COMPANIES: Okido to Union Industries

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on November 26, 2018, 9:00 am in News, Other


Thursday February 14th 2019


Thursday February 14th 2019

IMAGE: courtesy of from Pexels



open banking app - aircraft hangar curtains - electronics retailer

- kids’ magazine - defence equipment –



London x 2 :: Leeds :: Cambridge :: Farnborough :: Brighton


Banked | Union Industries £5m | Velocity Outlet £11.5m | Okido | TP Group £29.5m | FDM Group £233.6m

News about 6 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 18th – 24th November 2018:



BANKED: open banking app - London

Data start-up’s £1.5m boost | The Sunday Times. November 18 2018

DZ profile: Studioh67 Ltd (Banked)

Business: financial technology start-up which charges software developers for access to a database of customers’ information generated by open banking regulations Banked aims to open up the possibilities of financial data by providing a trustworthy channel of communication between banks, businesses and individuals.

Launched: 2018

Location: London

Founder: chief executive Brad Goodall, its Australian co-founder, previously launched digital outfit 10x FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES with former Barclays boss Antony Jenkins

Investment: has raised £1.5m from London-based venture capital firm BACKED VC to build and launch its platform and is in talks with other investors for a potential secondary seed raise.



UNION INDUSTRIES: industrial doors - Leeds

You’ve worked so hard, you can have the firm | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. November 18 2018

DZ profile: Ralph Ellerker (1795) Limited (Union Industries)

Business: manufacturer of industrial products such as industrial doors and aircraft hangar curtains. Clients include Asda, Tesco and Jaguar Land Rover.

Launched: 1964

Location: Leeds

Founders: Paul, 80 and Isobel Schofield

Staff: 70. Andrew Lane, became Union Industries’ managing director during the move to employee ownership four years ago

Financials: Sales came in at more than £5m in 2014 and profits at Union Industries had increased every year since the structure was changed

Investment: In 2014 the founders decided to sell Union Industries to its employees, meaning that all 70 members of staff received shares and a say in its future. The deal valued the company at about £5.5m and qualified the couple for a tax break they would not have received through a standard sale



VELOCITY OUTLET: electronics retailer - Cambridge

We took redundancy — and made a fortune on eBay | Liam Kelly The Sunday Times.November 18 2018

DZ profile: Velocity Outlet Ltd

Business: electronics retailer which sells its own audio brand as well as clearance electricals stock, mainly on eBay. Their first purchase was 3,500 laptop bags, which sold out. Some of their next goods flopped, however, such as a batch of phone cases that cost £20,000 and sold for just £5,000, and refurbished doorbells that did not work and had to be thrown away. 3 years ago Latham and Scott launched their own brand of audio equipment, called Majority. The range, which includes digital radios and soundbars, now accounts for 50% of sales. They also decided to become authorised sellers on eBay for brands such as Hoover.

Launched: 22

Location: Cambridge

Founders: Eddie Latham, 33 and PJ Scott, 34 who met at, which was taken over by Japan’s Rakuten in 2011. Latham handles imports while Scott, runs the warehouse and customer service operations.

Financials: after a year, Velocity was making sales of £100,000 a month. The latest annual results showed pre-tax profits of £1.3m on sales of £11.5m.

Investment: The founders still own 50% each of the company and have no plans to take external investment.



OKIDO: kids’ magazine - London

Dynamic duo who’ve become TV stars with their Messy approach to teaching science | Lucy Tobin The Evening Standard. 19 November 2018

DZ profile: Doodle Productions Limited (Okido)

Business: an independent British quarterly illustrated art and science magazine aimed at three to eight year-old children. It features a monster called Messy that also launched a popular CBeebies programme, live kids’ events and toy spin-offs. Okido is made of recycled paper and edible, vegetable ink. Now the magazine has a print run of 8000, although they are considering stopping selling from newsstands in the new year to reduce waste, because hundreds of copies can be pulped.

Launched: 2011

Location: London

Founder: Sophie Dauvois, 56 - who has two science PhDs and previously worked for Cancer Research UK - and Rachel Ortas who was working as artist-in-residence at art college Central St Martins.

Financials: 2 Wellcome Trust awards, together worth £140,000 helped to put Okido on a financially sustainable footing.


1. They invested £5000 of savings into a first issue of Okido (the name is a mishmash of “kid” and “okey-dokey”) with a print run of 2000, and artwork by student designers and illustrators from St Martins. The first issue took the duo and their students eight months to produce, and the first stockists were shops who already sold Ortas’ illustrated cards, such as Tate Modern and the Design Museum. Two years later, the two won a distribution deal that saw Okido hit Waterstones and WH Smith.

2. Today it takes four weeks to work on each monthly edition, usually full of games, stories and recipes, with Messy monster learning about a theme such as the human body or mammals, or genes, or renewable energy.

3. Messy’s small-screen stardom began in 2011: a sister of one of Okido’s staff worked for production company SQUINT/OPERA, which conjured up a TV show based on Messy and the magazine’s other characters.  Okido signed a joint venture with Squint/Opera and raised £1.3m from angels, mainly clients, family and friends, before CBeebies snapped up the rights to the CGI-animated show.  It first screened in September 2015, and quickly entered iPlayer’s 50 most-watched programmes. The BBC has commissioned a third series of 26, 11-minute episodes, and the duo are considering another fundraiser to launch more apps and digital games.



TP GROUP: defence equipment - Farnborough

TP Group's slowly but surely acquisitions approach looks to be working | Mark Shapland, The Evening Standard. 19 November 2018

DZ profile: TP Group Plc

Business: Provides air purification equipment for Royal Navy submarines. TP Group started out making compressors for the oil and gas industry, but then in 2014 it moved into the defence sector where it believed it could make more money. To gain a foothold in the defence industry the company made a series of acquisitions, including SHAW SHEET METAL, a company that laser cuts metal, in 2015.

Launched: 1996

Location: Farnborough

Staff: chief executive Phil Cartmell

Financials: to 31-Dec-17 - Revenue £29.5m; Pre-Tax -£0.6m. Target of £100m revenue by 2020. Since raising a £20.8m war chest for potential acquisition targets in July last year it has bought consultancy firm POLARIS CONSULTING and computer server supplier WESTEK TECHNOLOGY for £3.5m each. Last year, the consulting division increased revenues by 73% year on year to £5.m, while its order book grew by 151% to £7.8m. The performance benefited from its acquisition of Polaris, which has army contracts.

Investment: floated on AIM in July 2001.


1. Cartmell says the company is in discussions to close one more deal this year and that there are another 20 potential acquisition targets. …adding that all acquisitions and takeover targets are earnings enhancing in the first year.

2. has been boosted by a string of contract wins, including a £12.5m contract with the MINISTRY OF DEFENCE in May, which will see the group produce combined oxygen generating systems.

3. On the back of the new contract, the group has invested £1.5m on upgrading is Dukinfield plant with state-of-the-art engineering capabilities.



FDM GROUP: consultancy - Brighton

‘Govtech’ spurs smaller UK IT companies | Aliya Ram, FT. November 23, 2018

DZ profile: FDM Group (holdings) Plc

Business: began as a business to train freelancers and employees in technical skills and deploy them in workplaces that do not have the knowhow to complete specialised projects. Now, the business employs almost all its staff around the world full-time and teaches a range of skills from coding to more general business analysis. Clients include the DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS, BANK OF AMERICA, BUPA, HSBC, SKY, BET365, VIRGIN MEDIA, NATIONAL GRID, BRITISH AIRWAYS, CANCER RESEARCH, CHANNEL 4, NEWS UK and the HOME OFFICE.

Launched: 1991

Location: Brighton

Founder: Rod Flavell, chief executive and one of the company’s original founders

Staff: 5,000

Financials: to 31-Dec-17 - Revenue £233.6m; Pre-Tax £43.7m.

Investment:  quoted on the London Stock Exchange Main Market since June 2014.