They are out there in growing numbers – entrepreneurs not afraid to change the way we look at things and build incredibly disruptive UK companies.
From mobile to marketing, and from retail to recruitment, Britain is full of industries that are dominated by industry heavyweights taking positions for granted and not innovating.
Each year, our Future 50 ranking gives the young players a chance to shine. Its class of disruptive UK businesses is now 300-strong and includes startup ventures that have gone on to become household names.
Songkick, Made.com, Secret Escapes, Funding Circle, Crunch, Gousto and Revolut – they’ve all featured and gone on to showcase how a new approach can cause shockwaves in a dormant industry.
It gives us great pleasure to unveil the class of 2017 – let’s hope we all hear a lot more about this bunch in the not too distant future.
Sector: Mobile workforce management
Date founded: 2013
Founders: Martin Port
Number of staff: 40
BigChange Apps aims to create a more level playing field for smaller businesses with its simple and scalable platform that enables business owners to manage everything from quote to invoice.
Its JobWatch app for the mobile workforce automates every workflow and saves users an administrative burden.
Its on-demand app for consumers lets them instantly book trusted service providers that have immediate availability to attend emergency jobs.
Customers can submit photos, allowing the provider to diagnose the problem in advance and collect the correct parts en-route.
Sector: Business sales
Date founded: 2015
Founders: Sean Mallon, Jonathan Russell, Luke Duncan
Number of staff: 7
Bizdaq is a marketplace for businesses for sale. As a small or micro business owner, selling with a business transfer agent is an expensive affair. Typically, agents will take a commission of up to £15,000 on a business sold for £100,000 and generally tie people into long contracts even if they do not achieve a sale.
Bizdaq was created to bring together small business owners with motivated buyers in one easy to use marketplace. The founders wanted their knowledge and experience of selling businesses to be available to anybody, and they wanted to do this at a fraction of the cost of the existing options.
Sector: Technology consulting
Date founded: 2016
Founders: Larry Kotch, Jonathan Lemer, Sebastian Shaw
Number of staff: 5
Brainbroker is a technology consultant for SMEs. The founders realised that more highly-skilled people are choosing to go freelance, and at the same time many traditional SMEs are being disrupted and made obsolete at an alarming rate as each struggle to understand what tech is needed.
Despite this, many SMEs were put off by freelancer platforms, for a variety of reasons including the perceived risk, the inability to vet the freelances and the inability to write credible specifications.
Brainbroker therefore decided to style itself as a virtual technology consultancy and now works with a network of over 850 expert technology freelancers and software partners around Europe to deliver digital projects. Its mission is to help SMEs to tech more effectively and affordably, with a key focus on digital marketing, data science and web development.
Date founded: 2016
Founders: Tara Button
Number of staff: 6
BuyMeOnce is a website celebrating the longest lasting and most sustainable products available – in other words, the sorts of products you only need to buy once. Its goal is to change customer culture of short-term purchasing.
In addition, the business aims to educate consumers on how to take care of their items, and campaigns for better manufacturing processes.
Eventually, BuyMeOnce aims to become a kite-mark of longevity, a mark that brands can show proudly to consumers.
Sector: Software apps
Date founded: 2016
Founders: Lee Chapman, Natasha Chrystal
Number of staff: 2
C Folio redesigns all compliance paperwork on its digital software platform. It enables businesses to plan staff workloads, send staff jobs complete with specific documents, and produce reports instantly.
The idea for the business came when the founders experienced a lot of red tape operating in the green energy sector. A lot of paperwork, especially for larger clients, had to be completed on-site – and as time went on and they had more and more work, this became a logistical nightmare. C Folio was created as a way of making these compliance processes paperless and seamless.