Interviews

The best B2B companies in the UK revealed

16 min read

20 November 2018

Features Editor, Real Business

Here are the best B2B companies in the UK vying for the top spot at this year's Amazon Growing Business Awards.

The Amazon Growing Business Awards are back. Here’s everything you need to know about 2018’s finalists for one of the most competitive categories: B2B Business of the Year.

On 28 November, the finalists for the 2018 Amazon Growing Business Awards will congregate at The Brewery in London, hoping to win one of 18 accolades. Ahead of the big reveal, here’s what you need to know about the top B2B companies that made the shortlist.

2018 B2B Business of the Year finalists

Recognising the leading B2B businesses in the UK.

BigChange

BigChange provides all-in-one mobile workforce management, vehicle tracking and transport management systems for consumers.

BigChange founder Martin Port

Founder: Martin Port
Growth story: Launched in 2013, BigChange has pioneered cloud-based mobile workforce management technology. It has become trusted by over 20,000 mobile workers at over 800 organisations. Annual revenue is growing by 80%, driven by rapid take-up of the company’s unique proposition.

“Innovation is key to BigChange’s strategy. The company has differentiated by creating the only ‘five-in-one’ integrated product in the marketplac – and disrupts the industry with new innovations including an ‘UBER style’ app that allows B2B clients to offer on-demand booking for customers, via fast-deployed and fully managed Android and iOS apps.” – BigChange

CDL

CDL provides world-class software that helps insurance retailers grow.

The CDL team.

Founder: Tom Hogg
Growth story: Founded in 1977, CDL established its position in the retail insurance sector by creating software solutions. Innovation and quality lie at the heart of CDL’s success story, seeing turnover rocket from £27.5 million in 2012 to £52.6 million in 2017. It has invested significantly in its people, products and campus, launching an incubator as a hotbed for new ideas.

“Software teams are empowered to dedicate 10% of their time to explore new concepts and, in 2017, CDL launched its InsurTech Incubator, taking startup ideas to create new solutions using technologies such as artificial intelligence, chatbots and machine learning to revolutionise retail.” – CDL

CR Worldwide

CR Worldwide offers employment recognition and incentivisation services for consumers.

CR Worldwide founder Sean Wilkinson.

Founder: Sean Wilkinson
Growth story: Warwickshire-based CR Worldwide was founded in 2002 with the objective to design and manage incentive, recognition, reward, and events programmes for businesses across the globe. Within three years its customer base has increased from 73 to 137, bringing an average value per client of £147,000 per annum.

Our USPs include incentivised learning, gamification, multilingual and multi-currency capability, as well as highly configurable white label solution. We pride ourselves with a fast turnaround from brief to launch (four to six weeks) and have standardised and transparent cost models.– CR Worldwide

Ensek

ENSEK helps energy suppliers provide a better customer experience through data technology.

Ensek founder and CEO Jon Slade.

Founder: Jon Slade
Growth story: ENSEK was created with the belief that existing energy industry complexities stifle change and prevent good things from happening. It has since successfully deployed its technology across the big six, established suppliers and challenger brands to help improve financial and operational efficiency.

“ENSEK is challenging the status quo of the energy sector, dubbed ‘the last analogue industry’, by applying digital solutions that addresses the root cause of the operational and financial challenges faced by all energy suppliers – and that’s data.” – ENSEK

eviivo

eviivo is a booking system and channel manager for B&Bs, guesthouses and small hotels.

Founder: Ian Griffin
Growth story: Launched in 2003, eviivo’s diverse portfolio represents over 6,600 small hotels, B&Bs and vacation rentals across the UK and beyond, with over 12,000 properties across Europe. Its customer growth is at ~30% annually, with a retention rate of 84% and an average contract length of seven years.

“With regular innovative enhancements and a service consistently rated ‘Excellent’ by customers, eviivo suite pre-empts the needs of customers, helping us achieve an average retention of seven years and 30% annual customer growth.” – eviivo

Gray Dawes Group

Gray Dawes has become one of the UK’s fastest growing travel management companies.

Founders: Archibald Gray and Edwin Sandys Dawes
Growth story: Gray Dawes, a travel management company, was first established in 1865 by Archibald Gray and partner Edwin Sandys Dawes. The company has become a family owned subsidiary of the Inchcape Group, evolving from a small Colchester-bashed firm to a business driving £27 million in revenue per year.

The driving goal across every element of our business is ‘solve for the customer”. Every decision we take has this sharply in focus. Our success is built on a flexible and entrepreneurial ethos that has scaled almost perfectly to enable us to post the financial results that we now do.– Gray Dawes Group

Tessian

Tessian protects the data security of users working in world-leading enterprises.

The Tessian co-founders left to right: Ed Bishop, Tim Sadler, and Tom Adams.

Founders: Edward Bishop, Thomas Adams and Tim Sadler
Growth story: Launched in 2013, Tessian has seen annual revenue increase by over 500% in the last 12 months, with the team expanding from 13 to 50 people. In June, it announced the closing of $13 million (£9 million) in a series A round, led by Balderton Capital and Accel Partners.

Since the 1980s, cybersecurity technology has relied on rule-based controls where administrators need to predefine what events are allowed to take place. But artificially intelligent systems hold advantages over rule-based systems, making it perfect for protecting human endpoints. So Tessian creates machine learning to understand normal email communication patterns in order to automatically identify email security threats.– Tessian

Virtual College Limited

Virtual College Limited provides customer-focused e-learning technology.

Virtual College Limited co-founder Rod Knox.

Co-founder: Rod Knox
Growth story: Launched in 1995, Virtual College Limited delivers over 300 online courses, creates bespoke e-learning, and offers learning management solutions to customers. It employs 122 people and has a base of over 3 million online learners. Over the last two years, VCL has seen a 58% increase in revenue and 165% increase in EBITDA.

“Our customer satisfaction and Net Promoter score are excellent. Unlike most of the competition, we develop our software and learning in-house. Our people are ultimately our competitive advantage and we invest heavily in them; consequently, 95% would recommend us as an employer.” – Virtual College Limited

2017 B2B Business of the Year finalists

ForrestBrown

ForrestBrown is not your usual firm of chartered tax advisers. Specialising in research and development (R&D) tax credits, it’s a secret weapon for the innovative SMEs it helps access vital funding.

The business has smashed every financial target it has set. To date, it has grown 100 per cent year-on-year and in three years it hopes to have a turnover of £50m, 150 staff and offices in five locations.

It disrupts a traditional sector with its agency-style culture and has a reputation for delivering outstanding results and exceptional service.

HPD Software

Commercial finance keeps businesses afloat and the economy turning, and this is where HPD’s technologies and services operate with unwavering purpose.

HPD’s mission is to provide the most comprehensive and flexible software services for the working capital finance industry, and to be the provider of choice. It is proud of its international reputation for providing excellent solutions and services.

HPD is always looking ahead – always innovating. And the company must be doing something right, banks and finance providers in more than 50 countries trust and rely on its solutions to manage over 50,000 clients.

 

Lawson Conner

Lawson Conner offers the most comprehensive fund structuring, management and regulatory infrastructure solution in the financial industry.

AIFM and regulatory hosting is not a new concept but many of our competitors make the process too complicated and employ highly administrative, multi-layered or Irish/Luxembourg ManCo structures.

Lawson Conner provides an accessible hosting offering, which allows clients to do what they do best by raising capital and investing, while we take care of the regulatory and compliance obligations. In 2016/2017, together with our clients, we created over 1,000 jobs in the UK marketplace and continue to do so.

My Home Move

My Home Move is the UK’s leading provider of mover conveyancing services, working with the UK’s best known property professionals to help over 50,000 people to buy, sell and remortgage their properties last year.

Through its investment in technology, as well as capacity for growth as demand continues to rise, My Home Move successfully enables its B2B customers to help their clients achieve the dream of homeownership, as well as maximise their own business potential.

Sorted Group

Each of Sorted Group’s innovations directly respond to the growing need of the mobile shopper. Consumers now expect speed, personalisation and convenience of delivery each time they shop. Sorted is creating delivery experiences that match those customer and retailer expectations, to improve satisfaction, conversions and, ultimately, profit.

Already this year, Sorted.PRO’s revenues have increased by 500 per cent in H1 and the Manchester-based business is underpinning this growth by increasing its headcount to 150 employees over the next year, focusing on its software and development teams in order to enhance its platform further.

Virtualstock

Virtualstock is a British SaaS company that is transforming enterprise supply chains. Our flagship product, The Edge, is successfully disrupting leading UK retailers, their suppliers and, ultimately, improving customer experience for us all.

The Edge delivers best-in-class eprocurement functionality enabling retail clients to: rapidly expand their product range, reduce inventory costs, get products to market faster and improve supplier relations. The NHS are also using The Edge to deliver £1bn per annum of savings by 2020.

Our growth in recent years has been exceptional and future growth is potentially exponential given the opportunity to scale across sectors and geographies.


Xceptor

Xceptor has developed a unique product set which solves the significant problem of capturing and managing data.

Customer service scores are exceptional, which helps Xceptor to sell across large institutions (a significant part of its growth).

It has dedicated R&D functions and constant client feedback, ensuring the product remains a leader in its field. It recently launched a new service for the derivatives market and enhanced a product to enable Robotic Process Automation at banks.

It has been growing at 28 per cent CAGR, but this is planned to increase as it adds employees, office locations and new clients.

Yerra Solutions

Since 2013, Yerra has continued to grow in terms of revenue, clients and employees. The firm takes a unique employee-centric approach through its investment in the ‘Yerra Academy’, which serves as a learning platform for all employees to improve their skill sets, and better understand Yerra’s offerings.

Investment in core firm-wide intranet and additional communications has led to several key firm innovations such as a low-carbon footprint business model and the firm’s flagship ‘The Magic Triangle’ IP Model. Yerra now boasts seven offices and nearly 200 industry experts worldwide, and is looking forward to extending the firm’s continued growth.

The Amazon Growing Business Awards is headlined by Amazon and sponsored by Santander, Bridges Fund Management and ECI Partners. It is supported by CBI, the Department of International Trade and Real Business. This year, the awards partnered with Beanstalk, a charity that recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide consistent, one-to-one literacy support to children aged 3 to 13.

Interested in attending the Amazon Growing Business Awards?
Get your ticket or book a table here.