Startups 100 2014: Introducing our spectacular winners

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Some say there’s never been a better time to start a business. That may explain why our job of selecting just 100 incredible new businesses gets harder every year.

This is the fifth Startups 100 (view previous years here) and the calibre of companies just gets better and better, making chances of inclusion tougher than we’ve ever seen. In 2014 we can categorically say we had:

  • More entries than ever
  • More businesses considered than ever
  • Record revenue and employee figures
  • A geographical spread that demonstrates so much fast-growth life beyond London
  • More women founders than ever.

The well of start-up talent is plentiful. The start-up space is exploding with talent and it was a true pleasure discovering a host of new and exciting businesses as well as catching up with some of last year’s winners – and tracking their progress 12 months on.

To be considered for the list, start-ups must be UK-based, privately owned and have started trading on or after 1 January 2011.

But of course, as well as fulfilling our basic criteria we also wanted innovation, impressive founders, growth potential and global ambition – start-ups that make us tingle with excitement (yes we really do find start-ups that exciting!).

Drawing on our 14 years of experience in the small business space, we scoured the nation to find the hottest UK start-ups, drawing on award schemes, incubators and accelerators and recommendations and attending lots of events to find the very best young companies to share with you all.

And what a list we have.

It’s also always refreshing to see a diverse range of start-ups – and despite the inevitable rise in tech businesses our list this year spans a huge range of industries. To give you a taste our biggest sectors include retail, with 12 companies spanning the retail space, from quirky gift store Coconutgrass to MacBook storage add-on Nifty; food, we’ve got 11 foodie start-ups including products such as PROPERCORN and recipe delivery favourite Hello Fresh; and data – unsurprisingly we’ve got eight data companies, from social data tracker Buyapowa to data extraction platform

There’s also seven advertising, finance, drinks and fashion businesses, plus a host of other industries from property to gaming and health and beauty.

We’ve also got plenty of young founders this year too, highlighting a growing trend in young entrepreneurs – a recent survey found the number of recent graduates starting a business has doubled this year – and with 12% of entrepreneurs on our list 25 and under, it seems they’re having plenty of success.

There’s undoubtedly some names you’ll recognise in the list, (YPlan is quickly becoming a global phenomenon) but whilst it’s great to include household names, one of the most rewarding elements of compiling an index like this is discovering businesses on the cusp of ‘making it’ – and we’ve got plenty of those too.

Launched in 2008 as the first ever ‘top 100’ start-up index, we’ve amassed a host of extremely impressive alumni including Hailo, Huddle and last year’s number one winner My Parcel Delivery and we’re sure you’ll agree, this year’s list is as strong as ever.

Counting down from 100 to our illustrious number one spot; discover the best start-ups the UK has to offer right now…

See the list

What do you think of the 2014 Startups 100? Have we overlooked anyone? Are there any companies we should keep an eye on for our next list? Tell us on Twitter, using the hashtag #Startups100.

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