SNAG TIGHTS – BRIE READ
More Founder Stories
Fancy-dress costumes, robots and £1bn
This is a story about robots, a six-year-old company worth £1bn, and a costume-wearing CEO. This incredible ‘unicorn’ business is on a mission to disrupt how surgery is done around the world. So, how did this unicorn with more than 500 staff come about? Read their amazing story here…
TOFOO – LYDIA SMITH & DAVE KNIBBS
Tofoo produces organic, gluten-, dairy- and yeast-free products from soybeans. Husband-and-wife team Dave Knibbs and Lydia Smith have built the business to sales of £18.6m in 2021. The North Yorkshire firm says it is the fourth-largest brand in the chilled meat-free market, with more than one million households buying its products regularly. Its recent growth is partly due to winning listings in major retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
“Our no.1 aim is to be sh*t hot!”
When it comes to pulling off creative ideas, Marie Owen is your go-to leader. Founder of an award-winning production services company, she is the advertising and film industry’s real-life dream-maker. Since starting the business in 2006, Marie has worked with the likes of Harry Styles, Meryl Streep and Marcus Rashford. But it hasn’t all been celebrities and glamour. “I didn’t take a wage for at least four years. But there was always a hunger within me to do more and be better.”
ON TRACK TO £45M TURNOVER AND “I STILL DON’T SEE MYSELF AS SUCCESSFUL”
When Wayne Spriggs’ company, Lusso, was chosen to kit out the bathroom of The Equinox Hotel’s penthouse suite on Manhattan’s West Side in 2019, he couldn’t help but smile. Flashing through his mind were vivid memories of the two-bedroom houses he used to fix up in his hometown of Middlesbrough. The Equinox was a world away. Yet without starting out on those humble houses in England’s Northeast, the glamorous New York hotel project would never have come about. Moreover, if Wayne hadn’t taken that first step, Lusso – on track to turn over £45m this year – would not exist.
DR.PAWPAW – PAULINE & JOHNNY PATERSON
Dr.PawPaw makes more than 30 skincare products sold in 30 countries through the likes of Boots, Superdrug and Sainsbury’s. Johnny and Pauline Paterson set up the company in 2013 when their daughter was diagnosed with eczema. The husband-and-wife duo searched for a natural alternative to steroid prescription creams and realised there was a gap in the market. They invested £20,000 to create a multipurpose balm using papaya extract.
WeFlex – Nicko Williamson
WeFlex provides car finance and rental to ride-hailing drivers, focusing on electric vehicles. Founder Nicko Williamson is a serial entrepreneur, who launched his first eco-friendly venture, ClimateCars, in 2007 aged 23 and sold it to Addison Lee in 2015 for an undisclosed sum. WeFlex has raised £2m of investment and £27.5m in debt to date. London-based WeFlex plans to have an all-electric fleet of 5,000 vehicles by 2025.