Congratulations to Oli Christie and the Neon Play team! The Cirencester-based mobile games studio wowed the Nectar judging panel, including businesswoman and star of BBC1's The Apprentice Karren Brady, to beat stiff competition in the start-up category. Christie wins a £2,000 prize, 50,000 Nectar points and a shiny trophy!
The Nectar Business Small Business Awards were started in 2009 to recognise the cream of Britain's small business talent. James Frost, marketing director at Nectar, says: "Start-Up Business of the Year is a new category for the 2011 Nectar Business Small Business Awards and recognises businesses less than a year old who have shown real potential in their first 12 months of trading.
"There were hundreds of fantastic new businesses vying for this title, but the panel was particularly impressed with the achievements of Neon Play. We wish Oli and his team a very exciting and profitable future."
Christie started Neon Play back in June 2010 following a successful career designing games for over 200 global brands. In less than a year the business has grown to employ 13 people, launched over 30 iPhone games and notched up seven UK number one games. And the numbers stack up too: "We've been very profitable in a short period of time with a 70% margin," says Christie.
And this is only the beginning for the award-winning firm. Christie has ambitious plans for further growth within the booming mobile games market, including producing games and apps for Android platforms and a new publishing division. The Nectar Business Small Business prize will certainly help: "We are about to move into a big, very cool new studio in Cirencester that will enable to us to grow to 40+ people. So we'll need loads of new kit. Plus, with the prize money, we're taking the whole team go-karting, laser questing and for a big curry!"
Judge Karren Brady says: "Neon Play was the outstanding candidate in the Start-Up of the Year category. With excellent growth in its first year, and a clear strategy for development over the forthcoming years, the future looks bright for the firm."
Christie sees this award win as a huge step forward for the app industry: "This is a new, exciting market that is moving fast and we are competing with some large and well-funded global games developers. Hopefully making mobile apps will be recognised as an important export industry both in terms of getting tax breaks and increasing app developer skills.
"There is still a long way to go, but for a mobile games studio to win a prestigious award from Nectar Business is a huge boost and we are absolutely thrilled with the prize money, Nectar points and recognition. The future's bright... the future's Neon!"
Check out our guest blogs from Neon Play founder Oli Christie: