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2012 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 announced

An independent ranking of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies

9 November 2012

  • The average growth rate of the winning Fast 50 companies is 1,505%;
  • ZBD Displays Ltd wins with a growth rate of 17,910%*;
  • 64% of Fast 50 companies are based in London and the South East;
  • The London technology sector is thriving, generating 79% of the revenue**.

Deloitte, the business advisory firm, today announces the results of its 2012 Technology Fast 50 awards, an independent ranking of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies.

The average growth rate of the winning Fast 50 companies is 1505%, falling from 2820% in 2011. However, the combined revenue generated by the Fast 50 winning companies is £1.5 billion, the highest it has been for the last five years and 38% higher than last year.

Increasing dominance of the South East
This year sees an increase in companies based in the South East featured in the Fast 50. One fifth (22%) of the companies are located in the region, compared to 16% in 2011, and 18% in 2010.

This year’s winner is ZBD with a growth of 17910%. Based in Ascot, Berkshire, the company is a global pioneer in the design and supply of epaper display systems for retailers and industrial and commercial users. The company was originally spun out of QinetiQ, the UK research & technology company, and has developed bistable liquid crystal displays (LCDs) which do not need battery power to retain an image.

Shaun Gray, the company’s CEO said: “We wanted to make sure that ZBD was up and running with a credible international client base before tackling the UK market. Initially, we commercialised the technology in overseas markets, so we actually ended up with a global supply chain and customer base before positioning the business domestically.”

The company now has 150 clients in 24 countries, with Europe representing its largest market. As ZBD expands geographically, its epaper system is also being applied in new sectors, such as transportation, healthcare, manufacturing and office signage.

Shaun Gray adds: “R&D is the best way to distinguish yourself from your competitors. We operate in a competitive environment in which the major Asian electronic corporations invest hundreds of millions of dollars in display technology. So from a UK perspective, what concerns me is that the environment for technology R&D should continue to encourage more companies to invest.  Otherwise, where will the next generation of technology companies come from?”

“My advice to technology entrepreneurs today would be: don’t be afraid to build a business, but be truthful with yourself and honest about where you can win, even if it means prioritising overseas markets. Use partnerships where you can to strengthen your offering and route to market. And always find the money to pay for good people – they’ll get you a long way much faster.”

David Halstead, Deloitte partner leading the Technology Fast 50, said: “The success of the South East demonstrates the growing influence of London and the importance of being in proximity to it.

“This year’s winning company has invested in overseas markets and R&D to ensure its success. ZBD highlights the importance of finding a niche product or service, to beat the recession. The Government has recognised the importance of R&D, with the introduction of patent box legislation next year.

“The Fast 50 awards are an opportunity for businesses to gain recognition for their successes and achievements. This year’s ranking highlights the importance of being innovative and finding a niche product or service, to beat the recession.”

Tech clusters – continued dominance of London
This year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 highlights the dominance of London, with six of the top ten companies coming from the capital. Overall, technology companies from London make up 42% of the ranking and account for 79% of the combined revenue of the Fast 50.**

In second place is Unruly, the London regional winner, with 6695% growth. The online video marketing platform, based in London’s Shoreditch technology hub, was launched in 2006 when founders Scott Button, Matt Cooke, and Sarah Wood decided to merge their love for social media and video by creating the Unruly Viral Video Chart (www.viralvideochart.com) to rank amongst the world’s most popular shared videos online.

Sarah Wood said: “London is a great place for a business like ours. The creative and technology sectors are strong, and the blend of start-ups makes it a really vibrant centre. The Government has helped to harness invention well over the last few years, building a perception of London as a city that can build technology businesses. Sometimes we don’t celebrate our successes enough and they are out there.”

David Halstead adds: “The increased focus on the Silicon Roundabout area from the Government, the media and larger technology companies has helped to drive confidence in the area as a credible European hub for the industry.  The past 15 years have seen a significant shift in the location of Fast 50 winners.   This year 64% are located in London and the South East, compared with just 16% in 1998.  In particular, London itself is now home to a far greater share of Fast 50 winners than 1998.”

Drivers Jonas Deloitte research shows that in Central London the technology sector has taken 822,000 sq ft of office space, largely as a result of greater demand from software companies.

Other key findings:
Software continues to dominate the Fast 50
Software was the category with the greatest amount of entries in the past five years. Just under a third (30%) of all the companies that have come top were from the software sector, but their combined revenue accounted for only 12% of all the winning companies. However, the combined revenue for the software companies has typically been low, with the exception of 2010 when Autonomy and Markit Group were in the Fast 50.

Ends

Notes to editors:

* Growth rates are based on revenues over the last five years.
** Revenues in year five.

UK Deloitte Technology Fast 50
The UK Deloitte Technology Fast 50 ranks the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the UK, based on percentage growth in stated revenue over five years. The programme is sponsored by Taylor Wessing, a leading International law firm with a focus on the industries of tomorrow, and Fidelity Growth Partners Europe, a venture and growth capital investor which backs entrepreneur with aspiration for greatness in the IT and clean technology sectors across Europe. Frequently asked questions and details of the winning companies, including breakdowns by industry sector and region, will be available on www.fast50.co.uk

UK Technology Fast 50 eligibility criteria

  1. The company must have been in business for a minimum of five years;
  2. The company must be considered a technology company, which is defined as:
    • developing or owning proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company's operating revenues;
    • producing technology
    • manufacturing technology-related products
    • be technology intensive, or use unique technology to solve problems
    • devoting a high percentage of effort to technology R&D;
    • NB: using another company's technology or intellectual property in a unique way does not qualify
  3. The parent company must be UK-owned and have its headquarters in the UK (subsidiaries of UK or multinational organisations do not qualify);
  4. Operating revenues must be at least £36,000 (50,000 Euros) for the first financial year of the five year period and £680,000 (800,000 Euros) for the most recent financial year;
    • NB: the accounts for year five should have an accounting period ending between 1 June 2011 and 31 May 2012.
  5. All submissions must be accompanied by signed accounts for the first and last financial year being measured in the competition. Unless a statutory exemption is being taken, these accounts should be unabbreviated and audited

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press. 

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Taylor Wessing
Taylor Wessing is a leading International law firm with a single-minded approach: to help its clients succeed by thinking innovatively about their business issues.

Taylor Wessing numbers around 900 lawyers working across 22 offices in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, offering an integrated service across the full range of practice areas, with core strengths in corporate, finance, real estate, IP and private wealth. The firm also has particular expertise in advising clients in North America, Brazil and India.

Fidelity Growth Partners Europe
Fidelity Growth Partners Europe (FGPE) (www.fidelitygrowthpartners.eu) is the European arm of global venture and growth capital investor Fidelity Growth Partners which backs technology entrepreneurs with aspiration for greatness and has over $1 billion of assets under management across Europe, China, India and Japan. By combining a collaborative approach with a global network and a 40-year history of venture investing, FGPE helps companies accelerate their growth and become true leaders in their field. A strong track record in Europe includes investments in market leaders such as Seatwave, InnoGames, Notonthehighstreet, GoodData, Wahanda and Stylistpick.

Media contacts

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Laura Parsons
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Deloitte LLP
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Phone:
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