News about 6 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace, 27th November – 3rd December 2016:
The Brain Tumour Charity | Farrow & Ball £65.7m | Open Mike Productions £22m | Cocorose £1m | Tapdaq | Satellite Solutions Worldwide £7.4m (Bigblu Broadband)
THE BRAIN TUMOUR CHARITY: Charity wins allies for £60m fund to fight brain tumours | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times
Business: cancer charity
1. Has joined forces with a venture capital firm to create a £60m brain tumour fund aimed at finding a cure for the deadly condition — and making hefty profits for investors. The new fund will look to back innovations that advance the treatment of brain tumours, including medicines and proton beam machines.
2. NeoMed will manage the fund. It has secured a £10m investment from the Brain Tumour Charity and is in talks with other investors to raise as much as £50m more.
3. The association of a charity with a fund designed to make money risks criticism for blurring the line between private and not-for-profit investment. It is understood, however, that the Brain Tumour Charity will reinvest any returns in research.
4. Funds set up to invest in a single therapeutic area are rare. Last year the government established an £80m dementia discovery fund with backing from charities and pharmaceutical giants such as Glaxo Smith Kline and Pfizer.
5. Survival rates for brain tumour patients have not improved for decades. The disease causes about 5,000 deaths in Britain every year, and kills more children and adults under 40 than any other form of cancer.
Mid-market growth stars honoured | The Sunday Times
12th annual Sunday Times Top Track 250 awards dinner.
FARROW & BALL
Business: upmarket paint and wallpaper brand
Financials: reported an increase in sales from £62.4m to £65.7m in accounts for the year to March 31.
Investment: bought by the buyout firm Ares in 2014 and has seen sales rise by 5% in its first full year under new private equity ownership.
OPEN MIKE PRODUCTIONS: Why so glum, Jack? | Robert Watts, compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, The Sunday Times.
Business: TV production company which produces a range of programmes, including the Michael McIntyre Roadshow, the Bafta-winning Live at the Apollo and a series of shows for the performers Alan Carr and Rich Hall.
Launched: set up more than 20 years ago
Founder: comedian Jack Dee, 55, owns 45% of the company
Financials: revenues of £22m last year, with Dee set to pocket £3m of dividends. The business has paid dividends of £16m in the past three years.
Action! Brexit turns the spotlight on to exports | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times. November 27
Business: who imports shoes made in China to sell through her website
Founder: Janan Leo, 36
Financials: makes revenues of about £1m a year and sells to 30 countries. About 70% of sales are made abroad, mostly in Asia.
News: Post-Brexit uncertainty. “The challenge is that we can’t put up our prices. We’ve had to cut back on the amount of stock we buy for speculative orders because of the cost increase.” Leo started the company in 2007
Despite her rising costs and turbulence in Britain’s relationship with the EU, she remains bullish about the prospects of attracting foreign buyers.
AEDAS: After all those towers in China, it’s time to care for a few in my Welsh homeland | Andrew Lynch, The Sunday Times
DZ profile: Aedas Group International Limited
Business: global architecture practice. Aedas was at one point the world’s biggest architecture practice. Two years ago, Aedas split with its British partner, which was more focused on public sector work. It has since acquired RHWL, which designs arts and cultural buildings.
Founder: Keith Griffiths, 62, chairman, owns 30% of the parent company (18% overall),
Staff: 1,300 staff in 11 offices from London to Hong Kong and Seattle
Financials: turning over £150m with profits of £20m.
1. Keith Griffiths has returned to his roots by putting his cash behind the regeneration of St Davids, the tiny city on the southwest coast of Wales, and restoring historic buildings to create luxury hotels. Almost a decade ago Griffiths decided to find a secure base his children could call home — and ended up with a 900-year-old castle. Now he has three high-end hotels, Twr y Felin, Roch Castle and Penrhiw, bringing both employment and affluent visitors to Pembrokeshire.
2. China consumes much of Griffiths’s time. Aedas is working on two airport terminals in Hong Kong and one in Shenzhen, as well as dramatic super-high-rise towers in Zhuhai, Wuhan, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Beijing.
TAPDAQ: co-founder Ted Nash talks Fit or Fugly, app discovery, and why virtual reality is about to change our lives forever | Harriet Green, City A.M. November 28
Business: a platform that enables developers to cross-promote each other’s apps through in-app advertising. About 250m people use apps that are Tapdaq-enabled every month.
Founder: Ted Nash, 25, co-founder and chief executive. Before he was 15, Nash had built his own search engine, a travel agency and a cloud storage platform. Aged 16, he created the Fit or Fugly app, which was downloaded 180,000 times and made Nash £85,000. A year later, he launched Little Gossip, a social platform which became a virtual nationwide rumour mill and was shut down after just two weeks. In 2013, after a stint as head of digital product innovation at News International, Nash teamed up with two co-founders to launch Tapdaq.
Investment: It’s raised around $8.5m from Finland’s OpenOcean, Kindred Capital, BGF Ventures and Balderton.
SATELLITE SOLUTIONS WORLDWIDE (SSW): Aim-listed satellite internet group transmits higher full year forecasts | Billy Bambrough, City A.M. November 29
DZ profile: Bigblu Broadband Plc (previously Satellite Solutions Worldwide Group Plc)
Business: listed rural and last mile broadband provider, SSW’s satellites provide internet in 32 countries. After a period of investment and acquisitions, the company has become one of the largest satellite broadband providers in the world. During 2016 SSW completed six acquisitions and is expected to be on track to exceed its strategy of achieving 100,000 customers by the end of 2017.
Staff: Andrew Walwyn, chief executive
Financials: Year on year net income fell 9,754.10% from a loss of 61.00k to a larger loss of 6.01m despite revenues that grew 36.44% from £5.5m to £7.4m.
Investment: AIM-listed. During 2016 SSW secured £12m of new unsecured convertible debt funding and completed a successful equity placing, raising £12.1m to fund acquisitions. Institutional investors: Herald Investment Management, Marlborough Fund Managers, Legal & General Investment Management, Hargreave Hale, M. D. Barnard & Co
Satellite groups no longer UK’s sleeping giants | Nic Fildes, FT. June 22, 2018
1. In May it rebranded itself as BIGBLU BROADBAND to bring the 20 companies it has bought across nine countries under one name. Bigblu said only 82 per cent of its 100,000 or so customers were connected via satellite. It has now sold off a large portion of the non-satellite rump with a A$1.5m (US$1.1m) deal to sell 11,000 Australian customers connected to the NBN network to rival Superloop.
2. Christopher Mills, the activist investor behind HARWOOD CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, was appointed to the board in May after building a stake
3. ...backed by property developer Nick Candy, has spent most of its existence mopping up tiny telecoms companies as it looks to build a specialist capable of connecting the 5 per cent of homes that fibre networks will never reach.
UK satellite sector grounded by financial realities | Nic Fildes, FT. April 12, 2019
4. VIASAT, the US satellite company, had agreed to co-invest in a new $600m satellite with EUTELSAT of France to tackle the European broadband market. Last April Eutelsat jumped ship to build its own new very high-throughput satellite with THALES and ORANGE - pitched former partners into fierce competitors. Both companies provide satellite connectivity to BBB and have backed it more aggressively since the divorce to sign up customers to their new satellites. BBB has signed up 3,000 customers in the first quarter which is more than its total organic growth in 2018.
5. The company’s Quickline unit could also prove to be a new source of revenue having won a £2.1m grant from the UK government to develop fixed-wireless connectivity which is a 5G-based broadband substitute. The unit will also compete for rural government funding schemes in broadband not-spots in the country under the BDUK scheme.
6. Revenue grew 8 per cent to £55m in 2018. Pre-tax loss of £9.5m.