Email a Friend
Turnover: £25.7m (+40%) Pre-tax profits: £5.1m (+76%)
Sector: Communications software Based: London
Launched in 2001 by chief executive Glen Manchester, the expansion of the London communications software company has been driven largely by its international operations in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. There has been a remarkable take-up of Thunderhead’s communications platform in North America, a market that accounted for half of its revenues last year. Manchester says, ‘Becoming customer-centric is an increasingly important objective for organisations in all sectors. Social media and mobile internet are radically changing the nature of customer communications, as well as increasing competition by enabling new business models.’
Turnover: £16.3m (+38%) Pre-tax profits: £2.2m (+33%)
Sector: Market research Based: London
Market research business BrainJuicer has spent the past decade building up credibility in the market, a strategy that CFO James Geddes says is starting to pay off. ‘We do things a little differently,’ he says. ‘We go beyond what would be normal quantitative research.’ With the company geared towards clients at the larger end of the spectrum, Geddes says that BrainJuicer’s progress can largely be attributed to organic growth, with offices set up in seven countries around the world. With its industry reputation solidified, the Central London-based business can now look to cash in on its hard work with consistent future expansion.
Turnover: £43m (+57%) Pre-tax profits: £19m (+37%)
Sector: Business services Based: London
Launched in 2001, Skrill was the first e-money issuer to be awarded an electronic money licence from the Financial Services Authority. Originally Moneybookers, the business has been rebranded and now counts nearly 100,000 merchants as users of its payments service, including global partners such as eBay, Skype and Thomas Cook. The company prides itself on its delivery of full technical support, proven anti-fraud measures and reliable customer service.
19. TBG Digital
Turnover: £23.8m (+47%) Pre-tax profits: £25.4 m (+46%)
Sector: Advertising/Marketing Based: London
TBG Digital is a global marketing and technology company specialising in Facebook advertising and social media marketing. It was founded in 2001 by Simon Mansell and now has offices in London, San Francisco, New York, Paris and Hamburg, managing campaigns for more than 90 advertisers. Chief operating officer Kate Lavender describes the year so far as ‘insane’, and with projected sales for 2011 expected to hit £59 million (up from £24.5 million in 2010), it is easy to see why.
20. Solid State
Turnover: £21.2m (+57%) Pre-tax profits: £1.2m (+130%)
Sector: Electrical components Based: Kent
CEO Gary Marsh is proud of the performance of his business over the past year – especially the triple- digit hike in profits. Among other achievements, the group acquired Rugged Systems – a business that supplies mobile computer, communications and display services – and this outfit is already delivering a return. Marsh says the company is looking to build on its three key sectors of battery packs, general computer systems and the component market with some ‘solid’ projects in the pipeline. Organic growth is likely to be the way forward this year.
Turnover: £30.1m (+42%) Pre-tax profits: £9.9m (+41%)
Sector: Business process outsourcing Based: Guernsey
In only its first year on AIM (it raised £37 million at float), business process outsourcing (BPO) company iEnergizer has seen revenues jump by 42 per cent. The Guernsey-based outfit operates most of its business from India and has looked to grow its international client base with a focus on the US and the UK. Chairman Sara Latham says iEnergizer has concentrated its efforts on producing ‘sustained top-line growth’, while also maintaining operating margins at more than 30 per cent, which she reveals is a unique performance for a BPO company. As is the fact that almost all of the reported revenue increase has been derived from organic growth.
Turnover: £71.1m (+25%) Pre-tax profits: £25.8m (+48%)
Sector: Biotechnology Based: Cambridge
Early in 1998, in a laboratory at the University of Cambridge, Jonathan Milner was working as a post-doctoral researcher when he and a number of others in the laboratory came up with the idea for a web-based antibody company of like-minded scientists. Abcam – a hybrid of antibody (ab) and Cambridge (cam) – was born. The idea was that the company would sell the best antibodies in the world. Milner says, ‘Our business model continues to deliver strong and defensible growth and we are actively expanding our product offering to include more than just antibodies. We aim to become a world leader in protein detection and regulation.’
23. Cath Kidston
Turnover: £50.4m (+61%) Pre-tax profits: £12.2m (+130%)
Sector: Retail Based: London
Since opening her first Cath Kidston shop in London’s Holland Park in 1993, aged 34 and with a mere £15,000, the retail entrepreneur has consistently grown the brand and the business. There are now 42 shops and concessions in the UK, two in Ireland, 15 in Japan and four in Korea. In the UK, the business expects to see continued growth in all channels, with a particular emphasis on increasing its brand presence through its retail outlets and online.
24. Inspired Thinking Group
Turnover: £12.9m (+40%) Pre-tax profits: £1.1m (+12%)
Sector: Marketing Based: Birmingham
Simon Ward founded marketing services provider ITG in September 2009. Despite only officially launching its full range of services early this year, the business already boasts an impressive array of blue-chip clients, including KFC, Marks & Spencer, Asda and Nationwide. In June 2010, an injection of capital from ISIS Equity Partners enabled the business to complete the acquisition of Total Marketing Services. ITG has grown rapidly by using its software platform, MediaCentre, to deliver additional marketing services and efficiency gains to existing retail customers. The business continues to benefit from a strong pipeline of new business opportunities after winning a number of significant new clients and aims to continue rapid revenue and profit growth for the foreseeable future.
25. Balhousie Care Group
Turnover: £15.9m (+25%) Pre-tax profits: £4m (+50%)
Sector: Residential care Based: Forfar, Scotland
Balhousie Care Group is the largest privately-owned operator of nursing homes in Scotland. Led by its chairman, entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Banks, the group currently has 22 homes across Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee and Perthshire. Banks says, ‘We are constantly looking at ways of developing and expanding the business, and we have new homes on the way as well as improvements scheduled for several existing ones. It’s been the hard work of our employees at every level of the business that has allowed us to be as successful as we are.’
26. Argus Media
Turnover: £41m (+26%) Pre-tax profits: £13.8m (35%)
Sector: Market data Based: London
Founded in 1970, Argus, formerly known as Petroleum Argus, had a transitional year highlighted by the appointment of former ExxonMobil executive Dennis Houston as a non-executive board director. In a move taking the price information and market data business into the fertilisers and chemicals sector, Argus acquired FMB Consultants in what chairman and chief executive Adrian Binks described as a deal expanding the company into commodity market reporting beyond energy.
27. Andor Technology
Turnover: £42.7m (+28.9%) Pre-tax profits: £5.8m (+25.8%)
Sector: Electronics Based: Belfast
Andor Technology is a leader in the scientific digital camera market. Andor was set up in 1989 out of Queen’s University in Belfast, and now employs more than 260 people in 16 offices worldwide, distributing its products to 10,000 customers in 55 countries. In July, Andor announced the launch of the latest addition to its New iStar range of high-performance, intensified ICCDs, a major technology used in digital imaging and the fastest of its type in the marketplace.
28. White Stuff
Turnover: £83.7m (+43%) Pre-tax profits: £15.9m (+76%)
Sector: Retail Based: London
Ski fanatics George Treves and Sean Thomas, who sold T-shirts in the Alps to fund their lifestyle, started outfitter White Stuff in the 1980s. Since then, the retailer’s offerings have diversified. No longer an adolescent business, White Stuff has grown steadily and professionally, with 75 shops selling smart-casual clothes and accessories. Despite tough times in the retail sector, the business posted a significant jump in profit last year.
29. Mobile Interactive Group
Turnover: £78m (+15%) Pre-tax profits: £1.1m (+207%)
Sector: Technology/IT Based: London
Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) is a privately-owned UK technology company providing platforms and services across the mobile industry. Having invested about £20 million in technology in the past seven years, the company is now seeing the fruits of its labour. It has built a mobile payment platform, a mobile commerce platform, a mobile customer response management system, a mobile application development environment, a digital technology platform and a mobile advertising system. Clients include Twitter, Facebook, O2, Vodafone, Sky and ITV.
Turnover: £4.27m (+45%) Pre-tax profits: £670,000 (+10%)
Sector: Software Based: London
Aconite provides software products and consulting services for businesses that manage applications on chips in smart cards, tokens or mobiles. As the phasing out of magnetic stripe cards continues across Europe and further afield, the business has secured major contracts with financial services providers in the product localisation and marketing of its ‘chip and PIN’ technology. CEO Mike Woods founded Aconite in 2002 after 20 years of experience in the banking and retail industry.