Corbin & King £43.8m | Kisimul £38.2m | Hope | Bambino Mio £3.2m | Silk Ventures | Ratesetter | The Plum Guide | CognitionX
News about 8 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 14th – 20th May 2017:
CORBIN & KING: Wolseley backer sells out | Oliver Shah, The Sunday Times. May 14,
DZ profile: Corbin & King Restaurant Group Limited
Business: parent company of seven top London restaurants, including the Wolseley and the Delaunay, and a London hotel, The Beaumont.
Location: Piccadilly, London
Founders: Chris Corbin and Jeremy King made their name running Le Caprice in the 1980s and opened the Wolseley, styled after a European grand café, on the site of an old car showroom in 2003.
Financials: made underlying earnings of £2.3m on sales of £43.8m in the year to March 2015.
Investment: private equity backer GRAPHITE CAPITAL, whose other investments include the Groucho Club in Soho
1. Graphite Capital has hired advisers from the niche bank PMB CAPITAL to market its 45% holding in Corbin & King.
2. London hotel, The Beaumont, which had teething trouble after it opened in 2014. Slower than expected trading led Grosvenor Estate, the hotel’s landlord, to take back the lease and switch Corbin & King on to a management contract.
Restaurant kings swallow losses | Oliver Shah, The Sunday Times. July 23 2017
3. increased turnover by 23.7% to £54.2m, according to accounts soon to be filed. Underlying earnings rose by almost a quarter to £4.1m but problems with the Beaumont hotel in Mayfair and costs associated with the Bellanger restaurant in Islington led to a £6m operating loss, compared with £1.8m last year.
Monday 18 12:30pm
Thai company Minor Hotels takes £58m stake in The Wolseley and The Delaunay operator Corbin and King | Alys Key, City A.M. December 18, 2017
4. The majority stake in the company has now been snapped up by Thai company MINOR HOTELS. The company, which has 157 hotels and is a subsidiary of Bangkok-listed Minor International, said it plans to expand the partnership and grow the portfolio of sites beyond the existing six restaurants and the Beaumont Hotel in Mayfair. The eponymous Corbin and King will stay on as minority shareholders, with King remaining in place as chief executive. Separate documents filed today showed that a new company called MI Squared will be set up, with Minor holding a 74 per cent stake while Corbin and King retain 26 per cent.
KISIMUL: Rothschilds to sell care homes | Daniel Dunkley, The Sunday Times
DZ profile: Kisimul Group Limited
Business: specialist care provider for people with autism. Runs four boarding schools across the country for children with learning disabilities, specialising in care for people with autism. Also provides supported living services for vulnerable adults. The company, which is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, receives most of its income from the healthcare budgets of local councils, who fund the housing of children and adults with severe disabilities.
Financials: In 2015, Kisimul made a profit of £7.4m after tax, on revenues of £38.2m.
Investment: private equity backer, FIVE ARROWS, an arm of the Rothschild banking dynasty
News: has been put up for sale. Five Arrows is said to be working with advisers from NM ROTHSCHILD to explore its options including a £200m sale. The business could fetch up to £250m based on projected earnings. American healthcare companies are believed to be monitoring the sale.
£200m deal for autism schools | Daniel Dunkley and John Collingridge, The Sunday Times. July 23 2017.
Investment firm ANTIN INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERS has agreed a deal to take over Lincolnshire-based Kisimul, City sources said this weekend. The sale talks attracted the interest of several British buyout firms, insiders said. Antin, which owns the motorway services chain Roadchef, is said to have paid more than £200m for the care provider.
HOPE FASHION: Start-up bosses are old enough to know better | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times
DZ profile: NM Hope Limited
Business: fashion brand aimed at older women
Founder: Nayna McIntosh, 55, who worked as a director of store management at Marks & Spencer, where she played a part in the launch of its Per Una clothing range. Previously she had been part of the team behind Asda’s clothing brand George.
Financials: revenues increased 150% last year.
Investment: “The first person I called was [former M&S chief executive] Stuart Rose,” said McIntosh. She raised some £1m of investment from Rose and other retail executives.
BAMBINO MIO: Nappy days are here again | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times.
DZ profile: Bambino Mio Limited
Business: reusable nappies. Founders idea of selling cloth nappies — better for the environment and, in the long run, for parents’ purses. Bambino Mio’s brightly-patterned range can be washed at 40C and has Velcro-style and popper fastenings. Its all-in-one nappies cost £15.99.In the darkest days of the financial crisis, Guy and Jo Schanschieff decided to find a bigger audience by expanding from mail-order onto the high street, and struck a deal with the discount chain Aldi to stock nappies, baby wipes, potty training pants and swimwear. Bambino Mio’s products, made in China, Lithuania and Britain, are also sold by stores including Waitrose, Boots and Walmart.
Exports: sells to countries including America, New Zealand, France and South Africa.
Location: Brixworth, Northamptonshire
Founders: Guy, 51 and Jo Schanschieff, 46
Financials: posted pre-tax profits of £650,000 on sales of £3.2m last year. Revenues are expected to hit £5m this year.
Investment: Jo and Guy own 100% of the company.
1. Jo Schanschieff, said about 30% of parents now buy washable nappies, compared with 3% in the early 2000s. They save money, she said: “You buy 15 nappies over two years instead of 6,000 disposables.” They also cut down on rubbish. An estimated 8m disposables are thrown away every day in Britain, and they could take hundreds of years to degrade.
2. The mail-order business was slow to take off; in 2001 it made an £87,000 loss on sales of £777,000. The founders recruited senior managers and broadened their range, which includes detergent and nappy buckets.
3. Today they are focused on boosting overseas sales and reaching more first-time parents via social media.
SILK VENTURES: London-based VC firm backed by China's SASAC has just raised its first $500m fund to invest in Europe and US startups | Lynsey Barber, City A.M. May 15
DZ profile: Silk Ventures Ltd
Business: venture capital firm backed by the Chinese government. The firm is eyeing up investments in "deep tech" startups in Europe and the US with potential to expand in China, including areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), fintech and medtech. Silk Ventures first launched in 2015 as an accelerator. Alumni include challenger bank REVOLUT, cyber security startup DIGITAL SHADOWS and soon to IPO adtech startup SUPERAWESOME.
Location: is run out of London, in Canary Wharf's Level39 fintech space, and has offices in Silicon Valley and China
Founder: founding partner Angelica Anton, a former investment advisor to the Chinese government and at the venture arm of property group Quintessentially, Q VENTURES.
1. has raised its first fund worth $500m (£388m). Half of the cash, which will go into startups raising series A rounds and beyond, will come from China's state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) with the rest of the cash raised from other as yet unnamed corporations.
2. The firm has also added six new partners to its fold, including Brewer Stone, an advisor on Alibaba's IPO and the ex-head of Asia at Prudential.
RATESETTER: appoints City heavyweight as chairman | Martin Arnold, FT. May 15.
DZ profile: Retail Money Market Ltd
Business: fintech company and online peer-to-peer lender which recently expanded from the UK to Australia. Has lent almost £1.9bn to more than 300,000 individuals and small businesses via its online platform, which matches them with its more than 50,000 retail investors. Unlike rival peer-to-peer lenders, it has not accepted money from institutional investors into its platform.
Location: London EC2
Founder: Rhydian Lewis, chief executive
Investment: backed by high-profile fund manager Neil Woodford
1. Has appointed Paul Manduca, 65, the City of London grandee, to become its chairman in a move designed to prepare the company for an initial public offering in the next few years. Mr Manduca, a former fund manager, has been chairman of PRUDENTIAL, the FTSE 100 insurer, for five years and also chairs the advisory council of The CITYUK, a financial sector lobby group. He is expected to add more non-executive directors to the four already on the board.
2. It has faced questions about higher-than-expected defaults and increasing scrutiny from regulators over the past couple of years. But Mr Lewis said the company’s provision fund, which is designed to shield investors from losses, had increased its coverage of expected defaults from 116 to 124 per cent in the past six months. The company has an actual loss rate on its loans of 2.12 per cent and has generated an estimated average annual return of 4.44 per cent for investors.
3. After recently moving from Southwark to larger offices at Bishopsgate in the heart of the City, RateSetter is still awaiting full regulatory authorisation under the new peer-to-peer lending licensing scheme.
P2P lender RateSetter steps in to protect investors from losses | Emma Dunkley, FT. July 20
4. has warned customers that it has taken over two struggling borrowers — ADPOD and VEHICLE TRADING GROUP — after they fell into debt. In an email sent this week to customers, Peter Behrens, chief operating officer, said that RateSetter has “intervened over and above the usual course of business with three of its borrowers,” a figure that also includes GEORGE BANCO, a consumer guarantor loan specialist. RateSetter said that two of the three loans are still performing, but that it has been forced to stand behind advertising group Adpod’s £12m loan to protect the users of its lending platform from bearing losses. Investors used RateSetter to lend a total of £80m to the three companies that the platform company has put into special measures. RateSetter said it had stepped in to take over Adpod’s loan and repay the investors who had put up the money— £8.5m remains outstanding. RateSetter also has a minority stake in George Banco after lending it £32m, which is in the process of being repaid. It had hoped to take a larger stake in George Banco to work more closely with the company and to lend directly to its customers, but has opted to remain a passive shareholder, according to a person briefed on the process.
5. RateSetter said that lending this amount to a single business was outside of its credit policy. After Vehicle Trading Group went into administration in May, RateSetter bought its two operating subsidiaries. The P2P site said it has restructured the group’s loans, amounting to £36m, which RateSetter believes will be repaid in full.
6. The FCA said at the end of last year that some P2P sites masked the true performance of loans by using their own money to make payments on the debt without telling investors that the borrower was in arrears. Ratesetter’s announcement follows warnings from high-profile figures such as former regulator Lord Adair Turner, who said last year that risks are building up in the sector and could be the source of “big losses”.
THE PLUM GUIDE: The holiday fanatic curating the finest stays in the capital | Lucy Tobin, The Evening Standard. May 15
DZ profile: The Plum Guide Limited
Business: The Plum Guide offers upmarket holiday home rentals in London: a curated list of the best home rentals where each property has to pass a 150-strong set of criteria, stretching from specific shower pressure and Wifi speed to foodie-rated breakfast eateries within a 10-minute walk. 80% of The Plum Guide’s homes priced at £100-£200 per room per night. It now includes almost 600 properties, distilled from 25 online rental sites; each is visited by one of Meyassed’s freelance testers, and each host is interviewed too.
Founders: Doron Meyassed, LSE graduate, who was born in London to Israeli parents and four co-founders. In 2005, Meyassed set up a company which brought together customers, staff, designers, psychologists, and marketers to invent new products and services for clients including Twitter, Spotify, Samsung, Sony Music and British Airways, before selling to Omnicom for an eight-figure sum in 2012. Customers include celebrity DJs and Hollywood actors travelling to the capital.
Financials: revenues have consecutively risen 25% month-on-month since launch
Investment: launched with £380,000 funding, mostly from angel investors, but six months ago sealed £1.8 million more cash, from LOCAL GLOBE, which has previously backed Transferwise, Citymapper, Tweetdeck and Onefinestay. Individual investor entrepreneurs, including Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman, the two founders of Secret Escapes, and Wonga’s Errol Damelin have backed him too.
1. Meyassed is adamant that “London is our pilot city” and it’ll be in 30 cities within three years.
2. “Our real ambition is to vet every single home on the planet.”
Millions raised for posh homes rental site Plum Guide | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. January 7, 2018
3. has raised £5.7m to expand outside London. The funding round was led by OCTOPUS VENTURES and included investments from BGF VENTURES and the founders of luxury travel website SECRET ESCAPES. Meyassed, 35, said the cash would be used to grow the business outside the capital, where it currently lists 1,082 properties, and to invest in more accurate technology for testing homes. “We’re . . . [taking] the model we’ve built to other great cities around the world,” he said, adding that Paris will be next.
4. The Plum Guide uses a filter to scan websites such as Airbnb to find highly rated properties. It then approaches owners, who must be willing to clean the property daily and keep the fridge full of snacks.
5. The company faces stiff competition. ONEFINESTAY, seen as an upmarket version of Airbnb, was bought for €148m by hotels giant ACCOR two years ago.
Luxury rental property platform The Plum Guide to use £14m fundraise for rapid expansion | Jessica Clark City A.M. 21 March 2019
6. has raised £14m in a Series B funding round led by TALIS CAPITAL as it prepares to launch in Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Madrid and Tel Aviv from next month. A further six US cities will be added to the database later this year, joining New York and Los Angeles, as the platform takes on holiday booking rivals such as Airbnb and targets “affluent professionals that live in global megacities". The funding round was supported by LATITUDE and HEARST VENTURES and existing investor OCTOPUS VENTURES. The funding will also be used to strengthen the team, with 100 new hires, as the company looks to “grow the science behind the perfect stay”.
COGNITIONX: The female tech entrepreneur that's propelling London's AI revolution | Susannah Butter, The Evening Standard. May 18.
DZ profile: Cognitionx Ltd
Business: aims to bring clarity to the fast-paced world of artificial intelligence (AI).
Location: HQ at the Wayra incubator in Piccadilly, London
Founders: Tabitha Goldstaub, 31 – who came across AI when she was running a video distribution company called Rightster – and Charlie Muirhead.