Software firms dominate fastest-growing UK firms list

As dot-coms have crumbled over the past two years, some UK software developers have seen revenues increase a hundredfold or more.

LONDON--Latest research from Deloitte and Touche shows that almost three-fifths of the fastest growing technology companies in London and the South East are software developers.

The professional services company released new results from its Technology Fast 50 Program on Tuesday. The survey identifies the 50 tech companies that have achieved the most growth in turnover since 1998.

According to these results the fastest growing tech firm in London and the South East is InferMed, a developer of clinical software for cancer research and medical testing applications. Infermed's turnover in 2000 was only ?5,000 (US$35,290) in 1998, but in 2000 it achieved a turnover of ?.19 million (US$1.68 million)--a growth of around 4,750 percent.

Second on the list was Internet hosting company Host Europe, whose turnover in 2000 of ?.1m was the result of 2,105 percent growth since 1998. Human Resource software developer OneClickHR was ranked third on the list--its growth rate of 1,631 percent gave it a turnover of ?.07 million (US$5.7 million) in 2000.

Twenty-nine of the top 50 companies in the Deloitte and Touche results were software developers. This included 17th-placed Lifecycle Software, which develops programmes for telecommunications billing systems and antivirus firm Sophos--ranked 40th on the list.

Internet Service Providers were also represented on the list, including fourth-placed TELECOMplus; NetBenefit, which came tenth; and NetInfo, which came 29th.

Many of the companies on the list have suffered from the slump in the technology sector, and have seen falling share prices and a drop in demand. "Only those businesses that concentrate on their revenue numbers, cost bases and sales pipelines will weather the downturn. Superior customer performance will be a differentiator," said William Touche in a statement.

Deloitte and Touche have conducted similar programmes in other parts of the UK, including the East, the North and Scotland. It plans to publish a national ranking of all the fastest growing tech companies in the UK once these regional studies are completed--in April 2002.

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