INSIGHT

Who are the UK’s biggest
disruptors 2017?

Tearing up the rulebook - again

Alchemy isn’t something you hear about much these days. Changing base metals into glittering gold is a mythical practice more commonly found in the dragon-filled worlds of fantasy novels than the modern age. Or is it?

When you consider the businesses that aren’t just thriving, but actually changing the rules of how a market works, the secret of their success could be described as a remarkably rare form of alchemy.

Unicorns are real (in business)

How apt, then, that the mythical unicorn is used to describe tech startups with an early valuation of at least $1bn. They’re incredibly rare, but in business terms not quite mythical; even if only a few go on to achieve the fairy tale ending: being truly disruptive.

That set us thinking. Disregarding the hype surrounding the latest darlings of Silicon Valley, which companies in cold, hard reality, are out there disrupting their markets? Which UK businesses are rewriting the rules, with their successes defining new business models that many of us will inevitably follow as soon as we’ve caught up?

In search of a big disruptive idea

To answer this question, last year we developed the Virgin Media Business Disruptor 10 list, in association with Fast Track 100. They combed their database for the best-performing privately-held disruptive UK firms. All 10 were true disruptors, from PureGym and its uncontracted gym membership, to innovative craft beer company and pub chain, BrewDog.

In the end cryptocurrency firm Blockchain took the Disruptor Award for helping redefine the very meaning of currency, creating a system that’s open, accessible and efficient. It’s the kind of big idea that gets people talking and thinking about the future and its endless opportunities – the type of opportunities firms like us love to encourage.

Who'll make the shortlist?

This year, we’re back for more, although in keeping with our disruptive form, we’ve decided to shake things up to find our 10. First up, we launched a nationwide hunt for companies on the cusp of disrupting their industries. Then, we whittled them down to just 14 companies. They’ll now pitch to a panel of judges, including Virgin Media Business’s Marketing and Digital Director, Steve Wind-Mozley, who will choose the final 10.

The resulting list of the UK’s 10 most disruptive firms will be revealed on 3 December in The Sunday Times, after which we’ll bring you exclusive video and editorial profiles of each, together with exclusive insights from the movers and shakers powering their disruption.

Real, exciting, achievable

We believe that by holding the way disruptors think, talk and behave up to the light, other businesses will be able to appreciate their genius. After all, Virgin Media Business’ role in life is to help UK businesses evolve and adapt so they can challenge, lead and disrupt their own industries.

We know from experience, that to be disruptive, you first need a high performance digital platform to get data in, around and back out of your enterprise. Which of course is exactly what we do.

And of course, by looking at the firms on the Virgin Media Business Disruptor 10, powered by Fast Track, companies across the country can feel inspired, and more confident in their understanding of what they need to do to become digital leaders. Everyone – from the most digitally savvy, to the more novice, can learn something from these ten organisations.

Remember, of the many things that are little more than fantastical figments of a storyteller’s imagination, disruption isn’t one of them. It’s a real, exciting and perfectly achievable form of alchemy.

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