Startups 100 Ranking Methodology

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With hundreds of incredible new businesses applying for the Startups 100 every year, the team spends a lot of time perfecting the ranking and judging processes to make sure the very best new ventures get the recognition they deserve.

The criteria for entry are simple: you must be a UK-based business, founded in the last five years.

During the application stage, we ask businesses to provide us with insight into their operations. This can range from details of any funds or investment raised, to letting us know what they believed makes them stand out. From there, we begin our ranking process.

The first step in ranking the Startups 100 is an assessment of the businesses’ financial position. We provide weighted scores based on:

  • Finance raised
  • Turnover for the previous financial year
  • Profit for the previous year
  • Projected turnover for the next financial year

We also add a weighted score based on the year the business was founded. We do this to make sure that newer businesses, which might not yet be at the profit levels of more established ventures, are fairly represented.

By combining the metrics above, we ensure that we're judging businesses primarily on their commercial success, while allowing bootstrapped businesses to get representation where their turnover and profit show clear success.

The second stage in the ranking process is more subjective. A shortlist of businesses is provided to the Startups team, with the finances removed, so that judgements can be made based on the strength of the business idea.

This second round of ranking is imperative, as it offers an opportunity to recognise businesses that may underperform financially, despite having a strong idea. This is particularly the case for businesses in the growth stage – where they might be losing money with a view to long-term growth – but also for businesses in the charity sector, which often have lower turnover and profit margins.

Finally, we ask experts to offer their thoughts. This section of the judging is an opportunity for businesses to be looked over by successful entrepreneurs, who know what it takes to make businesses work – and exactly what to look for. The judges see the list before it’s live, and provide detailed comments on which businesses stand out most to them.

Want to see the results? Start reading today with position number 100, Mia & Ben!

Bryn Glover has been Editor of since 2017. Running the site's content strategy, Bryn spends a lot of time speaking to entrepreneurs and preparing for Startups' annual editorial campaigns.

Having worked in journalism for just under a decade, Bryn wrote for sites like The Times, Reader's Digest, Independent and Times Higher Education before moving into the small business world.

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