Growth is never out of fashion – even in a recession winners keep growing – fast.

One of the biggest questions we had when we started working on the Deloitte Fast 50 competition was establishing how much the list would be affected by the recession. The final year’s accounts that feed into the ranking will be for a full financial year starting anywhere between October 2008 and August 2009. This puts the final accounting period slap bang in the middle of the worst recession since the last worst recession since records began – or something like that.

Vintage year: Contrary to our expectations (and fears), this has been a vintage year for the UK’s fastest growing companies. In fact, many measures point to this being one of the best two years in the history of the Fast 50.

  • The threshold for entry into the top fifty list in 2010 for example, was 652% growth. The only year the threshold has been higher was 2009 when the threshold was 680% growth.
  • The average (mean) percentage growth of the top fifty entrants in the Fast 50 competition was 2,321% growth over five years. The only year to top this was 2009 when the average percentage growth was 2,585%.

This is the percentage growth of the top fifty companies in the UK year by year since 2007:

Deloitte Fast 50 percentage growth by year 2007-2010
Deloitte Fast 50 percentage growth by year 2007-2010

It is good to see that despite the economic doom and gloom that seems to be accepted by all as the norm, that some notable entrepreneurs and the high growth businesses that they have founded are making huge progress as they continue to grow, create jobs and employment and serve the markets that they target.

Most represented sectors:

The best represented sectors in the Deloitte Fast 50 are unsurprisingly Software and Internet businesses, representing some 58% of the winning entries with telecommunications businesses representing an additional 20%. The scarcity of ‘Greentech’ businesses is probably down to two things: (a) the relative newness of the sector (and thus those businesses have not had five years of revenues) and; (b) the ambiguity inherent in the categorisation. (A ‘Greentech’ business may well consider itself to be an ‘Internet’ business for example as the perceived value in being labelled green/clean has diminished as the terms greentech/cleantech become abused and devalued as more wannabe companies jump on the bandwagon. At the same time, the most progressive cleantech businesses no longer consider themselves ‘cleantech’ but simply offer a better, more sustainable solution, to a specific market.

Deloitte UK Fast 50 2010 by Sector

Deloitte UK Fast 50 2010 by Sector

The UK can even grow hardware & semiconductor businesses!

Despite all of the attention on the Internet sector as a core engine for economic recovery, when it comes to revenue growth over this time, it is actually software sector that dominates with an average growth of Fast 50 winners of 3,941%. Software is closely followed by the semiconductor & components sector where companies including Displaylink and Ubisense contributed to the average 3,899% growth over this period.

Percentage Growth of Fast 50 Winners 2010 by Sector

Percentage Growth of Fast 50 Winners 2010 by Sector

It is interesting to see that despite the economic doom and gloom, there are still companies in the UK that are managing to achieve, and sustain, some fairly staggering levels of revenue growth over time.
Congratulations to all participants. We look forward to seeing you on November 25th.

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Next BLN event: Our next CEO Tales event will be held on Thursday 4th November 2010: ‘Scaling Digital Businesses’. We will be joined by David Soskin, author of, Net Profit’ and Steve Purdham, CEO of We7, to talk about the challenges of scaling a digital business successfully. We are also running a small interactive workshop prior to the event, Maximising Your Value on Exit. This will run from 17.00-18.00 at the same venue. If you would like to participate in this workshop, please contact us and let us know in less than 10 words why you would find it valuable.

This event will be held at the law offices of Taylor Wessing, 5 New Street Square, London, EC4A 3TW and is supported by Taylor Wessing and Goetz Partners. BLN events are always oversubscribed and we anticipate significant demand for the available places so please let Samara know if you would like to come or register at

You can see all of our forthcoming events, entrepreneur discussion dinners (ecommerce, mobile and digital media coming in the next month or so) and also news of Silicon Valley comes to the UK at We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Deloitte Fast 50 Winners 2010. More info at

Final ranking Company Sector Growth rate
1 Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) Software 26885%
2 DisplayLink (UK) Ltd Semiconductors, components and electronics 9041%
3 Mimecast Ltd Software 7579%
4 Translatemedia (Translations Online Ltd) Media and entertainment 5409%
5 Periscopix Internet 5147%
6 Bglobal plc GreenTech 4447%
7 Forward Internet Group Internet 4443%
8 Global Personals Ltd Internet 4391%
9 UK Grid Telecommunications / networking 3348%
10 Innovise plc Software 2124%
11 Helveta Ltd Software 2049%
12 Moneybookers Ltd Internet 1831%
13 Grove Information Systems Ltd Internet 1817%
14 Ubisense Trading Ltd Semiconductors, components and electronics 1730%
15 Latens Systems Ltd Software 1723%
16 Focus 4 U Ltd Telecommunications / networking 1700%
17 Gyron Internet Ltd Internet 1476%
18 Lovefilm UK Ltd Software 1472%
19 Bloxx Software 1262%
20 Geo Networks Telecommunications / networking 1255%
21 Fluidata Telecommunications / networking 1253%
22 Node4 Ltd Internet 1142%
23 Biome Technologies Ltd GreenTech 1132%
24 Intamac Systems Ltd Internet 1112%
25 BlueGnome Ltd Biotechnology / medical equipment 1096%
26 Heart Internet Internet 1030%
27 Greenlight Marketing Ltd Internet 1029%
28 Fjordnet Ltd Telecommunications / networking 1002%
29 Content and Code Ltd Internet 1001%
30 Skyscanner Ltd Internet 997%
31 Concentra Software 969%
32 O-bit Telecom Ltd Telecommunications / networking 956%
33 TTG (Southern) Ltd Semiconductors, components and electronics 927%
34 Markit Group Holdings Ltd Software 872%
35 Yudu Ltd Software 868%
36 Cambridge Broadband Networks Ltd Telecommunications / networking 864%
37 Leaf Consultancy Telecommunications / networking 848%
38 Net Media Planet Ltd Internet 840%
39 C4L Internet 823%
40 Saffron Media Group Ltd Media and entertainment 801%
41 HostelBookers Internet 799%
42 Autonomy Corporation plc Software 796%
43 Beaming Ltd Telecommunications / networking 782%
44 Rehabstudio Hi-tech 747%
45 M247 Ltd Internet 745%
46 ClinTec International Biotechnology / medical equipment 738%
47 Export Technologies Hi-tech 703%
48 Retail Eyes (UK) Ltd Internet 701%
49 Jagex Ltd Software 689%
50 Gradwell Dot Com Ltd Telecommunications / networking 652%

2 responses to “Growth is never out of fashion – even in a recession winners keep growing – fast.”

  1. Debbie Todd says:

    Not only is the number of clean/greentech companies included in the list rather disappointing, it also concerns me as to how clean/green companies really are.

    I had a look at the website for Biome Bioplastics to see what they actually do – “We supply a great range of bioplastics that replace existing oil based materials in a wide variety of applications. Naturally sourced, our plastic polymers have a high sustainable content and can recycle back to nature.”

    This all sounds great at first glance – I actually live in an area where the local authority collects food waste from households in biodegradeable bags. The local authority also collects garden waste in two different ways. You can buy 3 biodegradeable bags for £1 or one re-usable hessian bag for £1. I buy the reusable hessian bags – it’s not always a cheaper option in the long run as they often get pinched after they’ve been emptied! However, I’ve been trying for years to avoid using plastic (of any sort) whenever possible.

    I had a look online to see if I could find out some more information on bioplastics and came across a Wiki page on the subject where it says that a lot of the biodegradeable polymers that are sourced from renewable resources compete with food production. Apparently, to meet current US requirements would need 1.62 square metres per kilogram of product and that, in the long run, this could have the negative effect of rising food prices.

    I avoid using plastic as much as possible and always carry reusable fabric shopping bags. However, so many food products and other items are packaged in plastic (and usually in several layers of the stuff), that it can be hard to avoid. I usually choose the stuff in glass jars and bottles if possible and have lately found myself just not buying a product if it’s only available in plastic packaging. I know it’s much easier these days to recycle the plastic in a convenient manner (due to local authority schemes), but very often the use of plastic is totally unneccessary and could be avoided.