Startups 100 2017: The longest-running index of the best new businesses

Welcome to the future of business! Collectively employing over 2,000 staff with average turnover of £1.64m, these are the UK's hottest start-ups...

100 fast-growing start-ups with 100 uniquely inspiring stories… Meet the Startups 100 2017

The annual index of the UK’s most game-changing and exciting new businesses launched in the last three years, the Startups 100 reflects the country’s thriving start-up community and hottest trends from a cross-sector of industries – ranging from retail and food & drink to education and proptech.

Sponsored by AXA Business Insurance, this year’s Startups 100 index demonstrates just what exceptional entrepreneurs can achieve in the space of three years; especially as this year’s winning businesses boast greater turnover and employee numbers than our 2016 cohort – collectively employing 2,187 staff with average turnover of a staggering £1.64m.

Yet, while these numbers are obviously impressive, what makes the Startups 100 index so special is the sheer amount of innovation that shines through.

Be it original concepts and ideas like Mr Lee’s Noodles, Digital Mums and MysteryVibe, or start-ups taking on an established market with a pioneering approach such as Learning Heroes and Open for Vintage – these businesses are all challenging the status quo which, alone, warrants recognition in this index.

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The Startups 100 is industry renowned

Back in 2008, Startups Towers published the inaugural Startups 100 index and it was the very first ranked index of its kind at the time.

Today, while there are now a variety of indices to recognise businesses (a great development for showcasing talent), the Startups 100 still maintains its reputation as the gauge of early-stage companies set for entrepreneurial stardom.

You only have to look at the UK success stories that we have discovered in their infancy over the years, such as Secret Escapes, Notonthehighstreet.com, PROPERCORN, and Deliveroo, to know that this is true.

Last year’s number one, peer-to-peer property lender LendInvest, put it best when it said that “for start-up companies, a ranking in Startups 100 is powerful, particularly when it comes to getting your brand out there. It’s an independent endorsement for businesses with good business models, ethos and visions.”

What’s more, new businesses featured in the Startups 100 frequently tell us that the index has helped them garner major press coverage, attract investment, increase sales, boost staff morale, and more.

How we decide the Startups 100 2017

What makes a new business Startups 100-worthy? Well, for starters, they have to meet our eligibility criteria at the time of submitting an entry. The start-up must be:

  • UK-based
  • Privately-owned
  • Have started trading on or after January 1 2014

After that, we expect to see the business tick our boxes for the following criteria:

  • Innovative USP
  • Exceptional founders – From young founders with incredible drive to experienced entrepreneurs with a stellar track record. And, while founding teams are impressive, we’re equally as impressed by solo founders. In fact, there are 45 solo founders in the Startups 100 2017!
  • Employee numbers – We’re looking for businesses that can truly scale and make a positive contribution to the UK economy.
  • Amount of funding raised – Although we’re also impressed by lean businesses that have grown organically.
  • Traction to dateIf a start-up has a great client portfolio, large customer base, sales figures etc. we want to hear about it.
  • …And growth potential – Traction is important but we won’t shy from giving endorsement to new businesses that we feel could become the big brands of the future.
  • Global ambition – The Startups 100 isn’t a list of lifestyle businesses; we seek to recognise start-ups that have long-term goals of becoming global brands.

While we hope that every business in the Startups 100 2017 will scale to become household names – as they certainly have the growth potential to – there will always be exceptions, as you would expect from the tapestry of start-ups.

Celebrating the Startups 100 2017

In a first for the eight-year history of the Startups 100, we wanted to go one step further to recognise the start-ups that make it into our index and so, this year, we are holding a celebratory launch event for the Startups 100-winning businesses.

Taking place on 22 June at an exclusive London location, this year’s cohort will have the chance to network with fellow Startups 100 2017 businesses over drinks and canapés, and will hear from former Startups 100 companies that have become major brands.

View the Startups 100 2017 index in full

Eager to find out who these exciting start-ups are that are bound for success?

Counting down from 100 to 1, say hello to the incredible early-stage UK businesses that need to be on your radar…

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Make some noise about our 2017 Startups 100 by sharing the hashtag #Startups100 to show your support. Want to be featured on our next list or think your business was overlooked? Let us know on Twitter using #Startups100

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