BGF supports Tech Track 100

November 2014

The owners and directors of Britain’s fastest-growing private technology companies were recognised at the 14th annual Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 awards dinner in London in November 2014.

The Tech Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s 100 private tech, media and telecoms (TMT) companies with the fastest-growing sales over their latest three years, and is published in The Sunday Times. This year’s 100 companies have increased their combined sales by an average of 79% a year from £450m to £2.1bn, and together they employ 14,000 staff, having added more than 10,000 jobs over the period.

As a sponsor, BGF attended the dinner along with more than 240 guests, including founders and senior directors from tech companies including Skyscanner, SwiftKey,, TransferWise, YPlan and Zopa.

Guest speeches

The guests heard from Jay Bregman, co-founder and former chief executive of taxi hailing app Hailo, winner of last year’s Tech Track ‘Ones to Watch’; and Sir William Sargent, co-founder and chief executive of Framestore, the visual effects company that won an Oscar for its ground-breaking work on the space epic Gravity, and featured on the sister league table Profit Track 100 for fastest-growing profits.

Jay Bregman spoke about the huge potential of drones and robotics in all spheres of life but said their development should be self-regulated to protect privacy, an area that is the focus of his new business venture following his departure from Hailo in October. “In 10 years this room will be filled with robots of all kinds and the sight of robots will be as familiar as traffic in Trafalgar Square,” he told the guests.

Sir William Sargent gave an insight into the technology used in creating a film such as Gravity and spoke about the need for businesses to constantly adapt and stay fresh. “Every five years we are a different company to the one we were five years before”, he said. He warned the journey is not always smooth, particularly for the CEO. “Give yourself permission to take a break and to make mistakes,” he said.

Tech Track 100 award winners

The Tech Track 100 sponsors presented several individual awards for excellence in the following areas:

The Tech Track ‘Ones to Watch’ award was presented by Richard Phelps, managing director at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, to co-founders Graeme Malcolm and Gareth Maker and director John Nicholls of M Squared Lasers. The company’s remote monitoring and measurement lasers are used by Philips, MIT and Harvard, and it plans to grow fivefold after securing £3.8m from Business Growth Fund (BGF) in 2012.

The Tech Track 100 award for social innovation, sponsored by Barclays, was presented by head of TMT Sean Duffy to group commercial director James Jean-Louis of Chargemaster. The firm has installed 30,000 charging points for electric cars across Europe, and is offering UK households free charging points, under a government-backed scheme.

The Tech Track 100 best management team award, sponsored by BDO, was presented by Julian Frost, national head of TMT, to co-founder Nick Hynes of mobile marketing firm Somo. In addition to leading their current venture, the co-founders have helped build and sell a number of firms, including The Search Works that featured on Tech Track 100 in the past and Overture, which was sold to Yahoo! for $1.6bn.

The Tech Track 100 outstanding achievement award, sponsored by BGF, was presented by chief executive Stephen Welton to co-founder Barry Smith of Skyscanner. The online flight search engine generated the highest profits on the league table of £23m, and was valued at half a billion pounds last year when Sequoia Capital acquired a minority stake.

The Tech Track 100 award for high-tech manufacturing, sponsored by The Sunday Times, was presented by deputy business editor Simon Duke to chief executive Paul Loeffen and chief financial officer Craig Tombling of Cobalt Light Systems. Its technology can identify liquids in a sealed container in seconds, and is now being trialed in 65 airports around the world to identify explosives.

The Tech Track 100 award for digital innovation, sponsored by Hiscox, was presented by Matthew Webb, head of technology & cyber, to chief financial officer Richard Gibson of Swiftkey. Its intelligent keyboard is available in 92 languages and was downloaded by 1 million iPhones in the first 24 hours after Apple opened up to third-party keyboard apps earlier this year.

The Tech Track 100 fastest-growing company award, also sponsored by Hiscox, was presented by Steve Langan to chief executive David Mercer and fellow directors of LMAX Exchange. The company has created an electronic trading platform for foreign exchange which it spun out of Betfair, and last year it handled orders worth more than $1trillion. Its revenues increased an average of 306% a year over three years to £18.4m in 2013.