Entrepreneurial spirit alive and kicking in UK

Host Katie Derham with the winner of the City A. M. 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year award, Paul Lindley of Ella’s Kitchen
ENTREPRENEUR of the year

The City A.M. Entrepreneur of the Year award recognises those individuals or groups who set up a successful new venture and are now growing it as a profitable business.

According to campaign group Startup Britain, more than 410,000 new businesses launched in the UK in 2014 so far – up from last year’s figure for the same period of around 400,000 – the spirit for entrepreneurship in Britain is alive and kicking.

From an online estate agents to a financial information service initially set up in a barn via a satchel sales company established by a mother to help pay for her children’s school fees, our shortlist includes those entrepreneurs who are truly standing out from the crowd.



Chief executive of the property portal Zoopla, Alex Chesterman can claim a number of recent successes. The company he founded in 2007 floated earlier this year, valued at £919m. And buoyed by a resurgent property market, in the four months to July 2014, Zoopla saw a 34 per cent year-on-year increase in monthly visits to 45.5m. With more members than rival Rightmove, Zoopla is at the forefront of the internet’s challenge to traditional estate agent models, giving consumers greater power to compare agents’ offerings. Chesterman previously co-founded Lovefilm, which he sold to Amazon for £200m.

With just £600 to hand, Julie Deane co-founded Cambridge Satchel Company in 2008 as a way of paying for her children’s school fees. Six years on, and now with a turnover of around £15m, Deane’s company, which sells a range of distinctive and handmade leather bags, recently announced that it is opening a six-storey flagship store in Covent Garden. In January, the company raised £12m from Index Ventures, which also backs Asos, Moleskine and Net-A-Porter, and Deane is now looking at further international expansion – particularly into China.

A protege of Richard Branson, Gormley founded Naked Wines in 2008 with the idea of applying crowdfunding principles to the wine market. Customers invest money each month – which is used to fund independent vineyards – in return for exclusive wines at wholesale prices. Now with 225,000 members, it achieved global sales of £53m in 2013. It also recently raised £5m (exceeding its original target of £3m) to invest in new fine winemakers through a wine-backed bond, with bondholders able to choose between receiving seven per cent per annum in cash or 10 per cent a year in wine credits through Naked Wines.

Formerly of Brewin Dolphin and Barclays, Hungerford set up Nutmeg, an online discretionary wealth manager, in 2011 to bring entrepreneurial disruption to the investment industry. And through a mix of technology, transparency and low costs, he’s clocked up a number of successes this year. Nutmeg raised $32m in investment in June, with Schroders joining Carphone Warehouse founder Charles Dunstone, Icap’s Michael Spencer, and Balderton Capital as backers. Now with more than 35,000 users, Nutmeg is targeting 100,000 by the second quarter of 2015.

Canadian Lance Uggla founded Markit in 2001 in a barn in St Albans. Today, having raised $1.28bn at its New York IPO earlier this year, the financial information provider is a $4bn-plus business, with 3,200 employees, which can claim to be a real rival to industry incumbents Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg. Despite listing on Nasdaq, chief executive Uggla says he has no plans to move Markit from London, and it emerged earlier this month that the firm was one of two preferred bidders for Barclays’s index business. Uggla, now estimated to be worth £450m, set up Markit after a career in the City.

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