COMPANIES: Duco to Symphony

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on February 5, 2018, 9:00 am in News, Other

IMAGE: courtesy of Pixabay on Pexels


Medical diagnostics - Bank software

- Sports equipment - Plastics -

Muslim dating


EKF £38.6m | Duco | Net World Sports £18.2m | Symphony £8.2m | Muzmatch


News about 5 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 28th January – 3rd February 2018:


EKF: Medical diagnostics - Cardiff

Welsh boffins at EKF use AI for kidney disease | Sabah Meddings, The Sunday Times. January 28 2018

DZ profile: EKF Diagnostics Holdings plc

Business: diagnostics company which makes medical devices to monitor blood glucose levels and haemoglobin analysers

Launched: 1990

Location: Cardiff

Founder: Berthold Walter in Barleben near Magdeburg, Germany

Financials: to 31-Dec-16 - Revenue £38.6m; Pre-Tax -£1m

Investment: London-listed. AIM since 07 Jul 2010.

News: is raising $25m (£17.6m) to float one of its divisions in America — then use the funds to develop artificial intelligence tracking kidney disease. …hopes the new company can help it secure deals with big hospital groups across the US. RenaltyxAI will mine data from medical records and biobanks to help doctors predict which patients with type one and two diabetes will go on to develop chronic kidney disease — enabling physicians to intervene early. If untreated, diabetic kidney disease can progress to end stage renal disease. Julian Baines, chief executive of EKF, will become chairman of the new company. Baines is hoping to inject cash into the company within the next six months. “With chronic kidney disease, 90% of the time people find out too late,” he said. “With our technology, patients will be tested and can monitor their progress using their mobile phones.”



DUCO: Bank software - London

London fintech start-up Duco raises £20m | Peter Evans - The Sunday Times. January 28 2018

DZ profile: Duco Technology Limited

Business: developer of software used by banks and hedge funds, which allows financial institutions to manipulate enormous amounts of data through remote internet servers, popularly known as the cloud. Its current clients include the French bank SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE, Holland’s ING and the broker REDBURN.

Launched: 2010

Location: London

Founder: computer science postgraduate from University College London - chief executive Christian Nentwich, 40  - after the financial crisis

Staff: 50

Investment: has raised $28m (£19.8m)  …the investors behind Duco’s latest funding included Fidelity International’s investment arm EIGHT ROADS and INSIGHT VENTURE PARTNERS, both of which backed the $500bn ecommerce giant Alibaba and Michael Spencer’s NEX GROUP.  It is understood the funding round values the company at about $100m. The business will use the cash to hire more staff and invest in expansion in the US and Asia.



NET WORLD SPORTS: Sports equipment - Wales

Howzat! Opening with cricket bats let me net profits | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. January 28 2018

DZ profile: Net World Sports Limited

Business: sell its own brand of sports equipment from footballs and goalposts to rugby tackling bags and golf balls. Nets — for goals, cricket cages and tennis courts — are the core of the business.

Launched: 2009

Location: Wrexham, Wales

Founder: Alex Loven, 30

Staff: more than 100 people

Financials: In the first full year, 2010, when it was just Loven and his father, turnover topped £1m. In the year to September 2016, it made a pre-tax profit of £1.8m on sales of £11.6m. Revenue grew further to £18.2m last year, earning a place in the latest Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies.

Investment: Loven owns 98% of the business, and his parents 1% each.


1. has recently bought a 45-acre site to build a new warehouse.

2. Developing his own distinct range of sports kit brought early success. Loven created the Forza football range and Vermont tennis net posts rather than stocking more famous labels. The Forza goals have proven a hit, and Net World Sports supplies families and schools as well as Premier League football clubs.

3. He is bullish about the outlook once Britain leaves the EU, as his biggest export markets are to non-EU countries such as America, Canada and Australia. Before the referendum, Loven put up “leave” signs outside the Net World Sports site.



SYMPHONY: Plastics - Hertfordshire

AIM-listed Symphony thinks it can solve the world's plastics problem | Mark Shapland, The Evening Standard. January 29, 2017

DZ profile:  Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc

Business: produces additives that it says can make plastic into biodegradable material

Launched: 1995

Location: Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

Founders: Michael Laurier, Chief executive and Ian Bristow, Finance Director

Financials: revenues will finish the year somewhere in the vicinity of £8.2m vs £6.8m posted 12 months earlier.

Investment: floated on AIM in 2001


1. ...only since the start of last year that its share price has picked up. The major turning point came in December 2016 when Saudi Arabia passed legislation making it compulsory for all plastic products to be made with biodegradable material. 

Eco-friendly upstarts face tough challenges to build trust | Anna Gross, FT. March 15, 2019
2. Revenues for 2018 were £8.6m — a 5 per cent increase on 2017, thanks to a healthy international market. ...has done well in the Middle East and Latin America, with particular success in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Pakistan, where the law now stipulates that all plastics must contain biodegradable additives. But success has been elusive in Europe

3. Following a BBC report in 2018 questioning how well the product worked .... shares fell 81.5 per cent in the second half of the year, from 33.75p to 5.75p. The company was worth £51m and has since lost four-fifths of its value.


MUZMATCH: Muslim - London

Muslim dating app Muzmatch raises funds to expand overseas | Laura Onita, The Evening Standard. January 30, 2018

DZ profile: Muzmatch Limited

Business: dating app for Muslims. “Muslims don’t really date, we get married,” said Younas, chief executive. “Mainstream apps don’t serve this kind of market.” Users can choose not to show photos on their profiles or blur them. It also has a chaperoning option, whereby the in-app chats are sent to a guardian. Has more than 350,000 users in 160 countries, although Britain still accounts for around half.

Launched: 2015

Location: Aldgate, central London

Founders: Shahzad Younas, 33, an ex-investment banker for Morgan Stanley, and Ryan Brodie, 24, a software engineer

Financials: currently profitable

Investment: has raised £1.5 million from a clutch of investors to expand overseas and grow the team. Investors HAMBRO PERKS — co-founded by City veteran Rupert Hambro — and Y COMBINATOR have bought a minority stake.  

News: The founders will use the cash to boost their presence in countries including America and Canada and beef up their platform