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
3sun GroupEnergy services provider Great Yarmouth Mar 14 ‡20,903 274 2007 Three recent acquisitions have boosted growth, and it plans to reach sales of £60m by 2017 after securing £10m from Business Growth Fund in March
Blue-Zoo ProductionsAnimation studio Central London Aug 14 ‡5,600 110 2000 Founded in 2000 by three animation students, this Bafta award-winning studio works with the BBC and Disney, and forecasts sales of £8m for next year
CabanaBrazilian barbecue chain Central London Dec 13 4,445 124 2011 Secured £3m in July from high-profile investors including Saracens owner Nigel Wray, and plans to grow from seven sites to 30 in four years
Explore LearningEducation provider Guildford Dec 13 25,932 597 2001 Provides tuition for children at 100 UK centres, and recently opened its first overseas. It was valued at about £30m when Graphite Capital invested in 2012
Mash DirectFood manufacturer County Down Feb 14 ‡11,951 121 2004 Its ready-to-eat vegetable dishes, all grown and cooked on the family farm, are sold in supermarkets such as Asda and even Carrefour in Dubai
Meantime Brewing CompanyBrewery Central London Dec 13 11,501 106 1999 Makes more than 40 varieties of craft beer and is investing £8m to create a state-of-the-art brewery and expand production
Orlebar BrownMen's swimwear retailer Northwest London Jul 14 ‡11,458 53 2007 Sales were boosted after Daniel Craig wore its shorts in the Bond film Skyfall. It is expanding overseas after raising £8m from Piper Private Equity
PukkaHerbal tea maker Bristol Aug 14 ‡17,003 73 2002 Set up in a spare bedroom in 2002, the firm has almost quadrupled its turnover in four years to £17m, boosted by exports, which account for half of its sales
SéraphineMaternity clothing retailer Central London Mar 14 8,280 53 2002 Exports to more than 20 countries, and one of its dresses was worn by the Duchess of Cambridge in the first official photo of Prince George
WatchfinderPre-owned watch retailer Kent Mar 14 25,135 57 2002 Says it has the largest collection of used watches in the UK. It is aiming for £70m sales by 2016 after Piton Capital and Beringea invested £6.2m in August

* supplied by company   † annualised figure

Past stars