Celebrating London’s financial and business community and its most successful individuals and firms
Entrepreneur of the Year
In times of disruption, entrepreneurs come into their own – rolling up their sleeves and getting on with it, regardless of the level of uncertainty. From first-timers to seasoned risk-takers, the pace of business creation continues to reflect the ambition of people throughout Britain to think big and take on the world. Ranging from fintech and medical services to energy and manufacturing, our shortlist for 2019 features five entrepreneurs who stand out from the crowd.
Romi Savova – WINNER 2019
Former investment banker Romi Savova quit the industry five years ago to launch her own fintech startup, PensionBee, which now boasts half a billion pounds in assets under management and nearly 30,000 live accounts. The company offers customers a refreshingly-simple system for managing their pensions, merging any mix of old pots into one, with a straightforward fee structure and easy-to-understand annual statements. Savova’s revolutionary attitude to the sector is manifested not just through her company but in a vociferous approach to regulators and the industry at large; this year she has ramped up her campaign to ban exit fees and hit out at complacent plans to lower occupational transfer times. “Much of the pensions industry maintains a customer experience better suited to the 19th century,” Savova says.
Junior doctor Lydia Yarlott was so frustrated with using archaic technology like pagers to communicate with colleagues on hospital wards that she decided to build her own secure, compliant messaging service for doctors. In just three years, her tech company Forward Health has secured partnerships with 10 NHS Trusts, including two in London, and the service is currently being used by 10,000 staff, saving each doctor between 30 to 60 minutes a day, which is time they can spend with patients. Forward Health has been expanding in 2019 after securing £3m in seed funding towards the end of last year. By speeding up processes in hospitals and cutting wait times, Yarlott is literally saving lives.
Basketball fanatic David Brear is the founder of fintech consultancy 11:FS, an adviser to major banks and financial institutions on how to use the power of fintech for innovation. The company has rapidly expanded out of its Shoreditch home in the last year, recently starting a bank-building unit backed by Norwegian lender DNB. Clients include NatWest, for which 11:FS built Mettle, an app for small businesses due to launch later this year. 11:FS is also home to one of the world’s most listened-to financial podcasts, Fintech Insider News, which has legions of fans in more than 180 countries.
One of the original founders of fintech starlet Marketinvoice, Charles Delingpole has an eye for tech ventures having started multiple companies, including the world’s largest student community forum The Student Room during the dot.com era. His newest startup ComplyAdvantage raised $30m this year from venture capital giants Index and Balderton, previous backers of Facebook, Slack and Just Eat. The fintech boom on both sides of the pond has driven demand for ComplyAdvantage’s compliance and anti-money laundering services, delivering three-figure sales growth and plans for rapid global expansion.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe
The billionaire boss of industrials giant Ineos, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is not shy of controversy. Earlier this year he blasted the EU’s “simply stupid” green taxes before lashing out at the UK’s “pathetic” approach to shale gas. Demonised by left-wing critics, Ratcliffe remains successful and innovative, posting half-a-billion-pound profits according to Ineos’ latest accounts, and is planning new ventures such as the production of a 4×4 that could boost Britain’s struggling auto-manufacturing sector. The sport-loving Manchester United fan took over the sponsorship of Team Sky this year, with Team Ineos storming to victory at this summer’s Tour de France, and also added French football side OGC Nice to his sporting portfolio. While Ratcliffe’s plan to move to Monaco triggered strong condemnation from Westminster’s socialist-leaning politicians, his company is investing £1bn on UK projects such as a major North Sea pipeline, cementing Ratcliffe’s position as one of Britain’s most divisive yet impressive entrepreneurs.
- 2018: Simon Rogerson, Octopus Group
- 2017: Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace
- 2016: Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat
- 2015: Sarah Wood, Unruly
- 2014: Alex Chesterman, Zoopla
- 2013: Nick Robertson, Asos
- 2012: Paul Lindley , Ella’s Kitchen
- 2011: Daniel Ek, Spotify
This category was introduced in 2011.