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IT and telecoms

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If you’re struggling to get to grips with your new camera phone, give TMTI (11th) a bell. The company was set up by brothers Crispin and Geremy Thomas to help customers with their tech traumas – and it’s been growing at a rate of 145 per cent.

Wireless Data Services (85th) helps mobile phone manufacturers to manage their data services. “There are a hell of a lot of untapped opportunities in this market,” says CEO David Ffoulkes-Jones.

Seizing this opportunity is MX Telecom (69th), making it into the Hot 100 for three years running. Vote on a TV text-in show and you’re probably using its connections.

It is crucial to have a global presence in this industry. Systems upgrade specialist Excelian (49th) was initially focused on Europe’s main finance centres. Last year, a move into the US and South Africa took turnover to £5.4m.

Samitel (65th) is also spreading its net wide, selling wholesale VoIP to operators in Africa and the Middle East, while London-based virtual mobile operator Lebara (36th) has more than 600,000 customers throughout Europe.

Rocela (6th) has shot into the top ten after international expansion into Singapore and the Czech Republic. The Edinburgh-based firm helps large enterprises such as BP and HBOS to install Oracle software (Rocela is an anagram of Oracle, geddit?).

Terry Burt, founder of 2e2 Group (15th), is currently looking at an exit for his computer network service provider. But Burt has no plans to start another business: “I’m going to run off to the beach with a nice young lovely,” he says.

We don’t begrudge these hard-working entrepreneurs a rest. Simon Craig set up Sky installation business Custom Group (10th) with his brother Stevie in 2001. “I do about 120 hours of hard graft every week,” says Simon. It’s paying off: sales have grown 148 per cent year on year.

O-bit Telecom (37th) is also going strong. It resells fixed lines to clients including FTSE 500 companies and government bodies, while Quantix’s (87th) Dick Salmon credits his firm’s success to its dedicated employees.

Howard Sherrington, founder of NSC Group (91st) is in a unique position: there are no other products on the market to rival his software package, which collates data for mergers and acquisitions. “No one knows this technology exists – we have to spend a fortune on marketing!”

Aidan Paul has no trouble selling his wares. His Hertfordshire-based firm, Vtesse Networks (39th), supplies optical networking solutions. Luckily for Paul, his clients have an “inexorable appetite for more bandwidth”.

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