Virgin Media Business Disruptors to Watch 10

Virgin Media Business and Fast Track have sought to identify 10 of the most disruptive private British companies. The 10 companies, drawn from over 200 identified initially, were selected from a shortlist of 14 following three pitching workshops in November by judges from Virgin Media Business, Fast Track and founders of last year’s inaugural ‘Disruptor 10’ companies. The 10 companies are recognised for having a business model, product or service on the cusp of creating a new market, or transforming existing markets.

The inaugural Virgin Media Business Disruptor 10 companies featured in the 2016 Fast Track 100 supplement in The Sunday Times.

Their directors were invited to the national awards dinner in May 2017 where each company received a certificate.

The 2016 winner was Blockchain, the bitcoin wallet provider.  Its co-founder, Nicolas Cary, was presented with an award by Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business.

Virgin Media Business Disruptors to Watch 10

Company Disruptive activities
AgriProteinInsect-based animal feeds Supported by eight years of research and development, and more than $18m in funding, it says its insect-based animal feeds provide a more sustainable, cost-effective alternative to the current over-reliance on products such as fishmeal
babylonMobile healthcare app Aims to make healthcare more accessible through its AI-driven app, which allows users including NHS patients in London – to check symptoms and consult GPs; raised $60m in April, putting its value at about $200m
Cambridge Medical RoboticsSurgical robotics developer Is launching low-cost, portable surgical robots to replace expensive and large machines used by hospitals, and estimates it will make keyhole surgery more accessible to 7m patients a year — it has raised $46m
GrowUp Urban FarmsSustainable agriculture developer Plans to make food supply chains more sustainable with salad crops grown in water enriched by waste from fish farmed on site. It has developed a prototype farm capable of supplying 20 tons of greens and 4 tons of fish a year
Ieso Digital HealthOnline mental health therapy Aims to change how therapy for common mental health conditions is delivered; expects to cut treatment times and costs for 20,000 NHS patients by the end of 2017 through its online therapy rooms. It has raised £18m
MonzoMobile banking app Aims to help 1bn people better manage their finances with its app-only current account; raised £71m in November, gaining a valuation of £280m, and is planning one of the UK’s largest crowdfunding campaigns next year
Social ChainSocial media agency Its digital publishing model is changing how brands engage with people on social media, by selling advertising across its portfolio of 400 online communities to 386m viewers. The average age of its 105 employees is 22
TRXTelevision rights marketplace Its online marketplace for television rights aims to capture more than 20% of a largely offline $5bn market, with distributors such as BBC Worldwide signing up to sell content to more than 500 buyers; it has raised £10.8m
what3wordsGeographic location platform developer Aims to provide a more precise alternative to numerical postcodes for industries such as logistics by dividing the world into 57 trillion three-metre squares, each assigned a three-word code; has raised £15m
ZegoPay-as-you-go insurance Its pay-as-you-go insurance for gig economy workers at the likes of Deliveroo is an alternative to annual cover. It has insured drivers for 1.4m hours since August 2016, and raised £6m last month to launch overseas

Past stars

Fast Track Ones to Watch 10

The Fast Track Ones to Watch 10 represents the best of the rest of the companies whose sales growth falls just short of the main league table, but who are set to grow rapidly in the future. All shortlisted companies are visited by the Fast Track research team and assessed for inclusion.

The top ten companies are featured in the supplement in The Sunday Times and are invited to the national awards dinner.

They receive a certificate, and one national winner, selected by a judging panel, is announced on the night and presented with an award.

This year’s winner was Olivia Burton, the watch and jewellery maker.

Company HQ location Year end Sales £000s Staff Founded Comment
Churchill Contract ServicesFacilities services provider Hertfordshire Jun 13 73,198 7,639 1991 Founders started with a cleaning van in 1991 and now employ more than 7,600 staff, having expanded the company partly through acquisitions
Express EngineeringPrecision engineer Gateshead Mar 13 29,443 218 1973 Growth has come from investment in manufacturing facilities in Britain and Brazil, and the firm recently secured funding from LDC, a private equity firm
Grace ColeBeauty products retailer Cheshire Feb 13 7,664 21 2007 Its bath and body products are sold in stores such as Harrods and Debenhams, and it also exports to more than 70 countries
LoungersCafé and bar operator Bristol Apr 13 ‡22,143 850 2002 Runs 40 café bars and plans to double this within three years. It sold a significant minority stake to Piper Private Equity for £16m last year
Metcalfe’s Food CompanyRetail food brand Central London May 13 ‡3,687 15 2010 Set up by Pret a Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe and run by Robert Jakobi, it sells food and drink under the Itsu Grocery and Metcalfe’s Skinny brands
Orchard Valley FoodsFood supplier Worcestershire May 13 11,988 38 2004 Customers include home cooks inspired by the BBC’s Great British Bake Off, as well as national chains such as Marks & Spencer, Pizza Hut and Greggs
Ovo EnergyEnergy supplier Bristol Dec 12 102,940 162 2009 Founded four years ago, it already has 140,000 customers and managing director Stephen Fitzpatrick is aiming for a million by 2017
Saltire EnergyOil drilling equipment provider Aberdeen Jun 13 32,993 52 1986 Supplies drilling tools to the global oil and gas sector, and sales have grown 50% in the past year to £33m, with operating profit of £18.6m
The Training RoomTraining provider Poole May 13 ‡8,592 114 2006 Has taught 3,000 fitness instructors in the past year, and links up with gym providers such as Fitness First to help personal trainers secure jobs
WoolOversKnitwear retailer West Sussex Mar 13 15,218 58 1989 Has evolved from a market trader to an online retailer, selling to countries as far afield as Canada, Russia and New Zealand

* supplied by company   † annualised figure

Past stars