Email a Friend
26. Bob Holt
Chairman, Mears Group (▼14)
It has been a tough year for housing maintenance luminary Mears, not that you could tell from its performance on London’s main market. While the group continues to exceed market expectations and predicts future growth, it was
hit hard by a recent government about-turn on new energy. But Holt, who also chairs mobile gaming specialist Mfuse and consultancy firm Green Compliance, still sees new energy as a growth area. ‘We [Mears] are going to look at
acquisitions in that space, but I am not sure where that business could be. [The sector] could definitely be significantly bigger than it is today in 12 or 18 months,’ he remarks.
27. David Holbrook
General partner, MTI (▼20)
Holbrook led three investments in 2011 using capital from the £32 million UMIP Premier Fund, including a fundraising for diabetes specialist Lein Applied Diagnostics. It may have been quieter on the exit front, although MTI did sell Myconostica, its first investment from the UMIP Premier Fund, in May.
Holbrook is excited about 2012 because the firm is set to raise money for a new fund which will involve strategic alliances with three universities. He comments, ‘Most of the real cutting-edge blue sky innovation is being done in universities and that is where we are positioning ourselves.’
28. Tim Levett
Executive chairman, NVM Private Equity (▼16)
NVM made investments of £30 million in six companies over the last 12 months, including a £6 million injection into risk consultancy company Control Risks. Other highlights for executive chairman Tim Levett include the exit of contracting business Prominex for a pleasing £18 million. Levett feels that the continued reluctance of banks to lend to entreprise will work in his favour in 2012, making businesses more liable to research equity funding as a finance option.
29. George Coelho
Managing director, Good Energies (▼18)
A prominent global investor in cleantech, Good Energies in 2011 closed a second round of investment with Agile Energy, a developer of large-scale power-generating projects, to the tune of $24 million (£15 million). Other investments for the firm included natural gas exploration and development company Inflection Energy. Keen blues guitarist Coelho has seen success backing big names such as Betfair and Lovefilm at previous firm Balderton Capital.
30. Philip Secrett
Partner, Grant Thornton (▼28)
While the year started off well for AIM and smaller quoted companies, Secrett says they ‘hit a wall’ in the summer. Normally an optimist, he says it’s hard to see how things will change much for the next six months. In the past year Grant Thornton, under Secrett’s watch, has continued to be the leading adviser on AIM with just under 20 per cent of the market. His message to AIM-quoted companies is simple. ‘Businesses need to work out how they control their relationships with the market and institutional investors. The reality is that it is now harder than ever to get your voice heard.'
31. James Meekings
Funding Circle (▲)
A new entry for 2012, James Meekings has seen his peer-to-peer lending website Funding Circle explode in 2011, with lenders financing businesses to the tune of £18 million through his service, compared to some £3 million in 2010. He believes his service is a palatable option for both companies, which benefit from cheaper loans, and lenders, who enjoy interest rates unrivalled by conventional savings accounts. Says Meekings, ‘Businesses have
been looking for an alternative to banks for years now, and that trend is only going to accelerate in 2012.’
32. Theo Paphitis
Entrepreneur and investor (▲)
According to the Sunday Times Rich List, 53-year-old Paphitis banked £100 million from the sale of lingerie brand La Senza in July 2006. Now, he is growing a new competitor to his former company with Boux Avenue, which launched in March and already has seven outlets across the country. He describes the new venture, funded by bank debt, as ‘an internet business that just happens to have some stores’. And with 1,000 jobs expected to be created, ‘stonking’ Christmas sales and La Senza in administration, the stage could be set for market domination.
33. Nick Robertson
CEO, ASOS (▲)
With menswear tycoon Austin Reed as his great grandfather, retail is in Nick Robertsons’s blood. The ASOS website, which attracts some 13.6 million visitors a month, had a successful 2011 with sales up 58 per cent to £324.1 million. Further international expansion is on the agenda for 2012 after international sales accounted for 43 per cent of total sales in 2011, and more than 50 per cent during the fourth quarter.
34. Stephen Welton
Chief executive, Business Growth Fund (▲)
Since its official launch in May 2011, the Business Growth Fund has set up six offices in the UK and assembled an experienced team of 50, including Marion Bernard, previously of Northstar, and ex-3i man Richard Bishop. In its first year the BGF made two investments – £4.2 million into online employee benefit provider Benefex and £4.25 million for Statesman Travel Group. When asked his goal for the future Welton says, ‘For the BGF to be here in ten years’ time generating dividends.’ Going into its first full operational year, the BGF aims to make between 30 and 40 investments annually, with the average investment at £5 million.
35. Rory Earley
CEO, Capital for Enterprise (▼33)
In 2011 Capital for Enterprise, the government body set up to deliver business support initiatives, was part of a successful consortium bid to the Regional Growth Fund to set up a £50 million co-investment vehicle. The fund, which is able to make initial equity investments of between £100,000 and £1 million alongside syndicates of business angels, now has an investment committee in place and is already looking at deals, reports amiable CEO Rory Earley.