BVCA announces winners of South East Management Team Awards 2017 | BVCA | British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association
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BVCA announces winners of South East Management Team Awards 2017

Publish Date 14 Mar 2017
Categories Awards

Leading businesses in the South East will be celebrated this evening at the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) Management Team Awards 2017, our annual celebration of UK companies supported by private equity and venture capital funds, produced in association with Grant Thornton UK LLP.

Now in their ninth year, the BVCA Management Team Awards recognise and reward brilliant businesses up and down the country that have been backed by UK private equity and venture capital investors.

The award winners will be announced and presented with their prizes tonight as part of the BVCA Chairman’s Dinner. This event brings together BVCA Chairs, past and present, along with senior industry figures, parliamentarians and major players in corporate Britain. They will then go forward into the national final to compete against our other regions, before the national winners are announced at the BVCA Gala Dinner on 30 November in London.

The full list of winners for the BVCA South East Management Team Awards 2017:

Backed by 
Hollywood Bowl Epiris Large Company Team
Clifford Thames LDC Mid-Market Team 
Captify Smedvig Capital and Panoramic Growth Equity Growth Management Team 
Blis Beringea, Endeit Capital, Unilever Ventures Venture-backed Management Team
Pizza Hut Restaurants Rutland Partners Business Transformation Management Team

Charlie Johnstone, Chair of the South East judging panel and Partner at ECI Partners LLP, said: “Over the past year we have watched UK investment thrive, and this is particularly true for London and the South East. The BVCA Management Team Awards highlight some of the fantastic teams making their mark across the country, and recognise excellence that is encouraged and supported by private equity and venture capital. Many congratulations to tonight’s winners and good luck to them in the national final.”

Mo Merali, Partner and Head of private equity at Grant Thornton UK LLP, added: “This year’s entrants represent some of the finest examples of private equity backed successes in the region and demonstrate the valuable contribution PE makes in developing a more vibrant UK economy. The winners ultimately stood out amongst tough competition for their achievements. Grant Thornton’s ambition of becoming the ‘go-to firm for growth’ is a natural fit with the BVCA’s Management Team Awards and we’re delighted to be supporting the programme again this year.”

The winners are:

Large Company Management Team

Hollywood Bowl

Backed by Epiris

Hollywood Bowl Group is the UK’s largest ten-pin bowling operator, with 55 bowling centres.

Founded in 2010, the company employs over 2,000 team members, specialising in high quality bowling centres, predominantly in leisure or retail parks. These centres offer a complete family entertainment experience, with restaurants, licensed bars, and games arcades inside.

Epiris supported a buyout of Hollywood Bowl in 2014, with a view to accelerating the company’s growth. Since then, the management have delivered impressive growth and performance, with a continued focus on operating for the benefit of the customer.

Judges’ comments: “Steve Burns and his team have done an outstanding job since the MBO in 2014. They took an unprepossessing business and transformed the customer experience whilst re-energising the culture and delivering top and bottom line improvement through a blend of organic and acquisitive growth. The culmination of their efforts was the flotation in September 2016.”

Mid-Market Team

Clifford Thames

Backed by LDC

Clifford Thames was founded in 1948 and works to create and manage the data needed to repair and maintain vehicles for major manufacturers.

With clients including Ford, General Motors and Jaguar Land Rover, the business is headquartered in Chelmsford, and has offices in seven countries.

Since supporting Clifford Thames in 2014 through a management buyout, LDC’s investment has allowed the company to refresh the brand and push forward new business ideas.

Judges’ comments: “Since the MBO of this long-established business in 2014, Calvin Barnett and his team have truly embraced the freedom and resources available through private equity backing. They have taken an established but static brand and through investing in technology, brand and acquisitions have transformed Clifford Thames into an international market leader.”

Growth Management Team of the Year


Backed by Smedvig Capital and Panoramic Growth Equity

Founded in 2011, Captify has developed proprietary search intelligence technology which powers digital advertising across desktop, video and mobile.

It has offices in London, New York, Paris, Hamburg and Kiev, and employs over 100 people in running campaigns on behalf of 450 out of the top 1000 global brands.

Captify raised £1.2 million in a Series A round led by Panoramic Growth Equity in 2013, and in 2015 Smedvig Capital led an £8 million Series B funding alongside existing investors including Panoramic. With this venture capital support, Captify has been able to expand extensively over the past year – recruiting 46 new employees and opening two new offices in New York and Paris.

Judges’ comments: “Captify showed phenomenally rapid growth in 2016. The company now has a genuinely international presence with a roster of blue chip clients and is now second only to Google in Search Intelligence. Dominic Joseph and Adam Ludwin have built this business from start-up in a very competitive space in only 6 years.”

Venture-backed Management Team


Backed by Beringea, Endeit Capital, Unilever Ventures

Blis is a global leader in advanced location technology, which has grown since 2004 to eight offices across 60 markets and is headquartered in London.

With a focus on providing to agencies, trading desks and publishers, the Blis platform provides its clients with accurate location data and behavioural insights.

Initial seed funding from Beringea in 2008 enabled the business to grow, with additional Series B in April 2016 from Endeit Capital and Unilever Ventures enabling Blis to invest in its current operations, and to continue its innovation in service developments.

Judges’ comments: “Founder Greg Isbister and his team have built and held a leading position in the global location-based behavioural analytics sector, successfully internationalising across some exceptionally competitive jurisdictions and showing very strong revenue growth. The business is a great marker of the UK as a centre of excellence in the marriage of technology and marketing.”

Business Transformation Management Team

Pizza Hut Restaurants

Backed by Rutland Partners

Pizza Hut came to the UK in 1973 after starting in Wichita USA in 1958. The American pizza dine-in restaurant and delivery outlet is known for bringing the Deep Pan pizza across the pond, and for inventing the Stuffed Crust and Cheesy Bites pizzas.

Rutland Partners first invested in the household name in 2012 and has worked alongside Pizza Hut’s management team and CEO Jens Hofma to successfully turn the brand around.

With over 700 restaurants and outlets across the UK, the company is working to diversify and reinvest to build a stronger and more successful brand with technological and commercial updates.

Judges’ comments: “Jens Hofma and his team seized the opportunity offered to them by new private equity owners in 2012 to embark on an ambitious transformation of the brand, culture and financial performance of this business, succeeding in every department. The judges were impressed with the team’s total engagement with the company and its employees and the energy and skill deployed to achieve rapid change across 267 sites and 8,500 employees.”

Notes to editor
  1. The BVCA Management Team Awards, produced in association with Grant Thornton UK LLP, are the only awards to celebrate the achievements of private equity and venture capital-backed management teams. There are eight regions in total, each with their own judging panel, and all winners are automatically forwarded to the national final, the results of which will be presented at the BVCA Annual Gala Dinner on 30 November in London. Please click here for more information.

  2. The South East judging panel consists of: Charlie Johnstone(Chair), ECI Partners; Marion Bernard, Business Growth Fund; Tim Dunn, Phoenix Equity Partners; Andrew Ferguson, Baird Private Equity; Andy Strickland, Palatine Private Equity; Pete Davies, Technology Partners; Gordon Beveridge; Scottish Equity Partners; Michele Fitzpatrick, Zeus Technology; Neil Thackray, Briefing Media.

  3. The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) is the industry body for the UK private equity and venture capital industry. The BVCA has over 600 member firms, representing the vast majority of UK-based private equity and venture capital firms and their advisers.

  4. Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward-thinking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 35,000 Grant Thornton people, across over 100 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. The UK Grant Thornton member firm provides services to over 40,000 privately held businesses, public interest entities and individuals. It is led by more than 185 partners and employs more than 4,200 of the profession's brightest minds. Find out more at