Fast Track researches and compiles two annual sub-tables, published in our Fast Track 100 supplement with The Sunday Times, featuring promising private British companies from a cross-section of industries that do not qualify for the main league table but deserve special recognition. The 10 Disruptors to Watch focuses on companies with the potential to disrupt their market; and the 10 Fast Track Ones to Watch features companies that are set to grow rapidly.
The 10 finalists for each programme are selected by a judging panel and are featured in the Sunday Times supplement. Their senior directors are also invited to the awards event, where they receive a certificate, with one overall winner presented with an award.
The 10 Disruptors to Watch highlights 10 companies with disruptive potential from a cross-section of industries, rather than claiming to identify the 10 companies with the most disruptive potential.
The research takes into account factors such as business model, management team and investor credibility, as well as total funds raised.
Past winners include Babylon Health, the healthcare app company whose investors include the founders of DeepMind, and last year’s winner Graphcore, the chip manufacturer backed by Sequoia Capital and the co-founder of ARM Holdings.
|Company||HQ Location||Disruptive activities|
|Artios PharmaCancer treatment biopharmaceutics||Cambridge||Founded in 2016, this company is developing treatments to stop cancer cells self-repairing: this kills them or makes them easier to eliminate with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Spun out from the commercial partnerships team at Cancer Research UK, it has raised $122m from investors including Pfizer and Novartis.|
|CazooUsed car sales platform||Central London||Aims to disrupt the £50bn used car market with its online platform, which delivers cars to buyers’ homes in as little as 72 hours, with a seven-day money-back guarantee. It is the creation of Alex Chesterman, who founded Zoopla, and has raised £57m from investors such as Octopus Ventures and DMG Ventures.|
|Hummingbird TechnologiesAgricultural analytics platform||Central London||This company applies artificial intelligence (AI) to data from satellites, drones and aircraft to analyse crops and help farmers identify problems. It has raised $16m to date from backers including BASF, the European Space Agency and Beeswax Dyson, Sir James Dyson’s agricultural firm.|
|OrbexSpace launch services||Moray||Plans to launch its small satellite rocket in 2021 from a spaceport being developed in northern Scotland. Orbex says the rocket will be fuelled by liquid biopropane, which it says has never been used in a commercial rocket engine, and will cut carbon emissions by 90%. The company has raised £34m from the UK Space Agency and High-Tech Gründerfonds, among others.|
|Prowler.ioAI technology developer||Cambridge||Aims to use AI to help companies in sectors ranging from education to logistics to speed up and improve decision-making. The company has 115 employees in offices in Cambridge and abroad. It raised $34m in May — when Tencent was among the investors, and the company was valued at $100m — bringing the total it has raised to $50m.|
|TessianEmail security provider||Central London||Claims to have developed the first security platform that uses machine learning to protect against human error. The company says its software has been trained on more than 1bn emails, and its customers include Rightmove and the British Medical Association. It has raised $59m from backers including Sequoia Capital, Balderton Capital and Accel.|
|TideSME banking app||Central London||Has launched a digital current account for business owners, with benefits such as automated book-keeping and integrated invoicing. The bank claims to have more than 100,000 customers in the UK. It has raised $95m from the SBI Group, Augmentum Fintech, Passion Capital and others.|
|Tokamak EnergyFusion energy developer||Oxfordshire||Aims to develop fusion power to provide a safe and cost-effective way to fulfil the world’s growing energy demands. The company has raised more than £50m from investors including Legal & General Capital and David Harding, the founder and chief executive of Winton Group. It has also developed ground-breaking high field magnets using high temperature superconductors.|
|WagestreamEmployee financial wellbeing provider||Central London||Allows employees who encounter unplanned expenses to receive wages before payday, so they can avoid going overdrawn or taking out payday loans. The firm has raised £45m from sources such as QED Investors, Balderton, Northzone and Village Global, which is backed by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg.|
|WejoVehicle data platform||Cheshire||Creating a marketplace for the data generated by connected vehicles, such as live traffic and parking updates, and analysis of trends. Wejo predicts that 17m vehicles will be on its platform by the end of the year and has raised $143m from investors including General Motors, which owns a 35% stake in the company.|
I’m really proud to be recognised with all these other incredible entrepreneurs Nicolas Cary, co-founder & president, Blockchain
To run a disruptive business you’ve got to be prepared to be resilient. The whole nature of disruption is that you are changing people's lives Humphrey Cobbold, CEO, PureGym
The 10 Fast Track Ones to Watch showcases a cross-section of companies that fall short of the strict criteria for the main league table, but which are set to grow rapidly in the future. The research takes into account factors such as past sales, growth forecasts, international expansion and external investment.
Last year’s judging panel included Fast Track’s founder, Hamish Stevenson.
Past winners include the burger chain Five Guys, which has achieved rapid growth, and Loungers, the café and bar operator which floated; and last year’s winner Huel, the fast-growth powdered food nutrition brand.
This year’s 10 Fast Track Ones to Watch will be published in the Fast Track 100 supplement in The Sunday Times on the 6 December; and the overall winner will be presented with an award sponsored by Virgin at the Fast Track 100 awards event in May.
|Company||HQ location||Year end||Sales £000s||Staff||Founded||Comment|
|Chilly’s BottlesReusable bottle brand||Central London||Jul 18||*11,880||10||2010||Has quadrupled sales to £11.9m this year and forecasts £40m in 2019. Its colourful reusable water bottles are sold online and stocked by the likes of Urban Outfitters|
|Childs FarmChildren's toiletries maker||Hampshire||Nov 17||†5,291||18||2010||With a 20% market share, it is the UK No 2 in baby and child toiletries behind Johnson & Johnson. Its products are now available in more than 6,000 stores nationwide|
|Torsion GroupDeveloper & construction contractor||Leeds||Dec 17||29,588||53||2015||Founder and management bring experience from big construction firms and sales grew to £29.5m in its third year of trading; won a £28m contract in March|
|Craft Gin ClubGin subscription service||Central London||Jan 18||*6,520||20||2015||Sources gins exclusively for its 42,000 members in the UK and plans to roll out in Ireland and Germany. Secured £75,000 from Dragons’ Den investor Sarah Willingham|
|Freddie’s FlowersFlower delivery||Central London||Aug 18||*10,039||90||2014||Has helped to create a new market around regular flower delivery for the home and plans to test its model in America next year. Is backed by Keith Abel of Abel & Cole|
|HuelComplete food brand||Buckinghamshire||Jan 18||*14,024||29||2015||Launched in 2015, it has grown sales to £14m and attracted £20m funding. Co-founder and serial entrepreneur Julian Hearn is aiming for a £1bn valuation in four years|
|Little FreddieBaby food manufacturer||Central London||Dec 17||*17,250||106||2014||This organic baby food brand is gaining popularity in China and the UK, selling through retailers such as Ocado and Boots. Forecasts sales of £38m this year|
|Micro-FreshAntibacterial coating manufacturer||Leicester||Jun 18||*10,000||7||2006||Sells through the likes of John Lewis — and plans to add three overseas offices to its existing seven. Founder Byron Dixon was appointed an OBE this year|
|MousPhone case designer||Central London||Mar 18||*5,417||31||2014||Viral marketing helped sales grow sixfold to £5.4m this year. Has raised $2.4m from crowdfunding and generates 85% of sales overseas|
|Sykes Holiday CottagesHoliday cottage rental||Chester||Sep 18||*49,600||504||1991||Offers 13,500 holiday cottages to rent in the UK and Ireland. Backed by private equity firm Livingbridge, it aims to take 2.5m customers on holiday a year by 2020|
* supplied by company † annualised figure
Sitting next to Sir Richard Branson at dinner and bouncing around ideas is something I’d never have imagined I’d be doing! Lesa Bennett, Olivia Burton
Being named ‘one to watch’ is a great achievement and recognises the hard work of our entire team who have contributed to our significant growth Mike Loggie, Saltire Energy
It is a great honour and privilege to have been selected for the Fast Track Ones to Watch Robert Jakobi, Metcalfe’s Food Company
The first people we shared the news with were the staff. We are delighted that we have been recognised in this way Mike Forrester, Orchard Valley Foods