COMPANIES: Hectare Agritech to WorldFirst

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on February 18, 2019, 9:00 am in News, Other


IMAGE: courtesy of Liam Gant from Pexels



male pharma - online gambling - agriculture marketplace - medicinal cannabis

- brewery - agritech - b2b marketplace – international payments -

regenerative medicine


London x 5 :: Hampshire :: Norwich :: Devon :: Leeds


Many | Stride Gaming £85.5m | Hectare Agritech | Emmac Life Sciences | Beavertown Brewery £12m | Tropic Biosciences $2.1m | Applegate | WorldFirst £86m | Tissue Regenix £11.6m


News about 9 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 10th – 16th February 2019:



MANY: male pharma - London

Cash lift for online chemist Many | The Sunday Times. February 10 2019

DZ profile: Satio Pharma Ltd. (Many)

Business: online pharmacy for men that seeks to tackle increasing levels of erectile dysfunction among millennials

Launched: 2018

Location: London

Founders: identical twins Riccardo and Alessio Bruni, 30 - both former investment bankers — and their friend, Nicholas Lory, a film producer.

Investment: has raised £1.4m from LOCALGLOBE and Innocent and JamJar Investments founder Richard Reed.



STRIDE GAMING: online gambling

Online bingo owner Stride Gaming calls bankers for sale | Sabah Meddings, The Sunday Times. February 10 2019

DZ profile: Stride Gaming

Business: online gambling company behind Kitty Bingo and Bingo Extra which has an 11% share of the UK online bingo market. Licensed software to provide online bingo, casino and slot gaming and a social gaming mobile application

Launched: 2012

Location: London

Staff: 300 employees across the UK – London and Manchester, Mauritius, Israel, South Africa, and Guernsey, with its headquarters based in London. Its chairman, Nigel Payne, is the former chief executive of SPORTINGBET.

Financials: Key Fundamentals to 31-Aug-18 - Revenue £85.5m; Pre-Tax -£0.2m

Investment: is listed on AIM. Is understood to have instructed bankers at its stockbroker INVESTEC to find a buyer

News: was fined £4m last September for “compliance failures”. The shares have fallen in recent months after a second fine in November, relating to a subsidiary, Daub Alderney, which was hit with a £7.1m penalty for its failings in “anti-money laundering” and “social responsibility procedures”.



HECTARE AGRITECH: agriculture marketplace - Hampshire

Swipe right for a heifer with app Tudder | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. February 10 2019

DZ profile: Hectare Agritech Limited

Business: UK-based online marketplace for the agriculture sector that runs SellMyLivestock (SML) and Graindex, a UK-based online agritech trading platform. …has listed over £50 million ($64 million) of livestock, feed and bedding to sell in the last year. “Tudder” is a Tinder-inspired app farming app that helps cattle breeders find a match for their livestock and includes picture profiles of cattle from 43,000 British farms …with details such as their progeny, calving ability and expected market value. Its dedicated funds transfer system, Farmpay, removes the credit risk of transacting with unknown third parties.

Launched: 2012

Location: Rowland’s Castle, Hampshire

Founders: Dan Luff, a beef farmer, Jamie McInnes, 34, a web developer and Andrew Huxham

Staff: 14

Investment: has raised £2.8m, including £500,000 through its third investment round on equity crowdfunding platform SEEDRS involving more than 320 investors. 



EMMAC LIFE SCIENCES: medicinal cannabis - London

Cannabis firm Emmac Life Sciences to light up in London | Rachel Millard, The Sunday Times. February 10, 2019

DZ profile: Emmac Life Sciences Limited

Business: medicinal start-up set up last year which aims to become Europe’s leading supplier and producer of cannabis. It is working with IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON to research treatments for pain relief during surgery. Last year it bought a majority stake in drug maker MEDALCHEMY.

Launched: 2018

Location: London

Staff: Led by Antonio Costanzo, who previously worked at the Toronto-listed cannabis producer Nuuvera

Investment: Sciences is believed to be working with broker CANACCORD GENUITY on a listing that could value it at £400m.



BEAVERTOWN BREWERY: brewery - London

Whole lotta love for beer | Liam Kelly The Sunday Times. February 10, 2019

DZ profile: Beavertown Brewery Ltd

Business: brewery whose beers come in cans emblazoned with eye-catching cartoons, is now sold in bars and pubs across Britain.

Launched: 2011

Location: Tottenham, north London

Founder: Logan Plant, 40, son of Led Zeppelin singer Robert set up barbecue restaurant, Duke’s Brew & Que in east London’s De Beauvoir town, where he brewed beer in the cellar.

Staff: 95

Financials: made pre-tax profits of £1.2m on sales of £12m last year …sold the equivalent of 20m cans

Investment: sold a 49% stake to HEINEKEN for £40m last June. Plant owns a majority stake with his wife, Bridget, who is a director of the company.



TROPIC BIOSCIENCES: agritech - Norwich

Gene editing: how agritech is fighting to shape the food we eat | Emiko Terazono and Clive Cookson, FT. February 10, 2019

DZ profile: Tropic Biosciences Uk Limited

Business: agritech start-up using gene editing to produce bananas with an extended shelf-life and coffee beans without caffeine. But within four to six years, says, it hopes to commercialise a Cavendish banana — the variety that accounts for about 95 per cent of the fruit sold worldwide — which is resistant to the fungus known as TR4.

Launched: 2016

Location: JOHN INNES CENTRE, a plant science research lab in Norwich

Founders: chief executive Gilad Gershon; Ofir Meir, chief technology officer; Eyal Maori

Staff: 17

Financials: $2.1m turnover

Investment: in June 2018 raised $10m in Series A funding led by agrifood tech venture funds PONTIFAX AGTECH and FIVE SEASONS VENTURES. Other investors included TEKFEN VENTURES, EMERALD TECHNOLOGY VENTURES, and Chinese agrifood accelerator BITS X BITES. Partners include: UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund; Cambridge Agritech.                                                         



APPLEGATE: b2b marketplace - Devon

Degree-level apprentices prove game-changer for small business | Jonathan Moules, FT. February 11, 2019

DZ profile: Applegate Marketplace Ltd.

Business: online marketplace for corporate supplies

Launched:  2000

Location: Barnstaple, north Devon

Staff: 31. Stuart Brocklehurst, chief executive


1. 8 of Applegate’s 31 staff are employed as chartered management degree apprentices, the most popular of these workplace training courses under the apprenticeships levy introduced in April 2017. Applegate’s degree apprentices commit to five years with the company during which time they study for a business degree one day a week at the UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH, which has a campus site next to Applegate’s office. Applegate also benefits as a small business because under the levy scheme it only pays 10 per cent of the degree apprenticeship costs. The rest is funded from public funds and the overall levy pot funded by larger companies.

2. August 2017: Applegate awarded a grant from INNOVATE UK to support its development of Artificial Intelligence to validate Requests For Quotation (RFQs) and improve the allocation of suppliers to buyers’ requests.



WORLDFIRST: international payments

China’s Ant Financial agrees to buy WorldFirst in $700m deal | Nicholas Megaw, FT. February 14, 2019

DZ profile: World First Uk Limited

Business: British payments company which provides international money transfers and currency exchange services for both individuals and businesses. Has been particularly targeting small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses over the past year by offering free accounts in multiple currencies.

Launched: 2004

Location: London

Founders: former Citigroup bankers Jonathan Quin, chief executive, and Nick Robinson

Staff: 600

Financials: revenues of £86m and a pre-tax profit of £8.3m in 2017

Investment: ANT FINANCIAL has agreed to buy WorldFirst in a deal said to be worth around $700m. In 2013, US private equity group FTV CAPITAL acquired a 40 per cent stake alongside the STEPSTONE GROUP. Former Bank of England deputy governor David Clementi, who chaired the company since 2006, held a small stake.


1. Ant Financial, the fintech affiliate of internet giant ALIBABA, is the world’s most valuable technology start-up, and was valued at $150bn in its last funding round in 2018. It is best known for its ALIPAY mobile payments platform, but also runs businesses including a credit rating system and cloud computing service. Alipay is already available in a limited number of areas in Europe, but the WorldFirst acquisition will bring a major step-up in the breadth of its operations outside of Asia. mark the biggest expansion into western markets by China’s leading mobile payments provider.

2. In January WorldFirst decided to discontinue its US operations to facilitate the Ant takeover. Ant Financial was forced to abandon a proposed $1.2bn proposal to buy MONEYGRAM, a US money transfer business and to pay a $30m termination fee after it failed to win support from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) …over concerns about handing over the financial data of US citizens to a company partly owned by Chinese government funds.



Drug start-ups move out of UK’s ‘golden triangle’ | Sarah Neville, FT.  February 15, 2019


TISSUE REGENIX: regenerative medicine - Leeds

DZ profile: Tissue Regenix Group Plc

Business: is developing regenerative products to make replacement body parts using biological tissues, both human and animal. … global regenerative medicine market worth an estimated $6.5bn.

Launched: 2006

Location: Leeds, Yorkshire

Staff: Steve Couldwell, chief executive

Financials: underlying revenues grew by 47 per cent to £11.6m in 2018. To 31-Dec-17 Revenue £5.2m, Pre-Tax -£10.8m.

Investment: Spun out of UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS in 2006. Floated on AIM 29 Jun 2010. With a market cap of about £88m, shares fell more than 6 per cent in the past year and are currently 7.49p                                 

News: acquired biotech CELLRIGHT TECHNOLOGIES in 2017.