Startups 100, selected by the startups.co.uk team, celebrate the 100 most exciting, promising, disruptive new businesses and entrepreneurs shaping the start-up market right now. 32% of the list are women owned businesses, but this is on the rise: on the 2008 list only 28% of the companies featured had female founders. In at number 32 is Talk to the Press (http://www.talktothepress.co.uk), a specialist press and publicity agency, helping advise people at the centre of a media storm on handling press attention, and individuals who wish to sell their story the newspapers or magazines. Since founding in 2008, the agency has sold more than 500 stories to the press and represented individuals including Idi Amin’s daughter Khadjia, and Louise Pollard, the PA from Bristol having surrogate twins for Osama Bin Laden’s son Omar. “We’ve worked incredibly hard in the two years since founding and it’s wonderful to be on the Startups 100 list,” says Talk to the Press founder Natasha Courtenay-Smith.
Why did people start their businesses? For the vast majority it was to realise a big idea, followed, a long way behind, by the drive to make money or be their own boss. The average age of the Startups 100 founders is 33, but this figures is made up of a healthy range of age groups. The youngest entrepreneur is just 18, while the oldest is arguably still fairly youthful at 55. The London region wins out as the most innovative with 60% of the businesses based there. And the recession hasn’t held the Start Up 100 back with just over a third starting in 2008 and a similar proportion in 2009.
Top of the list is Huddle, one of the most successful tech companies to come out of the UK in years. Founded by Alastair and Andy, Huddle provides packages of project management and online collaboration software and, while there are many players in this market, has managed to gain a remarkable stronghold both in the UK and the US, securing some impressive blue-chip and public sector clients including Nokia, Panasonic, Kia Motors and the NHS.
“Huddle was an obvious choice to top this year’s Startups 100 list. In just a few years Alastair and Andy have created a market-leading brand with global reach. What these two entrepreneurs have achieved, supported by an enthusiastic, fast-growing team, is proof that world-beating technology companies are not the preserve of Silicon Valley. We’re incredibly proud to have them heading up our list.” Sara Rizk, editor, Startups.co.uk.
Startups 100 also includes:
- Levi Roots, founder of Reggae, Reggae Sauce
- Bulldog, the male grooming products
- SquidLondon, who developed an umbrella which changes colour in the rain
- tweetdeck, the social networking application
- BrewDog, the independent beer makers
- RentYourRocks.com, which provides online diamond jewellery hire.
“Every single company on our 2010 list has felt the effects of launching during one of the most turbulent economic periods in modern history.” Sara continues.
“For some it has presented unexpected challenges, while others have relished the opportunities the downturn has thrown up. The result is a list of companies and entrepreneurs to be proud of. The Startups 100 is made up of a truly eclectic group of businesses and entrepreneurs. On our list, global brands sit alongside one-man bands in what we believe is an accurate reflection of the UK’s colourful, diverse and vibrant start-up community.”