See this year’s Boldness in Business award nominees for each category and the judges who determined the final winners.


Drivers of change

JAB Holding Company
Over recent years, the Luxembourg-based group has spent big on acquiring coffee-related brands such as Krispy Kreme, Keurig Green Mountain and Panera Bread, to challenge for the lead in the consumer coffee market.

Kobalt Music
The digital music rights agency represents some 45,000 artists and songwriters. Its technology identifies when songs are streamed, enabling collection of royalties, and provides insight for artists into who is listening to them around the world.

Since 1999, the Argentine company has grown to become Latin America’s largest ecommerce platform and the go-to place for businesses to sell online. It also provides financial, shipping and logistics services.

Planetary Resources
With important private funding and encouragement from the likes of the government of Luxembourg, the US-based company has been developing technology to extract water and facilitate mining of valuable metals on asteroids.

Reliance Industries
Category winner. Read the story

SoftBank Vision Fund
Since SoftBank, the Japanese telecoms company, announced the launch of its investment vehicle in 2016, the fund has raised $100bn to invest in innovative companies across the world, including Flipkart, WeWork and Uber.

Corporate responsibility/environment

The US biotech company uses microbes to produce ethanol fuel from industrial waste byproducts such as carbon monoxide and agricultural and forest waste. The process reduces carbon emissions as well as producing low-carbon liquid fuels and chemicals.

Lemon Tree Hotels
Category winner. Read the story

The Brazilian cosmetics specialist sells a range of beauty products that use natural plant-based ingredients sourced from the Amazon. The company has expanded its global reach, acquiring UK ethical retailer Body Shop last year.

Raspberry Pi
The IT company, based in Cambridge, UK, produces low-cost credit card-sized computers popular with young people and hobbyists alike, and channels profits into charitable work aimed at widening digital education.

Originally a 19th-century zinc miner, the Brussels-based company began repositioning itself in the 1990s as a precious metals specialist. It extracts metals and rare minerals by recycling used batteries and electronic components.

The Swedish automotive company, owned by China’s Geely Motors, announced last year that from 2019 all its cars would be fully or partially battery-powered, making it the first traditional carmaker fully to embrace electric or hybrid technology in place of internal combustion engines.


Breedon Group
Founded in 2007, the construction materials group has grown rapidly through acquisitions of assets including quarries; revenues doubled between 2016 and 2017. It plans to continue its strategy of consolidating the aggregates industry.

Gimlet Media
The podcast producer, founded in 2014, runs 16 series, generating revenue from sponsors that advertise in the podcasts. It has begun licensing its intellectual property for film and television adaptations, including Homecoming, about staff at a secret government agency, starring Julia Roberts.

The New York-based insurer takes a flat fee for its services and gives any unused portion of pooled premiums to charity to dissuade policyholders from making fraudulent claims. It uses artificial intelligence to lower running costs and make fast payouts.

The cycle-hire company, whose yellow bikes are a familiar sight in Chinese cities, deals with customers via a smartphone app. By late 2017, it had raised $1.3bn in funding, with pilot schemes in countries such as Australia, the US and the UK.

The San Francisco-based cyber-security specialist scans the internet for connected devices, providing corporate clients with an overview of potential security flaws in their networks on a global map via its platform Expander.

Wheelys Café
Category winner. Read the story


Category winner. Read the story

D-Wave Systems
Founded in 1999, the Vancouver-based company is a world leader in supplying quantum computers. Lockheed Martin and Google are among its customers. Last year it began shipping its $15m 2000Q model.

Flatiron Health
The US medical information specialist centralises data about cancer case histories, giving doctors and researchers access to detailed insight into the success rates of treatments to improve survival rates.

Livongo Health
Diabetes patients use the US company’s handheld device to monitor blood sugar levels and receive advice on the condition. It sells the device via more than 300 health organisations and launched a direct-to-consumer version last year.

MOF Technologies
The Northern Ireland-based company manufactures metal-organic frameworks — highly absorbent crystal structures that store gases efficiently. It has launched its first commercial version to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for up to six months.

Spark Therapeutics
The Philadelphia-based gene therapy specialist produces treatments for inherited genetic diseases. In 2017, Luxturna, its treatment for inherited retinal disease, became the first gene therapy to be given FDA approval.

Developing markets

Category winner. Read the story

The Taiwanese company sells electric scooters that make use of an innovative battery-swapping infrastructure. Instead of charging batteries themselves, drivers use swapping stations located across Taiwan to slot fresh battery packs into their scooters quickly.

The Indian warehouse automation specialist provides ecommerce companies with robots that help process orders quickly and efficiently. It counts Amazon India and Flipkart among domestic clients, with exports accounting for 70 per cent of its business.

The Brazilian fintech company offers online-only credit cards with interest rates well below the national banking average. Nubank, which has 2.5m cardholders, is popular with young professionals and in October announced it would offer online current accounts.

This transportation and logistics innovator uses a relay system to move goods by truck across India. Its pit stops break long journeys into shorter legs, attracting drivers, cutting labour costs and shortening delivery times by up to 70 per cent.

ZhongAn Insurance
China’s first online-only insurer was founded in 2013 as a joint venture between Alibaba, Tencent and Ping An. Offering a range of low-cost niche policies, it floated on the Hong Kong stock market in September, valuing the company at $10bn.

Smaller company

The UK start-up manufactures bicycle lights, its green Laserlight making cyclists more visible to other road users. It has customers in 65 countries, and plans to expand to Germany, the US and Japan.

From its beginnings in 2004 the Paris-based audio engineering company has set out to develop top-quality amplified sound and has consistently driven down manufacturing costs of its audio speakers. In 2017, it partnered with UK satellite broadcaster Sky to sell the Sky Soundbox.

The Swiss-based blockchain platform, founded in 2013, facilitates the creation of “smart contracts” used for a variety of automated applications, including fundraising, investment and self-regulating voting. Ether, its cryptocurrency, enables its financial transactions.

Category winner. Read the story

The Californian company makes zero-emissions electric buses that are charged using overhead terminals at depots. Its Catalyst E2 Max has set a world record of 1,101.2 miles for distance travelled on a single charge.

The London-based geocoder has created a way of assigning a three-word address to each 3m x 3m square on the earth’s surface, enabling improved mapping. Mercedes-Benz has said it will use the technology in its cars’ navigation systems.


Lionel Barber
Editor of the Financial Times

Lakshmi Mittal
Chairman and chief executive of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker

Anne Méaux
Founder and president of Image Sept, a Paris-based public affairs and media relations consultancy

Robert Armstrong
Chief Financial Times editorial writer and former head of the Lex column

Brooke Masters
Financial Times comment and analysis editor and former companies editor

Edward Bonham Carter
Vice-chairman of Jupiter Fund Management

Leo Johnson
PwC disruption lead and co-presenter of BBC Radio 4 series FutureProofing

Luke Johnson
Chairman of private equity group Risk Capital Partners

Peter Tufano
Professor of finance and Peter Moores dean at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

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