2. Simba

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Founders: James Cox and Steve Reid
Founded: 2015 (Launched February 2016)
Website: www.simbasleep.com

In the ongoing ‘battle of the beds’, the now two-time top 10 Startups 100-listed Simba is refusing to lie down.

The start-up claims to be Europe’s leading sleep brand and has sold 100,000 mattresses in the UK alone.

Unlike its simple memory foam-based rivals – including Startups 100 2017 business eve Sleep – Startups Awards People’s Champion finalist Simba integrates technology into the design process from the start with mattresses combining memory foam and springs.

The Simba mattress was created based on research from the Sleep-to-Live institute, which has a data-bank of body profiling data from 10 million people around the world.

75 prototypes, and one year of research and development, later, founders James Cox and Steve Reid had a mattress to satisfy the sleep needs of the majority of the population.

Investors have also been satisfied. In December 2017, Simba landed £40m in Series B funding in a round led by Atami Capital, alongside existing backers Nigel Wray, Wharton Asset Management and Swiss bank Lombard Odier.

This funding brought Simba’s total investment to £58.5m and is now being used for further diversification of its product range which currently includes mattresses, duvets, pillows, beds, and accessories. It will also help Simba drive global growth as it looks to bring perfectly engineered sleep to the world.

£58.5m funding and 100,000 unit sales is a major achievement for any start-up but Simba’s success is hardly surprising.

Its founding team are veterans of mattress manufacturing and have more than 30 years’ of experience in the industry, with one million mattresses sold through previous companies. Cox also has plenty of experience with start-ups, having helped them with funding and strategy.

Now set to enter the £10bn US market and expand into the £11bn Asian market over the coming months, it seems that Cox and Reid can rest easy knowing that they’ve created a business with big brand potential.

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