Payments business TransferWise is Britain’s fastest-growing privately-owned company according to new research, with the company having seen its valuation increase by a multiple of 57 times’ during the three years between 2014 and 2017. TransferWise narrowly pipped Deliveroo for the top spot; the food delivery company saw its valuation increase 56 times over during the same period.
The ranking is based on criteria developed by Beauhurst, the market research company that specialises in the growth business sector, and SyndicateRoom, the online investment platform. It profiles the UK’s 100 fastest-growing companies on the basis of the way they have built value over the past three years.
The ranking underlines the UK’s status as a leading producer of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises, with London in particular playing an important role. Some 71 of the 100 companies that made it into the ranking are based in the capital.
Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, the CEO and co-founder of SyndicateRoom said the rankings showed the strength in depth of the UK’s privately-owned growth businesses.
“The first thing that springs to mind is just how inspiring they all are – from businesses that redefine our relationship with money to companies that are literally recreating the sun’s power on Earth,” de Vasconcelos said. “When we consider that these are the fastest-growing private businesses by valuation, it’s not surprising that the winners’ relentless growth is drawing ambitious investors to join the action.”
In all, the 100 companies on the fast growth rankings employ more than 10,000 people in 12 different sectors of the economy and generated sales of almost £606m last year. However, while the companies span a range of disciplines, the UK’s attractiveness for technology start-ups is underlined by the fact that 44 of the 100 companies classify themselves as technology or intellectual property-based businesses – more than the next four largest sectors combined.
In addition to the geographical divide, with London dominating the ranking, the research also identifies a major gender gap, with only seven female founders finding their businesses on the list.
Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise said the company was delighted to have topped the list, with rapid sales growth having been achieved despite relatively little investment in marketing or advertising.
“Our biggest driver of growth is word of mouth,” Käärmann said. “We’re fortunate to have the support of world leading investors which means we can accelerate product development, but really what drives us is making money move across borders easier, cheaper, faster for the millions of people who need to manage their money across two or more countries.”
The top 10 fastest growing companies in the UK*
Company Multiple increase in valuation 2014–17
The Culture Trip 36.5
Digital Shadows 30.8
HiLight Semiconductor 21.1
Swoon Editions 18.9
Credit Benchmark 16.6
*Beauhurst examined the valuation of all companies tracked in the cohort of companies that had raised at least one round of equity funding before 30 June 2014 and at least one round of equity funding after 1 July 2014. You can see the full ranking here.