Disruptors / Ones to Watch

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 Disruptors to Watch focuses on companies with the potential to disrupt their market; and the 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 dinner, where they receive a certificate, with one overall winner presented with an award.

Disruptors to Watch

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.

This year’s Disruptors to Watch 10 will be published in the Fast Track 100 supplement in the Sunday Times on the 1 December; and the overall winner will be presented with an award sponsored by Barclays at the Fast Track 100 dinner in May.

Company HQ Location Disruptive activities
AgriProteinInsect-based animal feeds Southwest London 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
Babylon HealthMobile healthcare app Central London 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
CMR SurgicalSurgical robotics developer Cambridge 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 East London 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 Cambridge 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 Central London 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 Manchester 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 Central London 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 West London 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 Central London 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

Ones to Watch

Ones to Watch showcases a cross section of companies whose sales growth falls short of the strict criteria for 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 research takes into account factors such as past sales, growth forecasts, international expansion and external investment.

Last year’s judging panel included senior representatives from our sponsors and 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 Ones to Watch 10 will be published in the Fast Track 100 supplement in The Sunday Times on the 1 December; and the overall winner will be presented with an award sponsored by Virgin at the Fast Track 100 awards dinner 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