Martin Dawes and family
Telecoms, Software
Rank 2017

Dawes, 73, has made a fortune from cutting-edge telecoms technology. He once worked at his father’s firm, Rumbelows, one of many businesses hiring out radios, TVs and video recorders to British homes before falling prices allowed more people to buy their own sets. Dawes, from Stockport, made £70m in 1999 when he sold his eponymous telecommunications company to Cellnet and just three years later he netted another £29m by selling his 35% stake in Opal Telecom to Carphone Warehouse. His latest venture, Warrington-headquartered MDS (Martin Dawes Systems), builds sophisticated digital billing services for clients such as Dixons Carphone and TalkTalk. The operation had assets of £24.2m in 2015 and Dawes owns more than 25%.