Britain’s tech billionaires and millionaires are defying the prevailing gloom in the economy – but who are they?
BusinessCloud’s inaugural top 100 Tech Rich List has found the sector’s entrepreneurs and business owners are now worth £19.655billion.
Our top 100 Tech Rich List is drawn from the ranks of those in mobile, telecoms, internet, software and computer hardware, whether selling, making or designing. Their wealth varies from £1.5bn to £40m.
The list has been compiled by Philip Beresford, who also produces the annual Sunday Times Rich List.
In this first instalment, we count down numbers 81-100, with 20 more entrepreneurs featured each day.
78=. Mark Hunter – Ex-Axon, £55m
Mark Hunter left Queens University in Belfast with a Masters in computing. He set up the Axon Solutions software consultancy in 1994. It was sold for £440m in 2008 netting Hunter £44m. Share sales at the float and afterwards totalled over £31m. In all he should be worth £55m after-tax.
82=. Richard Gaunt – Ex-Autonomy, £50m
Having worked with Dr Mike Lynch (q.v.) since the inception of his Autonomy operation in 1996, Richard Gaunt was technology director and chief technology officer of the Cambridge-based software group. The £6.2 billion takeover of Autonomy in 2011 by American software giant Hewlett-Packard swelled his bank balance.
82=. Dr Andrew and Brigitte Kisiel – Digital Applications International, £50m
DoB: 19/09/1939 &19/01/1938
Founded in the early 1970s, Digital Applications International is a high-flying London-based software operation. It works with over 45 per cent of the FTSE100 companies in its industrial sectors. Founders Dr Andrew and Brigitte Kisiel own all the £50m operation which made £4m profit on £21m sales in 2014
82=. Tom Maxfield – Ex-Sage, £50m
Tom Maxfield was a working class kid from Sunderland who helped build software company Sage as sales director. It became a huge global business, selling software to accountants across the world. Maxfield left the Newcastle-based operation in September 1997 and moved into hotel sector.
82=. Paul Walker – Ex-Sage, £50m
Sage, the Newcastle-based software accountancy firm, was started in 1981 to develop business and accountancy programmes. Paul Walker, an accountant by training, joined the fledgling firm in 1984, and became finance director three years later. He became chief executive of the £6.2bn group for 16 years but stood down in 2010. He retained a stake which was worth over £35m. In 2005 he made around £13.7m from share sales and option gains.
82=. Carl White – Brainbox Digital, £50m
Carl White, an experienced digital marketing man, started Brainbox Digital in 2012. The fast-growing London-based operation made £3.5m profit on £17m turnover in 2014. The £50m company owned by White, runs the highly regarded Search123 tool which helps web publishers to earn money out of their traffic.
87=. Simon Hessel – Ex-Dealogic, £48m
Dealogic is a London-based software operation which provides unique software for the financial sector and floated on the AIM in May 2004. Co-founder Simon Hessel helped set up the company in 1983, with a £10,000 investment. He sold at least £20m of shares in the float. In 2014 Dealogic was taken over in a £438m deal.
87=. Tom Hogg & family – CDL, £48m
Tom Hogg chairs Stockport-based CDL Group, a software provider for the retail insurance sector. The fast-growing operation, owned by Hogg and his family, dates back to 1977. It made £4.8m profit in £34m sales in 2014 and should be worth £48m.
89. Jens Montanana – Datatec, £47m
Datatec was founded by Jens Montanana in 1986 as a distributor of networking access and communications solutions. In 1995, Datatec was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It is now quoted on the London stock market and is valued at £470m. Surrey-based Montanana also has a £13m stake in the separate Corero Network Security business.
90=. Chris Phillips – Just Develop It, £45m
A Hampshire-based high-tech entrepreneur, Chris Phillips started creating businesses as a teenager. Businesses have been sold along the way including Dot5Hosing. Today his Just Develop It operation is easily worth its £30m net assets in 2014-15. He has also gone into property and leisure, with restaurants, a country club and a nightclub. In all Phillips is worth £45m.
90=. Max Toti & family – Captec, £45m
In 1985 Max Toti founded specialist computer company Captec, based in Fareham. In 2014 Captec made £4.1m profit on £16.5m sales. It should be worth £45m. Toti and his family own it all.
90=. Dr Richard Waite – ESRI, £45m
ESRI Holdings, an Aylesbury-based computer and software group, made a healthy £6.6m profit on £53.5m sales in 2014. With a strong balance sheet, it is a £65m operation. Director Dr Anthony Waite has a 61.5 per cent stake worth £40.5m. Other assets take Waite to £45m.
93=. Paul Broadhurst – Technetix, £43m
West Sussex-based Technetix designs and builds broadband communications equipment. Started in 1990 it has over 1,000 clients in 67 countries. Founder and chief executive Paul Broadhurst has a 78 per cent stake in the £55m operation which saw its profits soar to £4m on £70m sales in 2014. He takes little out of the company and should be worth £43m.
93=. Dr Brian & Paul Gannon – Kainos, £43m
DoB: 10/05/1960 & 12/07/1963
The Gannon brothers, Brian and Paul, are senior executives at Kainos, the high-flying Belfast software operation. Kainos, which started as a spin-out from Queen’s University Belfast almost 30 years ago, floated on the London stock market in July 2015 valued at £160m. Today it has 800 staff and offices round the UK, Ireland and Poland. Its value has soared to £290m. The Gannon brothers have a sizeable stake in the business.
95=. Mark Fitzgerald – Ex-MX Telecom, £40m
West London-based MX Telecom was founded in 2000 by Thomas O’Donohoe and Mark Fitzgerald, and grew rapidly as a result of its skill in channeling wireless traffic in voice, video and text between content providers and mobile networks. In March 2010 it was acquired by billing software company Amdocs for £69m. That valued the stakes of former derivatives trader Fitzgerald and O’Donohue, the financial and IT brains, at £35m apiece.
95=. Dr Brendan Mooney – Kainos, £40m
Chief executive Dr Brendan Mooney joined Belfast software firm Kainos in 1989 as a trainee. Mooney, a computer scientist, has a £36m stake while share sales at the float take him to £40m
95=. Thomas O’Donohue – Ex-MX Telecom , £40m
A former derivatives trader, Thomas O’Donohue co-founded MX Telecom in 2000. Ten years later the West London-based company was taken over for £69m, valuing O’Donohue’s stake at £35m.
95=. Geoff Squire – Ex-Oracle & Kognito, £40m
Geoff Squire is one of Britain’s unsung technology heroes. The Winchester-based accountant gained his first exposure to the information technology industry in 1965. He formed Oracle UK as managing director and was promoted to senior vice president and chief executive officer of Oracle Europe in 1987. He is one of the few individuals in the world who has built a $1 billion international business from scratch.
95=. Nicholas Stammers – Mobica, £40m
Award-winning software developer Mobica was founded in 2004. It has grown rapidly in the UK as well as Poland, America and Mexico. In 2014, its profits soared to £5m on £28.8m sales. Director Nicholas Stammers has a sizeable stake in the business worth an estimated £40m
95=. Derek Taylor – Ex-Holistic Systems, £40m
Derek Taylor was chairman of Holistic Systems, a London-based software firm which was sold to the American Seagate Technology group in 1996 for £54m. It was Taylor’s second business fortune, having netted £3m from the sale of a computer company in 1985. He was the majority shareholder in Holistic. Having left Holistic, Taylor has invested in a range of smaller businesses.