Wednesday January 1st 2020
Olivia Burton £9.2m | 31Dover.com £15m | The Alchemist | Fanfinders £2m | Circle | Monese
News about 6 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 11th - 17th June 2017:
OLIVIA BURTON: A watch brand for our times | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times
DZ profile: Jlb Brands Ltd
Business: watch brand. The duo wanted to create an affordable collection for women in a market led by high-end brands. Customers can create their own “watch wardrobe” and “change it with their outfit” ….cheapest item costs £60, while the Daisy watch, with a 3D flower in the dial, is £125. In October, they unveiled a jewellery range sold via their website and 20 international stockists; online purchases account for a fifth of revenues.
Location: Old Street, east London
Founders: Lesa Bennett, 34, a former fashion buyer for Asos and Jemma Fennings, 33, a former fashion buyer for Selfridges and House of Fraser. …met on their first day at London College of Fashion in 2001
Financials: posted pre-tax profits of £3.6m on sales of £9.2m last year and aim for £13m sales this year..
Investment: The founders own 100% of the business
1. They used £15,000 of savings to design the accessories from their kitchen table. They ordered 700 watches from a manufacturer in China. A year later, their brand was snapped up by luxury retailer HARVEY NICHOLS and secured listings in SELFRIDGES, JOHN LEWIS and NORDSTROM in America.
2. The founders come up with new designs every two months, including a limited edition Chelsea Blooms watch featuring anemones, peonies and butterflies.
3. Rapid growth earned the company a place on the latest Sunday Times Fast Track Ones to Watch list.
4. They plan to open their first store in London this year and continue expanding overseas.
31DOVER.COM: Bridget Jones’s bubbly | The Sunday Times
DZ profile: Dmd Operations Limited
Business: online drinks retailer
Founders: David Elghanayan, Roger Metta and Jimmy Metta
Financials: This year the business is expected to generate revenues of more than £15m.
Investment: investors include Eric Fellner, the chairman of Working Title and producer of Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Fargo
News: is in talks with advisers over the potential sale of a significant stake in the business to a strategic investor. that is likely to value the company at £35m.
THE ALCHEMIST: Bar chain for sale | Aimee Donnellan, The Sunday Times
DZ profile: The Alchemist Bar & Restaurant Limited
Business: chain of cocktail bars with 10 sites
Founders: cocktail expert Tim Bacon (deceased) and entrepreneur Jeremy Roberts. The pair had previously created the Living Room, a chic restaurant in the city
Investment: purchased in 2015 by PALATINE PRIVATE EQUITY for £13m. The venture capitalists have since ploughed in a further £18m to back expansion plans.
News: is seeking a new buyer as it plans to triple its sites to 30 in coming years. The chain aims to open five more sites by next April. The next wave could include bars in Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff.
FANFINDERS: The techie blokes who have captured the eye of deal-hungry mums | Alex Lawson, The Evening Standard. June 12.
DZ profile: Fanfinders Ltd
Business: an online marketing firm for infant products which boasts a contacts book of 1.6 million bargain-hunting mums. Essentially, it’s a swap: parents (usually mums) sign up to receive freebies – samples, discounts, competitions – from big brands, the brands in return get the data of potentially committed customers. YBC gets a cut of purchases made after clicking through, and also makes money selling research conducted with its network of mums. It operates as a series of “clubs” – i.e. Your Baby Club - tied to each brand with Mothercare, Tesco and Johnson’s among its clients. …their Facebook group boasts 300,000 deal-hungry parents scouring the latest offers.
Founders: Neil Stephenson and Adam Gillett. Partners include Alec Dobbie, who came up with the business idea, creative director Raphael March (both are based in Yorkshire) and Neil Stephenson, a Scot and aformer pro poker player. A fifth founder and investor, Nick Hadfield, remains a director. Father-of-two Dobbie started the firm when his wife signed up to Bounty, only to be spammed by a slew of irrelevant marketing about much older kids. The tech developer floated his concept – matching brands and parents more effectively – in a LinkedIn group, and his co-founders came on board. They started with just £1500 of capital, throwing their savings at the project and not paying themselves a wage for 18 months as trade slowly picked up.
Financials: turnover £2m last year, £7m forecast this year
1. New EU data laws, unaffected by Brexit, will become enforceable next year. YBC already ensures customers’ data is not sold to brands they didn’t sign up for so the law plays into their hands. Stephenson explains the new rules will put many of the “cowboys” who sell databases to third parties as their main source of income out of business. “With this kind of business there’s a trust element so if you sell data on parents quickly tell each other on other forums,” he says.
2. …new ventures – a burgeoning US business in partnership with an American sales agency and the embryonic Your Beauty Club, which has Body Shop and Debenhams on board.
CIRCLE: Goldman Sachs-backed fintech startup wants to become the Alipay of Europe with social payment app expansion plans | Lynsey Barber, City A.M. June 15
DZ profile: Circle Uk Trading Limited
Business: former Bitcoin start-up that has shifted its focus towards social payments. Peer-to-peer payments technology company whose mobile payment platform, Circle Pay, allows users to hold, send, and receive traditional fiat currencies - similar to payment app Venmo and Square cash. Circle lets users send payments to each other via its WhatsApp-style chat app and iMessage. It is now letting users do this across borders with no fees ahead of a raft of planned new features (i.e. emoji-friendly social payment) as it ramps up its efforts to make sending cash as easy as sending an email. …. handled more than $1bn of payments last year,
Launched: October 2013. first launched in the UK in April last year
Location: offices in Boston (HQ), San Francisco and Dublin
Founders: American technologists and Internet entrepreneurs, Jeremy Allaire, who previously founded online video company BRIGHTCOVE and Sean Neville
Staff: employs 20 people in Ireland
Investment: has raised $136m to date from investors such as ACCEL PARTNERS, IDG CAPITAL PARTNERS, GENERAL CATALYST and tech company BAIDU, in addition to Goldman Sachs.
1. …is using AI to automate checks and assess risk on transfers, allowing users to make transfers of unlimited value to and from different countries.
2. …. plans to open source its technology called Spark, letting anyone create a fee-free digital wallet in an effort to create open standards and protocol for digital payments.
3. … works with Swift, the global money transfer network used by the world's biggest banks. Interoperability is technically possible in same way as text and email, he said, which work regardless of whether you're with Gmail or Yahoo Mail, EE or Vodafone.
4. After launching in the UK, Circle rolled out to Ireland and Spain late last year. It is available in 15 other markets across Europe such as France and Germany
5. Word of mouth and customer referrals have driven growth … has customers “in the seven figures”. In the 12 months to May that number grew more than 1,000 per cent; in the UK is growing at an average monthly rate of 50 per cent.
6. “It’s more than just launching a consumer bank account. … it’s very valuable to build a franchise.” Americans transfer more than $1bn a month with PayPal's Venmo and Apple recently announced it will add peer-to-peer payments to the iPhone in a major signal of the potential of social payments.
MONESE: Fintech startup is moving further into bank territory (and toward profit) as digital challenger space hots up | Lynsey Barber, City A.M. June 16
DZ profile: Monese Ltd
Business: fintech startup digital challenger bank which offers mobile current accounts aimed at expats, immigrants and "nomads" who otherwise find it difficult to bank with the traditional high-street giants. …has an e-money license to offer banking-like services. Customers can already pay bills, send money and get a contactless debit card with the account for a flat fee of £4.95 per month.
Founder: Chief executive Norris Koppel
Staff: employs 80 staff in Tallinn, Estonia, and Shoreditch
Financials: will soon become profitable solely from charging the monthly fee “in the next 12 months or earlier”.
Investment: raised $10m (£8.2m) in January from ANTHEMIS EXPONENTIAL VENTURES, KOREA INVESTMENT PARTNERS and STE CAPITAL. It follows on from a $1.8m in the summer of 2015 from SEEDCAMP, SMARTCAP along with entrepreneur and Spotify investor Shakil Khan.
1. …has moved a step closer to rivalling major banks with the launch of direct debits, its first step in plans to expand. More than 75 per cent use Monese as a primary account into which they pay a salary. It will also let users, which now number "near six figures", pay in cash at the more than 10,000 Post Offices around the country in a new partnership.
2. … can open accounts within two minutes using "bank-grade KYC" (know your customer) checks, and not just in the UK.
3. It’s not currently fundraising but plans to do so in the “next year or so” to fuel further growth.
4. will not become a full bank…"The way we want to operate is a light current account. … acquiring a bank license would be too much time and money. It's best for our customers to partner with others," said Koppel.