Thames Valley: Curve leads the way in Fast Track league table

Published this weekend, the 23rd annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing sales.

The 19 companies headquartered in the South East (compared to 20 last year) include 13 new entrants to the league table. Their sales have grown by an average of 88% a year over three years to a total of £499.2m, and together they employ more than 2,539 people.

The region’s top-ranked company is workplace design and construction firm Curve, is in the top three nationally. Based in Bracknell, Berkshire, its previous clients include Merlin Entertainment, BNP Paribas and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. Its sales over the past three years have grown by an average of 186% a year to £9.2m in 2019.

Other new entrants include Hampshire-based toiletries brand Childs Farm, which featured as a One to Watch in 2018. Founder Joanna Jensen left investment banking to set up the company after she struggled to find products suitable for her daughter’s sensitive skin. Last year sales grew to £12.8m when it became the country’s second-largest baby toiletries brand.

The companies in the southeast appear with businesses from around Britain, including fitness clothing retailer Gymshark, beauty products retailer Charlotte Tilbury, and brewer BrewDog. Past stars include chip designer ARM, which featured in 1997 with sales of £17m, floated and was acquired by Japan’s SoftBank in 2016 for £24bn; and mixer drinks maker Fever-Tree, which floated in 2014 at £154m and is now worth £2.6bn.

The Fast Track 100 is sponsored by Virgin Atlantic, Barclays, BDO, BGF and N+1 Singer, and is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Private companies in the southeast with the fastest-growing sales, by county and rank

HQ location Rank

[2018 rank]

Company

Activity

Annual sales growth over 3 years Sales £m Staff Year end Comment
Bracknell Top 3 Curve

Workplace design and construction

186% *9.2 16 Sep 19 Designed an office with a star-shaped entrance and a racetrack carpet for children’s charity Make-A-Wish
Maidenhead 8 Evergen Group

Solar panel installer

143% *9.3 25 May 19 Installed a CityTree, an anti-pollution device equivalent to 275 trees, at Piccadilly Circus
Reading 33

[26]

HalalBooking

Specialist online travel agency

81% *17.6 49 Dec 18 This year, over 100,000 holidaymakers stayed in accommodation booked on this company’s website
Brighton 22

[36]

Boxpark

Retail and leisure developer

96% *12.8 110 Apr 19 Grime artist Stormzy launched his 2017 album Gang Signs & Prayer at Boxpark Croydon
Westham 90 Identity

Events management agency

46% *8.7 43 Aug 19 Says it puts on more than 1,000 events a year for the likes of Google and ITV
Colchester 68 OMG How Cheap

Online stationery retailer

52% *7.1 32 Feb 19 Stationery salesman David Field founded his own company after being made redundant in 2011
Braintree 99 Airline Component Services

Aircraft parts and repairs

44% *6.2 10 Mar 19 Supplies and repairs aircraft parts for customers including British Airways, TUI and Easyjet
Sherborne St John 9 Childs Farm

Children’s toiletries maker

143% 12.8 28 Dec 18 Its products are now available in more than 7,500 stores nationwide and launched in New Zealand this August
Basingstoke 51 Envisage Dental

Dental practice

61% *6.3 68 Mar 19 Offers a sedation service for nervous patients with dental phobia
Romsey 53

[74]

Highwood Group

Construction contractor and developer

60% 66.7 62 Feb 19 There are currently 4,000 development plots under this group’s control
Basingstoke 59 Reassured

Life insurance broker

56% 37.8 411 Jan 19 Says that it has sold over £46bn of life insurance policies, covering over 440,000 UK families
Hook 77 Intevi

Display and software supplier

50% *5.5 24 Dec 18 Its interactive displays can detect the user’s age and gender and change content accordingly
Hemel Hempstead 97

[90]

Vanarama

Vehicle leasing broker

44% *75.1 226 Dec 18 Positioned a “car vending machine” at London’s Waterloo station to promote its car leasing website, Motorama
Queenborough 35

[3]

Revolution Beauty

Beauty products retailer

77% 112.6 180 Dec 18 Following its launch in Australia, fans queued up for hours to buy its new beauty products
Banbury 5 Xpress Centres

Car repair services

178% *5.6 65 Jul 19 Carries out 15,000 bodywork repairs per year in supermarket car parks
Oxford 50

[20]

Oxford Summer Courses

Educational course provider

62% *9.3 36 Sep 19 Students from 112 countries have enlisted in its summer courses
Camberley 4 Performance54

Golf marketing agency

181% *6.2 16 Apr 19 The number ’54’ represents the perfect round of golf; 18 birdies
Windlesham 65 Nurture Landscapes

Landscape maintenance

53% 73.1 1,093 Mar 19 Maintains three of London’s Royal Parks – Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Greenwich Park
Chichester 78 Rinkit

Online home and garden retailer

49% *17.1 45 Feb 19 Started life in a spare bedroom and now receives more than 1.5m orders a year

‡ Financial year end of latest available accounts   * Supplied by the company

The national picture

This year’s Fast Track 100 achieved, on average, sales growth of 78% a year over three years to a total of £3 billion. Together they employ 16,818 staff, having more than tripled their combined workforce over the period.

www.fasttrack.co.uk