In 2001 Skyscanner was just an idea to help its co-founders, including chief executive Gareth Williams, find cheap ski breaks on the internet. The Edinburgh-based company grew to become the top flight search engine in Europe. Skyscanner now offers travel searches in more than 30 different languages, including Thai, Japanese and Russian. A recent investment valued it at nearly £500m. Its three co-founders, all former contract IT workers at Marks & Spencer, funded the business initially by putting 10% of their salaries into a fund for six months as seed capital. Then they started pumping more than 90% of their incomes into the fledgling business.
Activity: Online travel
Latest turnover: £66m
Five-year rise in turnover: 633%
No. of employees: 276
Five-year rise in employment: 345%