News about 17 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace, 23rd – 9th July 2016:
Echobox | Bighams £37.8m | Dreams | Network Locum | Mrs Bucket Cleaning Services £2.5m | Move Guides | GCH Capital £90m | Azimo | Creative Nature £2m | Propercorn £10m | Settled | Department of Coffee and Social Affairs £6m | Hi Breeds £15m | The Organic Pharmacy £5.5m | Entrepreneur First | Seedlip | Distill Ventures
ECHOBOX: Investors like sound of Echobox | The Sunday Times. July 3 2016
Business: uses artificial intelligence to help media companies increase online traffic
ICB Classification: 9533 Computer Services
Founder: Antoine Amman, 30, who left Switzerland to study at the London School of Economics and Cambridge University
Investment: has raised £2.3m from Skype backer Mangrove Capital and Local Globe, a fund run by technology veteran Robin Klein and his son, Saul
News: “We want to hire more staff, close more deals and expand our market reach,” said Echobox founder. “There are many talented EU nationals who study at great British universities and if they were all to go back it would be a pity.”
BIGHAMS: recipe for success | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times
Business: Maker of chilled or frozen ready meals. The 36 dishes made by Bighams are at the expensive end of the scale, with most costing £7 or more for a meal for two. Started out selling his food to Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, but the ready meals are now available in Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
ICB Classification: 5337 Food Retailers & Wholesalers
Founder: Charlie Bigham, 49, former management consultant
Staff: 314 people, up from 266 at the end of 2014
Financials: profits rose from £1.2m to £2.2m in the year to August last. Sales increased 27% to £37.8m over the period.
News: Earlier this year, Bighams bought a disused quarry in Somerset to build a new production facility after outgrowing its operation in north London.
DREAMS: bounces back with sale plan | Daniel Dunkley, The Sunday Times
Business: Britain’s biggest beds store chain, with180 stores
ICB Classification: 5375 Home Improvement Retailers
Financials: pre-tax profit rising to £13.1m last year, from £0.4m in 2014.
Investment: owner, the buyout firm Sun European Partners rescued Dreams from administration in March 2013. The retailer was hit hard by the downturn in the housing market following the 2008 financial crash, eventually buckling under its large debt pile. Its then owner, the private equity firm Exponent, had bought Dreams for £200m in 2008 — just months before the financial crisis. Since Sun took over, the retailer has closed loss-making stores and refurbished its remaining outlets.
News: is being lined up for a £400m sale, three years after it collapsed into administration.
NETWORK LOCUM: Doctors’ £5m house call | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times
Business: helps NHS hospitals and GP surgeries find self-employed doctors. Has built a database of 40,000 doctors and signed up 40% of Britain’s general practices. The company claims its match-making service undercuts traditional recruitment agencies and helps the NHS save money.
ICB Classification: 2793 Business Training & Employment Agencies
Location: Shoreditch, east London
Founders: Melissa Morris, 30, who founded the business after eight years working as a strategist for the health service, with GPs Ishani Patel and Kartik Modha
Investment: £5.3m funding round was led by BGF Ventures, an off-shoot of the Business Growth Fund. Existing backers Piton Capital and Playfair Capital also provided funds.
The superwomen with the will to lead — and the skill to do it | Kate Bassett, The Sunday Times
Adapted from an article in this month’s Management Today: MT's 35 WOMEN UNDER 35.
MRS BUCKET CLEANING SERVICES
Business: Cleaning business with 250 clients
ICB Classification: 5377 Specialized Consumer Services
Location: four offices in south Wales and Bristol
Founder: Rachael Flanagan, 29, started her business aged just 18. Has won the Federation of Small Businesses’ Young Entrepreneur Award.
Financials: has a turnover of £2.5m
Business: cloud-based one-stop-shop for managing global talent mobility with clients including Société Générale, Adobe and PwC
ICB Classification: 2793 Business Training & Employment Agencies
Founder: Brynne Herbert, 32
Investment: $25.6m of venture capital funding
Business: diverse industrial group whose seven constituent firms make everything from wooden boxes for agriculture to lighting systems and car parts.
ICB Classification: 2727 Diversified Industrials
Founder: Cassie Hutchings, 32, chief executive,
Staff: 500. Father Greg is chairman
Financials: £10m profit on sales of £90m
Business: money transfer business aimed at European migrants and enables them to send home money using only a mobile phone — all for about a third of the commission charged by incumbents.
ICB Classification: 8773 Consumer Finance
Founder: Marta Krupinska, 28, Polish-born entrepreneur speaks five languages
Business: superfoods brand. Ponan took over when she was 22. The business was losing money, but within 18 months Ponan was turning a profit and had launched her snack bars in 300 Holland & Barrett stores. She has landed deals with supermarkets, and will be selling in the States next year.
ICB Classification: 3577 Food Products
Founder: Julianne Ponan, 27
Financials: Turnover is expected to hit £2m in 2017.
Business: healthy popcorn brand. First stocked in Google HQ, Propercorn can now be found in more than 15,000 retailers, including Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons. Sells 2m packs every month.
ICB Classification: 3577 Food Products
Launched: 2011Founders: Cassandra Stavrou, 32, with her best friend Ryan Kohn
Financials: turns over £10m
Business: app to make buying and selling a home far easier — has facilitated more than £40m of property sales and halved the time it takes to sell a house.
ICB Classification: 8637 Real Estate Services
Founder: Gemma Young, 34
Investment: Backed by investors from Google, Spark Ventures, Coca-Cola and Sky
DEPARTMENT OF COFFEE AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
Business: artisan coffee company which serves up more than 1m cups of coffee a year from its eight shops across London — and has a further 10 shops in the pipeline.
ICB Classification: 5757 Restaurants & Bars
Founder: Ashley Lopez, 29 American law graduate
Financials: By next year, the will be turning over £6m
News: has launched a free barista training scheme for young Londoners.
HI BREEDS: We’re selling Britain by the falling pound | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times
Business: has mastered the art of exporting ones that are about to hatch. Chandler estimates that about 200,000 of his eggs left Heathrow most days last year. Despite a client base outside the EU, Chandler has important ties to continental Europe.
ICB Classification: 3573 Farming, Fishing & Plantations
Founder: Nicholas Chandler
Financials: has a £15m turnover
News: has won three Queen’s awards for international trade
THE ORGANIC PHARMACY: It was so natural to create organic remedies that Gwyneth loves | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times
Business: business selling natural remedies as alternatives to mass-produced medicines, supplements and skincare Marrone’s products, which contain ingredients such as marigold, rosehip and rose, are used by celebrities including the actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba. Now has nine stores in London, Tokyo, Dubai, New York and Beverly Hills, and exports to more than 30 countries. Has expanded into skincare, make-up and perfume, the latter costing £139 a bottle. Britain accounts for 50% of sales, but the founder is focused on overseas growth, particularly in America. She also wants to attract more shoppers to the website, which brings in 10% of revenues.
ICB Classification: 5379 Specialty Retailers
Location: Acton, west London
Founder: Iranian-born Margo Marrone, 50.
Staff: about 100
Financials: profits of £317,000 on sales of £5.5m last year Marrone is aiming for revenues of £8m this year.
Investment: She and a graphic designer, own the company outright, but might consider selling a slice of it.
1. The products are made and packaged in-house using ingredients sourced mostly from farms in Britain, France and Belgium. Rosehip is imported from Chile.
2. With £80,000 of savings and a £125,000 loan, she began looking for a shop to rent, but landlords were unconvinced by her business idea. It took three years to find the right location and open the first Organic Pharmacy on London’s King’s Road, offering treatments for conditions such as acne and eczema. Marrone, who opened her second store in Kensington three years later.
3. The natural ingredients do not come cheap. For example, 60 magnesium and calcium capsules for stress relief cost almost £19.
4. Marrone envisaged a global business from the outset. “I had no idea how to do it, but I had to find a way,” she said. The business has more than 250 stockists, including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and a number of Four Seasons hotels.
ENTREPRENEUR FIRST: tech backers channelling MI5 to find London’s next big things | Evening Standard, Alex Lawson. July 4.
DZ profile: Entrepreneur First Investment Manager Llp
Business: Startup accelerator and investor which supports the creation of tech firms from scratch. Matches people with business potential and then helps them come up with an idea for launching a start-up. Helps promising entrepreneurs find business partners and co-founders, then offering funding, office space, and mentoring. Focuses on backing artificial intelligence companies — from machine learning, augmented and virtual reality firms to advanced robotics and nano satellites. EF draws from its £8.5m fund (investors include the founders of Lovefilm and Zoopla) to back the individuals’ ideas, taking 8% of their equity and profiting when the business is eventually sold on. Candidates from across Europe are headhunted from top universities at graduate or PhD level, or shortly after an internship at successful tech firms
Founders: Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford
Investment: investors and entrepreneurs as mentors include METASWITCH co-founder Chris Mairs, former GROUPON and TABOOLA man Nadav Rosenberg and MOONFRUIT co-founders Wendy Tan White and Joe Whit ...who ensure that ideas are effectively evolved into investable businesses, and only receive remuneration when their charges sell up.
1. over 100 start-ups worth more than $400 million (£299 million) have been born in EF. In heavy industry, it helped birth CLOUD NC, which has used artificial intelligence to automate the process of chiselling off metal. CHATBOTCLEO has made waves by helping consumers organise their personal finances via its app. MAGIC PONY - which was set up by ex-Imperial student Zehan Wang and Raspberry Pi’s first engineer Rob Bishop (put together by the programme, and who later became investors through it) - shot out of the EF stable last month, snapped up by Twitter for a rumoured $150m.
Tech startup incubator Entrepreneur First raises $12m and gets LinkedIn founder's backing | Alys Key, City A.M. 11 September 2017
2. today announced it had completed a $12m (£9m) funding round led by GREYLOCK PARTNERS, where LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman is a partner. Hoffman now joins the board of EF. Other backers include MOSAIC VENTURES, FOUNDERS FUND, LAKESTAR CAPITAL and Deep Mind founders Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman. The financing will not be used as a new investment fund but will instead drive expansion of Entrepreneur First's operations.
Stars back talent spotters Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. February 17 2019
3. has raised a $115m (£90m) fund from US venture capital firm TRUSTED INSIGHT (biggest investor). Other backers include Zoopla’s ALEX CHESTERMAN and Transferwise founder TAAVET HINRIKUS.
4. EF already operates in Europe and the Far East and is expanding into Silicon Valley. Those selected by EF are given £2,000 a month for three months and helped to form teams based on their potential for creating exciting new companies. EF, which takes an equity stake in the most promising start-ups, has helped about 1,200 people build more than 200 companies, collectively worth $1.5bn.
Business: produces non-alcoholic distilled drinks. Has caught on with high-profile chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal and is sold by high-end retailers including Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.
Founder: Ben Branson, 33, said Seedlip had emerged out of his interest in botanicals and herbs, images of which are the main feature on its designer bottles, which resemble in shape those of premium spirits.
Investment: Diageo the world’s largest distiller, which owns Smirnoff vodka and Guinness stout, has taken a minority stake, through Distill Ventures. Diageo has already stepped up its investment in non-alcoholic versions of some of its own brands, such as Guinness Zero, a non-alcoholic beer launched in Indonesia in 2014. This year it launched Orijin Zero, a soft drink variant of its bittersweet spirit in Nigeria.
News: Mr Branson said he wanted to produce more varieties and expand outside the UK. So far the brand has only two variants: a spicy version made with cloves, lemon and cardamom and a more mellow flavour produced with sweet pea, cucumber and meadow grass.
Business: investment vehicle set up by Diageo that it describes as “a funded accelerator programme for entrepreneurs”. It invests in eight to 12 businesses at any one time and does not disclose either the size or the identity of its investments unless the companies it invests in wish to go public. Allows Diageo to place small bets on emerging brands at a time of big changes in consumer tastes and preferences.
Investment: Owner - Diageo the world’s largest distiller