In depth: Scotland represented on prestigious Hurun UK Under30s and Hurun UK Under35s 2023 ranking of entrepreneurs
Nine pioneering young entrepreneurs with a strong link to Scotland – including high-profile names such as Glaswegian make-up expert Jamie Genevieve – have secured a place on a prestigious new list.
The Hurun Research Institute has just released the Hurun UK Under30s and Hurun UK Under35s 2023 rankings, with 79 and 109 entrepreneurs featuring on the two respectively, making a total of 188, all seen as “showcasing the leading British young powerhouses pushing the UK economy to new heights”. They are part of a family of more than 1,600 young entrepreneurs from five countries, the others being China, India, the US and Canada.
The Scottish entrepreneurs to be included on the Hurun UK Under30s comprise Hayden Ball and Roy Hotrabhvanon, both from PlayerData and based in Edinburgh; and Lewis Campbell of Target Healthcare and make-up star Jamie Genevieve, who are both based in Glasgow. Joel Watt who calls Edinburgh home represents Scotland on the Hurun UK Under35s list. He founded Rooser, which operates an online market for the fishing industry, after running a seafood wholesaler – and last year raised nearly £18m to fund expansion.
Milestones to date achieved by Edinburgh-based wearable tech start-up PlayerData include investment rounds with participants including former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, while Glasgow's Target Healthcare in 2022 pumped a £20m funds package into its growth plans.
As for names on the Under30s Young Entrepreneurs list that are also alumni of Scottish universities, Ball and Hotrabhvanon attended the University of Edinburgh, Campbell went to Strathclyde, while Craig Everett and Angus Hardy of online travel firm Holibob went to Glasgow. Those on the Under35s Young Entrepreneurs who studied at Scottish universities are Charles Armitage of staffing-focused tech firm Florence Healthcare who went to Edinburgh, as did Razvan Ranca of Tractable that applies artificial intelligence to assess, repair, and protect cars and homes.
Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun report chairman and chief researcher, said: “Our research shows Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. Many of these young business leaders have managed to quickly build successful companies despite a difficult geo-political environment, persistent inflation, and the many other headwinds our economies have experienced in recent years.”
The Hurun Research Institute said the UK lists also feature well-known billionaires such as Gymshark’s Ben Francis, while this year’s new names include Phil and Tom Beahon, founders of sports clothing label Castore backed by tennis legend Sir Andy Murray. A recent fundraising recently valued the business at £750m. Other new entries include Susie Ma, the Shanghai-born entrepreneur behind Tropic Skincare. A former contestant on The Apprentice, Ma secured investment from Lord Alan Sugar, and her London cosmetics brand has grown turnover to £64.8m.
A total of 40 women appear in this year’s lists, less than a quarter of the total, and including Jamie Genevieve, who also featured on 2023’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list, which noted that her vegan and cruelty-free make-up brand Vieve that is stocked in SpaceNK and Harrods announced a $6.2m Series A in 2022.
Furthermore, 22 of all the 188 business leaders on the lists have created “unicorns” – ventures worth at least $1 billion and a threshold that is an aim for many Scottish firms. Johnny Boufarhat was deemed to have created the most valuable company of the U30s, with his video conferencing operation Hopin that gained traction during the pandemic having been valued at $5.7bn, while the equivalent created by the U35 cohort is Blockchain, and Peter Smith who co-founded the crypto currency wallet service and fundraising has valued the operation at £4bn.
Hoogewerf of Hurun, a research, media and investments group established in the UK in 1999, added: “We believe each of our Under30s have quickly built businesses worth $10m. The enterprises created by our more experienced Under35s group are each worth around $50m. Some are worth a hundred times that. In time we expect many of our young Under30s to graduate to the more senior list as their ventures take flight.
"Hurun’s analysis shows that while there is extensive home-grown talent across the UK, Britain is also a magnet for entrepreneurs from around the world. World-class universities attract some of the very brightest people to this country, and after completing their studies these graduates often decide to launch their businesses here.”
The universities of Oxford and Cambridge each had 12 representatives, while there were four each from Edinburgh, Durham, the London School of Economics, Loughborough, Nottingham, Southampton and Warwick. Scottish Enterprise in November said it had supported the highest-ever number of academic spin-outs via its High Growth Spinout Program, and that followed the news in October that Edinburgh had been hailed as the top spot for innovation in the UK beyond a “Golden Triangle” cluster of cities in the south of England, while Glasgow and Aberdeen also been ranked highly. However, Hurun also said 23 of all the names on this year’s lists did not attend university.
Hoogewerf commented: “By analysing the backgrounds of our Under 30s and Under 35s, we’ve been able to learn about how many of these co-founders met one another. There were some who met at school and others who got to know each other while working together at an investment bank or in another graduate job. But we can also see that universities are playing a crucial role in bringing liked-minded people with a passion for enterprise together.”
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