The energy provider will offer its customers gas and electricity in bundle packages, in a format similar to how people top up their mobile phones. "We're saying to people buy it by the day, not by kilowatts or a fancy tariff you don't understand.” - Keith Anderson, Chief Executive, Scottish power. Consumers will use a dedicated app to purchase energy and consumption will be charged on personalised forecast, based on previous usage. Gas and electricity will be sold in packages ranging from one day to a month, and available up to 180 days in advance. The new tariffs will initially be available to existing customers, and if successful, to the wider market.
The UK topped a recent global survey, compiled by professional services firm EY, as the most fintech-friendly. The Financial Control Authority (FCA) has been keen to burnish its credentials by supporting startups. The fintech industry was able to generate £6.6 billion in revenues and employ 61,000 people in 2015. In particular, it is the FCA’s “sandbox” that was praised by Microsoft. The sandbox is a way for companies to test products with temporary regulator approval. “There are other regulators around the world that have more funds and resources, and other regulators with more powers. But it was really only the UK financial regulator that has built into its governance a mandate to promote innovation and competition” says Imran Gulamhuseinwala, EY’s global leader for fintech.
Jaguar Landrover has announced the investment in order to meet demand for its popular XE saloon. The XE has previously been built along with the F Pace at the Solihull plant, but due to an increase in popularity, it will shift production of the saloon to Castle Bromwich. The 112-acre site, already produces the XE, the new Jaguar F-Type and the XJ luxury saloon. It currently employs over 3,000 people, but there is no suggestion of a job increase with the investment.
“The significant investment to create two centres of excellence in aluminium vehicle manufacturing, utilising shared technologies, was deliberate. It gives us the flexibility to quickly respond to consumer demand for our growing range of products.” - Wolfgang Stadler, Jaguar Land Rover’s executive director of manufacturing.
Nova Innovation says it has successfully delivered power by turbine based systems in the Shetland Isles. The group said its technology marks an advancement in harnessing the renewable source of energy. The Shetland Isles project currently consists of an array of two turbines, with three more to be constructed in a project worth £3.6m. They also claimed that the project will eventually supply enough power for 300 houses. The installation is small compared to offshore wind farms, but it is believed the predictable nature of the strong UK tides could eventually supply 12% of its electricity requirements. Tidal power firms have previously been reliant on government subsidies, but investors are increasingly showing interest as advancements are made in the field. The government has launched a review of tidal lagoon power headed by former UK energy minister Charles Hendry, which is due to be published later this year.
Shropshire based Classic Motor Cars has been handed over to its 60 staff by co-founder Peter Neumark. The firm has been turned into an employee ownership trust—similar to that of John Lewis— which means staff own and run the business, receiving a share of the profits. Neumark said that as he and co-founder Nick were nearing retirement, they “felt [they] had a duty to oversee a passing of responsibility, and who better than the workforce themselves”. Day to day management of the firm will be handled by an operational board, chaired by Neumark. More than 300 businesses are believed to be owned by their employees across the UK. Classic Motor Cars, who restore classic Jaguars, turned over £5.2m last year.
Up to 70% of Britons are choosing to ‘staycation’ in the wake of brexit, according toa report by Barclays. The figures also reveal that people are spending more on holidays-at-home than in previous years, with the average increasing to £613 in 2016, compared to £575 last year. The government has published a tourism action plan, that will see measures being taken to capitalise on the increase and further promote the UK as a holiday destination. Prime Minister, Theresa May, commented "We are making it easier for visitors to travel beyond London and experience all of the world-class attractions the UK has to offer, to make sure the benefits of this thriving industry are felt by the many and not the few.”
Moixa Technology, a manufacturer of an energy storage product for homes and businesses, has received recognition and funding from former boss of Centrica, Sam Laidlaw; the former chief executive of SSE, Ian Marchant; and the former CEO of Innogy, Brian Count. Moixa Technology’s energy storage product is called Maslow. Available in three different sizes, Maslow is a briefcase-sized device that is wall-mounted by a qualified electrician in about an hour. Maslow’s key feature is a built-in microinverter and can be used for DC backup power. So far, Moixa Technology has installed 500 units but has a goal of one million by 2020.
Margot James MP has been appointed as the new minister for small business, consumers and corporate responsibility. In 1986, James co-founded clinical trial and PR consultancy organisation, Shire Health Group, and went on to sell the business in 2004 to WPP. Margot is also a mentor for The Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise, and maintains a position on the court of governors at the London Stock Exchange, the former entrepreneur is likely to utilise her business background within her new role.
University Cribs is a new, UK-based startup, founded by graduates of Cardiff University, providing an online media platform for letting agents and student accommodation providers to share their properties with students on the hunt for a home. After receiving a number of investments since its initial launch last October, as well as a huge backing on social media networks, University Cribs has been valued at £1.1 million. Co-founder and Director of University Cribs, Jack Jenkins said: “A recent survey by UCAS media shows that 56% of students would rather view potential properties online than in person …” The startup plans to host a soft launch of the website in August, with an official date set in October. Cities that University Cribs will target initially include Cardiff, Bristol, Swansea, Oxford and Bath.
Last week, as Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, hosted a post-Brexit meeting, Enterprise Nation also brought together nine groups ‘in the interests of offering positive reassurance to small businesses’. The small business network focused on startups, Enterprise Nation’s founder, Emma Jones, said “It’s more important now than ever before for entrepreneurs to maintain optimism. The worst thing we can do is talk ourselves into a recession when formal negotiations leading to exit will take at least two years.” Other companies that attended Enterprise Nation’s meeting included the FSB, National Enterprise Network, Open to Export, IPSE, The Entrepreneur’s Network, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, the British Library Business & IP Centre, and The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec). Jones said the collaboration is to ensure small businesses have access to information during this time of uncertainty.
Michael Gould created Anaplan, cloud-based software that allows business planning to be carried out on a single system, in 2016 in a barn in Northern England. Now, the startup is classed as a “unicorn” and is potentially making Microsoft Excel obsolete. Anaplan’s platform was created to enable businesses to run financial planning on one system. Working unpaid and using his personal savings, Gould hosted a $90 million round for Anaplan at the beginning of 2016. The company is now valued at $1.09 billion after funding. So far, it’s been venture backed with $240 million raised from firms such as Brookside Capital, Coatue Management and Salesforce Ventures. An IPO is imminent for Anaplan, published Management Today.
The Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year Awards 2016 launched today and are now accepting entries. In its fifth year running, the awards aim to recognise the city’s best entrepreneurial talent, as well as nurture and support the business environment of Leicester. Awards will be given to small, medium and large business executives of the year, young executive of the year, and non-executive of the year. An overall winner will be chosen from a group of finalists, as well as a lifetime achievement award that will be chosen by a panel of judges and presented at a ceremony at King Power Stadium on November 3rd. Past winners of the Business Executive of the Year Awards include people from companies such as Cofresh, Everards and Joules.
Oliver Purdue, founder of Loot, received £1.5 million in funding by Austrian early-stage fund, Speedinvest and Global Founders Capital. Founded in 2014 by University of the West of England graduate, the money management startup for university students takes control of their finances by combining traditional bank account features with add ons to help users stick to a budget. Loot hopes to generate revenue through international transfers and targeted promotions. A feature that will soon be available on the money management app will allow students to compare their spending habits to that of their peers and offer students tailored saving plans. Loot is currently available to students at seven UK universities, and Purdue intends to use the funding to support marketing and recruitment as it looks to expand.
A British bike builder, Filament, recently launched its carbon fibre bicycle design at the Bespoked Handmade UK Bicycle Show in Bristol earlier this year. Although many road bikes today are built using the lightweight material, Richard Craddock is overcoming the technical difficulties of carbon fibre in order to make a frame that is custom built for its rider. From his workshop in Worcestershire, Craddock selects the right tube diameters, fibre and resin types, the number of sequence and plys used for joining the tubes, as well as the bike’s geometry, based on the rider’s height and weight. Other specialty features also include Sram’s new wireless eTap gear changing system. After four years of development and testing, Filament bespoke, carbon frames are now available for purchase by the public and start from £2,680.
Entries are still open until 1st July for the 2016 Young Guns Award, sponsored by haysmacintyre. In its 14th year, the awards are open to entrepreneurs aged 35 and under that are a founder, co-founder, managing director or CEO of a privately-owned business with a turnover of at least £1 million, or have raised more than £1 million in funding. Out of all the entries, entrants will be shortlisted and interviewed by a judging panel who will then select 30 finalists and one overall haysmacintyre ‘Top Gun’. The Young Guns Awards offers finalists access to numerous networking events and opportunities to develop your business, as well as a feature on the home page of Growingbusiness.co.uk. The Young Guns ‘Class of 2016’ will also join an elite group of over 400 prominent business leaders, including Innocent Drinks co-founder, Richard Reed; co-founder of notonthehighstreet.com, Holly Tucker MBE; and the founders of Deliveroo, William Shu and Greg Orlowski.
London-based software company, Condeco, announced yesterday that it raised $30 million in funding led by Highland Europe to consolidate its positions as the leading provider of workplace management technology. Founded by Paul Statham in 2005, Condeco develops a suite of workplace management solutions that help its clients run high pressure, global meetings smoothly, provide staff with important collaborative spaces, and generally operate their businesses efficiently. Multinational brands such as Barclays, Reuters and Unilever are already using the Condeco software, and the investment will assist the company with its expansion across the U.S, Europe and Asia. Coinciding with the launch of London Technology Week, Condeco wanted the announcement to celebrate London as a hub of technological innovation.
London-based artificial intelligence startup, Magic Pony Technology, was bought by Twitter yesterday for a reported $150 million. Over the past year and a half, Magic Pony founders have been developing machine learning based approaches for visual processing on web, desktop and mobile devices. By teaching a neural network what certain types of images are like, Magic Pony’s technology can restore lost information, correct blurry pictures, or create new visuals from scratch. Magic Pony says that its technology will be used to improve the visual experiences that are delivered across Twitter’s apps.
AthleteMannies is an 11 month old startup that is recreating what it means to be a nanny. Pairing athletes with parents who are seeking childcare services, AthleteMannies is providing professional sportsmen with a job opportunity that fits their intensive training schedules, as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle for primary school-aged children. Starting with just one family, the young startup is now providing services for up to 50 families in Teddington, Twickenham, and Putney.
Co-founded by professional runners, Ben Coldray, 24, and Richard Goodman, 23, AthleteMannies evolved from a recognisable demand for flexible childcare, particularly for primary school children between 3-7 pm. Employing both female and male athletes as nannies and mannies (male nannies), once a family and an athlete have matched, the families are charged an agency fee starting from £400, and they then agree on an hourly rate. The unique business format gives athletes their time to train in the morning, pick up the kids after school, look after them, and train again afterwards. Happy to kick a ball around in the park and do other entertaining activities with the kids outside, AthleteMannies is also encouraging parents to keep their kids healthy and active.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016 has many recognisable names; with 1,149 people listed, approximately 70% have been chosen based on their outstanding work in their communities. From the fields of technology, politics, business, charity, art, media and more, this year’s honours list has been dubbed as the most diverse to date.
Those praised for their philanthropic work include world-renowned musician, Rod Stewart, knighted for his services to music and support to charities such as Breast Cancer Care, Caudwell Children, Elton John AIDS Fund, and many more. Second World War singer and entertainer, Dame Vera Lynn joins the Order of the Companions of Honour at age 99 for her involvement with a range of charities helping those affected by war, and her role as President of The Dame Vera Lynn Trust for Children with Cerebral Palsy. Former England footballer, Alan Shearer; tennis player, Jamie Murray; actor, Brian Blessed; Director General of the Department for Communities, Louise Casey; and businessman Damon Buffini, are also among those recognised for their outstanding charitable contributions.
The Digital Entrepreneur Awards is a national UK awards dedicated to online entrepreneurs. The 2016 awards are divided into 19 different categories across the digital spectrum, including online retailer of the year; digital startup of the year; social media campaign of the year; and young entrepreneur of the year. Entries are open for submission until 11 July, and the awards event will take place at the Palace Hotel in Manchester on 9 November, featuring a three-course dinner and champagne reception. A table for five at the awards ceremony can be booked for £700 each, and a table for 10 costs £1,300, excluding VAT.