CITY A.M.’s Innovation of the Year category salutes businesses that are frontrunners in their industry, from gaming to finance. This year’s shortlist includes insurance, Big Data and wealth management. The winner will have shown a genuinely innovative approach to business, be disruptive in their industry, and have achieved key milestones this year.
The insurance comparison website, founded in 2001 by British entrepreneur Sara Elizabeth Murray, has reported a profit of £10.2m for the first half of 2013, up from £8.4m for the same period last year. Recent success can be attributed in part to its innovative developments in the past 12 months. It has, for example, devised an app called MotorMate, that delivers data on a drivers’ behaviour to offer personalised insurance quotes. And in June 2013, it launched a new brand icon – BRIAN the robot.
The casual-social games company has dominated the app charts since the launch of its most popular game, Candy Crush saga (which has over 130m monthly users – more than Pinterest or Spotify). Founded by Riccardo Zacconi in 2003 and backed by Apax Partners and Index Ventures, King is the largest game developer on Facebook. It has just launched eight games on the social media site, and three on iOS and Android. King now earns an estimated £387,000 per day, and is rumoured to be planning an initial public offering later this year.
Mind Candy is the entertainment company behind the phenomenally successful Moshi Monsters – a website aimed at children, launched in April 2008. Moshi Monsters now has over 75m users globally, and has expanded commercially with physical products, from toys and a best-selling DS video game to bath soap. Mind Candy was founded by Michael Acton Smith in 2004 and is headquartered in Shoreditch. In March 2012 it confirmed a deal with Sony Music, and industry experts speculate the company will float on the stock market next year.
The online discretionary investment manager is attempting to disrupt the wealth management industry by creating diversified portfolios for individuals with as little as £1,000 to invest. Nutmeg has zero upfront charges, zero withdrawal charges, and zero transaction costs. It was created in 2011 by former stockbroker Nick Hungerford and has seen significant growth in the past 12 months. It added the stocks and shares Isa to its product offering in February 2013. In January 2013, Nutmeg had around 2,000 registered users. Today, that has grown to over 16,000.
The software company specialising in distributed computing was founded in 2005 by David Richards, Jim Campigli and Dr Yeturu Aahlad. On 1 June 2012, it floated on the London Stock Exchange, raising over $26m. The share price has soared from 180p on entry to around 1,168p today. This year, WANdisco has moved into Big Data, acquiring AltoStor in November 2012. And in June, it was announced that Nokia Siemens Networks will utilise its technology to deliver Big Data storage and access across its product portfolio.