COMPANIES: Farewill to Rock Up

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on January 28, 2019, 9:00 am in News, Other


Thursday February 14th 2019


Thursday February 14th 2019

IMAGE: courtesy of from Pexels


indoor climbing - pie maker - UK radio - snack maker - history website

- cybersecurity - will writer - stock trading –

business lender - vegan snacks


Weybridge :: Sussex :: London x 5 :: Richmond :: Dublin :: Berkshire


Rock Up £3m | Higgidy £25.3m | Global £388m | Graze £72m | Ancient Origins $450k | Exonar | Farewill | Freetrade | Iwoca | Livia's Kitchen £1m


News about 10 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 20th – 26th January 2019:



ROCK UP: indoor climbing - Weybridge

Now you can drive your children up the wall | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. 20 January 2019

DZ profile: Rock Up Limited

Business: chain of indoor climbing centres in Hull, Birmingham, Sheffield, Watford and Fareham. About 500,000 people visited its last year. Three more sites are planned this year, with 10 the aim by 2021

Launched: 2014

Location: Weybridge

Founders: Heidi Duckworth, 42, executive chairman, ex-deal director at private equity house MONTAGU, and Aaran Eade, 48, the operations director, who focuses on the sites’ day-to-day running

Staff: 100 — a mix of full-time and, on weekends and during holidays, student workers — split between the sites.

Financials: made a profit of £164,000 on £3m sales last year

Investment: friends and family helped bankroll the business, raising nearly £2m to date. Duckworth and Eade own 45% of the business, and are in talks with institutional investors to back Rock Up’s growth plans.



HIGGIDY: pie maker - Sussex

Recipe at Higgidy, founded by Camilla Stephens and James Footit, leads to loss | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. 20 January 2019

DZ profile: Higgidy Limited

Business: makes a range of pies, quiches and sausage rolls which are sold in supermarkets such as SAINSBURY’S and WAITROSE. It also supplies cafes and delis.

Launched: 2003

Location: Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex

Founders: Camilla Stephens and husband James Footit

Staff: 300. Managing director Mark Campbell

Financials: Sales up 6% to £25.3m in 2017, with pre-tax profits of £817,000 falling to a £180,000 loss

News: Financial loss blamed on the cost of launching and developing Higgidy’s first vegan pies and pastry-free frittatas, coupled with the rising cost of raw ingredients, had been responsible.



GLOBAL: UK radio - London

Classic FM owner Global, founded by Ashley Tabor, in black | Ben Woods, The Sunday Times. January 20 2019

DZ profile: Global Media & Entertainment Limited (Global)

Business: the UK's largest commercial radio group, Global is the owner of Heart, Capital, LBC and Classic FM radio stations and has more than 50% of the UK’s commercial radio market. Expanded through historical acquisitions, such as Chrysalis Radio, GCap Media and GMG Radio.

Launched: 2007

Location: London

Founder: Ashley Tabor, Executive president

Financials: Global’s pre-tax profits rose to £25m for the year to the end of March, up from a £3m loss in 2017. A 13% increase in radio advertising sales to £329m, helped total sales grow 28% to £388m for the period, while its audience climbed by 3% to 25.1m.



GRAZE: snack maker - Richmond

Bidders Unilever, Kellogg’s and PepsiCo hungry for Graze takeover | Ben Woods and Sabah Meddings, The Sunday Times. 20 January 2019

DZ profile: Nature Delivered Limited (Graze)

Business: maker of snacks sold by SAINSBURY’S, WAITROSE, ASDA, WH SMITH, BOOTS, OCADO, BOOTHS, TESCO EXPRESS and other stores.

Launched: 2007

Location: Richmond

Founders: one of the LoveFilm founders, Graham Bosher, and seven friends

Financials: Sales at Graze’s loss-making parent company, ND1T, fell 5% to £72m in the year to last February.

Investment: Consumer goods giants UNILEVER, KELLOGG’S and PEPSICO have been pursuing the company since it was put up for sale last year. The £300m auction was supposed to close before Christmas, but the company’s US private equity owner, CARLYLE, pushed back the date to the end of February.



ANCIENT ORIGINS: history website - Dublin

Ancient Origins founder Joanna Gillan travels the world to write about history and explore historical locations | Luke Graham, City A.M. 21 January 2019

DZ profile: Stella Novus Limited (Ancient Origins)

Business: history website and online magazine which attracts four million visits each month. The site, which reports on the latest historical discoveries and features new research and theories on lost cities, strange artefacts, and ancient mysteries, has had over 200 contributors. Many of whom with expertise in history and archaeology – these writers have also helped with fact-checking content on the site to maintain its credibility.

Launched: 2013

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Founders: Joanna Gillan and husband Dr Ioannis Syrigos

Staff: the team has grown, with new employees handling everything from search engine optimisation to social media, video, and editing.

Financials: Turnover has increased from $10,000 in its first year to an expected $450,000 this year.


1. What helps set Ancient Origins apart from more pedestrian history websites is that it gives a voice to researchers who pitch alternative ideas that may go against the mainstream historiography.

2. Declining Advertising revenue (for three years its only income source) because of ad blockers and advertisers paying less per ad, helped Ancient Origins to diversify with the launch of a monthly online magazine in September. It hopes this will be physically printed later this year, as well as introducing a premium subscription, where readers can access extra content that’s behind a paywall.

3. Needs to find the right balance between free content to entice and build a readership, and premium, paywalled content to profit from readers keen to support her work. …is exploring other ways to diversify revenue, such as running tours and expeditions for readers, investing more in video, and utilising modern technology to keep readers more engaged. There are also plans to create an augmented reality app, which someone could use while in a historical location.



EXONAR: cybersecurity - Berkshire

Monica Vinader-backer Beringea leads £6.5m round for data startup Exonar | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 21 January 2019

DZ profile: Exonar Limited

Business: UK data privacy and cybersecurity startup. Exonar aims to help firms comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and other legislation by creating an overview of all of their sensitive data, enabling businesses to create inventories and tackle compliance issues more readily and securely.

Launched: 2007

Location: Newbury, Berkshire

Founder: Adrian Barrett, CEO, and Derrick Hirst, Director

Investment: A £6.5m funding round was led by BERINGEA alongside DOWNING VENTURES, and existing investors AMADEUS CAPITAL PARTNERS and WINTON VENTURES.



FAREWILL: will writer - London

Augmentum Fintech backs London will-writing startup Farewill in £7.5m round | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 21 January 2019

DZ profile: Farewill Ltd.

Business: probate startup. Farewill claims to be the largest will writer in the UK, enabling Brits to write and manage their wills online using digital tools and round-the-clock customer service operations. It said it currently writes one in every 30 wills in the country, with plans to reach one in every 10 by the end of this year.


Location: Hackney

Founder: Dan Garrett, chief executive and Tom Rogers, CTO

Investment: London-listed venture fund AUGMENTUM FINTECH announced a £4m injection the firm's £7.5m series A fundraise alongside the venture arms of the Daily Mail (DMGT) and M&C Saatchi (SAATCHiNVEST). Other investors in included Transferwise chief executive Taavet Hinrikus, Innocent Smoothies parent firm JAMJAR, KINDRED CAPITAL, TINY VC and VENTURE FOUNDERS.

News: Farewill said it will use the funding to double its workforce by the end of this year, as it ramps up plans to take further market share in the sector.



FREETRADE: stock trading - London

Robinhood rival Freetrade moves into US stocks as transatlantic retail investing battle hots up | Emily Nicolle, City A.M.  22 January 2019

DZ profile: Freetrade Limited

Business: stock trading platform designed to let users invest in stock markets around the world, with zero commissions or fees. Offers trading for UK stocks to 10,000 users, with more than 90,000 customers still on its waiting list. The app is growing its user base by 10 per cent every week, and hopes to be able to close the waiting list by the end of March. Has today launched US stock trading on its app and will start with a curated list of 120 US stocks, including Apple, Amazon and Tesla.

Launched: 2015

Location: London

Founder: Chief executive Adam Dodds

Staff: 28-person office, the firm is expecting to double its engineering team by the end of March and to reach at least 100 employees by the 2019.

Investment Has raised £1.24m on CROWDCUBE since 2016 and over £4m in total from across its community.

News:  US rival ROBINHOOD, which is valued at $5.6bn (£4.3bn) and has opened 6m accounts, is said to be hiring in London for an impending UK launch.



IWOCA: business lender - London

Business lender Iwoca gets a helping hand with £7.5m from London fund Augmentum Fintech | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 24 January 2019

DZ profile: Iwoca Ltd

Business: Small business lender / fintech which offers credit facilities to small businesses across the UK. It has funded more than 25,000 small and medium-sized businesses (also known as SMEs) across the UK, Germany and Poland.

Launched: 2012

Location: London

Founders: Christoph Rieche and James Dear

Staff: 70

Investment:  Has raised just under £50m in equity funding to date. Its existing investors include Etsy-backer ACTON CAPITAL PARTNERS, the venture arm of Commerzbank, and PRIME VENTURES. Iwoca is planning to close its next funding round within weeks. London-listed fund AUGMENTUM FINTECH has plugged £7.5m into the round, as part of a much larger series D raise to be announced in early February.



LIVIA'S KITCHEN: vegan snacks - London

How Livia's Kitchen became a £1 million empire | Lizzie Edmonds, The Evening Standard. 26 January 2019

DZ profile: Livia's Health Foods Limited (Livia’s Kitchen)

Business: range of gluten, dairy, vegan and sugar-free food including: Raw Millionaire Bites in three flavours; “Nugglets”, bite-sized chunks of dough covered in chocolate; “Biccy Boms”, or a biscuit with date centre. Next month is launching “Dunx” which consists of three oat cookies and a dip. By 2017, was stocked in 30 high street retailers, increasing that to 2,000 in 12 months. Livia’s Kitchen can be found in TESCO, OCADO, WHSMITH, PLANET ORGANIC and WHOLEFOODS MARKET. The company has seen

Launched: 2014


Founder: Olivia Wollenberg, 30, after studying to become a neuroscientist, completing a degree at UCL and two Masters in the field. Ran production from her parents’ home for 18 months before acquiring a north London factory in 2016.

Staff: 11

Financials: growth of 153 per cent year-on-year, with turnover hitting well over £1m last year.