VOTING BEGINS TO FIND THE 2016 GROWTH CHAMPION OF THE YEAR

  • Public vote to crown the inaugural Growth Champion of the Year, supported by Smith & Williamson, now live at com
  • Eight outstanding growth companies are competing to determine the overall winner, to be announced at the Growth Investor Awards on 3 November 2016
  • Visitcomto view the finalists in all Growth Investor award categories

Eight outstanding UK high growth companies are now going head to head to determine which will be crowned 2016 Growth Champion of the Year, supported by Smith & Williamson. The winner will be announced at the Growth Investor Awards black tie dinner on Thursday 3 November at the Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel in Mayfair, London. Visit growthinvestorawards.com for information on attending the event.

The Growth Champion of the Year award recognises top performing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have best optimised Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) or Venture Capital Trust (VCT) funding to scale up their businesses. The public vote will count for one-fifth of the overall tally for each finalist, after which five judges will reach a decision based on a number of growth metrics (including revenues, job creation, and regional/international expansion) to determine the outright winner.

Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurial Services at Smith & Williamson – sponsor of Growth Champion of the Year – commented: “It is in the interests of government to make Britain a hotbed for innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth. Tax incentives like EIS are therefore vital for businesses seeking the growth capital needed to scale. We are delighted to sponsor this new Growth Champion of the Year award because it demonstrates how this type of investment is being optimised to move Britain forward.”

Simon Devonshire OBE, Entrepreneur in Residence at Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: “We’re asking the public to join us in celebrating the success of companies that have used growth capital in the best ways possible, with the aspirations to scale up their business, expand their market share, deliver economic benefits to their region or local community and even to fund international expansion.”

Michael Hayman MBE, Co-founder of Seven Hills and StartUp Britain, comments: “These companies have created jobs, generated tax revenue and helped drive Britain’s economic recovery. They’ve also been a catalyst for a regional revival, fostering growth across the UK.”

Guy Tolhurst, Managing Director of Intelligent Partnership, organiser of the Growth Investor Awards, said: “It’s crunch time. Out of 30 initial entries, we are now down to just eight. We’ve opened up this award to an online vote, and there are some well-known brands on this list that will resonate with many people. We hope voters will give every finalist due consideration, and vote for those companies that best meet the criteria. These are all exceptional growth businesses with great stories to tell.” 

Between them the eight finalists have received over £120 million of venture capital, with an average investment of just under £17.5 million. Together, they employ over 2,800 people and are expected to achieve turnover in excess of £310 million this year. Half of the finalists are already expanding overseas, three of them are located outside London, and the sectors they work in range from Food & Drink, to Media, Technology and general business enterprises. You can find out more about the eight finalists on the next page, and you can view exclusive interviews with founders and senior management of each company at growinvestorawards.com.

Car Wow: changing the way consumers purchase new cars
Launched in 2013, Car Wow acts as a marketplace in which users can compare prices from car dealerships all around the UK. The team has grown from 15 at the start of 2015 to over 80 now, working from central London offices. The site now receives 2 million monthly unique visitors. In March, the company launched into Germany and plans to expand into other territories over the next three years. Having massed one million users in just three years, carwow hopes to hit 2 million users by mid-2017.

Darwin & Wallace: bringing style and glamour to London pubs and bars

Darwin & Wallace was founded in 2012 with the vision of developing contemporary bar restaurants in affluent London “villages” and to date has raised £7 million of funding via the EIS. It has made a significant contribution to the economy through employs some 175 staff. Recent openings, in Clapham, Richmond and Chiswick have had an enormous positive impact on their local communities. Its strategy is to expand the brand to further sites in Greater London, and in time, outside of the capital.

Eve Sleep: on a mission to become a global sleep brand
Eve Sleep launched its direct to consumer ‘mattress-in-a-box’ concept in February 2015. Initial seed invested enabled it the business to start with an ambitious performance marketing campaign and take that much needed ‘first mover advantage’. More importantly it gave the company the funds necessary to scale its performance marketing. Starting with four founders round a kitchen table, eve Sleep now has more than 50 staff and offices in London, San Francisco and Germany, France and the US, with further European expansion planned this year.

FlyVictor: the world’s largest on-demand marketplace for private jets
Founded in 2011, Victor has developed sophisticated technology to intelligently match end users with private jets 24/7 enabling transactions, settlement, and customer servicing. Victor has access to a global fleet of 7,000, and now has more than 60,000 registered users and employs 77 staff. Growth funding has helped the company further expand into North America, with the acquisition of a California-based broker and an East Coast presence, with offices in New York.

GO Outdoors: Sheffield-based retailer changing the market for outdoor clothing and equipment
GO Outdoors (GO) sells everything for the outdoors, from tents, camping and fishing equipment to climbing gear, running kit and ski wear. Originally starting life in 1998 as a single store in Sheffield, the initial growth investment helped fund a management buyout and further investments allowed it make acquisitions and to accelerate the number of stores in operation. GO now has 2,000 employees and operates from 57 stores across the UK, as well as operating a fast growing e-commerce website.

Gousto: a ‘recipe box’ company that is revolutionising the online grocery market
Gousto is leading the way in changing how we purchase, cook and eat food. From delivering to 12 customers a week in 2012, it is projected to deliver 2 million portions in the second half of 2016. Capital from multiple rounds of fundraising has supported continued growth of the business and each round of investment has had a huge impact on the fast pace of growth to date. Gousto currently employs over 150 people, and expects this to increase to 200 before 2017.

NotOnTheHighStreet: championing the best small creative businesses in the UK
From humble beginnings of two founders in 2006, Notonthehighstreet.com now employs over 200 people. The business received its first external investment from Spark Ventures a year after its inception, which accelerated the business through a significant investment in technology. This investment led to gross sales in 2014 reaching £127 million and delivering a compound growth rate of 135%. International expansion is the next initiative: in 2015, the company shipped to 154 countries.

Outplay Entertainment: developing high quality games for mobile devices
Outplay is an award-winning mobile game developer, but it was loss-making until it received venture capital finance in 2014, which enabled it to build crucial support capability in marketing and data driven insights into how play its games. Outplay’s growth has created many job opportunities. It has 133 employees in its Dundee studio, making it one of the largest mobile games studios in in Europe. Outplay currently has seven live games, and plans to release a further two games by the end of 2016.

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