Section e: mt bain e25 - Elite of the new economy - Nearly a year on, our e25 league table has shown great stability and sound judgment through all the market turmoil. Matthew Gwyther salutes the survivors and names the hot prospects

Section e: mt bain e25 - Elite of the new economy - Nearly a year on, our e25 league table has shown great stability and sound judgment through all the market turmoil. Matthew Gwyther salutes the survivors and names the hot prospects - With the fourth e25

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

With the fourth e25 we are approaching the first anniversary of our MT/Bain and Company league table, which made its debut as the first (and still the most weighty) British ranking of internet start-ups last November. The industry in Europe remains way short of maturity - 1999 e-commerce revenues were pounds 13 billion in Europe, compared to pounds 75 billion in the US - and there has been a marked cooling in the ardour with which investors regard the dot.comers. It is going to be a much harder grind from now on.

As one looks back and analyses the data, a number of points arise. It was originally predicted by some cynics that the world of e was so topsy-turvy that the creation of a meaningful index would be next to impossible. This has not proved to be the case, and the carefully chosen evaluation criteria by which the e25 is generated have proved their worth. One of the www commandments, 'Thou shalt strive to get 'first mover' advantage' seems to hold firm. We have seen relatively few casualties from the original list which, when one bears in mind the hundreds of British dot.coms that are striving to be noticed, is quite remarkable.

Gerry Mulvin, the partner in charge of e-commerce practice at Bain, notes: 'It is interesting to see that, after all the turbulence and noise in the internet sector over the past year, only eight companies from our original index back in November 1999 have departed from the e25, and QXL and Lastminute are back to occupying the top two slots.

'The original e25 has held up well,' he adds, 'but I'm afraid life only gets more difficult from here. The big question now is, which of these companies will survive over the next year now that the corporates have got their act together?'

Since the spring, things have become very bumpy but, for all the recent negative market mood, it must be remembered that about pounds 1.6 billion pounds' worth of market value has been generated by the e25 companies in the past 12 months.

So, for the third e25 running QXL remains just on top. There are, however, ominous signs on the horizon. Despite its acquisition of sites across Europe, QXL was relegated in May to number 2 in the online auction game in Europe behind the American giant ebay. This year's revenue forecasts for ebay and QXL are pounds 273 million and pounds 29 million respectively.

Lastminute.com took a terrible savaging at the hands of the media after its flotation, but things are now on the mend with traffic and revenues on the increase. It recently acquired its biggest rival, French online travel group Degriftour, for pounds 59 million. The gap between it and QXL is now very narrow, and lastminute has plenty of money to spend in its efforts to regain the top spot, having accrued the largest pile of cash of any e25 company.

At number 12, a surprise but welcome new entry with unusual origins in the public sector is ingenta.com (profiled on page 15).

Ingenta aims to provide the largest selection of articles and journals to academics and researchers worldwide and is expanding into community portals for specific areas such as nutrition, at www.nutritiongate.com.

Its traffic rates are impressive. The second new kid on the block is Affinity Internet (number 13), a branded internet service provider listing Arsenal FC and Powergen among its customers. The other new entry is silicon.com, the techies' IT news provider. Silicon (at 21) has a strong and loyal following among IT people, for whom it also hosts recruitment advertising.

MOVING ON UP

Our biggest climber (up 15 places to number 4) is Orchestream, the supplier of net traffic software, which has surged on the back of its IPO in June, when it raised a tidy pounds 49 million. The share price continued to soar as it found favour among investors. Also on the up is Netstore.net, which rises eight places to number 8. Its IPO raised pounds 40 million. Shopsmart.com is also looking good, up another seven places to number 18. By banging away at the marketing (not least sponsoring soft-porn movies on Channel 5) the company achieved the second-highest rating in an I-Recall market research survey with 40% awareness.

Gameplay, a veteran of our first league table, is up four spots to number 5, thanks to increased traffic and strong revenue growth. When broadband finally arrives, the sky could be the limit for Gameplay and its anorak'd followers.

FALLING BACK

Most visible among fallers is iii, which, having been our highest-ever new entry at number 4 last time, has tumbled 11 places. A combination of a profit warning, management departure, takeover rumours and a lower profile took its toll on the personal finance web site. Other sliders include Mondus, the B2B marketplace site, virtualinternet (web hosting) and the callback sites netcall and realcall.

There are three e25 departures - the B2C auction site icollector, suffering from market crowding, elateral (virtual marketing) and freecom.net (e-tail software), which had a PR disaster after the questionable acquisition of Oneview.net for pounds 32 million.

BUBBLING UNDER

The e25 is actually the tip of an 'e60-ish' iceberg - many other companies undergo the Bain evaluation. We have chosen five dot.coms that we judge show real promise. They have yet to hit critical mass in financing and traffic, but they rate highly in terms of concept, innovation and execution and particularly management team. In no order of merit, they are:-

Citikey - a provider of mobile City services for PDAs and WAP phones, with an information base that includes entertainment, eating out, accommodation, maps, transport and events. Founded by Ziad Ismail, winner of European Innovator of the Year in 1998, Citikey launched in Stockholm in February '99.

Schoolsnet - an education site for parents, pupils and teachers launched by father and son Greg and Tom Hadfield, creators of Soccernet. Launched last November, it has a significant addressable market and multiple revenue opportunities.

Skillvest - a provider of training management solutions, enabling customers to define training needs, source training and monitor/evaluate programmes. It was incubated at bainlab.

Streetsonline - a collection of e-commerce sites trading in books, music, DVDs and games (for example, alphabetstreet and audiostreet). Founded by experienced retail and computing executives Stephen Cole and John Croft, it has high traffic levels and will probably enter the e25 if its IPO goes ahead in the autumn.

Whereonearth - a provider of 'global spatial data solutions' offering location infrastructure for major search engines. A globally intelligent map enables directory contents to be sorted by location anywhere in the world. It was founded in 1995. Its creator Steve Packard, 41, won this year's UK Innovator of the Year award.

COMPANY

< (a)="" concept="" (b)="" innovation="" (c)="" execution="" (d)="" traffic="" (e)="" financing="" (f)="" profile="" (g)="" score="" (h)="" previous="" company/founders="" (a)="" (b)="" (c)="" (d)="" (e)="" (f)="" (g)="" (h)="" 1="" qxl.com="" auctions="" 14.4="" 4.0="" 15.0="" 20.0="" 20.0="" 4.5="" 77.9="" 1="" tim="" jackson="" 2="" lastminute.com="" late="" bookings="" 13.8="" 6.0="" 14.7="" 18.0="" 20.0="" 5.0="" 77.5="5" brent="" hoberman,="" martha="" lane="" fox="" 3="" sportal="" sports="" portal="" 16.9="" 5.0="" 16.3="" 18.0="" 16.0="" 3.5="" 75.7="" 3="" rob="" hersov="" 4="" orchestream="" data="" software="" 19.1="" 6.0="" 14.8="" 9.5="" 20.0="" 4.0="" 73.4="" 21="" charles="" muirhead="" 5="" gameplay="" games="" 15.8="" 7.0="" 14.5="" 12.0="" 20.0="" 4.0="" 73.3="" 9="" dylan="" wilk,="" mark="" bernstein,="" mark="" strachan="" 6="" peoplesound.com="" music="" 20.6="" 9.0="" 15.5="" 14.0="" 12.0="" 2.0="" 73.1="5" ernesto="" schmitt,="" bruno="" heese,="" paul="" levett="" 7="" wgsn.com="" fashion="" infomediary="" 20.0="" 5.5="" 17.1="" 16.0="" 12.0="" 1.5="" 72.1="" 2="" julian="" and="" marc="" worth="" 8="" netstore="" data="" backup="" 18.8="" 7.0="" 14.4="" 9.0="" 18.0="" 2.0="" 69.2="" 16="" paul="" barry-walsh,="" jeff="" maynard="" 9="" sportingbet.com="" gambling="" 12.5="" 5.5="" 16.1="" 18.0="" 14.0="" 3.0="" 69.1="" 11="" mark="" blandford,="" geoffrey="" wilkensen="" 10="" netbenefit="" e-solutions="" 15.0="" 4.5="" 13.9="" 18.5="" 16.0="" 1.5="" 68.9="" 7="" jonathan="" robinson,="" keith="" young,="" larry="" bloch="" 11="" ncipher="" encryption="" 17.5="" 6.0="" 14.6="" 18.5="" 10.0="" 1.0="" 67.6="" 10="" alex="" van="" someren,="" nicko="" van="" someren="" 12="" ingenta.com="" research="" infomediary="" 15.0="" 5.0="" 15.0="" 14.0="" 16.0="" 2.0="" 67.0="" -="" mark="" rowse="" 13="" affinity="" internet="" business="" isp="" 13.8="" 4.0="" 14.0="" 15.0="" 16.0="" 2.5="" 65.3="" -="" wayne="" lochner,="" terry="" plummer="" 14="" virtualinternet="" web="" hosting="" 13.1="" 5.0="" 14.0="" 16.0="" 16.0="" 1.0="" 65.1="" 8="" jason="" drummond="" 15="" iii="" personal="" finance="" portal="" 10.0="" 3.0="" 12.0="" 18.5="" 20.0="" 1.5="" 65.0="" 4="" sherry="" coutu="" 16="" jungle.com="" software/games="" e-tailer="" 16.9="" 5.0="" 12.2="" 20.0="" 8.0="" 2.5="" 64.6="" 13="" steve="" bennett="" 17="" equiinet.co.uk="" net="" access="" 16.3="" 6.0="" 14.8="" 16.0="" 8.0="" 1.0="" 62.1="" 15="" bob="" jones,="" john="" sunners,="" andrew="" hurdle,="" keith="" baker="" 18="" shopsmart.com="" comparison="" shopping="" 16.9="" 4.0="" 14.6="" 11.0="" 10.0="" 3.0="" 60.5="" 25="" daniel="" gestetner,="" leo="" gestetner="" 19="" netcall="" callbacks="" 15.0="" 7.0="" 13.9="" 10.5="" 12.0="" 2.0="" 60.4="" 14="" jeffrey="" rubins,="" john="" burnett,="" david="" rothschild="" 20="" 365="" corporation="" sports="" portal="" 10.0="" 2.0="" 14.0="" 11.0="" 20.0="" 3.0="" 60.0="" 19="" danny="" kelly="" 21="" silicon.com="" it="" news="" service="" 15.0="" 5.0="" 15.3="" 13.0="" 10.0="" 1.5="" 59.8="" -="" rob="" lewis="" 22="" internet="" exchange="" net="" cafes="" 15.0="" 5.0="" 14.5="" 13.0="" 10.0="" 1.0="" 58.5="" 24="" robert="" proctor,="" simon="" henderson="" 23="" mondus.com="" online="" tenders="" 16.3="" 5.0="" 13.6="" 10.0="" 12.0="" 1.5="" 58.4="" 12="" rouzbeh="" pirouz,="" alexander="" straub="" 24="" realcall.com="" callbacks="" 14.4="" 6.5="" 13.7="" 12.0="" 10.0="" 1.5="" 58.1="" 17="" eric="" vanderkleij,="" j="" martin="" walker="" 25="" argo="" interactive="" handheld="" technology="" 18.1="" 6.0="" 14.5="" 8.0="" 10.0="" 1.0="" 57.6="" 22="" andrew="" foyle="" scoring:="" total="" possible="" score="" 100="" (concept="" scored="" out="" of="" 25,="" innovation="" out="" of="" 10,="" profile="" out="" of="" 5,="" other="" categories="" out="" of="" 20).="" data="" correct="" 02="" august="" 2000)="">

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