COMPANIES: Mowgli to Hyperloop

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on October 16, 2017, 9:00 am in News, Other


Computer games developer

- Indian street food restaurants -

Fitness chain - New transport concept


Sumo Digital | Mowgli £5m | Soho Gyms £7.9m | Hyperloop One


News about 4 growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 8th – 14th October 2017:


SUMO DIGITAL: computer games developer
Games designers line up £150m float | Daniel Dunkley, The Sunday Times. October 8
DZ profile: Sumo Digital Ltd.
Business: computer games developer, creator of titles such as Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. It produces games for devices including Xbox, Wii and PlayStation.
Launched: 2003
Location: Sheffield
Founders: Carl Cavers and Paul Porter
Staff: about 400 people across sites in Sheffield, Nottingham and the Indian city of Pune
Investment: The private equity firm PERWYN has majority control of the business, following a buyout in September last year. Has enlisted ZEUS CAPITAL to advise on a £150m float in London. The co-founders stand to reap a windfall from the listing, having retained sizeable minority stakes.

1. Was named best large independent studio at the TIGA awards last year.

Sumo Digital, set up by Carl Cavers and Paul Porter, heads for £145m float | The Sunday Times. December 17, 2017

2. to lay out plans for a £145m stock market float tomorrow. ...will crystallise large paper fortunes for its founders. Shareholders are expected to sell about £40m in the offering, with the company selling a similar amount to fund expansion.
China crackdown clouds future for UK gaming groups | Hannah Murphy, FT. September 15, 2018

3. listed on Aim in December last year, raising £78.2m — with roughly half going to the company and the other half to selling shareholders. Investors include BLACKROCK, with nearly 10 per cent, and LIONTRUST INVESTMENT and SCHRODERS, which hold 5.3 per cent and 4.3 per cent stakes respectively.

4. Shortly after its listing, Sumo posted a pre-tax loss of £28m in 2017 — widened from a £2.1m loss the previous year — owing to extra investment ahead of its flotation and also the acquisition of motion graphics design company ATOMHAWK DESIGN. ....revenues were up 27 per cent to £30.6m. 

5. in mid-August the company bought video game development studio THE CHINESE ROOM FOR a total consideration of £2.2m. It said the move would help it “accelerate” the development of in-house intellectual property and bring in new talent. The company is now trading at 155p, up by around 25 per cent since it averaged around 114p on its first day of trading. It has a market capitalisation of £232m.



MOWGLI: Indian street food restaurants
How I Made It: Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. October 8
DZ profile: Mowgli Street Food Limited
Business: chain of Indian street food restaurants in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham and plans five more in the next year in Nottingham, Oxford and London. The menu at Mowgli (which was Katona’s pet name for her children) is largely vegan.
Launched: 2013
Location: Liverpool
Founder: Nisha Katona …gave up her job as a barrister three years ago. She has written cookery books and appeared on TV.
Financials: In the 12 months to the end of July, the business made a pre-tax profit of £904,000 on sales of £5m.
Investment: Earlier this year, Mowgli received £3.4m investment from the private equity firm FORESIGHT PARTNERS. The cash will be used to expand the chain

1. She does not employ Indian chefs because they all want to tamper with recipes using “ideas passed down from their grandmothers”. She hires “curry virgins” and trains them herself.


Can RBS queen solve female founders’ woes? | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. March 3 2019

2. When she started her Indian street food business ...Nisha Katona, 47,  struggled to convince her bank that it was worth backing. She had worked as a barrister for 20 years …. early meeting at her local NatWest. She secured a £30,000 loan — “barely enough to buy an oven” — and from there has built Mowgli into a chain of seven restaurants with sales of £8.6m.



SOHO GYMS: fitness chain
Soho Gyms in a sweat as rivals get leaner | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. October 11.
DZ profile: Ovalhouse Limited (Soho Gyms)
Business: Fitness chain with 10 fitness clubs in London
Launched: 1983
Location: London
Financials: Turnover in the year to January fell to £7.9m from £8.2m, and pre-tax profit decreased to £449,633 from £589,760 after expansion.
News: Soho Gyms has revealed budget rivals muscling in on its turf have hurt sales and profits as London’s gym bunnies cut spending. Rival The Gym Group charges an average £17 a month membership, whereas Soho Gyms — which Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct considered buying in 2015 — charges from £64.99 a month at its Holborn site. The business …added that “political uncertainty is not helping the consumer or staff recruitment”, and also flagged up higher rents, wages and business rates.



HYPERLOOP ONE: new transport concept
Richard Branson's Virgin Group just invested in Hyperloop One, the crazy superfast transport idea of Elon Musk | Lynsey Barber, City A.M. October 12.
DZ profile: Hyperloop Technologies Inc.
Business: the Hyperloop train, the transport concept which could reduce the time it takes to travel between London and Edinburgh to just 50 minutes. The Hyperloop concept was invented by Elon Musk, but Hyperloop One is a separate company and one of many working on the transport technology. The idea is that pods will travel at hundreds of miles per hour through tubes under the ground, reducing hours-long journeys to mere minutes. Tests of Hyperloop One in the desert of Nevada have resulted in speeds of almost 200mph in recent months.
Launched: 2014
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Founders: One of Hyperloop One's co-founders, head of engineering Josh Giegel, previously worked for Branson at his Virgin Galactic space venture. Shervin Pishevar, an entrepreneur and venture capital investor who has backed Uber and Airbnb, is a co-founder.
Staff: 300+
Investment: Richard Branson has announced an investment in Hyperloop One by VIRGIN GROUP, which will now be renamed Virgin Hyperloop One. Virgin's investment is part of Hyperloop One's recently announced $85m series B round announced just a few weeks ago, bringing total funding to $245m. The exact size of Virgin's investment has not been disclosed.