THE Leap 100 is a list of 100 of the most exciting, fast-growing companies in the UK. But it’s more than a list: it is a cohort of founders whose fortunes we will follow and whose ambitions we will support over the next 12 months; founders with the talent to help secure Britain’s place as the best place in the world to start and grow a business.
Picking 100 companies to include in the Leap 100 is no easy task. It helps to have the expertise of last year’s group of entrepreneurs – as well as experts at City A.M., Seven Hills, The Entrepreneurs Network and The Supper Club – but the UK is fortunate enough to have so many good companies that it is impossible to create a definitive list. That said, if this year’s companies perform anything like last year’s, it will be worth taking note.
Britain is blessed with an increasing number of innovative start-ups. We are not suffering the fate of many developed economies, which are seeing fewer new companies each year. Since 2008, the US has had a higher percentage of businesses dying than being born. In the UK the number of businesses has increased by an average of 3 per cent each year since 2000.
We need new businesses, but we also need them to scale. That’s where we get the economic growth and resulting employment that the government – and everyone – cares so much about. And that’s why the Leap 100 matters. We have identified companies which we think are on the cusp of greatness, and the Leap 100 is about celebrating, supporting and learning from their experiences over a crucial year in their lives.
There is no magic formula for picking winners – otherwise we would be professional investors, not lawyers – but we have identified four areas where these entrepreneurs and companies excel. In the entrepreneurs, we have looked for leadership and ambition, and in their companies we have looked into their team and money.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, talk of disruption has been all the rage for a while. It may feel a little overused, but, since 1950, the life expectancy of companies has almost halved. It is hard to imagine this trend reversing, as the technological revolutions in robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality, nanotechnology and a 101 things yet to be dreamt up have hit the mainstream.
Given this, successful law firms need to be at the vanguard of spotting trends in entrepreneurship. At Mishcon de Reya, we are growing quickly and aspire to run our firm with the entrepreneurial traits that we see in our clients and Leap 100 companies.
We value the privilege of sitting alongside our clients as trusted advisers, helping support their aspirations. It’s business. But it’s personal. Over the next 12 months we will run regular polls of the Leap 100 founders to find out what concerns them, so they can benchmark their experiences against their peer group. We are building a cohesive network of entrepreneurs who will be able to learn from their compatriots at regular events. Keep an eye on the pages of City A.M. for updates on their journey.
Not every company in the Leap 100 will replicate the success of some of last year’s companies – businesses like Funding Circle, Unruly, TransferWise and Zopa – but some will. We think that every one of these 100 companies is worth keeping an eye on in 2016: join us in watching them take the Leap!
Nick Davis is partner and head of corporate department at Mishcon de Reya.