Wednesday January 1st 2020
Mapmechanics £4.2m | Boom Cycle | Unforgettable £500k | Knomo £9.5m
News about 4 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 30th April-6th May 2017:
MAPMECHANICS: Our algorithms put the likes of Tesco on the map | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times, April 30
DZ profile: Mapmechanics Limited
Business: supplies bespoke digital maps and data to more than 400 customers in America, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Mexico, the Middle East and New Zealand. Clients pay an annual licence fee. “It can be it can be a five, six-figure sum sometimes,” said Greenwood. Thanks to the system’s algorithms, supermarket chains such as TESCO can predict how quickly groceries can be delivered at different times of day. Online takeaway company JUST EAT “knows where your nearest Chinese restaurant is” from his software, said Greenwood. Customers also include haulage giant WINCANTON and HELLO FRESH, a ready-to-cook meal kit delivery start-up. Mapmechanics’ technology can even help businesspeople to determine where to open stores and what products to stock based on wages in an area, or its ethnic mix.
Location: Brentford, west London
Founders: Mary Short, 63,and Chris Greenwood, 64,
Financials: made pre-tax profits of £730,000 on sales of £4.2m in the year to March 2017 and aims for revenues of £5m next year. Revenues have grown 50% over the past five years.
1. Many of the ideas it now deploys are concepts that the couple devised decades ago. But the required technology did not exist as they were expanding in the 1990s. The advent of GPRS mobile data, and later the 4G network, made it possible.
2. The pair, sole owners of the business, now intend to work on more international projects in China and Canada.
3. Mapmechanics also builds applications for Internet of Things (IoT) platforms and has sold technology to Bristol’s “smart city” experiment to turn it into a test bed for innovation.
BOOM CYCLE: Dubens in a spin for cycling chain | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times
DZ profile: Boom Cycles Ltd
Business: chain of cycling studios offering “spinning” classes — gym-based cycling sessions typically set to music.
Location: London E9
Founder: model Hilary Rowland, 36 and her husband Robert, an ex-consultant for drinks brands
Investment: has raised a further £2m from serial entrepreneur Peter Dubens, selling a minority stake to PEMBROKE VCT, Dubens’ venture capital firm. He invested £430,000 in 2013.
News: plans to open 10 studios over the next five years.
UNFORGETTABLE: Cash boost for dementia start-up | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times
DZ profile: Unforgettable Limited
Business: start-up that sells gadgets designed to make everyday tasks easier for people with dementia. His site brings together more than 1,000 items, ranging from wearable GPS devices to clocks that simplify their format as an individual’s symptoms worsen.
Location: London NW6
Founder: James Ashwell, 36, whose mother died in 2012 after suffering from dementia for 10 years.
Financials: revenues of more than £500,000 last year.
Investment: has raised more than £2m from San Francisco-based fund MCKESSON to develop its own range of products and expand.
News: Ashwell aims to develop 20 of his own products within 18 months.
KNOMO: brings new tech to market dominated by ‘ugly’ products | Clare Hutchison, The Evening Standard. May 2
DZ profile: Gonz Limited
Business: accessories brand. Knomo, a combination of the words knowledge and mobility. Its products, such as the best-selling £149 Beauchamp backpack, are now stocked in about 2000 shops in almost 30 countries. Around 40% of sales are made online, with a third of customers coming back for more.
Location: Great Portland Street
Founders: lawyer-turned-banker, South African, Howard Harrison; Benoit Ruscoe, Alistair Hops
Financials: Turnover £9.5m (forecast £12m for year to March 2018)
Investment: Harrison self-funded the business until angels and private-equity firm ROCKPOOL invested
1. Their products were first put to the test at a Derby trade fair in summer 2004. They sold just 14 bags, which barely covered the costs of attending, but …by the end of 2004 they had secured spots in Selfridges, John Lewis and Harrods
2. … hiccups in the early days. Production delays had buyers threatening to cancel shipments but they managed to despatch the orders at the eleventh hour. Then half of a batch of 500 bags they launched with were returned after their cool-looking but, as it turned out, very flimsy Italian locks broke in a “painful” lesson about product testing. (Today every bag is dropped 5000 times with 15kg inside during quality control.)
3. Harrison is taking the plunge on Knomo’s first stand-alone retail store. …The idea was trialled when a small slice of Knomo’s office was converted into retail space, which has helped staff connect with customers. He expects to sign a deal for a W1 property and open the store, which will also house a coffee shop, by the summer. Ultimately, he wants five branches in the capital.
4. Knomo products … Some already include in-built device chargers — known as inductive charging but it is patenting its DropGo wireless in-bag charging tool that allows wearers to power up on the move.
5. Knomo is currently testing demand for such sophisticated accessories via a KICKSTARTER fundraising for its £162 #LiveFree backpack. With five days to go, …has raised more than £83,000, well past its goal of £50,000. The bag has a side pocket for inductive charging and contains blue-tooth tracking in case the item is misplaced. It also features Knomo’s signature hard-wearing, water-repellent British fabric, device protection and organisation system.