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Are these the UK companies with the highest growth potential?


Category: Uncategorized

At Beauhurst, we’re on a mission to track every ambitious company in the UK, curating comprehensive profiles of their business on our user-friendly platform. In pursuit of this aim, we’ve formulated a range of metrics for helping us locate and track businesses of interest. We refer to these as “triggers” – events that indicate a company is ambitious and has fast-growth potential, and we currently have eight. 

Beauhurst's growth triggers

Any company that has secured equity or venture debt fundraising from any source. We are the only data provider that tracks every equity deal – even those that are never made public.

Why do we track this?
These investments show that a company has ambition, is ready to scale, and investor is confident enough to back it.

Any company that has been spun-out of a UK university or Higher Education institution.

Why do we track this?
Academic spinouts have a lot of potential, benefitting from intensive research and development, and extended support from the institutions they are born out of.

Any company that meets the OECD’s definition of a scaleup – 20% year on year growth in headcount or turnover, over a three-year period.

Why do we track this?
Meeting the definition of a “scaleup” is a clear sign that a company is growing quickly over a sustained period.

Has completed one of the UK’s top business accelerator programmes.

Why do we track this?
The UK’s top accelerator programmes consistently produce some of the country’s most promising young businesses. We track their entire graduating cohorts because many of them go on to greater things.

Has completed a management buy in/buy out.

Why do we track this?
Companies that complete MBOs and MBIs often go on to grow quickly as a result of new, ambitious management.

Has been listed on one of the UK’s top high-growth lists.

Why do we track this?
Featuring on a list like the Fast Track 100 or Technology Fast 50 indicates a company is growing quickly and is gaining visibility.

Has received an innovation grant from a selected programme.

Why do we track this?
Winning a grant from organisations like Innovate UK, FP7 and Horizon 2020 show that a company is ambitious, innovative and has been validated by demanding third parties.

High-growth companies

When a company fulfils one of these triggers, they are assigned a badge on the Beauhurst platform. Most companies we track have just one or two badges – for example they may have completed both an equity and debt fundraising. Many go beyond that, achieving three or four badges (possibly featured in a high-growth list or spun out from a university. However, just two (out of 24,000 currently tracked businesses) have gone on to achieve more than five. These are The Floow and Brandwatch, with six apiece.

This may not necessarily indicate that these companies have more growth potential than others (although this may be the case in time), but it is interesting to note that they have used a wide variety of methods to create and grow their business.

The Floow

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The Floow, incorporated in 2012, operates in the up-and-coming “telematics” sector. Telematics is a combination of the terms Telecoms and Informatics, meaning the transmission of information over large distances. In a commercial context, this term is mostly associated with the mobility industry, and this is the niche The Floow has occupied. 

The Floow’s developers have created a software platform which connects with a user’s smartphone, and tracks their driving performance as they drive. According to their marketing, this is currently being used by insurance companies so they can price policies accurately depending on the safety of the driver. It’s also being used by fleet operators and individual drivers to identify poor performance, and The Floow has its own driving course to help drivers improve their technique.

A spinout from the University of Sheffield (based on research from software engineer Sam Chapman and informatics engineer Fabio Ciravegna), The Floow has also received nearly £1m in grant funding from a range of organisations. This includes several EU funds, such as Horizon 2020. In 2015 the company was awarded a Queen’s Award for Innovation, and also attended Tech Nation’s prestigious Future Fifty accelerator programme, aimed at the UK’s leading tech companies.


Brandwatch, on the other hand, describes itself as a social intelligence company.

Apparently incorporated in 2007, our files suggest a much earlier inception back in 2000. Either the company was in stealth stage for a long time, or, more likely, the new company was based on a pre-existing legal entity that was also owned by the founders. This Brighton tech company has developed software which automatically sifts through the major social media platforns, detecting online “chatter” regarding their client brands. This has obvious and powerful use cases in helping brands track and manage their online reputation.

As befits the older company, Brandwatch has proven sales potential, with revenues growing from £15m in 2014 to £36m in 2017. This makes them a scaleup – a business displaying consistent levels of fast-growth – and they’ve achieved places on a plethora of high-growth business lists, such as Fast Track’s Tech 100, and City A.M.’s The Leap 100.

Founded by Giles Palmer, an Old Cliftonian and ex-finance exec at Sky, Brandwatch has been backed by a range of large venture funders, including Silicon Valley Bank, and Highland Capital Partners, with almost £100m of financing secured in total. This company has also been accelerated by Future Fifty.

Brandwatch’s latest equity injection was unannounced to the press. However, company filings indicate £60m was raised, at a pre-money valuation of around £250-300m (though we were unable to confirm this figure with the company).

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