From one-woman Plymouth business to national franchise dream

May 26, 2018

A Plymouth mum is dreaming of making pots of cash from a ceramics business. Emmeline Kwaan launched her Totally Potty business at Plymouth Market in 2017 and has now moved to a new base at City Business Park, in Stoke.

With the bulk of her trade coming from workshops and parties it made sense to be in a location which has more flexible opening hours.

The business shows people how to paint ceramics and create their own works of art – and Mrs Kwaan is now getting fired up over the prospect of taking the Totally Potty brand around the country.

“I’m keen on the idea of franchising Totally Potty,” she said. “But that would be a couple of years down the line.

“Making it bigger is a dream, and I’d also like to add a coffee shop and do teas, alongside the painting of course.”

Mrs Kwaan wanted to run a business and with a background in nursery teaching, a love of art, and two sons who liked to paint the idea for Totally Potty was born.

Initially Mrs Kwaan thought her sales would come from passing shoppers, but she soon realised there was more demand for group sessions.

“I get a lot of schools, carers groups, Beavers and Guides and others,” she said. “I went in a different direction than expected.”

The business started by simply offering bisque fired ceramics patrons could paint, but Mrs Kwaan has expanded this and now teaches people to make their own “coil” bowls, cups and pencil holders.

She has added découpage, the art of paper cutouts, too.

“Parents want to get their children away from tablets and are asking for an activity,” she said. “It’s learning through play. And for adults it’s a way to escape and spend time doing something where you don’t have to think about the stress of the world.”

Mrs Kwaan, who worked for three years as a nursery teacher in the Middle East, runs Totally Potty on her own, which brings its challenges and advantages.

“I’m there all the time,” she said. “But people do say it’s me their children want to see.

“Though it makes it hard to be open six days a week.”

Source: Plymouth Herald

Stadler sets sights on supplying trains for new franchises

May 26, 2018

Stadler is targeting more business in the UK, with upcoming franchises providing opportunities for the Swiss train manufacturer. The company is also investigating providing alternative power for its trains.

Speaking in Bussnang on May 3, before the unveiling of the first Class 755/4 bi-mode unit for Greater Anglia (see separate news story and feature), Stadler UK Marketing Director Ralf Warwel said that there were “quite a few activities” the company was looking at, suggesting East Midlands and maybe the West Coast Partnership.

The company is also keen to supply locomotives (possibly Class 68s) for the CrossCountry and Chiltern Railways franchises, where potential bidders have investigated the Class 68/Mk 5A concept about to be introduced by TransPennine Express.

Stadler is also interested in the Invitation to Tender issued by Direct Rail Services last year for ten diesel-electric locomotives, to be delivered next year.

Warwel said that the company was looking at all the products available, adding: “We are looking at alternative energy. It is too early to see technical details. Diesel is very good, but batteries are probably the furthest advanced for alternative power. Batteries are something that has the potential to be good, but technology moves so fast. Batteries need recharging, so more work is needed.”

Source: Rail Magazine

Hannah Drury wins fourth national award in under a year at 26

May 25, 2018

A Sutton businesswoman and mum has won her fourth national business award in under a year at 26 years old. Hannah Drury, operations director at Caremark Sutton in Lind Road, was named ‘Young Woman in Franchising of the Year’.

She was awarded the title at the annual NatWest ‘Encouraging Women into Franchising’ (EWIF) awards at the Grand Connaught Roms, in Covent Garden, on May 14.

Ms Drury said: “It felt wonderful to have been recognised for my hard work and it was very humbling to have been singled out in a room full of successful women.

Related: Care company receives highly recommended award

“I was over the moon to have been shortlisted, let alone win the award, in a category with such inspirational businesswomen.”

The mum-of-two took over at Caremark Sutton, which provides domiciliary care for adults and children in Sutton, in late 2015.

She also won the ‘Young Franchisee of the Year’ award at the British Franchisee Association Awards, last July, alongside the ‘Franchisee of the Year’ honour overall.

It was five months later, in December, that she won ‘Franchisee of the Year’ for Caremark Sutton at the 2017 Startups Awards which was founded in 2013.

Ms Drury added: “I keep myself busy because I love what I do and I find it incredibly rewarding to be able to give back to the organisations who are so deserving of our support.”

Source: Sutton Guardian

Sodexo enters franchise partnership with Crussh

May 25, 2018

Sodexo has signed a franchise partnership with Crussh to introduce the high street brand to its retail offer across the UK and Ireland.

The deal will see Crussh outlets opening at Sodexo client sites with large volumes of customers, including universities, hospitals, major events and corporate workplaces. Crussh will be an exclusive offering to Sodexo’s clients in these markets.

Founded in 1998 as London’s original juice, smoothie and healthy fast food retailer, Crussh now has 30 stores in the capital where the focus remains on wellbeing of employees and customers.

Sodexo is committed to providing and encouraging consumers access to healthy lifestyle choices as part of its sustainability roadmap Better Tomorrow 2025.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

The deal will see more than 35 Crussh franchises open at Sodexo sites across the UK and Ireland over the next five years, with the first due to launch later in 2018.

Dan Corlett, Sodexo Service Operations head of food platform, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Crussh and bring this innovative and healthy brand to our clients and customers, and complement our sustainability strategy Better Tomorrow 2025.

“Crussh will be taking a creative approach to the requirements of each location, so customers could see food trucks and pop ups as well as traditional café formats.”

Shane Kavanagh, CEO of Crussh, said: “This is a really significant partnership for us, provides an incredible opportunity to bring our brand of healthy food to a new audience in locations where we think we can make a real difference.

“Our goal at Crussh is to improve the wellbeing of our people and our customers, and since we began this process we have felt a great alignment with Sodexo’s aim to promote quality of life services. We have been working on this for some time, and we can’t wait to get the first site opened.”

Source: Sodexo

“Blessed” – Our Curves Journey

May 25, 2018

Jane’s Curves Journey started in Feb 2008 – “I was the heaviest I had ever been although physically very fit with a kennel full of 7 labradors which I worked on the hills around

for 6 months of the year. I suffered with a bad back and needed to find exercise to tone the muscles on my spine, after some research I discovered Curves in Inverness. The concept of 30 minutes three times a week appealed to me, but I very quickly became a Curveaholic and found I felt so much better after a workout and was soon attending 5 times a week! I loved it so much, little did I know Curves would become my passion.”

Curves InvernessAudrey’s Curves Journey began in Jan 2009 – “I had been made redundant in October 2008 and in January, was gifted a month’s membership of Curves by my sister Kareen, who was a member in Elgin.  Having been a regular gym attendee for years, I was intrigued as to how effective the 30 minute would be.  I became hooked in the first week – the full body workout, time, fun and camaraderie in the circuit was a real confidence booster for me.  My strength and stamina have majorly improved.”

Related: Fitness Franchises – Should You Buy a UK Fitness Franchise?


Early in 2009 Nancy (the then owner) was looking for part-time staff and we both joined her Curves Team.  We did our training together and it was the start of an amazing journey – we shared the same passion for Curves and it was like meeting a new sister, best friend soul mate and left arm combined! The rest you could say is history as we were fortunate in July 2010 to purchase Curves Inverness.   We have a fabulous team in Inverness, who also share the same passion and core values in Strengthening Women.  We have been fortunate to meet and work with so many amazing ladies, past and present members, to help them to reach their health and fitness goals and we feel truly very privileged and blessed.

IT’S GREAT TO BE AT CURVES!

Visit Curves for further details of their franchise opportunity


Casual Dining Group’s franchise aspirations boosted by UK hotel F&B deal

May 24, 2018

Casual Dining Group (CDG) has signed agreements to operate the food and beverage programmes at two UK hotels in what is a signal of its intent to grow its franchise portfolio.

The deals, which are both with London Town Group (LTG), will see CDG create and operate a bespoke premium offering at the Hotel Indigo, London Paddington, as well as introduce a Bella Italia at the newly-built Holiday Inn, in Wigstone.

CDG has also signed separate management contracts to look after operations at both sites.

Under the first deal, CDG has created a white label premium offering for Hotel Indigo’s London Street Brasserie restaurant, which will retain its name when reopened. The restaurant is set to reopen after refurbishment, with new staff and menus.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

In addition to the restaurant, CDG will also look after the hotel’s bar, and conference and banqueting needs.

The second franchise deal is for a site at the newly-built Holiday Inn, in Wigston, Leicester, which will include a brand-new Bella Italia restaurant. Construction started earlier this month, with plans to open early June.

Koolesh Shah, managing director of London Town Group, said putting together a competitive food and drink offer that challenges the high street presents a great opportunity for the business to drive revenue.

“A one-size-fits-all policy doesn’t always work, you need to be flexible in your approach and tailor the offer to suit the specific demographics. CDG has been invaluable in helping us with this process, they have a suite of high street brands, but also the capacity to put together bespoke premium offers and we look forward to working closely together in future.”

Casual Dining Group is one of the largest independent midmarket restaurant operators in the UK, with nearly 300 sites located across the country. It operates primarily under the Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and La Tasca formats in the UK, although also operates restaurants that trade under the brands of Belgo, La Salle, Huxley and Oriel. It also has restaurants in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, which operate under franchise.

Earlier this year the company said that its international franchising platform was showing good momentum, with 83 agreements signed, principally in the Middle East, Ireland and South Africa. A further 17 overseas franchise deals are planned for this year.

Mark Nelson, managing director of concessions and franchising at Casual Dining Group, commented: “We’re a very diverse business with a range of specialist skills that have been honed over decades operating high street restaurants. Calling on this knowledge, we have taken our key learnings and offered help to adjacent industries like the hotel trade, with putting together a food and beverage offer that absolutely drives sales. Matching the right offer, with the right demographic is imperative to success and these two deals, at differing ends of the market, clearly demonstrate the range of our capabilities.”

Source: Foodservice Equipment Journal

Meet the 35 most exciting young entrepreneurs, engineers, and advisors in UK fintech

May 24, 2018

Fintech is a big business in the UK. The British Treasury has now held two conferences to promote the country’s burgeoning financial technology industry on the world stage and the government estimates that the entire sector is worth £7 billion to the UK economy. That’s up from almost nothing a decade ago.

Business Insider has covered UK fintech since our 2014 launch. The UK Fintech 35 under 35 highlights the most promising young entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, and sector experts under the age of 35. It spans both startups and big banks operating in the sector.

Here’s who made the cut:

35. Pierce Glennie, 27, chief product officer at iwoca

35. Pierce Glennie, 27, chief product officer at iwoca

Pierce Glennie.iwoca

Name: Pierce Glennie.

Age: 27.

Company: iwoca.

Role: Chief product officer.

iwoca is an online lending platform that gives small businesses quick and affordable access to credit. The company has lent over £400 million since its founding in 2011. Glennie was one of iwoca’s first outside hires and just 21 when he joined the business. iwoca CEO Christoph Reiche says Glennie is “the single most valuable hires we’ve ever made and without him, iwoca wouldn’t be what it is today.”

34. James Birch, 28, associate director at Hambro Perks/InsurTech Gateway

34. James Birch, 28, associate director at Hambro Perks/InsurTech Gateway

James Birch, InsurTech Gateway.InsurTech Gateway

Name: James Birch

Age: 28

Company: Hambro Perks

Role: Associate director

Birch is developing an “InsurTech” accelerator called InsurTech Gateway for Hambro Perks, a London-based venture builder company that creates startups. Prior to joining Hambro, Birch cofounded his own InsureTech startup — a chatbot called Meet Mia — and was an analyst at Accenture and EY before that. At Accenture, he was named a global “superstar analyst” two years running and at EY he helped set up the consultancy’s fintech practice, which compiled the first-ever audit of British fintech for the UK’s Treasury. Outside of work, he is a semi-professional race car driver.

33. Matthew Ford, 31, cofounder of Pariti

33. Matthew Ford, 31, cofounder of Pariti

Matthew Ford, cofounder of Pariti.Pariti

Name: Matthew Ford

Age: 31

Company: Pariti

Role: Cofounder

Despite being just 31, Matthew Ford has already had a hand in two successful fintech exits. After a stint as a strategy consultant, Ford led user acquisition at personal finance management app OnTrees, which was acquired by MoneySuperMarket in 2015. Ford had in fact already left by the time the acquisition closed and was setting up Pariti, another financial management app aimed at helping people save money and pay off debt. Backed by Index Ventures and JamJar Ventures, Pariti was acquired by startup bank Tandem for an undisclosed fee earlier this year.

32. Phoebe Hugh, 28, CEO and cofounder of Brolly

32. Phoebe Hugh, 28, CEO and cofounder of Brolly

Phoebe Hugh, CEO and cofounder of BrollyBrolly

Name: Phoebe Hugh

Age: 28

Company: Brolly

Role: CEO and cofounder

Hugh got her first job aged 10 (a seven-day a week paper round) and in her teenage years did everything from waitressing on rollerskates to running poker games. After university, she joined Aviva but became frustrated with the slow pace of the large insurer. Hugh enrolled in startup programme Entrepreneur First and went on to cofound Brolly, an AI-powered insurance aggregation tool. The startup raised £1 million last year from backers including Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.

31. Xen Baynham-Herd, 31, Head of Strategy & Lead Economist at Blockchain

31. Xen Baynham-Herd, 31, Head of Strategy & Lead Economist at Blockchain

Xen Baynham-Herd, Blockchain.Blockchain

Name: Xen Baynham-Herd

Age: 31

Company: Blockchain

Role: Head of strategy and lead economist

Blockchain is the world’s largest provider of cryptocurrency wallets, with 24 million opened around the world. The London-headquartered startup poached Baynham-Herd from UBS last year after he caught their eye authoring research on “A Path to 100% Digital Money” while at the bank. He also spearheaded the Swiss bank’s efforts to create its own “utility coin.” Baynham-Herd has advised several central banks on digital assets and is helping to position Blockchain as the go-to company for institutions looking to get into crypto or blockchain.

30. Dr Lewis Z. Liu, 32, cofounder and CEO of Eigen Technologies

30. Dr Lewis Z. Liu, 32, cofounder and CEO of Eigen Technologies

Dr Lewis Z. Liu, cofounder and CEO of Eigen Technologies.Eigen Technologies

Name: Dr Lewis Z. Liu

Age: 32

Company: Eigen Technologies

Role: CEO and cofounder

Eigen Technologies is a cutting edge artificial intelligence company that helps clients in the legal, finance, and banking sectors crunch through complex contracts using their computers. Dr Liu cofounded the company in 2014. Dr Liu cut his teeth at McKinsey and Linklaters before starting Eigen. He is a graduate of both Oxford, where he did a doctorate in atomic laser and particle physics, and Harvard, where he studied physics and fine arts.

29. Charles Delingpole, 35, CEO and cofounder of ComplyAdvantage

29. Charles Delingpole, 35, CEO and cofounder of ComplyAdvantage

Charles Delingpole, ComplyAdvantage.ComplyAdvantage

Name: Charles Delingpole

Age: 35

Company: ComplyAdvantage

Role: CEO and cofounder

Delingpole cofounded fintech startup MarketInvoice before going on to set up ComplyAdvantage, a startup that helps finance companies cope with regulation. The company trawls records from around the world to make sure customers are compliant with anti-money laundering and “know your customer” requirements. The company works with over 200 businesses including Azimo and Earthport and has raised $8.2 million from venture capitalists. Cambridge-graduate Delingpole set up The Student Room when he was just 16. The website is now the biggest student forum in the world.

28. Thishani Nadesan, 29, COO of Cleo

28. Thishani Nadesan, 29, COO of Cleo

Thishani Nadesan, COO of CleoCleo

Name: Thishani Nadesan

Age: 29

Company: Cleo

Role: COO

Cleo plugs into your bank accounts and uses AI to figure out when you’re likely to run into money trouble, then gives advice on how to avoid it. Not only that, but Cleo communicates with you through a chatbot interface on Facebook Messenger. The idea is you can talk to Cleo just as you would a friend. Over 150,000 people are using the startup in the US and UK. Nadesan worked at consultancy Bain before joining Cleo and has a double first in PPE from Oxford and an MA in International Studies from John Hopkins.

27. Aneesh Varma, 34, founder and CEO of Aire

27. Aneesh Varma, 34, founder and CEO of Aire

Aneesh Varma, Aire.Aire

Name: Aneesh Varma

Age: 34

Company: Aire

Role: Founder and CEO

Aire uses techniques like machine learning to do what it calls “context-aware” credit scoring. People applying for things like loans and credit cards can submit their own data to help their scoring process. The startup works with the likes of Toyota Financial Services, peer-to-peer lender Zopa, and fashion retailer NBrown. Varma, who started his career at JPMorgan, set up Aire in 2014. It is his second startup, having previously founded enterprise software business FabriQate in 2005.

26. Marcus Trotter, 28, innovation specialist at Deutsche Bank

26. Marcus Trotter, 28, innovation specialist at Deutsche Bank

Marcus Trotter, Deutsche Bank.Deutsche Bank

Name: Marcus Trotter

Age: 28

Company: Deutsche Bank

Role: Innovation specialist

Trotter has climbed the ladder fast since graduating from UCL in 2012. In his current role, Trotter helps Deutsche Bank find innovative new startups to work with but prior to joining the bank he spent several years at accelerator Wayra UK where he was part of the investment team which backed UK fintechs Yoyo Wallet, Squirrel, Swipii and Albert. Trotter also spent a stint advising the Duke of York on his “Pitch at the Palace” event. A passionate debater, Trotter is a non-executive director of London-based charity Debate Mate and informally advises a number of London fintechs.

25. Romi Savova, 32, CEO and cofounder of PensionBee

25. Romi Savova, 32, CEO and cofounder of PensionBee

Romi Savova, PensionBee.PensionBee

Name: Romi Savova

Age: 32

Company: PensionBee

Role: CEO and cofounder

PensionBee helps people manage their pensions digitally and has over 12,000 active accounts and with more than £150 million in fee-earning assets. State Street is the company’s biggest investor. Savova founded the company in 2014 after stints at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and fintech company Credit Benchmark. She has an MBA from Harvard and was named Entrepreneur of the Year at Computing.co.uk’sWomen in IT Excellence awards.

24. Anil Stocker, 34, CEO and cofounder of MarketInvoice

24. Anil Stocker, 34, CEO and cofounder of MarketInvoice

Anil Stocker, MarketInvoice.Market Invoice

Name: Anil Stocker

Age: 34

Company: MarketInvoice

Role: CEO and cofounder

MarketInvoice is an online platform that lets businesses borrow against unpaid invoices. The lender isn’t MarketInvoice itself but institutional investors and high net worth individuals looking for strong returns. Over £2 billion has been lent over the platform since it was founded in 2011. Stocker cofounded the company after working at Lehman Brothers during the crash. He sits on the UK’s government’s UK FinTech Delivery Panel.

22. Mel Gelderman, 24, cofounder and CEO of TokenCard

22. Mel Gelderman, 24, cofounder and CEO of TokenCard

Mel Gelderman, cofounder and CEO of TokenCard.TokenCard

Name: Mel Gelderman

Age: 24

Company: TokenCard

Role: CEO and cofounder

Dutch-born Gelderman has had an entrepreneurial streak from a young age. He set up his first business aged 15 selling strains of algae online to biofuel researchers. Gelderman discovered cryptocurrencies at university and became known as the “bitcoin guy” to friends. He eventually dropped out and moved to Taiwan to focus on crypto full-time and set up his own business after ethereum was launched in 2014. TokenCard, which raised $17 million through an initial coin offering in 2017, is building a cryptocurrency-linked debit card.

21. Marta Krupinska, 30, cofounder of Azimo

21. Marta Krupinska, 30, cofounder of Azimo

Marta Krupinska, AzimoAzimo

Name: Marta Krupinska

Age: 30

Company: Azimo/Stealth projects

Role: Cofounder

Krupinska is the cofounder of Azimo, the money remittance app that lets people send small amounts of money cheaply and easily through their smartphones. Until recently she ran Azimo’s operations in the UK but has since stepped down to focus on what she tells us are two new “stealth” projects, as well as advising other startups. Krupinska is a vocal advocate of diversity in fintech and tech more broadly.

20. Dr James Smith, 35, cofounder and CEO of Elliptic

20. Dr James Smith, 35, cofounder and CEO of Elliptic

Dr James Smith, Elliptic.Elliptic

Name: Dr James Smith

Age: 35

Company: Elliptic

Role: CEO and cofounder

Elliptic works with everyone from law enforcement to banks to help analyse and identify transactions on the blockchain — the ledger that underpins digital currencies. Dr Smith, who has a Computer Science PhD from Oxford, cofounded the business after a stint as an options trader in the City. Elliptic has raised $12 million in funding to date and revenue is growing at an annual rate of 400%.

19. Michelle Pearce, 28, CIO and cofounder of Wealthify

19. Michelle Pearce, 28, CIO and cofounder of Wealthify

Michelle Pearce, CIO and cofounder of Wealthify.Wealthify

Name: Michelle Pearce

Age: 28

Company: Wealthify

Role: CIO

Pearce quit medical school to get into investment and worked as a wealth manager for Brooks MacDonald before leaving in 2014 to cofounded Wealthify. The digital investment service has 19,000 registered users and insurance giant Aviva acquired a controlling stake in the business for an undisclosed sum last year.

18. Simon Taylor, 33, cofounder and blockchain practice lead at 11:FS

18. Simon Taylor, 33, cofounder and blockchain practice lead at 11:FS

Simon Taylor, 11:FS.11:FS

Name: Simon Taylor

Age: 33

Company: 11:FS

Role: Cofounder and blockchain practice lead

11:FS started life as a fintech consultancy but has morphed into a mini-media empire, with podcasts that are listened to by thousands each week. Taylor is a host of 11:FS’ flagship Fintech Insider podcast and its spin-off Blockchain Insider. He also advises governments, regulators, and banks on fintech and blockchain. Prior to joining 11:FS, Taylor worked at Barclays where he led their blockchain practice and helped to set up the bank’s fintech accelerator Rise.

17. Simon Miller, 32, UK CEO and cofounder of Scalable Capital

17. Simon Miller, 32, UK CEO and cofounder of Scalable Capital

Simon Miller, Scalable CapitalScalable Capital

Name: Simon Miller

Age: 32

Company: Scalable Capital

Role: UK CEO and cofounder

Scalable Capital is one of a number of so-called “robo advisors” — online investment advisors and platforms — that have sprung up around the world in recent years. Founded in 2014, Scalable Capital has offices in Germany and the UK. The company already has £600 million in assets under management and has attracted investment from asset management giant BlackRock. Miller worked as a metal trader at Barclays Capital before helping to set up the company.

16. Veronique Barbosa, 28, COO and cofounder of Flux

16. Veronique Barbosa, 28, COO and cofounder of Flux

Veronique Barbosa, Flux.Flux

Name: Veronique Barbosa

Age: 28

Company: Flux

Role: COO and cofounder

Barbosa was employee number four at red-hot payment startup Revolut before leaving with employees number one and two to help set up Flux. The startup, which launched in April last year, is developing smart, digital receipts that can be integrated into your banking app, showing not just how much you spent but what items you bought at a retailer. The startup is working with the likes of Barclaycard, EAT, and Monzo to develop the product. Barbosa worked at Morgan Stanley prior to joining Revolut.

15. Max Boonen, 31, director and cofounder of B2C2.

15. Max Boonen, 31, director and cofounder of B2C2.

Max Boonen, B2C2.B2C2

Name: Max Boonen

Age: 31

Company: B2C2

Role: Director and cofounder

B2C2 is a cryptocurrency market maker, facilitating large, over-the-counter trades of crypto between big investors. The London-headquartered company works with hedge funds, asset managers, brokers, and family offices, and $50 million trades are not unusual. Boonen was working as a fixed-income trader at Goldman Sachs before he left to set up B2C2 in 2015.

14. Diana Paredes, 34, CEO and cofounder of Suade

14. Diana Paredes, 34, CEO and cofounder of Suade

Diana Paredes, Suade.Suade

Name: Diana Paredes

Age: 34

Company: Suade

Role: CEO and cofounder

Suade is a “RegTech” firm: it provides software that helps banks and other financial institutions understand and comply with regulations. The Bank of England has praised Suade’s solution in the past and the company works with major banks, although it doesn’t publicly name its clients. Paredes cofounded Suade after a career in investment banking, working at Barclays and Merrill Lynch.

13. Joe Cross, 33, director of marketing and brand at TransferWise

13. Joe Cross, 33, director of marketing and brand at TransferWise

Joe Cross, TransferWise.TransferWise

Name: Joe Cross

Age: 33

Company: TransferWise

Role: Director of marketing and brand

Cross was one of TransferWise’s first employees and has seen the international money transfer business grow from a small East London startup to business worth over $1 billion. Cross has helped to shape the company’s brand over the six years he’s been there, orchestrating eye-catching stunts such as underpants flash mobs in the early days and more sedate poster campaigns these days. Cross also set up TransferWise’s New York office and served as US General Manager from 2015 to 2017.

12. Claire Calmejane, 35, risk transformation director at Lloyds

12. Claire Calmejane, 35, risk transformation director at Lloyds

Claire Calmejane, Lloyds.Lloyds

Name: Claire Calmejane

Age: 35

Company: Lloyds

Role: Risk transformation director

Calmejane helped set up Lloyds’ Innovation Labs and the bank’s “Digital Academy”, which trains staff in new tech trends and skills. In her current role, she oversees the intersections of risk, people, and data as part of Lloyds’ £3 billion digital transformations. Outside of the bank, Calmejane lectures on fintech and digital transformation at MIT, CFTE, Oxford, UCL and HEC, and is a prominent advocate for women in tech. She worked for Capgemini Consulting before joining Lloyds in 2012 and has served as a visiting scientist at MIT for a project looking at how large organisations digitise.

11. Ollie Purdue, 24, CEO and founder of Loot

11. Ollie Purdue, 24, CEO and founder of Loot

Ollie Purdue, CEO and founder of Loot.Loot

Name: Ollie Purdue

Age: 24

Company: Loot

Role: CEO and cofounder

Purdue struggled with money management apps at university so decided to build his own. Loot is a digital current account targeted as students and young people, and has built-in money management features. He founded the business aged just 21 in 2014. Loot now has 90,000 users and has raised £6 million.

10. Lewis Tuff, 28, engineering lead at Blockchain

10. Lewis Tuff, 28, engineering lead at Blockchain

Lewis Tuff.Blockchain

Name: Lewis Tuff

Age: 28

Company: Blockchain

Role: Engineering lead

Despite his age, Tuff already has Goldman Sachs, UBS, Revolut, and now Blockchain on his CV. Tuff began his career building trading and risk technology systems at the investment banks before joining fast-growing fintech Revolut as its lead platform engineer. Tuff helped grow the startup to 1.5 million customers in less than 2 years before leaving to join Blockchain, the world’s biggest provider of bitcoin wallets. He is now helping blockchain to develop next-generation financial services products based on blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

9. Oli Harris, 29, head of crypto strategy at JPMorgan

9. Oli Harris, 29, head of crypto strategy at JPMorgan

Oliver Harris, JPMorganJPMorgan

Name: Oli Harris

Age: 29

Company: JPMorgan

Role: Head of crypto strategy

After cutting his teeth at Accenture, the World Economic Forum, and Tony Blair Associates, Harris landed at JPMorgan in 2014. He spent three years as the head of the bank’s fintech “In Residence” programme, identifying fintech startups for JPMorgan to work with, and he was recently named as the bank’s first ever head of crypto strategy. In this role, he will identify promising blockchain and crypto projects for the bank to work on.

8. Hiroki Takeuchi, 31, CEO and cofounder of GoCardless.

8. Hiroki Takeuchi, 31, CEO and cofounder of GoCardless.

Hiroki Takeuchi, CEO, GoCardless.GoCardless

Name: Hiroki Takeuchi

Age: 31

Company: GoCardless

Role: CEO and cofounder

Takeuchi cofounded direct debit processing startup GoCardless in 2011 with his friends from Oxford University Tom Blomfield (now CEO at Monzo) and Matt Robinson (now running home sale startup Nested). Takeuchi has grown GoCardless into a business processing more than £4 billion each year for over 35,000 businesses. Takeuchi suffered a life-changing bike accident in September 2016 that left his legs paralysed but he returned to work after just six months.

7. Ed Maslaveckas, 28, CEO and cofounder of Bud.

7. Ed Maslaveckas, 28, CEO and cofounder of Bud.

Ed Maslaveckas, CEO and cofounder of Bud.Bud

Name: Ed Maslaveckas

Age: 28

Company: Bud

Role: CEO and cofounder

Bud is developing a backend platform to help banks launch next-generation apps. Maslaveckas and his cofounder George Dunning have managed to talk their way into HSBC, which is developing an app with Bud, Spanish bank Sabadell, which has invested in the company, and Investec, another investor. Maslaveckas had the idea for Bud while working at Salesforce in 2014 and decided to make a go of it with his childhood friend Dunning.

6. Megan Caywood, 29, chief platform officer at Starling Bank

6. Megan Caywood, 29, chief platform officer at Starling Bank

Megan Caywood, Starling Bank.Starling Bank

Name: Megan Caywood

Age: 29

Company: Starling Bank

Role: Chief platform officer

Caywood cut her teeth working for accountancy software giants Intuit, which owns Quickbooks, and Xero out in San Francisco before winning one of the UK’s exceptional talent visas in 2016. She is now chief platform officer at startup, app-only bank Starling, which is trying to make a new kind of bank that functions more like an app store than a traditional lender. Starling’s Marketplace has already integrated with the likes of Wealthify and PensionBee under her leadership.

5. Martin Ijaha, 35, CEO and cofounder of Neyber.

5. Martin Ijaha, 35, CEO and cofounder of Neyber.

Martin Ijaha, Neyber.Neyber

Name: Martin Ijaha

Age: 35

Company: Neyber

Role: CEO and cofounder

Neyber works with employers to let staff borrow money then repay through salary deductions.  Former Goldman Sachs banker Ijaha got the idea for the business from his mother, who used to use a traditional West African savings club called Sou-Sou. Neyber was founded in 2012 and now works with 160 employers with a combined 1 million staff. Last year Goldman invested £100 million into the platform.

4. Eamon Jubbawy, 26, COO and cofounder of Onfido

4. Eamon Jubbawy, 26, COO and cofounder of Onfido

Eamon Jubbawy, Onfido.Onfido

Name: Eamon Jubbawy

Age: 26

Company: Onfido

Role: COO and cofounder

Jubbawy and his cofounders set up ID checking software startup Onfido while all three were still studying economics and management at Oxford in 2012. The business helps banks and fintech’s comply with so-called “know your customer” regulation. Onfido has raised over $60 million in funding from Microsoft, Salesforce and Idinvest to date and works with over 1,500 businesses globally. Jubbawy heads up business operations at the company and is also the deputy chair of the UK’s Fintech Delivery Panel, a sector-wide group set up to supporting fintech in Britain.

3. Tom Blomfield, 32, CEO and founder of Monzo.

3. Tom Blomfield, 32, CEO and founder of Monzo.

Tom Blomfield, CEO and founder of Monzo.Monzo

Name: Tom Blomfield

Age: 32

Company: Monzo

Role: CEO and cofounder

Blomfield is behind not one but two of the UK’s most exciting fintech startups. The Oxford graduate helped cofound GoCardless before going on to start app-only bank Monzo in 2015. The fully licensed bank now has over 500,000 current account customers who have spent £1 billion on Monzo’s iconic hot coral cards. The company has raised over £71 million to date and is valued at £280 million.

2. Samir Desai, 34, CEO and cofounder Funding Circle

2. Samir Desai, 34, CEO and cofounder Funding Circle

Samir Desai, CEO and cofounder Funding Circle.Funding Circle

Name: Samir Desai

Age: 34

Company: Funding Circle

Role: CEO and cofounder

Desai and his two cofounders were some of the UK’s earliest fintech pioneers, setting up peer-to-peer business lender Funding Circle back in 2010. Their platform has now lent over £4 billion to businesses across the UK, Germany, US, and the Netherlands. Desai was awarded a CBE for services to financial services in 2015 and his company is tipped to float on the stock exchange later this year with a price tag of at least £1 billion.

1. Nikolay Storonsky, 34, CEO and cofounder of Revolut

1. Nikolay Storonsky, 34, CEO and cofounder of Revolut

Nikolay Storonsky, Revolut.Revolut

Name: Nikolay Storonsky

Age: 34

Company: Revolut

Role: CEO and cofounder

Revolut began life as a foreign exchange card linked to an app that offered rock-bottom FX prices. The company is less than three years old but the popularity of its product has already seen it hit 2 million customers and a valuation of $1.7 billion.Capitalising on this popularity, Revolut has built out current account features, investment products, and even a travel insurance offering in Revolut’s app. Storonsky had the idea for Revolut while he was a currency trader at Credit Suisse. He used to get frustrated with the poor rates he was being given when he travelled abroad.

Source: Business Insider UK

Franchise awards reveal finalists

May 23, 2018

The Barking Mad franchise has made it to the shortlist in this year’s bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, in the category Brand Awareness.

Barking Mad is the UK’s first ‘dog holiday’ service offering tailored one-to-one care for dogs.

The awards ceremony will take place on June 28 at the ICC in Birmingham and recognise both franchisors and franchisees who have demonstrated outstanding business acumen, innovation and achievement.

The British Franchise Association (bfa) is a not-for-profit self-regulatory governing body for UK franchising and has run its annual awards for nearly 30 years.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa, said: “It’s over 40 years since the bfa was launched specifically to develop ethical franchising in the UK, and I am proud of the way the sector has grown in that time, with the industry’s turnover exceeding £15bn – that’s 1% of the UK’s GDP!

“If you are running a successful business and looking to expand, then franchising has truly become a valid and important next step in accelerating your business growth. For others wanting to run their own business, but who still want additional support and backing, becoming a franchisee is a great way to take the plunge via a proven business model and hence limit the risk.”

Andrew Brattesani, UK Head of Franchising for award sponsor HSBC, said: “HSBC is delighted to be once again supporting these franchise awards.

Franchise businesses are often the hidden engine of business growth in the UK and it is essential to highlight the important contribution both large and small businesses make to our economy. It is also important to showcase to people that they can run their own businesses and if you don’t want to go it alone, or haven’t got a strong business idea of your own, you can still be successful and become your own boss.”

Source: Pet Business World

UK economy will bounce back from weak start to 2018 – Carney

May 23, 2018

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Tuesday he expected Britain’s economy would bounce back from a weak start to the year when it was hit by heavy snowstorms, keeping the prospect of higher interest rates on the table.

Speaking to lawmakers, Carney also denied that the central bank had confused investors and households by not raising interest rates earlier this month, in contrast to what had been widely expected until shortly before the BoE’s meeting in May.

“Our view is not that circumstances changed in the first quarter. It’s more likely to have been temporary and idiosyncratic factors that slowed the economy,” he said, echoing comments he made earlier this month.

In February, the BoE said rates were likely to go up sooner and somewhat faster than investors had been expecting, prompting financial markets to price in a rate hike at the central bank’s May meeting as a near-certainty at one point.

Instead, the BoE’s nine rate-setters voted 7-2 to keep rates at 0.5 percent, their emergency level for most of the decade since the global financial crisis, as they waited to be sure that the first-quarter weakness was a weather-related blip.

Carney said on Tuesday that surveys showed households and firms largely expected a rate hike in 2018 and more increases “at a very gentle pace relative to history” after that.

Carney has given several signals over the past few years about when rates were likely to rise, only to be wrong-footed by twists and turns in the economy.

Britain’s economy overall was 1.5-2.0 percent smaller than it would have been if it had grown as the BoE forecast before June 2016’s EU referendum — equivalent to a loss of about 900 pounds for a household on an average income, he said.

Carney added that his main message — that rates are likely to rise only slowly — has proven correct.

Earlier on Tuesday, Monetary Policy Committee member Gertjan Vlieghe said he expected slightly more interest rate increases over the next three years than the market assumption of just under three 25 basis-point hikes.

“Provided the headwinds from Brexit uncertainty do not intensify in the near term, and ultimately fade over the coming years, I think policy rates are likely to rise, in my central view, by 25 bp to 50 bp per year over the forecast period,” Vlieghe said in written answers to questions from lawmakers.

“That is a forecast, not a promise, and will depend on how the economy evolves.”

Sterling, which on Monday hit its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in nearly five months, rose against the euro and the dollar after Vlieghe’s comments.

Vlieghe also backed the idea of the BoE following the example of the U.S. Federal Reserve and publishing forecasts from its policymakers for interest rates.

“The advantages outweigh the risks, in my judgement. I think such a change would represent a further, modest, evolutionary improvement in communications,” Vlieghe told the lawmakers.

But Carney said most MPC members were opposed to the idea. “I think the risks of it being interpreted as a promise, as a commitment are real,” he said.

Source: UK Reuters

Belvoir stocks up its acquisition war chest with a new £17m borrowing deal

May 22, 2018

Franchising firm Belvoir has beefed up its growth strategy with an acquisition-related loan facility running into millions.

The agreement, part of a new deal with HSBC, will allow Belvoir to snap up other franchise firms and also letting agencies which decide to call it a day once the tenants’ fee ban comes in.

Altogether, the package is worth up to £17m, and includes £6.5m refinancing of existing borrowing.

The facility will allow Belvoir to accelerate its growth through acquisition, building on purchases made in recent years including that of Northwood.

Belvoir acquired Northwood two years ago, on June 7, 2016, for a total of £22m – £11.5m paid upfront, and the balance payable as a two-year earn-out, meaning that up to £10.5m could be due very shortly.

Belvoir, which currently has around 300 franchisee offices, recently made an unsuccessful bid to merge with competitor The Property Franchise Company.

Related: Belvoir Lettings Interim Earnings Rise, Declares Unchanged Dividend

Louise George, chief financial officer at Belvoir, said: “When it came to providing the funding to support our immediate and longer-term growth ambitions, HSBC stepped in and offered the necessary facilities that were both competitive and flexible enough to meet our needs.”

“Phil Carr, our relationship director at HSBC, went out of his way to understand our company, our franchising business model, the sector in which we operate and our future plans.”

Roger Pratt, HSBC area director for corporate banking in the east midlands, said: “The lettings industry is going through a period of consolidation with increasing regulations placing pressures on administrative tasks for smaller agencies.

“We’re delighted to welcome Belvoir to HSBC and look forward to supporting the business as it continues to push forward its ambitious acquisition strategy.”

Meanwhile, franchising firm Northwood’s latest accounts show it made a profit of almost £1.3m last year on gross income of £2.8m.

The figures are the first full-year accounts since Northwood was acquired by Belvoir in 2016 and the profit margin at over 40% looks to be a huge improvement since pre-acquisition.

In the accounts for the financial year to the end of last December, director Louise George spells out concerns over legislative changes affecting the lettings industry.

Recent tax changes on interest relief, plus higher Stamp Duty on the purchase of additional homes, have cooled buy-to-let landlord activity, she said.

The forthcoming ban on tenant fees “has led to uncertainty for both existing and potential new franchise owners”.

However, Northwood will encourage its franchisees to engage in upsale possibilities in the financial services sector, including the commission on insurances, conveyancing and mortgages.

It will also encourage local acquisitions to expand letting portfolios and proactively recruit new franchisees.

Source: Property Industry Eye