COMPANIES: Faculty AI to Kinteract

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on April 15, 2019, 9:00 am in News, Other

IMAGE: courtesy of Pixabay from Pexels



mexican restaurants – neuroscience – tv production – digital banking software

– housebuilder– financial simulation – consumer growth – baby products –

data science consultancy – educational assessment - live music bars -

 password authentication 


London x 7 :: Buckinghamshire :: Milton Keynes :: Isleworth :: Cambridge


Wahaca £47.9m | Cambridge Cognition £6.1m | Love Productions £61m | 11:FS £9.5m | Storey Homes  £15m | Simudyne | Attest | Kit & Kin | Faculty AI | Kinteract | The Piano Works £9m | Pixelpin


News about 12 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 31st March - 13th April 2019:



WAHACA: Mexican restaurants - London


Rising costs bite Wahaca | The Sunday Times. March 31 2019

DZ profile: Oaxaca Limited (wahaca)

Business: Mexican-themed restaurant chain which has 25 outlets

Launched: 2006

Location: London

Founder: MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers and chief executive Mark Selby

Financials: Modest sales lift to £47.9m + pre-tax losses of £4.9m for the year ending last June, for a second consecutive year, as expenses rose and depreciation of its assets continued. In 2016 it was hit by a norovirus outbreak that drove it into the red.



UK biotechs lead the way in early detection of deadly diseases | Sarah Neville, FT. April 6, 2019


CAMBRIDGE COGNITION: neuroscience - Cambridge


DZ profile: Cambridge Cognition Limited

Business: neuroscience company focused on more accurate detection of diseases of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and depression, it offers a large suite of computerised tests, which measure areas such as memory and reaction time to assess cognitive function

Launched: 2001

Location: Cambridge

Staff: Dr. Steven Powell, chief executive,

Financials: Key Fundamentals to 31-Dec-18 - Revenue £6.1m; Pre-Tax loss -£-1.5m. Delay in signing some large contracts — eventually concluded this year — caused the company to miss 2018 revenue expectations. Its adjusted pre-tax loss was £1.5m last year compared with £70,000 a year earlier.

Investment: AIM Admission date 18 Apr 2013. recently raised £2.5m in capital through a share issuance

News: Claims that its products are easing the strain on the NHS and hospital memory clinics … allows GPs to determine whether a patient has a memory concern because “they are simply ageing” or because of something more serious, such as dementia.


LOVE PRODUCTIONS: tv production - Isleworth


Dough rolls in for Bake Off maker Love Productions | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. April 7 2019

DZ profile: Love Productions Limited

Business: TV production company which makes the Great British Bake Off – the hugely popular cookery programme which moved from the BBC to Channel 4 Iin an estimated £25m-a-year deal - as well as the Great British Sewing Bee and the Biggest Little Railway in the World

Launched: 2004

Location: Isleworth

Financials: pre-tax profits up by 400% to £24.2m in the year ending last June. Sales more than doubled to £61m

Investment: was 70% owned by SKY, but that stake is now held by COMCAST after the £30bn takeover of the broadcasting giant last September. It paid a £5m dividend.



11:FS: digital banking software - London


Techie David Brear, co-founder of 11:FS, drags banks into the 21st century — with podcasts | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. April 7 2019


DZ profile: Eleven FS Group Limited (11:FS)

Business: consultancy - a digital bank builder used by banks such as NATWEST and STANDARD CHARTERED. It also offers research into how banks acquire customers. Last year 11:FS built Mettle — a new digital bank for small businesses — on behalf of NatWest. It is also creating digital banks in America and Africa.

Launched: 2016

Location: London

Founder: David Brear, 38. 4 co-founders who included Jason Bates, who helped to launch the digital banks Monzo and Starling, and Simon Taylor, who led research and development into blockchain at Barclays.

Financials: made a pre-tax profit of £2.2m on sales of £9.5m in the year ending last September

Investment: The business has been “bootstrapped” …its only outside investor is the Norwegian banking giant DNB, which has a small stake. Brear remains the majority owner.

News: … passionate fanbase. Brear co-hosts 11:FS’s twice-weekly podcast, Fintech Insider, which has been downloaded in more than 180 countries and is always near the top of the business podcast charts. The firm’s online shop sells branded T-shirts and bags.



STOREY HOMES: housebuilder - Milton Keynes


Is this the end for the little housebuilders? | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. April 7 2019


DZ profile: Storey Property Developments Limited (Storey Homes)

Business: small housebuilder which builds 75 homes a year

Launched: 2003

Location: Milton Keynes

Founder: Katy Jordan

Financials: turns over about £15m

News: ….small housebuilders everywhere bemoan the time and cost of going through the planning system, as well as problems accessing bank finance.….Storey Homes has spent three years struggling to get the green light for a 203-unit scheme for houses and flats in Woburn Sands, near Milton Keynes ….bought a plot of land …applied for planning permission in April 2016. .. was recommended for approval by council officials, it was rejected by the elected councillors on the planning committee. In 1987, small and medium-sized housebuilders accounted for 71% of housing starts. By 2017 it was 37%. ….small and medium-sized enterprises housebuilders fell from a high of 12,490 in 1988 to 1,839 in 2017. The financial crisis wiped out thousands, and many have not returned. 



SIMUDYNE: financial simulation - London


Barclays plugs $6m into London financial tech startup Simudyne | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 8 April 2019


DZ profile: Simudyne Limited

Business: Financial simulation technology firm whose software allows financial institutions to test drive decisions and build analytics through agent-based modelling. ….to help banks solve challenges such as understanding market contagion, stress testing and simulating market execution

Launched: 2007

Location: London

Staff: Chief executive Justin Lyon

Financials: said it has increased its revenue 600 per cent in the last year alone

Investment: today announces the close of a $6m (£4.6m) series A funding round, led by BARCLAYS. Early Snap and Lyft investor GRAPHENE VENTURES also joined the round, alongside GAUSS VENTURES which has previously backed digital banks Revolut and Tandem. The round raises Simudyne’s total amount of investment to date to reach $10m.



ATTEST: consumer growth - London


London tech startup Attest closes $16m from Groupon investor NEA | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 8 April 2019


DZ profile: Attest Technologies Limited

Business: Consumer growth technology platform, which is used by businesses to learn, measure and grow their consumer engagement. Clients include HEINEKEN, FEVER-TREE, SAMSUNG, DELIVEROO, TWITTER, TREATWELL. MC & SAATCHI, UNILEVER.

Launched: 2015

Location: London Bridge

Founder: Jeremy King, CEO

Staff: has doubled in size to more than 50 staff in the past year. Chief executive Jeremy King.

Financials: recurring revenue rising 1,800 per cent in 2018

Investment: has secured a $16m (£12.3m) series A funding round from Silicon Valley-based investment firm NEA. Existing investors OXFORD CAPITAL and EPISODE 1 VENTURES also participated in the round.

News: use the fresh funding to expand its technology platform and accelerate its expansion in North America by opening an office in New York.



KIT & KIN: baby products - Buckinghamshire


Baby Spice’s baby startup Kit & Kin breaks record for fastest angel investment | James Warrington, City A.M. 8 April 2019


DZ profile: Kit & Kin Ltd

Business: eco-friendly baby product - nappy and skincare - company

Launched: 2015

Location: Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

Founder: by former Spice Girls singer Emma Bunton alongside business partner Christopher Money.

Investment: has broken a record for the fastest fundraising round from angel investors in February.  …achieved its target of £420,000 in just one week through online site Angel Investment Network (AIN), the fastest raise in the platform’s history. The firm was ultimately offered more than £1m in fresh funding, but opted to accept only its target amount. AIN said raises of that size would normally take six weeks. will use the investment for staff, expansion and stock supply to service large orders.



FACULTY AI: data science consultancy - London


Businesses show no appetite for anti-terror AI tool | Madhumita Murgia and David Bond, FT. April 8, 2019


DZ profile: Faculty Science Limited (Faculty.AI)

Business: Consultancy team of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) specialists that deliver professional data science strategy, software and skills training. Clients include:  BBC, EASYJET, HOME OFFICE, SAMSUNG, NATIONAL RAIL

Launched: 2014

Location: London

Founder: Dr Marc Warner, CEO; Dr Angie Ma, COO; Andrew Brookes, CTO


1. Its artificial intelligence tool to help tech firms take down terrorist propaganda has not been adopted by a single company, more than a year after it was launched. … regulatory pressure has pushed it down their priority list. The algorithm scans videos for Isis and al-Qaeda material, as well as more generic terrorist content such as bomb-making instructions. It was provided free of cost to smaller video sharing platforms, such as Vimeo, pCloud and Telegram-owned, in February last year. The HOME OFFICE invested £600,000 in the project because it believed that the relatively smaller platforms did not have the resources to develop their own tools to take down terrorist-related content, compared to video giants such as YouTube and Facebook.

2. … has found a new application as a method for police to speed up the evidence-gathering process on devices obtained from terror suspects. The software takes 10-20 minutes to sift through thousands of videos, compared to hours for a human police officer. Faculty AI’s tool was trialled, free of cost, between November last year and February this year by two separate police forces in England and Wales. to Faculty AI, the software can automatically detect 94 per cent of Isis and 72% of al-Qaeda propaganda with a false positive rate of 0.005 per cent. The company is now in discussions with more police forces across the country about a roll-out of the technology.



KINTERACT: educational assessment - London


Boost for UK education tech start-up after Pembroke venture capital backing | Michael Bow, The Evening Standard. Monday 8 April 2019


DZ profile: Make It Plain Ltd (Kinteract)

Business: online platform which offers a portable learning record for children and gives real-time feedback to parents and teachers on schoolwork to identify any issues early on. Is in about 80 schools, including 10 in the UK such as Dulwich College and Sydenham School, with 140,000 pupil accounts.

Launched: 2012

Location: London and Banbury

Founders: Shehzad Naji, Chief Product Officer b, who in 2002 became, at 21, the youngest person to found a school in the UK when he set up the AMS School in North Oxfordshire; Alex Farrell, CTO; Nahiem Razaq, COO


Investment: has agreed investment from Andrew Wolfson’s PEMBROKE VCT, part of OAKLEY CAPITAL, valuing it at £4.25 million. Pembroke VCT, based in Chelsea, backs a number of firms including the FIVE GUYS burger chain, ALEXA CHUNG's fashion label, BOOM CYCLE and SOURCED MARKET.



THE PIANO WORKS: live music bars - London


Entrepreneurs: The Piano Works boss who is getting Londoners singing | Lucy Tobin, The Evening Standard. Monday 8 April 2019

DZ profile: TDC Concepts Limited (The Piano Works)

Business: live music bars business - Farringdon venue opened in 2015, and Leicester Square which opened this year.  7000 people come through their doors each week. Almost three quarters of the audience are women, and most are aged 25-35

Launched: 2015

Location: London

Founder: veteran bars and restaurants entrepreneur, Alan Lorrimer, 69. Launched and sold Tiger Lil’s, with branches in Clapham, on the King’s Road, and in Islington. In 2004, opened jazz venue the Charlotte Street Blues Bar and then Brazilian bar Guanabara, sold in 2012 to Maxwell’s Restaurant Group

Staff: 130 staff in two venues plus 65 musicians with a £1.2 million annual wage bill

Financials: £9m revenue

Investment: Lorrimer funded the first venue with £550,000 via the Enterprise Investment Scheme and £300,000 of bank debt; the second was paid for via cashflow plus a £750,000 loan from SANTANDER “who have been a pleasure to work with”.

News: plans more venues in the City as well as in Liverpool, Leeds and Glasgow.



PIXELPIN: password authentication - Shoreditch, London


Softbank's spinoff AI fund injects £1m into London identity startup Pixelpin | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 11 April 2019

DZ profile: Pixelpin Ltd

Business: uses image-based authentication to replace passwords and PINs with pictures

Launched: 2011

Location: Shoreditch, London and Cheltenham

Founder: Geoff Anderson, chief executive and co-founder

Investment: Japanese investor SBI - spun off from SOFTBANK in 2006 - has led a pre-series A funding round through its artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain fund. SBI invested £1m while angel investors added £500,000, bringing  total funding to date up to $4.5m. The SBI AI and blockchain fund was set up in January last year with an initial targeted commitment of ¥60bn (£414m) and recently invested City AI startup ONFIDO, which later formed part of a $50m (£38m) funding round.

News: Will use the funding to expand its business in the finance and retail sectors and also open a new office in Tokyo.