Where are these Startups 100 businesses now?

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Recognising the 100 most exciting start-ups that the UK has to offer each year, the Startups 100 index has featured some truly exceptional businesses since it first launched in 2008.

For many businesses, their inclusion in the index helped to propel them to further success, with numerous featured start-ups having gone on to become household names, global industry leaders and unicorns.

To celebrate the launch of the Startups 100 2018 – for which entries opened yesterday – we’ve taken a look back at some of the index’s most promising and game-changing businesses. Prepare to be inspired…


eve Sleep

Featured: 2016 (10th), 2017 (First)
Founded: January 2015 (launched February 2015)
Founders: Jas Bagniewski, Kuba Wieczorek, Felix Lobkowicz, James Fryer, Abid Ismail

When it took the top spot in last year’s index, eve Sleep – creator of the “world’s most comfortable” mattress – had seen tremendous growth since its 2015 launch.

In the year prior to snagging that coveted number one spot, the e-commerce-based mattress retailer had proved why it deserved the win: having grown revenues by a massive 355%, expanded to trade in 10 countries, and grown its team to 80 staff.

Not to mention that in May 2017, the start-up announced its IPO (initial public offering) on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.

Now, eve is still making in-roads. The business has raised £35m in its AIM listing and launched innovative partnerships with fellow sleep market brands.

It partnered with British label Folk Clothing to create a range of sleepwear and bedding (the first ever partnership between a fashion label and a mattress company, according to the start-up) in August 2017, and announcing a partnership with German department store Karstadt one month later.

Having launched a nationwide television advertising campaign late last year, eve is rolling out new products fast and internationalising at speed – and we predict that the business will continue to help customers to sleep soundly for a long time to come.

Well & Truly

Featured: 2016 (98th), 2017 (84th)
Founded: February 2015 (launched February 2016)
Founders: Sara Trechman and Maria Trechman

Retailing gluten-free, all-natural snacks, Well & Truly – which we had previously named one of 2016’s top new start-ups – made its second Startups 100 appearance in last year’s index, climbing 14 places to come in at number 84.

Since this listing, the start-up has continued to grow, launching a new product – sour cream and onion sticks – to compliment its existing range of tortilla chips and cheese sticks.

Well & Truly’s impressive roster of stockists now includes Tesco, Ocado, Whole Foods Market, Farmdrop and Amazon, alongside an active e-commerce channel.

Founded by sisters-in-law Sara and Maria Trechman, Well & Truly is one of the first truly gluten-freecrisp brands, and has proven that delicious yet healthy snacks can be a part of the booming free-from market.

In such a pioneering position, we can only expect this moreish start-up to continue to scale.

University Cribs

Featured: 2017 (95th)
Founded: November 2014 (launched October 2016)
Founders: Jack Jenkins, Daniel Jefferys and Christian Samuel

When University Cribs was featured in the Startups 100 2017, the business – which helps students search for term-time accommodation “stress-free” – boasted 150,000 fans across social media, while its site was working with 120 clients to advertise their properties to the thousands of students who use the site.

Now, University Cribs, whose team consists primarily of graduates, is only continuing its growth.

Four months after its Startups 100 2017 listing, the start-up clinched £450,000 seed funding from angel investors including Raffaelle Russo, director of Loc8Me; Dave Harvey and Tom Paine, co-founders of TeamLove; and the co-founders of Thor Companies.

The Welsh business now operates in 30 cities across the UK, with over 120,000 rooms listed for its users’ perusal, and in October 2017 the platform introduced a disruptive virtual reality element to its property viewing options.

This enables clients to use 360-degree photography and image-stitching to provide a VR representation of their property – which in turn gives students a more accurate view of the space.

Committed to making searching for accommodation easier for students, University Cribs’ new innovation – along with its position as the inaugural recruit of Jim Duffy’s Moonshot Academy accelerator – is certain to propel the start-up further into a position of leadership in the student rental market.


Social Chain

Featured: 2016 (12th), 2017 (Ninth)
Founded: November 2014
Founders: Steve Bartlett and Dominic McGregor

It’s said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and Social Chain’s declaration that it can make anything the top trending topic on Twitter in under 30 minutes was bold to say the least.

Put to the challenge by both Buzzfeed and Channel 5, the start-up passed with flying colours, and its outstanding success helped cement its spot in the Startups 100 2016.

Having since expanded to operate in Manchester, London, Berlin and New York, the start-up revealed in July 2016 that it was behind the viral “Manchester: Welcome to Zlatan” billboard that celebrated the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United.

Viewed by 46 million people worldwide, the controversial billboard campaign received widespread coverage on the likes of ESPN and Sky Sports.

Later, during the Championship Play-Offs in May 2017, Social Chain generated 24 million impressions for client Sky Bet by pushing a catchy hashtag, sharing videos via Snapchat, offering prize tickets and filming fans’ reactions on the ground.

The final campaign video became the most-watched of that three-month period, beating videos from SportsBible, Manchester United and Manchester City.

It’s no wonder big brands are keen to get a piece of Social Chain’s viral magic, and the company’s star-studded roster of clients now includes the likes of Apple Music, DreamWorks, Amazon, FIFA, Universal, the BBC, Disney and more.

Having broken the top 10 in the Startups 100 2017, we predict Social Chain will make yet more headlines this year; with Bartlett having appeared in The Telegraph as ‘the Instagram King’ last August and the company being dubbed ‘Britain’s meme factory’ by The Guardian in January 2018.

Now, Bartlett has joined Startups.co.uk and Plusnet’s Plusnet Pioneers 2018 campaign, providing expertise, advice and inspiration to start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners.


Featured: 2016 (14th), 2017 (Fourth)
Founded: November 2013 (launched July 2014)
Founders: Mark Holland, Steve Webster, Karen Freeman, Kat Linger, Paul Cooke, Joe Inglis, Graham Bosher and James Davidson

Pet food business tails.com, which offers tailor-made chow for man’s best friend, had a 120% jump in sales following its Startups 100 2016 appearance, and was later able to run a national TV commercial and brand film, directed by BAFTA-nominated Gary Tarn and narrated by Sir Michael Gambon.

Not just impressing canines across the country, tails.com also had our Startups Awards judges wagging their collective tails in late 2016 when the business walked away with the coveted Product Business of the Year award and took home Highly Commended and Commended accolades in the Retail Business of the Year and Tech Business of the Year categories respectfully.

In 2017, the business’ regular customer count topped 65,000, and the service was able to expand to offer new products including wet food and treats.

It also took home Highly Commended awards in the Service Business of the Year and People’s Champion categories at the Startups Awards 2017.

With over 90% of customers giving tails.com a five-star rating, the company told Startups’ it was aiming for a £20m turnover by the end of that year.


Featured: 2016 (11th)
Founders: Florian Färber and Lorenzo Franzi
Founded: September 2014

In 2016, we named Zipjet as the 11th best start-up in the UK.

Serving tens of thousands of customers and with offices in London and Berlin, we expected even better things from the business in 2017 – and just two weeks after appearing on our list, the start-up’s founding duo Florian Färber and Lorenzo Franzi announced they’d launched operations in Paris!

Taking on competition from the likes of Laundrapp and Laundryheap, the Startups Awards finalist for App of the Year 2016 later acquired corporate dry-cleaning business Asteria Cleaners and launched a partnership with Unilever’s Persil brand.

In July 2017, Zipjet closed a second round of funding from German consumer goods firm Henkel, which has been a strategic investor in the company since August 2016. The start-up has also been backed by Rocket Internet, btov and a series of strategic investors.

Going from strength to strength as a kingpin of the on-demand market, the business says that it now cleans thousands of Europe’s suits, shirts and dresses every month.


Featured: 2016 (First)
Founders: Christian Faes and Ian Thomas
Founded: May 2013

Topping our list for 2016, LendInvest were worthy winners of the Startups 100 that year. But has the business built on its success since?

Having raised over £230m, the peer to peer (P2P) marketplace for property lending and investing certainly had the financial resources to strengthen its position in the market.

Aiming to double its development finance lending in 2017, the online platform reported a 133% jump in revenue to £32m in 2016 – generating a cool £3.4m profit.

Looking to give even more to its industry, in September 2016 the London-based company opened a non-profit property development academy in partnership with the University of Reading – and the first of its two-day courses was oversubscribed ten times over.

To match demand, LendInvest launched further courses in Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh in 2017.

Since featuring in the index, LendInvest has launched new tailored loan products as well as a growing range of borrower products, and has been touted as “the largest online property marketplace in the UK” by ARC Rating.

Now growing at speed, when we caught up with co-founders Christian Faes and Ian Thomas last year they told us the business had “made the move now from a start-up to a scale-up”.


Featured: 2015 (94th), 2016 (64th), 2017 (24th)
Founded: January 2014
Founder: Emily Forbes

Less than 24 months after landing a spot on our Startups 100 2016 index, Emily Forbes and her video-collaboration platform Seenit have achieved a number of new milestones.

Now working with over 100 businesses, including BBC Worldwide, Benefit, Radio 1, Adidas, Coca Cola and O2, tens of thousands of individuals across 42 countries have been involved in projects through the platform.

Named one of Five to Watch in 2016’s Young Guns programme, Forbes had her lightbulb moment while attending a rhino hunting protest in South Africa, where she realised the power of harnessing raw amateur footage to fuel engagement between big brands and consumers.

Claiming to have reached and engaged an estimated 17,000,000 people, it’s hardly surprising that in December 2016 the start-up took home the coveted Disrupt Cup at TechCrunch Disrupt London’s Startup Battlefield. Seeing off 14 other start-ups, Forbes and co. were awarded $50,000 in investment.

Now, the start-up has expanded to the US, which – in the year since Seenit appeared in the Startups 100 2016 – brought with it a 112% increase in revenue, with Seenit content broadcast across BT Sport, NBC Universal and the BBC.

Within 12 months of being featured in 2016, Seenit’s team grew from 10 to 25, and the ambitious business looked set to double its workforce by 2018.



Featured: 2015 (12th)
Founded: August 2012
Founders: Husayn Kassai, Ruhul Amin and Eamon Jubbawy

Back in 2015, we wrote that Onfido had a great chance of becoming “the world’s go to destination for background checks”.

Fast forward to 2018 and the Startups Awards 2016 Sage Startups Business of the Year now boasts at being bigger than all of its competitors – combined!

Founded by Young Guns and Oxford University graduates Husayn Kassai, Ruhul Amin and Eamon Jubbawy, the London-based start-up raised $25m in Series B funding to crack the US in April 2016 – and secured further funding from Salesforce Ventures and Talis Capital four months later.

After raising a $30m Series C in September 2017, the business’ total raised topped $60m.

A sign of the business’ emerging global dominance, Onfido is now operating in 192 countries, helping bring financial services to the two billion unbanked individuals worldwide by helping them to scan and verify identity documents.


Featured: 2015 (Third)
Founded: August 2012 (launched February 2013)
Founders: William Shu and Greg Orlowski

Following a Series F round that brought in $480m in November 2017, Tech unicorn Deliveroo has so far raised almost $1bn worth of funding and is now valued at $2bn – despite only launching in 2013!

When we documented the business’ progress here in early 2017, it had grown to operate in over 35 UK cities and over 40 cities globally since its Startups 100 2015 listing. But the restaurant delivery service has experienced yet more exceptional growth in the last year, and now operates in 200 cities across the globe.

Founded by William Shu and Greg Orlowski, former investment banker Shu spent the first eight months of the business’ existence making its deliveries on his scooter, gaining first-hand knowledge of the logistics of take-away deliveries.

A mere five years later the story is quite different – and Shu has become a prominent name in the gig economy.

In September 2017 the UK’s fastest growing tech start-up (according to Tech5) confirmed that it employed 30,000 riders worldwide.

Three months later a study from Capital Economics found that Deliveroo had created 7,200 restaurant sector jobs and also contributed £460m to the industry’s revenue during the 12 months prior to June 2017.

Though Orlowski left the company in February 2016, the London-based market dominator and on-demand phenomenon shows no sign of stopping its rapid expansion – especially having recently announced plans to launch in India.


Featured: 2015 (First)
Founded: April 2014
Founders: Michael Bruce and Kenny Bruce

Seeing off some very strong competition, Purplebricks took our Startups 100 top spot in 2015. A “true industry disrupter”, the estate agent gives users access to a 24/7 property platform which provides real time updates on every aspect of the property transaction.

Were we right to rank Purplebricks at the top spot? Well, the numbers speak for themselves. In June 2016 the start-up reported that its revenues had risen by a massive 448% to £18.6m in just 12 months – a huge achievement for a business just two years clear of its launch.

And having raised over £58m with a listing on the Alternative Investment Market AIM in December 2015, In February last year the business raised a further £50m to fund its expansion into the US – with Purplebricks now operating stateside and in Australia.

And, even more impressively, the business recently gained unicorn status.

With a national TV campaign featuring Amanda Lamb under its belt and a staggering billion-dollar valuation, will Purplebricks continue to go from strength to strength? We believe you can bet your house on it!


Love Home Swap

Featured: 2013 (31st), 2014 (12th)
Founded: October 2011
Founder: Debbie Wosskow

Inspired by 2006 rom-com The Holiday, Debbie Wosskow founded holiday home-swapping service Love Home Swap in October 2011. Seven years later, the site lists over 54,000 homes in more than 160 countries worldwide.

Early on in its journey, Love Home Swap acquired a couple of its start-up rivals – Canadian competitor 1stHomeExchange in January 2013 and Dutch rival HomeForExchange in December 2015 – and entered into a strategic partnership with Wyndham Worldwide.

In July 2017, RCI, a division of Wyndham Worldwide, acquired Love Home Swap for a staggering £40m.

In recognition of these achievements and more, in June 2016 Wosskow was awarded an OBE for her services to business in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2016.

Keen to inspire and support fellow female entrepreneurs, in October 2016 Wosskow launched a new venture, AllBright Crowd, alongside Anna Jones, CEO of Hearst Magazines UK.

A female-focused crowdfunding platform, AllBright will support Wosskow’s vision to make the UK “the best place in the world to be a female founder”.


Featured: 2014 (18th)
Founded: October 2009 (launched October 2011)
Founders: Cassandra Stavrou and Ryan Kohn

Taking inspiration from her co-workers, who would feel guilty snacking in the afternoon, PROPERCORN co-founder Cassandra Stavrou made the risky decision to quit her job to realise her vision of creating “a snack without compromise”.

We can now firmly say that the risk was worth it! Climbing in at number 18 in the Startups 100 2014, PROPERCORN now sells over three million bags of popcorn per month across 11 countries, including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, and has been touted as both the fastest-growing non-tech start-up and one of the fastest-growing snack brands in the UK.

Gluten free, low calorie, vegetarian-friendly and 100% natural, Stravrou and co-founder Ryan Kohn seem to have cracked a legitimately healthy snack food.

In recognition of their success, the pair were inducted into the Young Guns Class of 2014, and in 2015 the business ran its own competition: PROPERCORN Platform, which saw start-ups compete to win financial backing and mentorship from PROPERCORN.

In 2017, the business launched another competition which invited winners to use free desk space at PROPERCORN HQ for a week.

In August 2016 the brand bagged £7m investment from Piper Private Equity and JamJar Investments. The following year, Stavrou participated in the Startups Awards 2017 as one of our esteemed judges – having won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award herself at the 2015 ceremony.

Shopological (formerly SalesGossip)

Featured: 2013 (91st), 2014 (66th), 2015 (55th)
Founded: June 2011 (launched November 2012)
Founders: Elizabetta Camilleri and Emilio Sanz

Formerly known as SalesGossip, fashion marketplace Shopological aims to help users enjoy “noise-free shopping” by bringing them tailored updates on sales, competitions and trends – but only from the brands that they love.

Aiming to save time-stretched shoppers the hassle of checking each retailer individually while helping drive sales for the businesses themselves, the multiple award-winning site now operates across the UK and sees around 2,000 new registrations a day.

With over two million registered users and more than 1,400 brands currently on-site, co-founder and inspiring woman Elizabetta Camilleri’s ambitions are high.

In September 2016 Camilleri told Startups that, over the next three years, she wants Shopological to top 50 million users in 50 cities around the world.

Having secured nearly £2m in funding since launch including a £1.1m round in January 2016, the business looks well on its way to this milestone.



Featured: 2013 (16th), 2014 (15th)
Founded: February 2011
Founders: Darren Westlake and Luke Lang

When Darren Westlake and Luke Lang launched Crowdcube in 2011, it’s fair to say that crowdfunding was an alien concept to most UK entrepreneurs.

Fast forward seven years, and it’s become one of the most popular forms of alternative finance.

With 630 successful raises completed and over £390m invested to date, Crowdcube has become one of the most popular UK crowdfunding platforms – alongside Seedrs – for innovative start-ups looking to raise funds.

2017 was a record-breaking year for the platform, with £90m successfully invested in 148 businesses – £9m of which was invested through Crowdcube’s new app. Last year alone, 32 businesses raised £1m or more – a ground-breaking number for the business.

In January 2016, Startups 100-listed Brewdog closed the largest ever UK crowdfunding round using Crowdcube – securing a whopping £10m, with the average investment standing at £3,600.

Raspberry Pi

Featured: 2012 (67th), 2013 (Second)
Founded: December 2008 (launched February 2012)
Founders: Eben Upton, Jack Lang, Robert Mullins, David Braben, Alan Mycroft and Pete Lomas

Making its second consecutive appearance in 2013, social enterprise Raspberry Pi wanted to get kids interested in coding to address the UK’s digital skills gap – and it succeeded!

Thanks to the company’s credit card-sized, single-board microcomputers retailing at just £15, children all over the world are now able to learn programming by simply plugging the Raspberry Pi into their television and keyboard.

Just four years after Raspberry Pi launched, its products’ manufacturer Premier Farnell was bought for a staggering £615m by Swiss industrial components manufacturer Dätwyler Holdings in June 2016.

That year was also an exceptional one for co-founder Dr Eben Upton, who was awarded a CBE for his services to business and education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Still scaling unstoppably, in 2017 Raspberry Pi passed the 12.5 million sales mark, making it the third best-selling general purpose computer ever.


Featured: 2013 (62nd), 2014 (41st)
Founded: May 2009 (launched July 2012)
Founders: Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva

Initially intended to help seed-stage start-ups raise finance, like Crowdcube Seedrs has become a hugely popular destination for disruptive UK start-ups who are in search of investment.

The platform has gone from strength to strength since being featured in the Startups 100, and last year was a record-breaking one for the business – with a total of £125m invested through the platform (a 44% increase on 2016) and 168 campaigns funded.

Seedrs, which now has offices in London, Berlin, Lisbon, New York and Amsterdam, also completed over 130% more campaigns of £1m or more in 2017 than it did the previous year.

Notably, tennis star Andy Murray – who sits on the platform’s board of advisors – backed more than 10 start-ups through the platform in 2017.

With 4,200 backers, in August 2017 challenger bank Revolut set the record for the most participants in a single crowdfunding campaign when it raised £3.8m through the site.

Think you have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of these pioneering, innovative and successful UK start-ups? Apply for the Startups 100 2018 index here.

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