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The Thames Valley SME 100 Growth Index is a new listing published by The Business Magazine, of fast-rising SMEs in the Thames Valley region.

Sponsored by business advisers Wilson Partners and law firm Herrington Carmichael, the SME 100 Growth Index highlights firms with an annual turnover of between £2 million and £12m that have grown significantly in the past year. 

The listing covers independent businesses in the Thames Valley that are unquoted, private entities. Based on growth in turnover, the listing takes data from the business intelligence service FAME and Companies House.

At the top of the 2019 Growth List stands Redbox Mobile plc, founded in Newbury by Rory Mudie in February 2013. With a team of 20 staff, it is an expert in app-store marketing, helping companies of all sizes acquire customers for their apps.

The company’s Blackbox platform is an automated search platform for app developers that makes over half a million decisions a day to bid on the cheapest keywords to offer the client. The BlackBox platform currently runs campaigns in 13 territories and 20 languages.

With offices in Hungerford, London and New York, Redbox Mobile has recorded substantial growth of 177% taking its turnover to £2.5 million making it top of the list.

Other notable successes range across diverse business sectors:

At number five, Solapak has enjoyed growth of more than 90%. Established in 1981, Solapak, based in High Wycombe, continues to be a leader in renewable energy and an expert in engineering and supply of complete, ready-to-install, solar power systems for industrial off-grid applications.

In 2013 Solapak took the bold step to of opening its first branch outside of the UK, opening a branch in Abu Dhabi giving the company a strategic base to serve the Middle East.

With a staff of six, the company has shown continued growth and now operates with a turnover of £4m.

At number 14, Validus Risk Management, based in Eton, is a risk management advisory firm that provides customised solutions for clients and adds transparency to the financial risk management process.

Validus works with corporate and private-equity clients across the globe, from SMEs to multinational corporations and financial institutions advising on over $90 billion in hedging transactions annually. Validus staff of 33 helped the company achieve 60% growth in turnover to help the company make the list.

At number 15, Freestyle IT, based at Hook, had another record year in 2018 with turnover increasing by more than 10% to £10m.

At number 18, Beaufield Homes has been creating exceptional residential properties since 1989.

Based in Guildford, and operating primarily at the upper end of the property market, characterised by their high standards of chic interior design, specification and attention to detail, Beaufield is the highest ranked house builder in our SME 100 list.

At number 30, Select Car Leasing has seen phenomenal growth over the past couple of years. With a turnover of £8.9m it has grown 25% in a 12-month period.

The Reading-based car leasing company began trading in 2004, when the company was set up by directors Mark Tongue and James O’Malley. The company delivered 115 vehicles in its first full year and delivered approximately over 11,000 vehicles by 2017.

New awards recognise Thames Valley’s fast growing SMEs

The first Thames Valley SME 100 Growth Index event took place at wine merchant Laithwaite’s showroom in Theale, organised by The Business Magazine.

The evening combined wine tasting and the inaugural awards that recognised some of the Thames Valley’s high achieving SMEs.

The newly launched Index is compiled by The Business Magazine and lists the region’s top 100 SMEs with turnover between £2m and £12m that have grown significantly in the past year.

Over 40 guests attended from companies in the Index and from the Index sponsors – business advisers Wilson Partners and law firm Herrington Carmichael.

As well as tasting some of the company’s wines, guests heard Tom Laithwaite recount how his father built up the business by selling Bordeaux wine direct to the public from a railway arch lock-up in Windsor to become a global enterprise with 800,000 customers worldwide.

“We celebrate our 50th anniversary this year and are still wholly family owned,” he said. “Our ethos is doing things beautifully and making the right decisions for the right reasons.”

A Sunday Times exposé in 1972 of underhand practices by some wine merchants prompted Tony Laithwaite to write to the newspaper explaining that merchants like him sourced products directly from vineyards to offer customers genuine quality wines.

From this, the Sunday Times Wine Club was born and Laithwaite’s business took off. Today, it operates wine clubs in the UK, US and Australia, and owns vineyards in France, Australia and Windsor Great Park.

Good customer service ensures a loyal customer base. “Our wine advisers build close relationships with every customer so they can offer them wines they will want to buy based on their preferences,” said Tom Laithwaite.

 

THE AWARDS

 

Growth Award (under £9m turnover)

Finalists:

Redbox Mobile

E3D-Online

Validus Risk Management

Rotolight

 

And the winner is… Rotolight

TV-sme-100-2019-141

Judges’ comments:

A family founded and run SME based at Pinewood, this SME has been a disruptor in lighting for the film and photographic industry. The company has averaged 68% growth over the last three years and having now raised over £5m in funding it is well equipped to continue to build its impressive business in both Europe and the US.

“It’s fantastic to be recognised as a pioneer in a region that is not only at the forefront of economic growth, but also home to a community that I’ve become heavily involved with. Driven by a passion for creativity we’ve worked hard to provide photographers and filmmakers with unique innovative products that allow them to realise their vision. We’ve gone from designing and building our lights on the kitchen table to shipping over 100,000 products to more than 40 countries worldwide in less than 10 years, and we’ve got even more in the pipeline.” Rod Aaron Gammons – CEO


 

Growth Award (over £9m turnover)

Finalists:

Dawcul

Constantine Wind Energy

Payen (formerly Trustpay Global)

Semafone

 

And the winner is…. Payen

TV-sme-100-2019-142

Judges’ comments:

A company who since 2010 had the objective of making it easier to maximise eCommerce sales revenues and conversion rates by reducing the number of transactions that are abandoned at checkout. The technology is built in-house to world-class standards and it is scalable, secure and robust. They have invested significant resources to ensure the platform will support the biggest online businesses in the world.

“The team at Payen are delighted to have won this accolade. This is recognition of all the hard work and commitment from the team over the past number of years demonstrating that if you focus on delivering innovative and flexible services that meet your customers needs, you will be successful.”  Sandy MacAngus – CEO 


 

Growing the Workforce

Finalists:

Labcold

PRISYM ID

Virtualstock

Semafone

 

And the winner is…Semafone

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Judges’ comments:

This company with 110 employees has maintained a family culture within leading edge facilities with a flexible approach to employment. It provides contact centres with secure voice transaction software. They work with universities to find their employees of the future. They believe their Guildford location allows them to recruit the very best of talent from the surrounding areas and beyond.

“People are absolutely vital to our business, particularly in the dynamics between departments. We have a range of people from a variety of backgrounds. Having the university here in Guildford means we take on a lot of graduates. As we grow from a small business our HR team is working on maintaining the family feel. One way we do that is the open door policy of the CEO and all our managers, so anyone can approach them.”

Will Mehta, channel manager, Semafone


 

 

Best Management Team

Finalists:

E3D-Online

PRISYM ID

Active Workplace Solutions

Labcold

 

And the winner is… E3D-Online

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Judges’ comments:

Based in Chalgrove, this management team is focused on building one of the UK’s leading technology businesses with not only a market leading product but its employees at the heart of its strategy. The judges felt that they demonstrated not only entrepreneurial vision and passion but also a very structured and strategic approach to growing their business and motivating their workforce.

“We have grown very quickly from three guys working in a bedroom to about 60 people. We try to enable our staff to be happy, fulfilled and enjoy an environment that is communicative, collaborative and centred on teamwork. As we have grown we have taken active steps to structure the company, organise people and introduce better management processes that will take us to the next level. The management side is exciting – I love working with our people, who all want to keep the company moving forward.”

Joshua Rowley, director and co-founder, E3D-Online


 

 

Tech Company of the Year

Finalists:

Freestyle IT

Redbox Mobile

Virtualstock

Validus Risk Management

 

And the winner is… Redbox Mobile

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Judges’ comments:

Born in February 2013 and now a leading app store optimisation and search advert agency with offices in Hungerford, London and New York. They have won and successfully managed accounts for over 50 major brands. They deliver every aspect of App Store Optimisation (ASO) and pay per click via a team built around established industry experts and young talent.

“I’m massively delighted. Everyone said we would never be able to build a technology team in the Thames Valley. We have, and it is here in Hungerford. We’re now taking our technology to Silicon Valley, where we are planning to open an office in San Francisco. Our two biggest suppliers are Google and Apple, and this is a really new market with products going live in the last couple of months. Every company that has an app can get them to do more.”

Rory Mudie, CEO, Redbox Mobile


 

 

One to Watch

Finalists:

Validus Risk Management

Rotolight

E3D-Online

Redbox Mobile

GSR Technology Europe

 

And the winner is… Validus Risk Management

TV-sme-100-2019-140

Judges’ comments:

Founded in Windsor in 2010 as a specialist in risk management advisory, this Thames Valley-based SME has demonstrated strong and consistent growth since its inception. Having built a market leading software platform, they are highly valued by their loyal customer base. The judges were particularly impressed by their ambitious and innovative approach – they continue to launch new products and solutions and are now expanding the business internationally in both the US and Asia.

“We’re very pleased to win this award because it recognises our positioning and the aggressive expansion plans we have for the future. Developing our own software is a key differentiating factor and gives us a strong competitive advantage. It means we can hire highly talented people to operate our systems who feel comfortable with the software. We are FCA-regulated, so clients trust our technology and our people.”

Constantinos Tsolakas, partner and CFO, Validus Risk Management