Smarkets has been named ‘The Leap 100 Company of the Year’ at the City A.M. Awards 2017, which celebrate the most bold, successful, and principled companies and individuals who have negotiated the challenges of growth, and delivered success for shareholders, employees and customers alike.
The Leap 100 was founded by Mishcon de Reya and City A.M. to celebrate Britain’s most exciting, high-growth companies. Shortlisted in the category were five of the most eye-catching Leap 100 firms – including Brompton Bicycle, busuu, COPA90 and Improbable – celebrating a crucial and inspirational part of the modern British economy. Here is are the profiles of the nominees.
Smarkets is a betting exchange founded just under a decade ago as a rival to the big players. All betting is peer-to-peer, rather than against a bookmaker where traders agree odds between themselves across sporting, political and current affairs events. With offices in central London, Los Angeles and Malta, Smarkets is presently listed as the second fastest growing UK private technology enterprise in the 2017 Tech Track 100 index. With profits up 160 per cent last year, the odds are on for success.
Shortlisted: BROMPTON BICYCLE
Brompton Bicycle is an understated modern classic – handbuilding its iconic folding bikes in London since 1975. Folding bikes have been through a renaissance in recent years, with space savvy commuters driving the trend. Brompton produces approximately 45,000 folding bikes per year, with some 80 per cent being exported to 44 countries worldwide. The firm has recently launched its folding electric bicycle in the UK, teaming up with Williams Advanced Engineering, of the Williams Group.
Parli inglese? Sprechen sie Englis Englisch? Que? Perhaps you don’t, we British are renowned monoglots. Busuu can help. The firm is a provider of innovative web and app-based language courses with 70m users world wide, and is growing fast. The company is investing in innovative ways of learning and has recently partnered with Google Assistant to bring its language learning services to Google Home’s smart speakers. Google, que dois-je faire pour le dîner?
For many football is a religion, uniting fans around the world with a common passion. Copa90 believes the beautiful game is a universal language. Started five years ago, it has grown exponentially to 80m viewers a month with fans in over 150 countries and revenues that have tripled year on year. Copa90 shows original content series, live games and documentary films, engaging fans across social platforms and developing media partnerships with firms such as Turner, CNN, ITV and NBC.
Playing games is now a serious proposition, with the global digital entertainment market surging past $100bn revenues. Improbable, a Farringdon-based technology company, is building SpatialOS, a development platform for building powerful virtual worlds. Gamers are already exploring worlds built on SpatialOS, with other applications for simulating the real world also being investigated. This year it opened a new office in San Francisco and had a $502m investment round.
Five other Leap 100 companies also had success at the awards: OakNorth Bank – Bank of the Year; Poppy Gustafsson of Darktrace – Entrepreneur of the Year; and Farmdrop – Innovative Company of the Year. Seedrs was highly commended for Fintech Company of the Year and Monzo for Bank of the Year.
Transparency activist and businesswoman Gina Miller, a client of Mishcon de Reya who led the legal challenge against the government, successfully arguing that Parliament must vote on the triggering of Article 50, was also nominated for the Personality of the Year Award.
Mishcon de Reya was a nominee for Law Firm of the Year.
The final decisions were taken by a panel of independent and prestigious judges from the world of business, including Virgin Money boss Jayne-Anne Gadhia, global advertising guru Sir Martin Sorrell from WPP, Sky News’ City Editor Mark Kleinman, and many more.