henshaw, 30
Financials: Last year the business notched up sales of £3.6m and profits of £70,000. Revenues this year are expected to exceed £4m.
Investment: 2010 appeared on the BBC show Dragons’ Den and received a £65,000 investment from Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne in return for 30% of her business. Jones and Bannatyne sold their stake three years later to a private backer. Henshaw owns 70% of the company.
1. It became impossible to continue making ice cream as the factory she was using also made products that included nuts, and all the packaging had to declare this. Today outsources production to a nut-free factory in North Yorkshire.
2. She has launched her Kids’ Kitchen children’s meals and now plans to take the business to Australia.
TRIALREACH: How start-up is giving UK medical research a much-needed shot in the arm | Alex Lawson, Evening Standard. July 25.
Business: Helps patients to find clinical trials easily and allowing pharmaceutical firms to match up with suitable candidates for studies, using an efficient database simplifying the jargon-filled language used to describe the various trials going on. The US-focused business makes money in two ways — when researchers and companies pay them to find patients, and by selling large quantities of anonymised data which allow researchers to understand who is suffering from what, and where they are.
Location: Seven Dials in the West End
Founder: Pablo Graiver, Argentinian, serial tech entrepreneur (he’s run Yahoo-acquired Kelkoo and Spanish ecommerce directory Donde Comprar [Where to Buy]).
Staff: 40. Chief growth officer Sarah Kerruish, who has worked with Silicon Valley royalty Andy Rubin, Steve Jobs and Joanna Hoffman
Financials: $4m (£3m) last year
Investment: has also landed funding from tech backers Smedvig, Amadeus and Octopus Investments.
1. The duo have scored some big wins of late. The first came in organising a medical health research summit in Downing Street accompanied by the announcement that three big firms — Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Novartis — had agreed to hand their nascent attempts to build a similar database over to TrialReach to further the industry’s efforts.
2. The second came last month when the White House revealed it was partnering with the firm to help advance US cancer trials.
3. At present, the clinical trials information often only reaches patients through large-scale marketing campaigns by big pharma, but not everybody has that kind of cash. “If you are an academic researcher working for a university and you don’t have those funds, you could be working on the next cure for cancer but you do not have enough of a loudspeaker to reach the right patients,” explains Graiver. He discovered 80% of clinical trials are closed or delayed as the right patients can’t be found, meaning roaring newspaper headlines promising life-changing drugs often disintegrate into decades-long processes.
4. TrialReach offers code to create search engines from its unique algorithms — which he insists the antiquated NHS can’t and won’t copy — to sit on key charities’ and sufferers’ community sites.
5. “Brexit has put clouds on our two biggest drivers for growth — capital and talent. We have no requirement to be based here and if the climate is not friendly enough, we’ll pack.”
MEMRISE: Ed Cooke talks octogenarians, Paradise Lost, why Citymapper will be the biggest company in the world and girls on bikes | Harriet Green, City A.M. 25 July
Business: language learning app which has over 10m users (acquired entirely organically) learning more than 100 languages. Cooke is aiming to have 100m users in the next three years. Memrise predominantly operates a freemium model, but there are users who pay, which gives them increased access.
Founder: Ed Cooke, co-founder and chief executive
Business: British engineering company that reduces noise - from both the engine and the outside world - in Bentleys and Range Rovers. Started in a garage in selling rubber to LAND ROVER. The company designs its components in the UK, and has manufacturing bases in Britain, Sweden and Germany. It is a direct supplier to BENTLEY AND PORSCHE, both owned by VOLKSWAGEN GROUP, as well as to VOLVO and JLR
Staff: chief executive Jim Griffin, who led a management buyout in 2006 after spending almost two decades working under previous management.
Financials: made £19.9m in revenues during 2015 and £910,000 of pre-tax profit, a figure that is expected to rise this year. the company has been profitable every year since 2006.
Investment: Will become one of the first businesses to float in London since the vote to leave the EU. Autins Group, which is short for automotive insulation, will begin trading on London’s AIM market within a fortnight after raising £26.6m from institutional investors. The IPO will value a business at just under £40m. Autins will raise £14m of new money from the float, which will be used to pay down debt and to invest in new equipment.
The UK auto industry fights for its place on the electric front | Michael Pooler, Anna Gross and Myles McCormick, FT. May 3, 2019
1. ...is looking to diversify after a rocky few years which have seen it haemorrhage more than 90 per cent of its value as a result of being too closely tied to carmaker Jaguar Land Rover. ... over-reliance on JLR — which accounts for roughly 60 per cent of its sales. JLR has come under pressure from a clampdown on diesel engines and flagging Chinese demand, leading it to cut orders from Autins.
2. That forced the latter to issue two profit warnings over the past two years ...and to accelerate plans to cut its dependence on its biggest customer. It has secured approvals from a range of European carmakers to use a new lightweight insulation technology it has developed, which will become increasingly important as carmakers shift to electric vehicles.The company has also sought to sharpen its focus on non-automotive markets, which are lower volume but tend to have better margins, such as soundproofing floors and rooms.