Startups 100 2021: the regional highlights

This year’s top 100 startups showcased the most disruptive new firms from across the UK. We take a closer look at the top businesses by region.

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Now in its thirteenth year, the Startups 100 index celebrates the most disruptive UK businesses that were founded in the past five years.

This year, hundreds of applicants from St. Ives to Aberdeen were judged on a variety of traits, including financial performance and innovativeness, to find the final top 100.

After a turbulent year for small businesses, London-based Multiverse – the business using apprenticeships to create a diverse group of future leaders – took the coveted top spot.

However, while the capital remains the stronghold for the UK startup community, comprising 68 of the top 100 entries, our regional entries still made their counties proud, comprising three of our top ten.

Ranging from a bamboo manufacturing company to a motorcyclist training provider, this year’s list proved that your business doesn’t have to be based in London to succeed.

North East and Scotland

OPPORTUNI

Opportuni

Opportuni founder Tim Ward

Dubbed ‘Tinder for Tenders’, co-founders Tim Ward and Bill MacGregor created the Teesside-based startup OPPORTUNI to democratise the bidding process for small businesses, by matching them to a bid writing professional and providing life-changing opportunities and advice. Smart matching AI and Machine Learning algorithms do the tech-heavy lifting for this firm, while a unique global network connects writers and business owners with councils, NHS trusts and Government departments nationwide. So far, users of the platform have secured over £400m worth of contracts in the first 6 months of 2021 – definitely a startup we’ll swipe right on.

Yorkshire and the Humber

Vet-AI

Nexus - Vet-AI

(L-R) Vet-AI co-founders Sarah Warren, Paul Hallett, and Robert Dawson

In the UK, the PDSA’s PAW Report (February 2021) estimates that 51% of UK adults own a pet. Vet-AI is an innovative vet company based in Leeds which caters to this booming market, seeking to simplify the processes by which pet owners can access 24/7 veterinary services through its digital app, Joii Pet Care. Smart partnerships with companies like Animal Friends Insurance have also provided Vet-AI with 1.1 million customers.

North West

Genesis Homes

Genesis Homes

Genesis Homes founder Nicky Gordon

Based in the heart of the beautiful Lake District, Genesis Homes is an aspirational housebuilder, delivering high-quality homes for the Cumbria and Lancashire regions. Its designs focus on space and the outdoors, while keeping up with the latest trends and employing a local workforce. Since founder Nicky Gordon first set up the business in 2017, it’s received millions of development finance from a local building society, and plans to build  200 per homes per year by 2022. It’s built a strong foundation for this goal, and we can’t wait to see the finished product.

East of England

KIDLY

KIDLY founder James Hart

KIDLY founder James Hart

KIDLY is the easy-to-use, one-stop solution for parents who are tired of trawling through the internet for high quality children’s items. Based in St. Albans, the ecommerce marketplace is the brainchild of James Hart, who was the first employee at ASOS, and is stocked full of sustainably-packaged brands, including the startups’ own KIDLY label, which now accounts for 15% of its revenue. Social shopping is the new way forward, and KIDLY invites parents to interact with each other and feed back on the items they’re buying to keep everything at the highest standard. 

Midlands

The Moot Group

The Moot Group

The Moot Group founder Nick Moutter

For nine of the past 18 months, UK high streets were closed during three national lockdowns, and pedestrian footfall still has yet to recover. The subsequent ecommerce boom has seen a huge upsurge in online shopping – and one The Moot Group was poised to capitalise upon. Based near Stoke-on-Trent, the company provides all of the technology and operations needed for new and emerging ecommerce businesses to scale. The company is already working with household names across the globe including Sports Direct and The White Company, and has also helped to deliver 800% profit growth for its leading homeware brand, Olivia’s.

South East

Holy Moly Dips

Holy Moly Dips

Holy Moly Dips founders Tom Walker and Gaz Booth

Holy Moly Dips was founded in 2017 by childhood friends, Tom Walker and Gaz Booth. Despite being a Bedford-based startup with a close connection to the four-generation family-owned avocado orchard in Mexico that sources the ingredients for its delicious avocado dips. The entire Holy Moly range is vegan, kosher, and free from dairy and gluten, and sold nationwide in major supermarkets across the UK. Their revenue has also doubled every year since launch and they're on track to double it again in 2022. Now those are some tasty figures!

South West

Virti

successentrepreneur_alex_virti

Virti founder Alex Young

Coming in as a top 5 startup is Bristol-based Virti. Started by trauma and orthopaedic surgeon Alex Young, the company uses virtual and augmented reality to train and educate professionals in healthcare and Fortune 500 companies about high-pressure scenarios in a safe, digital environment. Virti is already used internationally by large healthcare providers, and hopes to extend its client list to other industries including pilot training for aviation companies. Between 2020-21, its revenues grew by almost 100%, and it’s on track for similar growth over the coming years. The AR may be fake, but Virti’s success is certainly real.

Want to find out who else made the list? See the full Startups 100 2021 here.

Helena is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has previously written for a popular fintech startup covering everything from money-saving tips to cultural reviews.

She is particularly interested in project management software and the films of Peter Jackson.

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