The Leap 100 are bullish about the future. “Nothing can stop us,” says one founder, echoing the optimism of fellow members.
Nearly a quarter are targeting revenues of £100m and above in the next three years, with two thirds aiming to hit between £10m and £50m. An impressive 47 per cent say that they expect most of this growth to come from innovation – rather than from exporting, new talent or finance, or efficiency gains.
Yet many encounter the same hindrances to growth. Nearly one in five struggle to recruit the right people for their business. One founder and chief executive sums up sentiment among the fast-growth businesses, saying “the challenge is that our roles are constantly evolving. It’s proven difficult to strike the right balance between hiring for an immediate need and future-proofing the team.” Others mention how competitive the labour market is, and how Brexit has raised fears over securing international talent.
However, others say that Brexit won’t hamper them – their focus is on scaling, and doing it quickly, and their attitude is “business as usual”. Sometimes, say several, there is an issue in finding the right partners to expand abroad. And government response is also a concern: “the government needs to act swiftly and decisively to remove the uncertainty that exists at the moment and to work to encourage, maintain and increase productive trade agreements for the UK.” Other businesses know they need to move fast to keep ahead of competitors. One company founder points out that maturing markets raise barriers to entry for new products – so innovation is key.
Another worry for The Leap 100 is access to working capital – and managing to raise finance on agreeable terms. Moreover, one respondent, whose business operates in the investment sector, says she’s concerned that the current economic climate will see businesses scale back investment plans – and that investors will also become more cautious.
But most are more than confident in their ability to grow. The only real issue, says one founder, is how to “maintain the best possible service... [doing so] can be challenging when a company faces accelerated global growth.”
What is the biggest obstacle to your firm’s growth?
Stuart Lucas, Asset Match:
Inertia. Our business is now an accepted facility and ready to scale up.
Damian Kimmelman, Duedil:
I am very confident in our ability to grow the business. One potential obstacle that growing tech companies always face is being able to find the right staff to enable them to scale.
Greville Coe, Isotrak:
Being able to build a credible presence in the US. We are sometimes considered to be a UK business selling into the US. The plan is to buy a US business so that we gain that “Made in the US” stamp.
Asi Sharabi, Lost My Name:
Not an obstacle as much as a strategic challenge. As we move from a single product company to a broader portfolio we have to be super strategic about a future products pipeline that delivers meaningful products to our customers all over the world. We try hard to focus on universally personal themes and concepts that are cross cultural and can leverage our global marketing and distribution platform.
Dan Warne, Deliveroo:
At Deliveroo, we’re focused on creating the best possible food delivery service for our customers. When you’re working at a company that is facing huge international growth this can be seen as a challenge. Thankfully we have an amazing team in place who are more than up for that challenge.