The companies shortlisted for the Digital Innovator category at this year’s Growing Business Awards are…
- Scott Button, Unruly: Launched in 2006, social video platform Unruly is taking the advertising sector by storm. Scott Button, the company’s co-founder and CEO, is the driving force behind Unruly’s disruptive model, which makes it easier for brands to manage video advertising campaigns across the social web. Focusing on “shares” rather than “views”, Unruly helps video campaigns go viral. With more than 220 agencies and 8,600 media partners signed up, this £18m-turnover business is changing the world of online advertising.
- Ashley MacKenzie, Base79: Ashley MacKenzie is the brains behind digital rights management agency Base79, set up in 2007. Based in London and New York, the company manages content for companies and artists including the Football Association, Mr Bean and Ministry of Sound, licensing this content to online publishers including YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. Base79 currently manages a network of content that generates over 375 million views per month. In September, the company received a funding injection of £2.75m from MMC Ventures to help it expand internationally.
- Peter Bauer, Mimecast: Peter Bauer co-founded Mimecast in 2003. The company helps organisations to manage, archive and secure their emails: it handles 11 million mailboxes, serves a million users and more than 3,500 customers, including Lovefilm.com, Eversheds and the Salvation Army. In 2009, the company received £13m of private equity backing from Dawn Capital and Index Ventures. The company, which has offices in the UK, America, and South Africa, pulls in sales of £20.9m and employs 250 people.
- Lawrence Jones, UKFast: Husband-and-wife team Lawrence and Gail Jones set up UKFast in 1999 after experiencing poor hosting services when trying to run an online art gallery. Their Manchester-based company, which today employs 130 people, is now responsible for looking after the internet fortunes of clients including Virgin, Barclays, Chelsea FC, Mulberry and Nokia. The company claims that its recently opened data centre is already 80 per cent pre-booked. UKFast turns over £12.1m, plans to create 100 jobs over the next 18 months, and is branching out into recruitment and IT security.
- James Collier, Neul: James Collier made his name as the co-founder and former chief technical officer of Cambridge Silicon Radio – a pioneer of Bluetooth technology and one of the most successful technology companies to ever emerge from Cambridge. Now he’s working on a new wireless sensation, Neul, developing disruptive wireless technology which exploits the license-free TV “white space” spectrum. Revenues will come from a combination of selling and licensing network equipment, and running “private” and “public” white space networks.
- Victor Malachard, Adfonic: Mobile advertising firm Adfonic, launched in 2009 by Victor Malachard, Paul Childs and Wesley Biggs, runs thousands of campaigns each month for brands including Tesco, Peugeot, Samsung, eBay, McDonalds, Tesco, Yell, Groupon and Google, reaching an estimated 100 million mobile unique users. The company has offices in London, New York, Paris, Seville and San Francisco. Earlier this year, it raised £4.7m from backers including Gordon Shields, the telecoms and environmental entrepreneur. Adfonicis set to double its employees (currently 40) in the next 12 months and continue its international expansion.
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