Highlights from the Startups Awards 2017

The Startups Awards 2017 was a celebration of the UK's most inspirational start-ups. We share our highlights from the ceremony...

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Thursday 30 November marked the 14th annual Startups Awards ceremony, which celebrated the UK's ambitious, inspirational and exciting start-ups launched in the last four years – acknowledging their successes with prestigious accolades.

While it's difficult to sum up the many start-ups, guests, sponsors – and more – who made this year's awards so fantastic, we've compiled a short list of highlights from the night…

Inspiring winners

The stars of the ceremony were undoubtedly the Startups Awards winners.

Among them were entrepreneurs who had innovated unique solutions to the problems they faced, put their heart and soul into making their industry better, overcome personal and professional hardship to triumph in business, and more.

With so many fantastic start-ups in contention for each title, it would have been impossible to simply award one trophy per category – so, alongside our winners, we also celebrated two runners up in each category with Commended and Highly Commended awards, making for a grand total of 48 trophies given out to a variety of deserving businesses.

Learn more about the incredible Startups Awards 2017 winners here!

Startups Awards winners 2017 2

Taking home the coveted Start Up Loans Start-up of the Year award – and being crowned overall winner of the Startups Awards 2017 – was Bulb, which supplies renewable electricity and gas with a commitment to protecting the environment, providing exceptional customer service and keeping costs down for customers.

Bulb Startups Awards winner 2

Bulb co-founders Amit Gudka and Hayden Wood with Joanna Hill and Oli Barrett MBE

More finalists than ever

This year, the standard of entrants was so high that we shortlisted a record-breaking 77 start-ups for the awards, with eight businesses shortlisted for each award category. While we couldn't give them all an award, each finalist was truly deserving of recognition for their achievements.

The majority of these finalists joined us at the ceremony, and with such a wide variety of incredible start-ups in the room, guests were able to gain inspiration from one another, make beneficial connections and get to know their standout peers in the UK's start-up landscape.

Learn more about our finalists here!

Fantastic sponsors

To bring the Startups Awards 2017 to life, Startups.co.uk joined forces with a number of incredible sponsors, all of whom we couldn't have done it without. These included headline sponsor The Start Up Loans Company, alongside sponsors AXA Business Insurance, haysmacintyre, Payzone, All Response Media, GoDaddy and Oracle NetSuite.

Government-funded business loan provider The Start Up Loans Company was the driving force behind two of our awards: The Start Up Loans Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year and The Start Up Loans Start-up of the Year. David English, chief marketing officer at The Start Up Loans Company, took to the stage to present the former to winning start-up Infinity Trampoline Park.

David English

Later in the evening, The Start Up Loans Company's CEO Joanna Hill presented the overall award to winning business Bulb.

Joanna Hill 4

Joanna Hill

A record-breaking number of People's Champion votes

Every year, each of our finalists are in the running for the People's Champion trophy – the only Startups Awards accolade whose winner and runners up are voted for by members of the public.

This year we saw a record-breaking number of people take to their computers, smart phones and tablets to vote for the shortlisted start-up they thought deserved the award most, with a total of 38,000 votes cast – more than ever before in the Startups Awards' 14-year history.

For the third year running, shaving subscription service Cornerstone‘s dedicated customer care practices and customer engagement payed off, with the start-up taking home the People's Champion trophy for the third time.

People's Champion Award 2017

Cornerstone's Oliver Bridge accepting the People's Champion Award

With the second-highest number of votes and taking home the Highly Commended award was on-demand bespoke dog food service tails.com. Taking home the Commended trophy with the third-highest number of votes was artisan gin subscription service Craft Clubs.

A stunning venue

The Startups Awards 2017 took place at the Royal Garden Hotel in High Street Kensington, London.

Startups Awards venue

Ahead of the awards ceremony, guests were served a delicious three-course meal and fine wine, and sponsors, finalists and guests were free to network with one another and enjoy the celebratory atmosphere.


Esteemed guests and a brilliant host

The Startups Awards 2017 judging process saw a range of esteemed entrepreneurs come together to scrutinise our finalists and select the winners and runners up among them.

On the night of the ceremony, a number of these judges came along to watch the businesses they championed take home trophies, and perhaps present a few themselves.

Dragons' Den investor, serial entrepreneur and Startups Awards judge Touker Suleyman joined the celebrations, while fellow judge Sahar Hashemi OBE, founder of revolutionary high street chain Coffee Republic, presented the Women in Business Award.

Touker and Sahar

Touker Suleyman and Sahar Hashemi OBE

Jon Wright, Startups Awards judge and co-founder of Innocent Drinks and JamJar Investments, and fellow judge Giles Brook, CEO EMEA of coconut water giant Vita Coco, both joined in with the business celebrations and presented App of the Year and Product Business of the Year respectively.

Jon Wright and Giles Brook with Ian

Left to right: Jon Wright, Giles Brook and Startups.co.uk's editorial director Ian Wallis

Meanwhile, Startups Awards judge Paul Lindley, bestselling author and founder of children's food business Ella's Kitchen, presented the award for Export Business of the Year. Lindley also holds a Startups Awards title to his name; crowned Micro-Business of the Year winner back in 2006!

Paul Lindley presenting Startups Awards

Paul Lindley (left) and Oli Barrett MBE (right)

Self-made millionaire, CEO of Firestarters, and fellow Startups Awards judge Jamie Waller presented the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, while special guest Julien Callede, co-founder of furniture retailer Made.com and another former Startups Awards winner, presented the award for Innovative Business of the Year.

Jamie Waller Startups Awards judge

Jamie Waller

Bringing the whole ceremony together was Oli Barrett MBE, seasoned master of ceremonies and founder of StartUp Britain, who introduced each award with a signature dose of humour.


Oli Barrett MBE

Social media success

Throughout the evening (and beyond) we saw fantastic engagement on social media, with #StartupsAwards reaching seven million people across Twitter! Winning businesses were especially quick to share their excitement with the world:



Following the ceremony, we received wonderful feedback from our guests. Here are a just a few of the many highlights:

Bulb, the overall Startups Awards 2017 winner:

“Thank you for putting together a fabulous evening – we were so chuffed to have won! We didn’t quite believe it. It was clear a lot of thought and effort went into the event… we had a great time.”

Pip Murray, Pip & Nut, Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Product Business of the Year:

“What a fantastic night and lots of celebrations in the Nest (office!) today! Wanted to say a massive thank you to you and the Startups team's support of Pip & Nut over its journey so far!”

David Montgomery, Infinity Trampoline Park, The Start Up Loans Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year:

“Just wanted to give massive thanks to you all for everything – the organisers did a brilliant job of everything and it was a huge honour to be up on stage with some extremely impressive people and businesses. The actual award is up on display in the Cardiff park and our customers are quick to compliment!”

Ross Melvin, Ventro Group, Service Business of the Year:

“It's very inspiring to meet so many people with fresh enthusiastic ideas and following through to create dynamic ventures.”

To find out more about the Startups Awards, click here.

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