Travel Republic is UK’s fastest growing firm

Online travel agent has topped The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 list just four years after the company was launched, it was announced today. The company is the UK’s fastest growing privately owned company boasting 284.23% annual sales growth. Offshore services provider Oceanteam 2000 claimed second place in the rankings with annual sales growth of 206.45%.

The Kingston-upon-Thames based business was set up in 2003 and is the brainchild of three university friends - Paul Furner, managing director, Chris Waite, IT director and Kane Pirie, finance and operations director. Furner’s brother Peter was also one of the original founders but left the business earlier this year following a management buy-out.

Since its launch,’s sales have increased from GBP2.8 million to GBP108 million, with the business on track for turnover of more than GBP200 million in the current financial year. The company now employs more than 150 staff.

Paul Furner, managing director of, said: “We are delighted with this recognition which is an incredible reward for the creativity and hard work of everyone who works for the company.

“Chris, Kane and I met at university but then followed very different careers - Chris in software development, Kane in corporate finance/private equity and me in software quality assurance. These differing backgrounds, all outside of the travel industry, have allowed us to take a fresh new look at the sector and become one of its leading innovators.


“However, equally important has been our commitment, from the outset, to deliver gold standard customer service to our customers. At a time when it is often said that there is no loyalty on the web we would beg to differ. Our levels of repeat and recommended business suggest that we have a real affinity with our customers which we plan to build upon in the coming months.”

Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, sponsors of the Fast Track 100, commented: “For Virgin, a group so steeped in travel and tourism, it is gratifying to see Travel Republic claim top spot in this year’s table.”

This is the first time a travel business has topped the rankings, with the previous best performances coming from Travel Counsellors (fourth in 1998), (fourth in 2004) and Kew Green Hotels (second in 2006). Hotel booking agency Alpharooms is at number 20 in this year’s list.

The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 is now in its eleventh year and ranks Britain’s hundred private companies with the fastest growing sales over the last three years.

The mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse, chip designer ARM and tiling store Topps Tiles have all graduated to the quoted sector since featuring in the first Fast Track 100 in 1997. Many more companies from the league tables have become household names. The fashion retailers Boden and Fat Face, Cobra Beer, DIY specialist Focus DIY, foreign exchange operator Travelex and shoe designer Jimmy Choo have all featured in past tables. recently appeared for the first time in the IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops List which ranks the UK’s top 50 most popular internet retailers, across all sectors. In the online travel agency sector is now more popular than the likes of Opodo and Only and rank higher.

Just last week was unveiled as the fastest-growing non user-generated content brand online in the UK - growing 313% over the last year - by analysts at research company, Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company (see additional information below).

Furner and the team, however, are far from resting on their laurels after these fantastic achievements.

He added: “We’re about to head into the peak booking season so there’s no time for us to sit back and relax. We’ve got big plans for 2008 including the launch of city breaks and the retailing of package holidays and cruises. We are also convinced that there is a real opportunity to take the formula into other European markets.”