News about 8 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace, 26th June – 2nd July 2016:
Fresh Trading £247.4m | Heaven Skincare £33m | Crafter’s Companion £20m | Magmatic £7m | ACID Anti Copying In Design | Orchard Pig £3.6m | Eporta | Delamere Dairy | Clothes2order.com £12m
FRESH TRADING: Shoppers go nuts for Innocent’s new drinks | Simon Page-Ritchie, The Sunday Times. June 26 2016
Business: Produces and distributes smoothies, juices, coconut water and food under the Innocent Drinks brand.
ICB Classification: 3537 Soft Drinks
Founders: Cambridge graduates Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright founded the company after selling smoothies at a music festival.
Financials: reported revenues of £247.4m for last year, up 13% on the previous 12 months. However, it slumped from a £6.3m operating profit to a £700,000 loss.
Investment: Coca-Cola snapped up a minority stake in 2009 and took full control in 2013. The takeover triggered a £100m windfall for the founders.
News: The company said its new products, which include carbonated soft drinks and a fruit and vegetable smoothie for children, contributed £28m to sales. Innocent has expanded beyond Britain and now ships to France and Germany.
HEAVEN SKINCARE: As the pound plummeted, the overseas orders for bee venom face mask poured in | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times.
Business: beauty business and maker of the Mitchell Bee Venom face mask used by the duchesses of Cambridge and Cornwall. Customers across 50 countries, 11 of which are on continental Europe
ICB Classification: 3767 Personal Products
Founder: Deborah Mitchell, 50,
Financials: sales of £33m
News: At 5.30 on Friday morning, just as the results of the referendum rolled in, received a barrage of phone calls from overseas clients. Customers across Malaysia and America were desperate to place big orders. By lunchtime, revenues had topped £250,000 with sales up 80% on the previous day. The founder brought in freelance workers to answer the phones.
Let’s make it uncool for copycats, plead inventors | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times
Business: sells everything from rubber stamps to stencils to hobbyists who make cards, envelopes and trinkets.
ICB Classification: 5379 Specialty Retailers
Founder: Sara Davies, 32, started during her final year of a business degree at York University.
Staff: about 100
Financials: annual revenues of more than £20m
News: In 2007, when the stationer Helix wanted to sell a product similar to one she already had on the market, thought it had enough manpower and cash to back her small business into a corner. But Davies was ready to do anything to defend her creation. Helix had launched a rival to Davies’s Enveloper, which helped customers make their own envelopes. She had spent about £100,000 filing patents and registering designs to protect her intellectual property. “I thought the purpose of patents and design registrations was to protect underdogs like us,” said Davies. “I learnt it’s not just about who is right or wrong — it’s also about who pays for the most expensive lawyers.” The case against Helix cost Davies more than £100,000, and she has since defended the Enveloper from other copycats six times. Helix eventually agreed to take its product off the shelves. Davies said: “There are companies that prey on small businesses. They take a calculated risk over whether you will spend the money to defend your product more than you have already.”
Business: the maker of Trunki suitcases for children
ICB Classification: 3722 Durable Household Products
Founder: Rob Law
Financials: had revenues of more than £7m and losses of £1.5m in 2014.
Magmatic founder argued the Kiddee Case made by Essex-based PMS International was too similar to his product to be a coincidence. Judges ruled the grayscale drawings used by Law to register the shape of his suitcase did not protect it enough. Law spent more than £500,000 battling PMS. Law said that had his case been brought in courts on the Continent he would have had a much better shot. While two years ago it became a crime to infringe registered designs in the UK, the argument of “unfair competition” is not yet allowed, unlike in many European countries.
Designers also say it is not clear what must be registered to safeguard a design. “I recently saw a room full of lawyers ask experts what designers should do,” said Law. “They said they should register line sketches, grayscale drawings and colour photos. So, basically, register everything because they don’t know.”
Business: lobby group - Anti Copying in Design
ICB Classification: 2791 Business Support Services
Staff: Dids Macdonald, chief executive
1. Dids Macdonald: “There are about 350,000 designers and only 5,000 designs are registered each year.” ACID holds about 300,000 unregistered designs for members, “creating a trail so that if something happens there is a record that could help a case”, she said. “Unlike EU counterparts, if intellectual property law fails them, designers cannot rely on ‘unfair competition’.”
2. Macdonald lobbied for the 2014 change that now makes copying a registered design a crime, but unregistered designs have no such protection. She now wants the same rules to apply across the board. “Design law is complicated, even if you’re a lawyer,” she said.
ORCHARD PIG: Marine pilot landed on plan to sell cider from his orchard | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times.
Business: cider maker. In 2002 bought an apple orchard in Somerset and decided to brew cider in his shed. Soon he was supplying 20,000 bottles a year to 20 local pubs and restaurants. Today it sells its drinks in Waitrose, Majestic Wine, Tesco and more than 750 pubs and bars. Also makes apple-based soft drinks, which account for 15% of sales.
ICB Classification: 3533 Brewers
Location: Somerset village of West Bradley, near Glastonbury
Founder: Andrew Quinlan, 53, with friend Neil Macdonald, a farmer
Financials: The company made profits of £318,000 on sales of £3.6m this year.
Investment: used £10,000 of savings and a bank loan to start the business. Quinlan is the largest shareholder, with the rest split between Macdonald, 48, and friends and family. The
1. Company name: Quinlan raised Gloucester old spots on his farm, a breed known as the orchard pig. “We didn’t put a tree or an apple on our label or call it by where we came from because we wanted an elastic brand.”
2. Quinlan’s orchard, where he grows Dabinett , Bulmer’s Norman and Yarlington Mill apples, among other varieties, now covers 88 acres. Some juice is pressed and fermented on site, but Orchard Pig outsources most of its processing “We didn’t want to invest in equipment when there’s an awful lot of capacity for cider making in Britain.”
3. There are plans to bring in more sales people and focus on brand awareness. “It’s quite crowded out there and our marketing budget isn’t big,” said Quinlan. He is not afraid of wacky publicity stunts: in October the founders sent a drone-powered flying pig to London to deliver cider to people. “If Amazon can do it, so can we.”
EPORTA: The risk-taker who shelved a City career to move into furniture | Clare Hutchison, Evening Standard. June 27
Business: portal for furniture and product designers to connect with 2000 potential trade buyers such as retailers, architects and interior designers - anything that touches the home or the office. Big brands such as Conran and Roche Bobois are already on board. It combines a slick catalogue and a messaging service through which buyers and sellers can hook up, tailor orders and negotiate discounts. Like Airbnb, the company takes a cut of the deal price agreed by the two sides of the transaction.
ICB Classification: 2791 Business Support Services
Founder: Aneeqa Khan, 29, Oxford graduate, set up with the technical help of co-founder, developer and university friend Simon Shillaker.
Investment: High-profile backers including former Index Ventures partner Robin Klein, Betfair co-founder Ed Wray, Sofa.com’s Rohan Blacker, Achica founder Will Cooper and former boss Guy Hands invested. Khan remains the majority shareholder and is weighing up other approaches from potential investors.
1. “… it’s hard for trade buyers to find items from suppliers. They trawl the internet and rely on a network of suppliers they’ve met before, so there’s a discovery issue of how to find the very specific item or brand they want,” … they need to open up a trade account, interact and dig through product catalogues.” Through Eporta, the process is smoother and quicker, and emerging designers get just as much prominence as established names so there’s more choice, she adds.
2. Nicola Keenan of Studio K Design describes it as the “most valuable resource we’ve got”, adding in a testimonial for the start-up: “It’s a fantastic way for us to stay abreast of new products, new designers and trends in the industry.”
3. Planning an expansion in the US and possibly the Middle East. Despite the prospects, Khan doesn’t see a move into the consumer space.
UK SMEs count the cost of Brexit as banks reassure clients | Andrew Bounds and Kate Burgess, FT. June 30
Business: makes cheese, yoghurt and other products from goat’s milk. Exports about 15 per cent of its production to countries including China and some in the EU.
ICB Classification: 3573 Farming, Fishing & Plantations
Staff: Ed Salt, managing director
News: Mr Salt says he does not believe the UK government will make up the full value of subsidies paid by Brussels to farmers, for example, which might push up costs.
Business: makes bespoke T-shirts, workwear and other garments
ICB Classification: 3763 Clothing & Accessories
Location: Greater Manchester
Staff: 120 people, 50 from outside the UK.
Financials: turnover £12m
News: Michael Conway says he has put on hold plans to expand on to the continent, including a possible acquisition. “We have been expanding at high growth and our next step was going to be Europe.” “Our products are for the developed world. We export to the US and Australia but the biggest opportunity is the single market,” says Mr Conway.
3537 Soft Drinks
3767 Personal Products
5379 Specialty Retailers
2791 Business Support Services
3722 Durable Household Products
3573 Farming, Fishing & Plantations
3763 Clothing & Accessories