News about 8 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace, 1st – 7th May 2016:
Pipers Crisps £8m | Cake Hole £0.25m | Best Biltong | Hopkins Homes £92m | Borrowmydoggy.Com | Ambitious Énergie £26m | Brandauer | Marshfield Bakery £3.5m
Off-GRID: *Just Eat £358m
Artisan food-sellers are steering clear of the big supermarkets to retain their authentic flavour | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times. May 1
DZ profile: Pipers Crisps Limited
Business: Independent food producer. Exports to nine countries. Delivers directly to customers.
Founders: Alex Albone, 52, with fellow farmers James Sweeting and Simon Herring. Each put in £100,000 of savings, with £82,000 more coming from Brussels. Albone’s family owned a farm in Lincolnshire.
Alex Albone is a self-confessed failed serial entrepreneur. The 54-year-old founded a succession of firms selling salmon, soft drinks and beer in the 1980s and 1990s. None worked out. Herring and Sweeting, 47, also co-own a coffee roasting business, Lincoln & York. Albone and Herring had City careers as commodities traders before moving back to Lincolnshire. Sweeting was a trainee coffee buyer at Allied Lyons in London.
Financials: profitable business with revenues that top £8m. Has seen revenues grow by 25% year on year.
Investment: Alex Albone, 52, who with Simon Herring and James Sweeting each hold 33% of the company.
Our Lincolnshire potatoes came up golden | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. November 5, 2017.
Local food fans: from left, Simon Herring, Alex Albone and James Sweeting share a farming background
1. In the year to the end of January, Pipers made a pre-tax profit of £513,000 on turnover of £9.8m. Hopes are high that producing 35m bags of crisps this year and the launch of a wild thyme and rosemary flavour will further boost sales. Pipers employs 90 staff in manufacturing, sales and distribution.
2. The trio moved into premium crisps because of Lincolnshire’s status as a major potato producer. Salt from Anglesey, cheese from the West Country and cider vinegar from Somerset were sourced as flavourings. The first products were washed, cut, fried and delivered by hand. The business expanded and soon began supplying the east coast main line railway.
3. Pipers’ business has been built on independents such as pubs, delis and farm shops. “We’ve never really got among the supermarkets, but I’ve nothing against them,” said Albone.
4. About 40% of Pipers crisps are delivered by their own team of drivers, directly supplying about 4,500 outlets. The rest are sold to wholesale distributors. The products can be bought in 13,500 UK outlets and are exported to 39 countries.
Business: bakery selling red velvet cake and brownies. In a single week, Morley sells her treats at 12 markets across the capital and through her website.
Founder: Lara Morley, 35,
Financials: turns over £250,000
News: Would like to sell all around the country without using a big supermarket chain. Hopes to add more markets to her portfolio, including some outside London.
Business: a chain of three shops across the south in Kingston, Guildford and Woking that sell food imported from South Africa.
Founder: Lee Duncan, 42
Financials: has seen sales grow by 30% year on year
HOPKINS HOMES: housebuilder who laid his foundations selling fish | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times
Business: housebuilder that has built more than 5,000 properties. Has put up homes — with an average price of £270,000 — in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
Location: Woodbridge, Suffolk
Founder: James Hopkins, 56, executive chairman.
Staff: We employ 160 people, but we can have 1,500 subcontractors on site
Financials: profits of £22.3m on sales of £92m last year aiming for turnover of £135m this year
1. Third place in the latest Sunday Times Profit Track.
2. There are plans to grow the business in the south and west of England.
3. He hopes to complete 900 dwellings in the year to next April, most in eastern England.
BORROWMYDOGGY.COM: Who let the dogs out? | Ready Business Britain. May 1.
Business: matches dog owners and dog lovers across the UK and Ireland on a subscription basis, with dog owners signing up for £49.99 per year, and those who want to borrow them, £9.99 per year. The company verifies everybody that uses the service and offers third-party liability insurance to give users peace of mind.
Founder: Rikke Rosenlund, 41,
Investment: a group of angel investors who helped with initial funding, allowing Rosenlund to hire developers who could build the functionality she needed and grow the user base. The company is in the process of closing a second round of funding, to the tune of £1.5m. It secured this through Crowdfinders, which brings together investors and companies in a pitch-style event.
AMBITIOUS ÉNERGIE: set to raise £500,000 for expansion plans | Dominic Walsh, The Times. May 2
Business: Britain’s third-biggest low-cost gym operator (behind Pure Gym and The Gym Group) and biggest fitness club franchise. The group, which operates the Énergie Fitness Club, Énergie Fitness for Women and Fit4Less by Énergie brands has 93 clubs across Britain and the Continent and expects to reach 222 by 2018, with membership numbers rising from 110,000 to 313,000. It has 12 clubs in Ireland, three in Latvia and one in Poland.
Founder: Jan Spaticchia, 48, chairman and chief executive and a 30 per cent shareholder
Financials: sales of about £26m
Investment: The minimum £500,000 of new funds he is seeking, equivalent to 3.23 per cent of the company’s equity, is being raised via the Crowdcube crowdfunding platform. It has no debt.
1. Will announce plans today to raise £500,000 via an equity raising to back ambitious plans to more than double in size by 2018. The money will be used to invest in the resources it needs to support its growth, including technology, central infrastructure and a training academy.
2. Looking ahead to 2023, Mr Spaticchia has set an even more ambitious target of having 580 clubs with a total of one million members, including possible moves into the Middle East and the Far East.
3. To back its growth plans, Steve Philpott, a founding shareholder and former managing director of David Lloyd Leisure, is rejoining Énergie as a non-executive director.
4. The return to growth comes four years after its plans to join the stock market via a reverse takeover of a shell company came to nothing.
* JUST EAT: shares rise on upgrade to profit forecast | Lauren Fedor and Joel Lewin, FT. May 4.
DZ profile: Just Eat Holding Limited
Business: Europe’s largest takeaway ordering website by sales. Serves as a middleman connecting restaurants with consumers through its app and website. Has 14m-plus active users in more than a dozen countries .Two-thirds of Just Eat’s revenues are generated in the UK. But in the past two years the company has sought to diversify with acquisitions in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, Canada and Spain.
Launched: 2001 in Denmark
Staff: David Buttress, chief executive
Financials: increasing its full-year revenue guidance to £358m and EBITDA to between £102m and £104m for 2016.
Investment: FTSE 250-listed
1. The group said on Tuesday that the integration of the businesses it acquired in Italy, Brazil and Mexico in February was “going well”. Orders in Brazil rose 160 per cent in the first quarter.
2. Just Eat has come under increased pressure as competition in the online takeaway sector intensifies. Analysts have warned about the UK market in particular, where the group faces challenges from Deliveroo and UberEATS, a division of the popular car-hailing app company.
3. Shares in Just Eat have risen more than 40 per cent since the company first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2014.
EU workers fear impact of Brexit on jobs | Gonzalo Viña, FT. May 7.
Business: makes precision components. Three-quarters of its output is exported to China, the US and more than a dozen other countries in EU and around the world.
Launched: more than 150 years ago
Location: near Birmingham
Staff: about 60 people. Rowan Crozier, chief executive
News: limiting the movement of EU workers into the UK would “add yet another challenge” to the already difficult task of finding the right skills for his company. A little more than 10 per cent of the workforce is from the EU but he expects to add to that this year. Mr Crozier is sceptical that leaving the EU would make life any easier when it comes to hiring. “It’s a non-argument that cutting loose will reduce red tape. I don’t think so — if anything it will increase it.” Four of the seven staff that hail from other parts of the EU are in what Mr Crozier calls an “improver scheme,” a company programme to raise the skills of the existing workforce because he sees the skills gap as one of the biggest challenges facing the British economy.
Location: 10 miles north of Bath in the heart of the Cotswolds
Staff: 65 people. About a quarter of the staff is from the EU — mostly Polish but a few from Greece and from the Czech Republic. Chris Smith, managing director
Financials: turns over about £3.5m and is growing by close to 20 per cent every year
News: “Recruitment for us is extremely difficult,” he says. “This [the prospect of Brexit] is potentially a very serious issue.” Anything reducing access to the European labour pool would be damaging to the business. “The food industry without access to the European labour market would be badly hit.” He dismisses the idea he would have greater choice from a controlled but global talent pool, as Eurosceptics claim. “Where would I select from? I currently recruit from people that are already here or people who are looking for work as soon as their feet touches the ground. “We actually need unskilled people. We need unskilled people but who have good employability skills — people who are going to turn up on time and work with a smile.”