On the occasion of Silicon Valley Comes To the UK, an annual conference started six years ago by Cambridge-based serial entrepreneur Sherry Coutu and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffmann, now a partner in the Silicon venture firm Greylock Partners , Informilo identified UK companies that have scaled to achieve the magic £100 million in revenue, or that look likely to achieve that target within the next five years. To come up with its list Informilo talked to active investors in the tech sector; combed through the Cambridge Cluster map; and consulted a series of league tables for fast-growth tech businesses. Our list includes companies from the IT and telecom; medtech; and Internet sectors. Some have already successfully IPO’d; several others may do so in the next year.
SCALE-UP CHAMPS: PUBLICLY-TRADED
What it does:The world’s leading semiconductor intellectual property (IP) supplier.
Why it’s hot: Over 20 billion ARM-based chips have been shipped to date. Today ARM technology is in use in 90% of smart phones, 80% of digital cameras, and 28% of all electronic devices. In the past year sales for non‑mobile devices grew 50%. 2011 revenue: £491.8 million, up £85.2 million. Less than 1% of ARM’s revenue now comes from the UK.
CSR (formerly cambridge silicon radio)
What it does: Design and marketing of true single chip radio devices.
Why it’s hot: The Bluetooth market leader has shipped more than one billion chips since launch in 2004. Now a global tech brand, its chips appear in devices ranging from satnavs to smart home controllers to Nike running shoes. 2011 revenues were $845 million, up $44 million.
What it does:Marketing and development of computer software and services for engineering and related solutions.
Why it’s hot: AVEVA started life as CADCentre, a breakaway from Cambridge University. The company claims to have been the world’s leading engineering software provider to the plant, power and marine industries for over 45 years. 2012 revenue: £195.9 million, up from £174 million in 2011.
San francisco, ca, U.S.
What it does: The world’s largest and most advanced video search engine.
Why it’s hot: The company completed a successful IPO on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) in May 2007; it achieved a market cap of $350 million in the first week of trading. Blinkx has an index of over 35 million hours of searchable video and more than 800+ media partnerships. Its engine is based on technology that was conceived at Cambridge University, enhanced by $150 million in R&D over 12 years, and protected by 111 patents. In 2012 revenues increased by 73% to $114.4 million, from $66.1 in FY2011.
What it does: Producer and distributor of high-quality protein research tools.
Why it’s hot:Abcam’s tools enable life scientists to analyze components of living cells at the molecular level, which is essential in understanding health and disease. Its mission is to ” build the largest online catalog of the best antibodies in the world.” 2012 revenues (yearend June 2012) revenues were £97.8 million, up 11.5% from 2011.
IT & TELECOM
What it does: Provider of low-cost overseas phone calls.
Why it’s hot: Number two on this year’s Tech Track list of fastest-growing tech companies, Lycamobile grew revenues 247% a year from £2.8 million in 2008 to £116.8m in 2011, with only 17 employees. Started by serial telecoms entrepreneur Subaskaran Allirajah.
cambridge broadband networks
What it does: Point-to-multipoint wireless backhaul and access solutions.
Why it’s hot: CBNL’s VectaStar product provides network operators with a sustainable and scalable solution designed to manage future mobile data growth as well as new technologies, including LTE coverage and small cell networks. The period of 2005-10 saw revenue growth of 864%, which ranked the company in the top 200 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2010, and 38th in the 2011 Tech Track 100, the fourth year CBNL was included in the league table of the fastest-growing technology companies in the UK. Estimated 2011 revenue: £40 million.
What it does: Provides trading technology solutions for high-speed access to trading information and trades execution.
Why it’s hot: Winner of Deloitte’s UK Fast 50 award in 2011, when it had revenue growth of 24557%. On average sales have grown 72% a year, from £5.5 million in 2009 to £28.1 million in 2012, driven by a massive expansion of computerized trading and the increasing role of technology in global markets. In June 2011, Fixnetix developed a microchip that can execute trades in nanoseconds, replacing the need for separate software.
What it does:Cloud-based email management, including archiving, continuity and security.
Why it’s hot: The company has over 6,000 customers globally – including 70% of the UK’s top 100 law firms – and over 1.5 million users worldwide. Sales grew 66% a year from £6.8 million in 2009 to £31 million in 2012. Mimecast has featured on the Fast Track 100 list for three years running. Received a £62 million investment from Insight Venture Partners in September.
What it does: Leading global provider of wireless solutions to the transportation sector.
Why it’s hot: By improving the connectivity of trains and buses, Nomad helps passengers benefit from more reliable internet, media entertainment and real-time passenger travel information on the move. Has customers across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia; its solutions are deployed on more than 8,000 vehicles, cover 50,000 km of track and serving more than one billion passengers. Nomad was the first company to provide continuous high-speed Internet connectivity in tunnels and the first to stream high-quality live video to and from moving trains. Sales grew 186% a year, from £814,000 in 2008 to £19 million in 2011.
What it does: Smart home monitoring provider.
Why it’s hot: Developed in Cambridge, AlertMe’s Smart Home platform enables consumers to take control not only of their energy use, but also a myriad of devices and applications in the home. Sales grew 169% a year from £390,000 in 2008 to £7.6 million in 2011. Strategy Analytics forecasts that Western Europe will be a leader in Smart Home services, with a predicted 23 million smart systems in homes by 2015 and 46 million by 2020. The market for Western Europe is expected to generate over $10bn in revenues by 2017, giving AlertMe ample space to scale up.
What it does: Develops innovative and disruptive wireless network technology to enable the use of TV “white space” spectrum.
Why it’s hot: Neul’s products are the first and so far the only radios that fully meet the FCC white space radio specification. The company is leading the development of a new global Communications Standard (called ‘Weightless’) specifically designed for M2M traffic. In September Neul secured an additional $5 million in equity funding; Mitsui & Co. Global Investment Ltd (“MGI”) joined existing investors DFJ Esprit, IQ Capital, and several business angels. Not really scaling up revenue-wise yet, but the betting is that its support of the Internet of things will lead it to take off soon.
raspberry pi Foundation
What it does: Created and distributes a tiny and cheap ($25) computer for kids.
Why it’s hot: The Raspberry Pi organization’s mission is to see its small but capable computer being used by kids all over the world to learn programming. There are currently more than 400,000 Pis out there; there should be one million by the end of 2012. Next challenge: getting the Pi build into formal education programs around the world. Since the Foundation is a charity, this isn’t a traditional “scale-up” story; but it’s definitely a role model when it comes to innovation, focus, and growth.
What it does:Online takeaway ordering service.
Why it’s hot: Active on four continents with more than 20,000 restaurants on its network; used by millions of takeaway customers every month. Raised $64 million from private equity group Vitruvian Partners and other investors in May to support acquisitions of smaller rivals, Europe’s largest e-commerce fundraise for 2012. Claims that less than 10% of all takeaway orders in the world take place online, so there is still plenty of growth out there. 2011 revenues: roughly £35 million, up from £5.6 million in 2008.
What it does:Digital, real-time short-term loans for consumers and businesses.
Why it’s hot: Wonga’s technology platform allows it to make swift credit decisions, yet maintain positive cash flow with very tight lending restrictions (in 2011 revenue exceeded £73 million and profits were £16.6 million). Recently named the number one company in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100. Allegedly considering a stock market float in the US as early as next year which could value the company above £1 billion.
What it does:Award-winning global platform for social video advertising. It distributes video across platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, premium publisher sites, influential blogs and mobile applications.
Why it’s hot: Has delivered, tracked and audited 1.65 billion video views, across 2,000+ successful social video campaigns, for more than 400 brands since 2007. In January 2012, received a $25 million Series A investment — the largest ever for a private company in the social video space. Estimated 2012 revenue: £17.6 million; growth has averaged 157%.*
What it does:Enterprise cloud collaboration and content management.
Why it’s hot: Customers include Fortune 500 companies and government, financial services, professional services and manufacturing organization. The company is using its recent $24 million Series C round of funding to form strategic partnerships and expand global operations, with the number of employees expected to exceed 200 across the com. In September Huddle reported sales have growth 800% “year on year”; CEO Alistair Mitchell expects Huddle to be a billion dollar business in three years; there’s also talk of an IPO. 2011 revenues: approximately £80 million.
What it does: Mobile app to identify music.
Why it’s hot: Bar-goers have since 2002 been holding their handsets up to speakers so the Shazam app can identify the music they’re listening to. Since then it has morphed into a powerful marketing tool: the user can now not only to identify the music in, say, an ad, but also buy the goods featured in the ad, concert tickets, the track itself, etc. In June 2011 it raised $32 million in funding. It boasts 250 million users, adds two million new users a week, and claims to have identified more than five billion songs. Now it is expanding onto second screens, making TV ads “Shazamable,” allowing its large user base to buy not just music but all sorts of merchandise connected with programming.
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What it does: Its DuoFertility product helps infertile patients conceive naturally by providing continuous at-home fertility monitoring linked to expert support.
Why it’s hot: DuoFertility is an at-home solution with internet-delivered care, so costs less than one-tenth as much as a cycle of IVF, and is non-invasive and drug-free. The product is suitable for about 80% of infertile patients, and has been shown to have the same pregnancy rate as a cycle of IVF for those patients. The company says the product took less than 18 months, and £1 million, to go from concept to first consumer sales. This is about one-tenth the cost and time of a conventional medical device development process. 2011 revenue: £868,600, up £648,100.
What it does: Medical diagnostics; developing novel new tests for various diseases based on its innovative, patented T cell measurement technology.
Why it’s hot: Spun out of the University of Oxford, the company’s first product is the T-SPOT®.TB test, a new cellular blood test for the detection of active and latent TB infection. It claims T-SPOT is more accurate than traditional testing methods. Sales grew 58.52% from 2008/9 to 2011/12, to reach £8.0 million. In June the company raised a total of $28 million in a new equity financing. The round was led by new investors Imperial Innovations and Invesco Perpetual and supported by existing shareholders. Oxford Immunotec has now completed five institutional funding rounds totaling approximately $110 million since its establishment in 2002.
What it does: Provides unique nanoparticle characterization technology.
Why it’s hot: NanoSight delivers versatile and proven multi-parameter nanoparticle analysis in a single instrument. There are now more than 450 NanoSight instruments in use worldwide and this number continues to grow as the firm’s products are cited almost daily in fresh academic papers, a list that now totals over 400. The company is a recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade 2012. It also won the Technology World 2011 Business Innovation Award and was named the UK’s fastest-growing biotechnology company by Deloitte in their Fast 50 awards. 2011 revenues were £3.7 million; revenue growth according to Deloitte was 809%.
What it does:Personalized medicine diagnostic specialist.
Why it’s hot: Lat21 supports blood bank screening, medical diagnostics and drug discovery; its customers include international healthcare providers, including the NHS, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Has made seven acquisitions in the past two years. Sales rose 47% a year from £3.6 million in 2008 to £11.4 million in 2011. Backed by private equity firms including Nexus Medical Partners, Medicis Capital, and Merlin Biosciences Fund.
exco in touch
What it does: Provider of mobile and digital patient engagement solutions to support clinical, late phase and mHealth programs.
Why it’s hot: Offers an innovative suite of patient-focused services delivered via mobile phone and Internet technology. Clients include nine of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical businesses. In 2011 received the European Outsourcing Award for ‘Best eBusiness/IT strategy’ and the Deloitte Fast 50 Technology award, which recognizes the fastest growing technology companies in the U.K. Revenue grew 730% over the five years to 2011. Estimated 2011 revenue: estimated: £5 million.
What it does: Developing a unique antibiotic technology to address one the most urgent challenges facing medicine today – how to destroy multi-drug resistant bacteria, the so-called “superbugs.”
Why it’s hot: In vitro testing shows that Phico’s patented platform, SASPject™, can destroy targeted bacteria more rapidly than any other licensed antibiotic while leaving the remaining bacterial flora unharmed: SASPject™ can destroy up to 99.9 % of target bacteria in 2 minutes. Equally important, laboratory studies have not revealed any mechanism by which bacteria can become resistant to SASP and its unique mode of action.