Two Oxford University engineers, Peter Lammer and Jan Hruska, set up Sophos in 1985 in their front room to make anti-virus software. The company now has 330 staff in eight countries from Australia to Italy, and sells its software to the likes of the NHS and Norwich Union. It releases monthly updates in five languages to keep up with the ever-increasing plague of problems. High-profile viruses, such as the Kournikova Worm and Love Bug, have generated strong demand for its products, driving up profits 37% a year from £3m in 1998 to £7.8m in 2001, when it had 198 employees.

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Company details
ActivitySecurity software developer
Annual profit growth37.23%
Latest profits £000s7,839
Latest sales £000s22,625

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure