Startups 100 2016: The only ranked index of the UK’s hottest start-ups

Ranked from 100 to 1, discover the UK’s rising start-up stars set for explosive growth. From proptech to gourmet sweets, see who made this year's cut...

As our countdown finally ticks to 0, we are delighted to announce this year’s prestigious Startups 100 2016 index.

Back for its seventh year, choosing just 100 businesses seems to be an increasingly difficult – but always hugely rewarding task. With the danger of repeating myself from previous years, the current start-up landscape is truly phenomenal, and that was definitely reflected in our entrants this year.

Why the Startups 100 is special

Once again our winners have higher turnover and employee numbers and have raised more finance than ever before. What’s more, they offer a fantastic example of the latest fast-growth sector trends, from car marketplaces such as carwow and Carsnip to Airbnb hosting services like Hostmaker and Airsorted.

The list has proptech, fintech, edtech and healthtech but it also has free from foods, gourmet confectionary and craft beers. It’s a real smorgasbord of what’s hot in start-up land right now.

As an increasing number of indexes and lists are published, here at Startups Towers we still believe there’s something very special about the Startups 100. Of course, we may be just a tad bias, but there are a number of aspects that make the list distinct.

Not only has it been going since 2008, so has a long reputation and history, but it was the first ranked index of its kind.

With a focus on innovation and potential, we have the pleasure of naming some huge British business success stories in their early infancy and 2016 winners can be proud to join an illustrious alumni from notonthehightstreet to Zoopla and Hello Fresh.

As last year’s number one with just a year of trading under its belt, Purplebricks is a shining example of what the list is all about – going on to list on AIM the same year raising £58m.

And being named means a lot to our winners – which in turn means a lot to us. You only need to check out the reactions from last year. And so it should. Creating exposure, generating PR, proving credibility and even attracting investor attention are just some of the reasons why winning is such a big deal.

The Startups 100 methodology

So what makes a business a worthy Startups 100 winner? Every year entrants must meet the following basic criteria:

  • UK-based
  • Privately owned
  • Started trading on or after 1 January 2013

But we’re looking for a lot more than that. While not always easy to quantify, we’re searching for:

  • An innovative proposition – whether that’s disrupting a stagnant market with a new twist or (increasingly rare these days) a brand new and original product or tech
  • Impressive founders – from young founders with incredible drive to experienced entrepreneurs with a stellar track record
  • Employee numbers – we’re looking for businesses that can truly scale and make a positive contribution to the UK economy
  • Funds raised – although we’re also impressed by lean businesses that have grown organically
  • Traction to date – it’s not all about the numbers but they certainly help. Impressive turnovers, and even better profits, are a great indicator of early success
  • Potential – this is crucial. While traction is important we’re not afraid to back early-stage firms that we feel could be the winners of tomorrow…
  • Global ambition – we want businesses that aren’t afraid to dream big

So what are you waiting for? Find out who these stellar businesses are.

Starting at number 100 and counting down to our ultimate winner, meet the UK’s most exciting early-stage businesses you can’t afford to miss…

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What do you think of the 2016 Startups 100? Have we overlooked anyone? Are there any companies we should keep an eye on for our next list? Tell us on Twitter, using the hashtag #Startups100.

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