Lean Start-up of the Year 2015: Meet the finalists

With no more than £25,000 of external capital, we've identified six great businesses built on a shoestring. Find out which companies made our shortlist...

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Such was the popularity of Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, an entire movement has grown up around the methodology he described in his book.

And many of the UK’s tech start-ups, in particular, ascribe to the desire to run their businesses as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible. In recognition of that, we created the Lean Start-up of the Year category to find celebrate and some truly outstanding businesses that are growing fast on limited resources.

While well-funded businesses too may follow the model laid out by Ries, our six finalists have got where they are without raising more than £25,000 of external finance.


Family-run raw pet food company which uses human-grade meat, vegetables and superfoods to create its products for cats and dogs. In less than two years with no funding, it has grown to a seven-figure turnover and 26 staff.

View the full profile here.

Whites Technology Group

Provides foreign exchange, international payments and technology services to businesses in the financial technology market. Entirely self-funded, it has achieved close to 50% year-on-year growth and revenues in the hundreds of millions.

View the full profile here.

Smith & Sinclair

The “world’s first cocktail confectionary” which has turned classic cocktails such as gin and tonic into 6-8% abv alcoholic sweets. Bootstrapped, the start-up has already secured listings with 75 retailers and has sold over 180,000 units.

View the full profile here.


Mobile digital advertising specialist dubbed “the future of mobile advertising”. Without external investment, the start-up has developed Europe’s first taxi-top advertising proposition; the iTaxitop, and the world’s first ads-for-access high speed in-cab Wi-Fi system for taxis.

View the full profile here.


A router software innovation which eliminates the problems of internet congestion and reduces lag. Without any investment, Netduma is set to hit seven-figure revenues in 2016 and already retails in the US, Canada, France, Germany and Austria.   

View the full profile here.

Suffolk Installers

Provides renewable home energy solutions including cavity wall and loft insulation, solar PV panels, energy assessments and home energy surveys in and around the East Anglia Region. Self-funded, it has helped over 5,000 residents to date and projects seven-figure revenues in 2016.

View the full profile here.

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