10 businesses that launched 10 years ago

Here's a list of 10 companies that also celebrated a decade of business this year

Last week Startups celebrated its 10th birthday with a sparkling shindig at Roast in Borough Market. Entrepreneurs and industry friends joined us as we looked back on the past decade, remembering all we’ve achieved and looking forward to the next 10 years. But we’re not the only business that was started back in 2000, in the midst of the dotcom crash. Here’s a list of 10 other fabulous companies that have celebrated a decade of business this year.

Gumtree.com Launched the very month the dotcom bubble officially burst, (March 2000) Gumtree has gone from strength to strength. Founded by Simon Crookall and Michael Pennington, this advertising site has created a new way for people to trade with each other, currently boasting two million live ads at any one time. From selling and buying household goods, properties or cars, to swapping anything from skills to homes, this renowned website has revolutionised markets by cutting out the middle-man. Today, Gumtree has 13.7 million regular users looking to buy, sell, swap, recruit, hire or rent. Managing director Suchi Mukherjee attributes the enormous success to the 24/7 nature of the internet.

Tightsplease.co.uk Full-time lawyers, Charles Duncome and Sophie Kelly started this tights retailer in 2000. Initially their tiny office was based in the Big Peg in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and the tights were sold from the office with a team of three people. Today there are more than a million visitors to the website each year, while there remains a loyal customer following. A sister site, Lingerieplease.co.uk, was launched soon after, followed a few years later by a long haul luxury travel agent, Holidaysplease.co.uk. The company that runs all of the websites is called Just say Please.

Best of the Best William Hindmarch founded this online and airport supercar competition company to share his passion for cars by offering other motoring enthusiasts the chance to win limited edition models. The business floated on AIM in 2006, and has now expanded to boast a presence in airports across the UK. The business has largely escaped the negative effects of the recession and has continued to grow steadily throughout the past few years, so much so that the offering is now available online as well as in locations such as airports. Hindmarch says the website was in response to demand from customers who wanted to enter the competitions more often, not just on airport visits.

Accomodationforstudents.com This student accommodation finding service also toasted its 10 year anniversary this month. Entrepreneur Simon Thompson founded the business from his own student digs with a budget of just £250. The company has gone on to help house 1.6 million students in the last decade, attracting 21,000 landlords and 1,200 letting agents. In 2006, Thompson’s business partner William Berry appeared on Dragons’ Den and was offered investment, however he declined as the deal involved giving away far more equity than they had wanted to. With 85,000 properties listed, it operates nationally and internationally, from its Manchester headquarters. Last month the site hit an all-time high of 720,000 unique monthly visitors.

Ariadne Capital Julie Meyer started this specialist technology investment and advisory firm in 2000 with the backing of 50 funding investors. Many were the founders of successful internet and technology companies, such as the entrepreneurs behind Hotmail and Betfair. The American-born founder is also known from her role as a dragon on BBC’s Online Dragons’ Den and is a weekly columnist for London’s City A.M. Ariadne provides strategic and commercial advice to clients based primarily in the UK and Europe, with an impressive portfolio including web-based financing platform for the music industry, Slicethepie, and online search and comparison engine, BeatThatQuote.

Friends Reunited In July 2000 Steve and Julie Pankhurst launched this social networking site from their home in Hertfordshire. The concept stemmed from Julie’s curiosity about the current state of old school friends, which led them to exploit the gap in the UK market. The website boasted 3,000 members by the end of its first year, which increased to 2.5 million a year later. It was the first social network to achieve prominence in the UK and successfully managed to weather the dotcom bust. In December 2005, ITV bought the network for £120m.

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uSwitch Also 10 years old, this UK-based price comparison and switching services aims to help customers compare prices on a range of products and services, including gas and electricity, telephone and communications, insurance and finance products. The company was the brainchild of Lord Milford Haven, who set it up with an initial £4m investment to take advantage of the UK’s deregulated energy markets. uSwitch was bought by the Forward Internet Group in December 2009, having been ranked the number two website by Hitwise in the ‘Business and Finance – Utilities’ category earlier in the year.

OB10 This e-invoicing specialist also turned 10 this year. Co-founded by Stefan Foryszewski, who was previously head of data delivery at Visa International EU, this global business to business e-invoicing network now boasts 92,000 clients. The company prides itself on reducing its customers’ costs and being environmentally friendly by enabling thousands of businesses around the world to send and receive paperless invoices. It has won the International Green Apple award for the last three years for its outstanding achievements in technology.

DN CapitalThis investment fund was started by Nenad Marovac and Steve Schlenker in 2000. The firm focuses on early-stage capital and growth equity funding for software and digital media businesses. DN Capital is predominantly a European investor, however, it also helps some US companies enter the European market. Its impressive portfolio includes digital music recognition technology creator, Shazam, and online social network for the Hispanic population, Sonico. The firm is based in London, but has offices in California.

User Vision Also established 10 years ago, this consultancy firm helps businesses improve the user experience of their website, software or product. Chris Rourke founded the company with the aim of helping businesses reduce development and support costs, while increasing sales. With offices in Edinburgh, London and Dubai, it provides services to businesses throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Its impressive portfolio includes a wide range of clients, from HSBC, Nokia and Amnesty International, to the NHS, BBC and BAA.



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