The Local Growth Index reveals never-before-seen data on the UK economy. Download your free book

Which high-growth companies made it to IPO?


Category: Uncategorized

Of the 8,000+ high-growth businesses we track, we looked into which of them made it all the way from startup to successful exit via IPO.

Discussing the state of the UK’s Equity investment landscape earlier this year, John Dwyer, UK and Global deals leader at pwc, enthused that the “IPO market has been great”.

We’ve seen a number of high profile IPOs by equity-backed companies over the years, including JustEat, Zoopla, and more recently Metro Bank – which listed on the London Stock Exchange in March. But what about the lesser known companies that have made the journey from startup to an initial public offering? 

In this blog we take a look at the IPOs you may not have heard about.


University of Leeds spinout Xeros began its life in the institution’s renowned School of Textiles. A product of chemist Stephen Burkinshaw’s research, Xeros has developed water saving washing machines for the commercial and domestic markets.

Where Xeros’s washing machine is unique, is the introduction of tiny 3mm nylon beads that pick up dirt and stains from clothes during a wash. The company claims it is able to offer an increased water efficiency of up to 80%, as well an increased energy efficiency of up to 50%, without comprising cleaning performance.

“Usually when you talk about cleaning in a conventional world, you have these parameters of detergent and heat and mechanical action”, says CEO Bill Westwater. “What I loved about the beads is that they broke open those parameters.”

Xeros is now looking at expanding operations into the tannery industry, and recently successfully completed trials.

Equity fundraising history

Xeros has completed 6 rounds of equity finance to date, amounting to £17m. High profile backers include Parkwalk Advisors, Invesco Perpetual, and Enterprise Ventures Ltd.

Where did they list?

AIM on 25/03/2014

How long did it take to exit?

7 years, 6 months, 13 days

Amount raised



Adaptimmune is a clinical stage biotech company working with T-cell receptors to transform cancer immunotherapy. Founded in 2008, the University of Oxford spinout is headed-up by CEO James Noble.

In February, the FT reported on a $500m deal between Adaptimmune and GSK. The partnership was brokered to push Adaptimmune’s T-cell therapy into ‘make-or-break clinical trials sooner than expected’.

Although Adaptimmune’s drugs remain at an early stage of development, Noble is confident of success: “We believe it has the potential to be the first engineered T-cell therapy to reach market”.

Equity fundraising history

Adaptimmune secured £72.7m investment from a large group of investors in September 2014. Investors included, amongst others: Foresight Capital, Novo, Ridgeback Capital Management, The University of Oxford, and Wellington Management.

Where did they list?

NASDAQ Stock Market on 11/05/2015

How long did it take to exit?

7 years, 4 months, 22 days

Amount raised



Online estate agents Purplebricks was founded by brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce. The pair previously ran estate agent Burchell Edwards, before its sale in 2011.

The ‘next-generation property sales and lettings business’ made headlines in July 2015, when Neil Woodford upped his stake to 25% in the company. Woodford enthused about his investment, stating the family run company possessed “the vision, the technology and an experienced management team. With the funding at its disposal, I see a significant opportunity for the business to lead the market in changing the way we buy and sell houses.”

He added: “given that the vast majority of property searches take place on the Internet, a business that provides a ‘virtual’ offering without expensive high street offices can significantly undercut the current market”.

Purplebricks has a crowded trophy cabinet, securing pole position in the Startups 100 List 2015, as well as being shortlisted for Bloomberg Business Innovators 2016, the CityAM awards 2015, and the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2015.

Equity fundraising history

Purplebricks has completed 5 fundraisings to date, amounting to £32.3m equity investment. Backers include DN Capital, and Woodford Investment Management.

Where did they list?

AIM on 17/12/2015

How long did it take to exit?

3 years, 5 months, 23 days

Amount raised



Email managing software Mimecast ‘is making email safer for business’. The company was founded back in 2003 by Peter Bauer and Neil Murray, and initially gained popularity among law firms.

Today the company has offices in Europe, North America, South Africa, and Australia, and claims to protect the email of ‘over 16,200 customers and millions of users worldwide against targeted attacks, data leaks, malware and spam’.

Mimecast opted to list in the US, as opposed to the UK, with Bauer stating the US was a “massive growth opportunity”.

Equity fundraising history

Mimecast raised two rounds of equity finance, totalling £56.6m. The company received backing from Dawn Capital and Insight Venture Partners.

Where did they list?

NASDAQ Stock Market on 19/11/2015

How long did it take to exit?

12 years, 8 months, 5 days

Amount raised


imgres-2-2.jpgAldermore Bank

Aldermore Bank is an SME-focused challenger bank. Founded in 2009, the bank is headed up by former Barclays executive CEO Philip Monks. 

Aldermore has gone from strength to strength since IPO-ing, recently launching its new two year fixed-rate mortgage product. Hayley Kirton, writing for CityAM last week, lead with the headline Safe as houses: Aldermore Group mortgage origination up 60 per cent. While Monks commented:

“We have made an excellent start to the year with our best ever quarter of origination as we delivered double digit growth in new lending in both our business finance and mortgages divisions”. He added: “we took advantage of the anticipated extra demand for buy-to-let mortgages, ahead of the introduction of the additional stamp duty from 1 April, and more than doubled our buy-to-let origination compared with the first quarter of 2015.”

Equity fundraising history

Aldermore Bank has completed two equity fundraisings, amounting to £40m. The company’s backers include AnaCap, Lansdowne Partners, and Toscafund.

Where did they list?

London Stock Exchange on 13/03/2015

How long did it take to exit?

5 years, 8 months, 17 days

Amount raised?