Five of Britain’s most highly-valued, fast growing companies

February 15, 2016

Who are Britain’s most valuable growing companies? The answer you’ll get depends on how you ask the question, of course, but one relatively robust test of value is what investors are prepared to pay to buy into such businesses.
New data from Beauhurst, the market research analyst that specialises in coverage of fast-growth companies, looks at exactly that yardstick in order to rank highly-valued UK companies by size. Its report therefore makes interesting reading: not least because the top five businesses are spread across just two sectors (with three biotechnology businesses and two fintech ventures), which tells you something about what investors are interested in right now.
Beauhurst’s ranking also concludes that not a single company made it to ‘unicorn’ status last year – at least not in sterling terms – though the analyst describes these valuations as “positively restrained”. The number one ranked business is closing in on the £1bn mark, but isn’t there yet.
Based on fund-raising deals agreed over the past 12 months, the most highly-valued British growth companies according to Beauhurst right now are:
Oxford Nanopore Technologies: Worth £930m at its most recent fund-raising
This Oxford spin-out continues to grab headlines. With follow-on investment from IP Group, Invesco Perpetual, and Woodford Patient Capital Trust (run by Britain’s best known fund manager, Neil Woodford), Oxford Nanopore has completed eight equity fundraisings to date. The company is developing and commercialising a DNA sequencer based on nanopore sensing.
Stratified Medical: £705m
Stratified Medical is another life sciences start-up that has caught Neil Woodford’s discerning eye. CF Woodford Equity Income Fund, together with undisclosed investors, invested £39.1m into the company for a 20 per cent equity stake back in 2010. The London-based start-up is developing an artificial investment tool for pharmaceutical R&D data analytics.
Funding Circle: £629m
Funding Circle, a peer-to-peer lending platform for small and medium-sized enterprises, has raised £191m in equity finance to date, including repeat investments from both Accel Partners and Index Ventures. In October, Funding Circle expanded operations into Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands after acquiring German start-up Zencap.
TransferWise: £450m
TransferWise also embodies the financial technology (fintech) revolution going on in the UK right now. The currency exchange platform has raised five rounds of equity finance since it was founded in 2010. Having allegedly been in talks with Facebook concerning remittance services, TransferWise can list Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Valar Ventures, and Richard Branson as backers.
Immodulon Therapeutics: £400m
Immodulon Therapeutics is another life sciences company with a sizeable valuation. The start-up has operated largely in stealth mode – announcing none of its four equity fundraisings publicly. Beauhurst’s shareholder data reveals that John Lawson Stanford, Professor of Medical Microbiology at University College London, holds a significant stake. The company is developing immuno-therapeutic treatments for pancreatic cancer.
Forbes // David Prosser; CONTRIBUTOR