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. With close to 400,000 new businesses launched in 2013 so far, the spirit for entrepreneurship in Britain is alive and well. From entertainment to retail, our shortlist includes those entrepreneurs who are truly standing out from the crowd.
Suranga Chandratillake was US chief technology officer at Autonomy when he was bitten by the consumer technology bug and founded Blinkx – now one of the world’s largest video search engines. The internet media platform has an index of 35m hours of searchable video and more than 800 media partnerships. Headquartered in San Francisco and London, its revenue for the year was $198m (£125.2m), with net profit at $25.3m. This summer, the company acquired Grab Media, created new original video channels, and launched its mobile site – blinkx.com.
JAY BREGMAN, CASPAR WOOLLEY & RON ZEGHBE
Hailo, the free smartphone app that puts users two taps away from a licensed taxi, has truly disrupted the cab market. Launched in November 2011 by Jay Bregman, Caspar Woolley and Ron Zeghbe (along with three black cabbies who are now partners in the business), it has carried 5m passengers to date and grown to annualised sales topping $100m. This year, it has started an e-mail beta trial in New York City, and launched its services in Madrid, Barcelona, Washington DC, Tokyo and Osaka – adding to existing services in London, Dublin, Boston, Toronto and Chicago.
Even in an industry dominated by young upstarts, Nick D’Aloisio has broken records. The 17 year old’s summarisation app was sold to Yahoo in March 2013 for a rumoured $30m. In 2011, D’Aloisio – who taught himself coding aged 12 – created the Trimit app, which used an analytical tool to condense content into summary text. Soon after, he became one of the youngest people to receive a round of venture capital in technology at 15. His business partners have included Li Ka-Shing, Rupert Murdoch, and Stephen Fry. D’Aloisio is now Yahoo’s youngest employee.
The online-only fashion and beauty store had acquired 12.1m registered users across 241 countries as of 31 May 2013. Founded in June 2000 by Nick Robertson – formerly at ad agency Young & Rubicam, it has recently set its sights on a new goal: to become the number one fashion destination for 20-somethings globally. In keeping with this target, it launched its Russian language site in May, with its Chinese offering on target for October. Its mobile sites have been launched in seven countries this year, and its Android app will be launched later this month.