Thursday February 14th 2019Ends
Thursday February 14th 2019
Dream Agility | Sentric Music | Clyde Space £5.2m | Piccolo | Goals Soccer Centres £33m | KF Beauty £5m | Adnams £70.3m | Science in Sport £12.3m | Draft House £7.8m | Air X Charter £80m
News about 10 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 19th -25th March 2017:
Northern tech stars look south for cash | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times. March 19
DZ profile: Dream Agility Limited
Business: software company that helps clients maximise returns on Google AdWords.
Founder: Elizabeth Clark, 47
Investment: has raised £750,000 from angel investors but will be seeking a larger chunk of cash later this year.
DZ profile: Sentric Music Limited
Business: helps singer-songwriters license their music and collect royalties. It has more than 100,000 songs on its database
Founder: Chris Meehan, 32
Investment: £3m cheque it has just received from the BUSINESS GROWTH FUND (BGF). He has received “phenomenal support” from the NORTH WEST FUND and high-net-worth individuals who backed him with a £30,000 cheque.
CLYDE SPACE: Found in space: my vision of tiny satellites | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times. March 19
DZ profile: Clyde Space Limited
Business: satellite developer. His miniature satellites are roughly the size of a loaf of bread and weigh about 4kg. The company produced the first Scottish-built satellite, UKube-1, which was commissioned by the UK Space Agency and launched in 2014. It is working on 70 projects, including a network of SeaHawk satellites to study the oceans. Customers include NASA, the EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY and US start-ups, such as OUTERNET, which is developing a free alternative to the internet. In some years, the US military accounts for up to 30 per cent of the company’s business, but most sales are to civilian government bodies and commercial customers including a number of Silicon Valley start-ups.
Founder: Craig Clark, 43.
Staff: 80. Will Whitehorn, former president of Virgin Galactic, joined as chairman last year.
Financials: posted pre-tax profits of £450,000 on sales of £5.2m last year. It is aiming for £7m sales this year.
Investment: The business has raised £1m investment to date from sources such as private equity firms NEVIS CAPITAL and CORALINN and SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE. Clark, the largest shareholder and chief executive, intends to raise more cash.
1. It earned a place on the latest Sunday Times SME Export Track list for the fastest-growing international sales.
2. ... recently completed an order for a client in Mexico and hopes to win more business in Central and South America. It made £4m from exports last year.
Maker of tiny satellites eyes a bigger role | Mure Dickie, FT. April 21 2017
3. …. is one of a wave of developers that are moving small satellites known as cubesats into the industrial mainstream, from their current niche for research and special missions, such as disaster monitoring. …combinations of cube-shaped units with sides of 10cm and 11cm — use standardised systems for deployment. This allows them to piggyback efficiently on the launch of a larger satellite or to be packed together on top of a dedicated rocket. The batteries are a particular challenge. The satellites operate in low-Earth orbits, sweeping in and out of sunlight 14 times a day and charging and discharging each time. While cubesat batteries can be designed to last five to seven years, most missions last three to four, with the satellite afterwards left to fall into the atmosphere and burn up. Cubesats of the size that Clyde Space builds sell for between $100,000 and about $400,000 depending on complexity and capability, with launches adding a further $200,000 to $300,000.
4. … has won a Queen’s Award for innovation 2017
5. ….turnover is £6m, with exports accounting for about 70 per cent. …. has enjoyed annual revenue growth of 60 per cent or so in the five years to 2017. This year, a bottleneck in satellite launches slowed the increase in turnover, but it remained in double figures and is expected to rebound. Earnings before interest and tax have been between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of turnover during the past four years, a level the company expects to sustain as it focuses on product development and expansion over the next half decade.
6. …. has been commissioned to build two satellites for Canadian company KEPLER COMMUNICATIONS, which plans a space telecom network to support the “internet of things”, which is digitally connecting previously separate devices. Kepler says potential applications for the satellites range from tracking international parcel deliveries in real time to monitoring from space the temperatures experienced by workers operating in hazardous environments.
PICCOLO: the baby-food maker that’s ethical and growing up fast | Lucy Tobin, The Evening Standard. March 20
DZ profile: Piccolo Ltd
Business: baby food brand based on the Mediterranean diet - “full of grains, fruit and vegetables, fish, and olive oil, because …parents kept telling me that they’d like to see more innovative blends, and more nutrients in baby food”. ....stocked by Waitrose, Asda and Ocado. Their pouches such as mango, pear and kale, three-grain risotto, and tomato and ricotta spaghetti — there are 30 in total — are whizzed up in Italy as, Gazzoli explains, “the bulk of our ingredients are sourced from the Med, so it made sense to make it locally”.
Location: Covent Garden office and test kitchen
Founder: Cat Gazzoli, 39
Investment: backers include food campaigner Prue Leith, former Green & Black’s chief executive Andrew Baker, ex-PizzaExpress boss Mark Angela and Jan Woods, who ran HR for PepsiCo and is now a director at Lion Capital. “I had four female angels [who injected an ‘above six-figure’ investment] including ALLBRIGHT, the first fund for female-led companies in the UK even though, statistically, only one in 10 angel investors are female."
1.Cat Gazzoli managed to conceive and build up her business so speedily that her Piccolo organic baby-food pouches, which only hit supermarket shelves last April, have already grown into a £2 million-a-year enterprise. This is ironic, given the fact the entrepreneur spent the previous six years running the SLOW FOOD non-profit organisation in the UK. Gazzoli reckons, however, that embracing the slow “by only using top-quality, organic produce” has been key to her accelerated success. It was her bulging book of grocery-industry contacts, built up from her time at Slow Food, that saw the brand launch in WAITROSE rather than the small independents that most food entrepreneurs hope to crack in the first few months.
2. “I’m selling 95% to mums, so I needed to work with women. We’re also a registered social enterprise, giving away 10% of profits to projects like weaning workshops in disadvantaged parts of London. Female angels seemed to get on board with that.”
3. Another big boost came from Gazzoli negotiating a tie-up with the NATIONAL CHILDBIRTH TRUST; the first commercial food partnership in the UK’s biggest parenting charity’s history saw it recommend Piccolo products to parents and have its logo on the pouches. Gazzoli, in return, donates 10% of profits to the charity.
4. She works on recipes alongside a nutritional expert who worked in Annabel Karmel’s empire of best-selling children’s cookbooks, and Pret and Itsu founder Julian Metcalfe’s former brand designer.
Big helping for baby food | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times. April 9, 2017
5. … has attracted an investment of just over £1m from two first-time angel investors. …sold a minority stake to Diane Lance and Craig Goodfellow, who founded oil refinery CORYTON ADVANCED FUELS in 2010. …is also backed by restaurateur Prue Leith and Craig Sams, the co-founder of Green & Black’s.
GOALS SOCCER CENTRES: on the attack after return to profit | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. March 21
DZ profile: Goals Soccer Centres Plc
Business: five-a-side football pitch operator. This year it plans to spruce up club houses at its 18 London venues. It is also expanding in the US and will start construction on a California site this year.
Location: East Kilbride, Scotland
Financials: made a pre-tax profit of £3.7m in 2016 vs. a £6.2m loss a year earlier. Sales rose 1.6% to £33m.
Investment: Listed on AIM in 2004
1. on Tuesday showed that a turnaround plan was working and returned to the black. ….presented its first full-year set of results since a shake-up last year following a brace of profit warnings.
2. Rank Group’s Mark Jones - formerly of Grosvenor Casinos - was hired as boss, and former Inter Milan chief Michael Bolingbroke was appointed to the board.
Back of the net: Five-a-side giants Goals Soccer Centres and Powerleague confirm merger talks | Georgina Varley, City A.M. April 24
3. Shares in Goals Soccer Centres leapt as the market opened as it confirmed it was in merger talks with five-a-side rival Powerleague. …could create one of the world's largest five-a-side pitch operators, bringing together under one corporate umbrella around 100 sites located in countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and the US as well as the UK.Privately owned POWERLEAGUE trades from more than 750 football pitches, and also owns POWERPLAY, a league operator across 240 venues in the UK. As well as football, Powerplay offers leagues for sports such as basketball, dodgeball and netball. Powerleague was bought by PATRON
4. It also raised around £17m from investors to pay down debt and the company has a market capitalisation of just under £77m.
Goals Soccer Centres takes a dive as profits drop | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. 12 September 2017
5. ...failed to score with shareholders on Tuesday, after Mark Jones, the boss of the football pitches operator admitted a turnaround is taking longer than expected. ...he revealed there were no increased sales at sites where it upgraded four or fewer pitches in the first 10 weeks of the second half. However, there was growth at venues where five or more pitches were revamped.
6. First-half sales rose 2.2% to £17.4m, and pre-tax profit fell to £2.6m from £3.5m. Shares in the firm, in which Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has a 17.6% stake, plunged 10.8p to 93.2p following the update.
7. Jones was last year poached from gambling firm Rank. Since then the business has teamed up with Manchester City’s owner to expand in the US.
8. In the UK, it will soon launch its first in-house youth academy for toddlers to teens.
KF BEAUTY: Big eyebrows are big business for start-ups | Emma Jacobs, FT. March 23.
DZ profile: Kerafiber Europe Limited
Business: brand development company which owns the Wunderbrow eyebrow product - target audience: teenagers and impeccably made-up young women getting ready for a night out. Sells to women and, increasingly, to men. Wunderbrow customers apply gel with the wand to accentuate the brows. In doing so, users may hope to emulate the thick brows sported by the likes of Cara Delevingne, the model turned actress; Kim Kardashian, the reality television star, and her assorted bold-brow sisters.
Pull the curtain aside on this beauty start-up, and what you see is essentially a tech marketing business — albeit one that now sells its products at traditional retailers, such as Boots and CVS. Since 2015 the company has sold 2m brow enhancer kits — eight times more sales in 2016 than the year before. Last year, Mr Malinsky and his 10 employees moved from central London into the Shard skyscraper, just south of the River Thames. Today, there are 35 London employees. There is also a small team in Miami, Florida.
Location: London, UK, and Miami, Florida, USA
Founders: Michael Malinsky, 35, chief executive - born in Ukraine in 1981, moved with family to Israel in 1990 and then to Toronto in 1994 - with Jon Davidman, a US advertising and marketing entrepreneur, and Vikrant Bhargava, former marketing director of PartyGaming, the online gaming and gambling company.
Financials: Revenues for the privately owned KF Beauty in 2015 were £5m, posting a loss. However, Mr Malinsky claims that sales have increased considerably since then. Together with the introduction of other products, this means the company became profitable in 2016.
Investment: November 1, 2013 - $1m Seed Round Funding
1. With their own funds [the founders] bought a hairloss product called KeraFiber and learnt how to sell and ship a product directly. Having spotted the potential of eyebrows through online search trends, the trio tested the Wunderbrow product, with just 500 units. They sold out in three hours, and a business was born.
2. Charlotte Libby, global colour cosmetics and fragrance analyst at Mintel, the market research company, traces the turning point for brows to 2012. The market was partly fuelled by make-up experts on YouTube and Instagram, bringing professional beauty tips to a wide audience. But perhaps more important were the aesthetic demands of selfies. “When you view your face through a lens, then fuller brows frame it,” she says. This is more than just another fashion trend. “It’s about defining a facial feature for Instagram.”
3. According to Mintel, 14 per cent of women in the UK have bought an eyebrow definer in the past 12 months.
4. Start-ups like Mr Malinsky’s jostle with large cosmetics companies, such as Estée Lauder and the LVMH-owned Benefit. Legions of high street brow bars offer treatments designed to wax, thread, colour and sculpt the furriest of features.
5. Some men are using the Wunderbrow not just for their brows but also to fill in patches in their beards, moustaches and sideburns, he says. “That segment exists and it’s growing.”
6. Wunderbrow is moving on from eyebrows by offering new products, including eye creams and face powders promising its customers a “selfie finish”.
7. It tests the market online before mass production. The company constantly measures which type of visuals, advertising copy and messages get the best responses and how long a video should be before a customer parts with their cash. The company does this at huge expense. Last year its average spend on Facebook advertising was $50,000 a day, and in the past two months this rose to as much as $100,000, says Mr Malinsky. Twenty per cent of this is spent on Instagram, which Facebook owns.
ADNAMS: rolls out over 100,000 barrels | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. March 23
DZ profile: Adnams Plc
Business: Brewer and distiller whose drinks can be found in stores including ALDI, ASDA and TESCO and whose goods are also served at hundreds of London pubs
Location: Southwold, Suffolk
Financials: sales climbed 7% to £70.3m in 2016 and pre-tax profit rose 23% to £5m, driven mainly by proceeds from the sale of the UK distribution rights for Lagunitas beer. Operating profit was 3.8% lower than a year earlier, largely owing to the weaker pound since the Brexit vote.Adnams revealed its own beer sales passed 100,000 barrels for the first time last year, helping it to lift revenues.
News: “The long-term shift towards beer being bought from supermarkets and other shops, with less being sold in pubs, has continued and the taste for high-quality products from small producers has also grown,” the company said.
SCIENCE IN SPORT: rides market wave away from ‘meatheads’ | Michael Bow, The Evening Standard. March 23
DZ profile: S I S (Science In Sport) Limited
Business: Nutrition products maker which has traditionally has targeted cyclists, runners and triathletes is going after more Sunday league and five-a-side football players to fuel expansion. The firm supplies cyclists like Chris Froome but has also signed deals with the likes of Liverpool FC recently. Supplies supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
Location: Hatton Garden, London
Staff: chief executive Stephen Moon
Financials: revenues up 30% to £12.3m.
Investment: Listed on AIM Aug 2013
DRAFT HOUSE: Luke Johnson-backed London pub chain blasts ‘irrational’ business rates system | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. March 24.
DZ profile: Draft House NC Limited
Business: pub chain which has nine London pubs including the Birdcage in Bethnal Green and sells Camden Pale Ale and burgers.
Founder: Charlie McVeigh
Financials: Turnover jumped 27% to £7.8m. Losses reached £32, 371 in the year to October 30, compared to a profit of £10,583 a year earlier. It said the opening of three new pubs contributed to the loss. But stripping out one off costs, underlying profit rose to £783,991 from £633,576.
Investment: Luke Johnson (RISK CAPITAL PARTNERS) became a substantial minority investor and Chairman in August 2011
1. the founder has warned that rising costs from business rate hikes will be a “significant challenge” for the firm. Draft House estimates rent rises and new rates bills could add around £240,000 to its annual overheads from next year. He added that the pubs group was also having to factor in increases to the National Living Wage.
UPDATE: Luke Johnson-backed Draft House agrees Grand Union pubs takeover | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. June 29, 2017
2. Draft House, which has 10 boozers in the capital, said it is buying the GRAND UNION GROUP, which comprises six venues, from Johnson and founder Adam Marshall. A price of around £3 million is believed to have been agreed. The purchase includes sites in areas such as Camden, Paddington, Kennington and Wapping. Existing staff will be kept on and up to 50 more people recruited. The pubs will be converted into Draft House sites.
3. Johnson took a 50% stake in Grand Union in 2013, two years after he acquired a stake in craft beer specialist Draft House. COFFER CORPORATE LEISURE advised on the deal
AIR X CHARTER: Elevation for private-jets firm as it lands U2 gig | Simon English, The Evening Standard. March 24.
DZ profile: Air X Charter Ltd
Business: Private-jet firm which operates 17 passenger aircraft — including the world’s largest charter-operated private jet, the Airbus A340-300 — from bases in Malta, England and Austria. The firm has grown rapidly, having had just four planes four years ago. It recently said it plans to expand into America and into the cargo transport sector.
Founder: executive chairman John Matthews, 36, has been in the airline business since he was 19 when he started washing aircraft at Redhill Aerodrome.
Financials: forecasts sales of around £80m this year.
Investment: A stock-market flotation is a possibility in the near future.
News: has landed one of the most lucrative and glamorous jobs in the business — flying rock band U2 from gig to gig on its European tour in July and August.