Where are these Startups 100 businesses now?
With all eyes on Startups 100 2017, we take a look at some honorable entrants from previous years – and find out what they're up to now
Recognising the best start-ups the UK has to offer, the Startups 100 index has featured some truly exceptional businesses since it first launched in 2008.
For many businesses, their inclusion in the index helped to propel them to further success with numerous start-ups having gone on to become household names, global leaders and ‘unicorns’.
With entries for the Startups 100 2017 opening on Wednesday 1st February, we’ve taken a look back at some of the index’s most exciting and game-changing businesses.
Prepare to be inspired…
Featured: 2013 (16th) 2014 (15th)
Founded: February 2011
Founders: Darren Westlake and Luke Lang
When Darren Westlake and Luke Lang launched Crowdcube in 2011, it’s fair to say that crowdfunding was an alien concept to most UK entrepreneurs. Fast forward six years and it’s become one of the most popular forms of alternative finance! With its investor community now over 340,000 strong and with over £212m successfully invested to date, Crowdcube has become one of the most popular UK crowdfunding platforms – alongside Seedrs – for hot UK’s start-ups looking to raise funds.
The end of 2016 saw the platform achieve its best ever quarter, with over £15m invested through the platform in December alone – a 20% rise in investment in the six months following the EU referendum vote. Over £80m was raised during 2016 with more than 51,000 investments being made. Just last January, Startups 100-listed Brewdog closed the largest ever UK funding round on Crowdcube at a whopping £10m, with the average investment standing at £3,600.
Featured: 2013 (2nd)
Founded: December 2008 (launched February 2012)
Founders: Eben Upton, Jack Lang, Robert Mullins, David Braben, Alan Mycroft and Pete Lomas
Making its second consecutive appearance in 2013, social enterprise Raspberry Pi wanted to get kids interested in coding – and it succeeded! Designing microcomputers which are only the size of a credit card, with a retail price of just £15, children all over the world are now able to learn programming by simply plugging the Raspberry Pi into their television and keyboard.
Last June, Leeds-based Premier Farnell, the manufacturer of the Raspberry Pi, was bought for £615m by Swiss industrial components manufacturer Dätwyler Holdings. 2016 was also an exceptional year for co-founder Dr Eben Upton who was awarded a CBE for his services to business and education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Love Home Swap
Featured: 2013 (31st) 2014 (12th)
Founded: October 2011
Founder: Debbie Wosskow
Inspired by the 2006 rom-com The Holiday, Debbie Wosskow founded holiday home-swapping service Love Home Swap in October 2011. Currently boasting over 100,000 homes in over 150 countries, the London start-up has already acquired a couple of start-up rivals and has a strategic partnership with Wyndham Worldwide to aid its worldwide expansion. In January 2013, the site acquired Canadian competitor 1stHomeExchange and in December 2015 it bought Dutch rival HomeForExchange.
In June 2016, Wosskow was awarded an OBE for her services to business in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2016. Keen to inspire and support fellow female entrepreneurs, in October 2016 Wosskow launched a new venture, AllBright Crowd, alongside Anna Jones, CEO of Hearst Magazines UK. A female-focused crowdfunding platform, AllBright will support Wosskow’s vision to make the UK “the best place in the world to be a female founder”.
Featured: 2014 (18th)
Founded: October 2009 (launched October 2011)
Founders: Cassandra Stavrou and Ryan Kohn
Taking inspiration from her co-workers who would feel guilty snacking in the afternoon, PROPERCORN co-founder Cassandra Stavrou made the risky decision to quit her job to realise her vision of creating “a snack without compromise”. We can now firmly say, the risk was worth it! Climbing in at number 18 in Startups 100 2014, PROPERCORN had projected turnover of £15m for 2016 and now sells over three million bags of popcorn across 10 countries including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
Gluten free, low calorie, vegetarian-friendly and 100% natural, Stravrou and co-founder Ryan Kohn seem to have cracked a legitimately healthy snack food! Keen not to rest on their laurels, the duo have recently expanded their offering with the introduction of half-popped crunch corn – their first venture outside traditional popcorn.
Featured: 2014 (41st) 2013 (62nd)
Founded: May 2009 (launched July 2012)
Founders: Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva
Seedrs has seen £190m invested through its platform across more than 450 deals– making it a worthy entrant in the Startups 100 2013 and 2014 indexes. Initially intended to help seed-stage start-ups raise finance 2016 was a record year for the crowdfunding platform with more than £85m invested in 159 campaigns. Co-founders Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva also opened an office in Berlin – adding to offices in Lisbon, New York, Amsterdam and Berlin.
The platform’s biggest deals to date include employee benefits firm Startups 100’s Perkbox’s £4.35m campaign and peer-to-peer travel money platform WeSwap’s £2.4m round. Both of these rounds attracted investment from tennis start Andy Murray – who sits on Seedrs’ board of advisors – –and complimented 16 other deals he participated in throughout the year. With 3,000 backers, WeSwap also set the record for the most participants in a single crowdfunding campaign.
Featured: 2015 (55th) 2014 (66th)
Founded: June 2011 (launched November 2012)
Founders: Elizabetta Camilleri and Emilio Sanz
Formerly known as SalesGossip, fashion marketplace Shopological curates the latest sales, deals, discount offers and news from the UK’s fashion retailers into one site. Aiming to save time-stretched shoppers the hassle of checking each retailer individually, while helping drive sales for the businesses themselves, 10-15% of the sites users are international.
With over two million registered users and over 1,300 brands currently on-site, co-founder and inspiring woman Elizabetta Camilleri’s ambitions are high. Just last September Camilleri told Startups that in the next three years she wants Shopological to have 50 million users in 50 cities around the world! Having secured nearly £2m in funding since launch, the business looks well on its way – and has made major in-roads since its appearance in the Startups 100 2014 index.
Featured: 2015 (12th)
Founded: August 2012
Founders: Husayn Kassai, Ruhul Amin and Eamon Jubbawy
Back in 2015, we wrote that Onfido had a great chance of becoming “the world’s go to destination for background checks”. Fast forward to 2017 and the Sage Startups Business of the Year now boasts at being bigger than all its competitors – combined! Founded by Young Guns and Oxford University graduates Husayn Kassai, Ruhul Amin and Eamon Jubbawy, the London-based start-up raised $25m in Series B funding to crack the US in April 2016 – and secured further funding from Salesforce Ventures and Talis Capital four months later.
A sign of the business’ emerging global dominance, Onfido is now helping bring financial services to the two billion unbanked individuals worldwide by helping them to scan and verify identity documents.
Featured: 2015 (3rd)
Founded: August 2012 (launched February 2013)
Founders: William Shu and Greg Orlowski
Tech unicorn Deliveroo has so far raised over $475m worth of funding – and only launched in 2013! The restaurant delivery service has experienced exceptional growth in previous years and now operates in over 35 UK cities and over 40 cities globally. Founded by William Shu and Greg Orlowski, former investment banker Shu made Deliveroo’s first deliveries on his scooter for the first eight months of the business’ existence to gain expert knowledge of the logistics of take-away deliveries.
Four years later the story is quite different and Shu has become a prominent name in the gig economy. Though Orlowski left the company in February 2016, the London-based start-up shows no sign of stopping its rapid expansion, recently announcing it will treble its engineering headcount to further improve its app.
Featured: 2015 (1st)
Founded: April 2014
Founders: Michael and Kenny Bruce
Seeing off some very strong competition, Purplebricks took our Startups 100 top spot in 2015. A “true industry disrupter” , the estate agent gives users access to a 24/7property platform which provides real time updates on every aspect of the property transaction. Were we right to rank Purplebricks at the top spot? Well, the numbers speak for themselves. Having raised over £58m with a listing on London junior’s market AIM, the London-based start-up has also made the big move down under, launching in Australia back last August.
With a national TV campaign featuring Amanda Lamb now airing, will Purplebricks continue to go from strength to strength? We believe you can bet your house on it!
Featured: 2016 (64th)
Founded: January 2014
Founder: Emily Forbes
Less than 12 months after landing a spot on our Startups 100 2016 index, Emily Forbes and her video-collaboration platform Seenit have achieved a number of new milestones. Now working with over 100 businesses, including The BBC, Benefit, Radio 1 and Red Bull Racing, over 64,000 individuals have been involved in projects through the platform across 42 countries. Named a Young Gun five to watch just last September, Forbes had her lightbulb moment while attending a rhino hunting protest in South Africa where she realised the power of harnessing raw amateur footage to fuel engagement between big brands and consumers.
Claiming to have reached and engaged an estimated 17,000,000 people, it’s hardly surprising that last December, the tech start-up took home the coveted Disrupt Cup at TechCrunch Disrupt London 2016’s Startup Battlefield. Seeing off 14 other start-ups, Forbes and co were awarded $50,000 in investment.
Featured: 2016 (12th)
Founded: November 2014
Founders: Steve Bartlett and Dominic McGregor
It’s said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and Social Chain’s declaration that it can make anything the top trending topic on Twitter in under 30 minutes was bold to say the least. Put to the challenge by both Buzzfeed and Channel 5, the start-ups founding duo Steve Bartlett and Dominic McGregor passed with flying colours, and their outstanding success helped cement their spot in the Startups 100 2016. No longer solely operating in the UK, Social Chain expanded their European presence last May when they opened an office in Berlin after receiving $2m in Series A funding from German talent management firm NVC.
Last July, the Manchester-based start-up also revealed that it was behind the viral “Manchester: Welcome to Zlatan” billboard that celebrated the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United. Viewed by 46 million people worldwide, it also received widespread coverage on the likes of ESPN and Sky Sports. We predict Social Chain will make even more headlines this year; with founders Bartlett and McGregor having recently appeared on the front page of The Times as ‘the millennial drop-outs who control social media’.
Featured: 2016 (14th)
Founded: November 2013 (launched July 2014)
Founders: Mark Holland, Steve Webster, Karen Freeman, Kat Linger, Paul Cooke, Joe Inglis, Graham Bosher and James Davidson
Pet food business tails.com, which offers tailor made chow for man’s best friend, had a 120% jump in sales last year following its Startups 100 appearance and now has a national TV commercial and brand film directed by BAFTA-nominated Gary Tarn and narrated by Sir Michael Gambon. Not just impressing canines across the country however, tails.com had our Startups Awards judges wagging their collective tails as the business walked away with the coveted Product Business of the Year 2016. The start-up also took home highly commended and commended accolades in the Retail Business of the Year and Tech Business of the Year categories respectfully.
Featured: 2016 (11th)
Founders: Florian Färber and Lorenzo Franzi
Founded: September 2014
Last year, we named Zipjet as the 11th best start-up in the UK. Serving over 25,000 customers with offices in London and Berlin, we expected even better things this year and just two weeks after appearing on our list, the start-up’s founding duo Florian Färber and Lorenzo Franzi announced they’d launched operations in Paris! Taking on competition from Laundrapp, the Startups Awards finalist for App of the Year 2016 recently acquired corporate dry cleaning business Asteria Cleaners and now has a partnership with Unilever’s Persil brand.
Featured: 2016 (1st)
Founders: Christian Faes and Ian Thomas
Founded: May 2013
Topping our list for 2016, LendInvest were worthy winners of the Startups 100, so has the business built on its success since? Having raised £230m, the peer to peer(P2P) marketplace for property lending and investing certainly had the financial resources to strengthen its position in the market. The London-based start-up has increased its team to over 100 and has also opened a property development academy.
Aiming to double its development finance lending this year, the online platform reported a 133% jump in revenue to £32m in 2016 – generating a cool £3.4m profit.
Think you have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of these great UK start-ups? Register your interest for the Startups 100 2017 index here.