HotViews Archive

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TechMarketView is out to lunch!
13 Dec 2017
Mercia leads fourth round for Manchester’s Intechnica
13 Dec 2017
** NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018 – Security, Networking and Cloud
13 Dec 2017
Parity above parity!
13 Dec 2017
Stowga stacks funding into warehousing platform
13 Dec 2017
Atos gets friendly with Gemalto
12 Dec 2017
**NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018: Infrastructure Services
12 Dec 2017
**NEW RESEARCH**: Enterprise Software & Application Services Supplier Prospects 2018
12 Dec 2017
Prince's Trust...
12 Dec 2017
InsurTech returns to centre stage at Startupbootcamp
12 Dec 2017
Sn-ap gets its wheels in motion
12 Dec 2017
**NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018 - Enterprise Software
12 Dec 2017
**NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018 – Application Services
12 Dec 2017
Southampton’s Senseye raises money to master machine monitoring
12 Dec 2017
K3 shuffles the product deck
12 Dec 2017
NOMINATIONS OPEN – GREAT BRITISH SCALEUP EVENT MARCH 2018
12 Dec 2017
Official: Nick Wilson to leave DXC Technology
11 Dec 2017
What will Apple do with Shazam?
11 Dec 2017
Agilisys extends contracts with multiple clients
11 Dec 2017
Mercia on soccer kick with Realtime Games funding
11 Dec 2017
Predictions 2018 – Business Process Services
11 Dec 2017
TechMarketView research theme 2018: Breaking the Boundaries
11 Dec 2017
Save the date: TechMarketView Evening 2018!
11 Dec 2017
MishiPay checks out £1.6m funding
11 Dec 2017
First Derivatives buys to develop telco vertical
11 Dec 2017
Imperial’s Touchstone joins Dearly Departed
11 Dec 2017
Bitcoins - "Buy shovels..."
09 Dec 2017
** New Research ** Alibaba Cloud and Doob highlight Vodafone network/cloud expertise
08 Dec 2017
New funds to help Graduway build alumni networks
08 Dec 2017
Deep chat analysis helps Chattermill secure funds
08 Dec 2017
Huddle keeping schtum as CEO, COO & CTO quit
08 Dec 2017
Avora's next gen BI service secures funding
08 Dec 2017
Subdued month for European tech M&A
08 Dec 2017
Holway on Bitcoins
08 Dec 2017
Backers insure Cytora’s risk engine for £4.4m
08 Dec 2017
* NEW RESEARCH * New high for UK-Irish tech funding
08 Dec 2017
Eighth Enterprise Awards set for 27 June 2018
08 Dec 2017
MyTop revisited ten years on...
07 Dec 2017
Doleful H1 for Imaginatik
07 Dec 2017
Intuit lines up time sheet TSheet for acquisition
07 Dec 2017
IMImobile Targets NHS Efficiency Drive
07 Dec 2017
RM trading ahead of expectations
07 Dec 2017
Henchman provides tonic for flat Jinn
07 Dec 2017
*OUT NOW* UK Public Sector Market Trends & Forecasts to 2020
06 Dec 2017
**NEW RESEARCH** Business Process Services Supplier Prospects 2018
06 Dec 2017
Backer calls in loan on posh e-pawnbroker Borro
06 Dec 2017
Analysing Oxford Metrics
06 Dec 2017
Payday lender Oakam wins victory loan
06 Dec 2017
SysGroup without CEO but remains “confident”
06 Dec 2017
Fresh funding for Anaplan
06 Dec 2017
How do you teach Computing without computers?
06 Dec 2017
Maintel revises expectations after contract wind downs
06 Dec 2017
Concepta marrs Mercia’s emerging stars
06 Dec 2017

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Wednesday 13 December 2017

TechMarketView is out to lunch!

picJust to let you know that today is TechMarketView’s annual Christmas lunch and therefore we may be a tad tardy in responding to calls and emails.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:50'

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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mercia leads fourth round for Manchester’s Intechnica

logoIt’s been barely six months since AIM-listed regional investor Mercia Technologies topped up Manchester-based website management product and services firm, Intechnica (see Third round time for Manchester’s Intechnica), and it has done so again, leading  a £5m syndicated funding round alongside existing private investors. Mercia has committed £3.5m which includes a £1.3m performance-based convertible loan facility.

Intechnica is one of Mercia’s ‘emerging stars’ in which it invests directly from the PLC’s balance sheet, as distinct from its managed funds (and see Concepta marrs Mercia’s emerging stars). Mercia now holds just over 24% of Intechnica’s shares. This round should give Intechnica a considerable boost to pursue its international ambitions.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:47' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 13 December 2017

** NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018 – Security, Networking and Cloud

The traditional boundaries between enterprise security, networks and the cloud are steadily disintegrating as IT departments combine fundamental infrastructure elements into unified platforms and services which are quick to provision and easy to manage.

Emerging technology is critical to breaking out of those siloes whilst the carrot of establishing strong security defences will be outweighed by the stick in 2018 as data protection regulation forces assessment and changes to existing policies.

We see the major trends in the security, networking and cloud markets next year as: ** NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018 – Security, Networking and Cloud

Data protection regulation looms large. The May 2018 deadline for compliance with the European Union’s Generation Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is looming, and we think the majority of UK organisations still have much to do.

Data hosting shake up. A broader shake-up of UK information hosting and processing arrangements will cause some turbulence in the cloud services market as public and private sector organisations decide the best architectural and geographical location for their data.

Cyber threats morph and intensify. the specific nature of the threat will change but on a macro level the fight to secure networks, applications and systems against individuals and groups looking to steal data or cause maximum disruption for their own gain will be ongoing and unrelenting in 2018.

SDN/NFV moves into virtual security domain. The spread of SDN/NFV will herald be the emergence of more virtualised security services, including firewalls, IDS/IDP systems and denial of service (DoS) protection tools.

Passwords edged out by biometrics. Increased use of two factor authentication for secure access to enterprise networks, systems, devices and applications will open up new opportunities for infrastructure and security product and service suppliers in 2018.

Brexit - IoT opportunity waiting to happen. The Internet of Things (IoT) can play a pivotal role in Brexit, with connected people and devices helping everything from the Irish border checks to frictionless trade/custom controls in UK to EU logistics, distribution and retail operations.

Subscribers can read more in our Security, Networking and Cloud Predictions report here, or contact Deb Seth for further information.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '07:55' - Tagged: predictions   cloudservices   networkinfrastructure   securityinfrastructure  

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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Parity above parity!

logoGood news from veteran UK IT staffing and consulting firm, Parity, which advises that it will close 2017 ‘slightly ahead’ of original expectations. The expected double-digit growth in ‘underlying’ operating profit is attributed to ‘continued momentum’ in Parity’s higher-margin consultancy services (and see Consultancy leads growth at Parity). Management also reported that contractor volumes in its core resourcing services are recovering.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:30' - Tagged: trading   recruitment  

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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Stowga stacks funding into warehousing platform

logoNo-one has yet called them the ‘Airbnb of the warehousing market’ so let me be the first! This is London-based warehousing marketplace startup, Stowga, which has just raised £1.5m backed by Speedinvest, Anthemis and Force Over Mass as well as prior seed investors Hambro Perks and Seedcamp. Commercial real estate services giant CBRE is to be Stowga’s strategic real estate advisory partner. Stowga claims to have built a network of over 4,000 warehouses in the UK in the past 12 months, and intends to roll out its platform internationally in 2018.

This all makes perfect sense – particularly the partnership with CBRE. Unlike the residential property letting market, the whole point of warehousing is the logistics involved in getting goods in and out, which brings other factors into the warehousing decision besides just location, capacity and price. Stowga has competitors such as Guernsey-based SpaceBrokers and Northampton-based Warehouse Space that also provide logistics advice, but these appear to work in a more traditional broker style of operation.

Anyway, Stowga is neat idea and deserves to work, though it will need considerably more backing if it is to be anywhere near as successful in the global warehousing market as Airbnb is in the residential letting market.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:24' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Atos gets friendly with Gemalto

Atos logoAtos looks set to embark on another substantial acquisition, should its advances to Amsterdam-headquartered Gemalto be accepted. Atos delivered an offer to Gemalto – an all cash offer of €46 per share, valuing the company at c€4.3b – on 28th November, a 42% premium to its prior close. Atos has made clear its willingness to discuss the offer, stating that it is “friendly, compelling, and addresses the interests of all stakeholders”. It is expected that Gemalto will respond by this coming Friday (15th December).

Gemalto logoGemalto does not feature heavily in TechMarketView’s research. While it has global revenues of €3.1b (and 15K employees), according to Companies House, Gemalto UK had turnover of just shy of £100m in FY16 and c300 employees. And very little of that sits in our software and IT services space. In the UK, Gemalto is predominantly known as a card and chip manufacturer, for the personalisation and distribution of smart cards and magnetic stripe cards to the telecoms & banking industries (see Understanding the UK payments market). This footprint also took it, in 2012, into a six-year contract (with extension options) with the UK’s Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – see Gemalto beats IBM to driving license contract – for the supply of a range of official permits.

However, worldwide, Gemalto is about more than card manufacturing. Read more

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '21:58' - Tagged: acquisition   payments   M&A   identity   cybersecurity  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

**NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018: Infrastructure Services

btb

Breaking the Boundaries is TechMarketView’s research theme for 2018. In Infrastructure Services this means embracing newer technologies to push the limit of what has been possible to date. It also means rethinking the workforce to ensure new technologies can be fully exploited by the right experts, who are also capable of working in very different ways - DevOps being an obvious case in point.

For all the talk of digital transformation, however, the most important issue for many buyers will continue to be the cost of maintaining the systems they already have. The added layer of complexity is that these systems don’t just have to be able to do what they have always done; they will also become the foundations upon which the business is digitised. There will therefore be no let up in the pressure CIOs put on suppliers to deliver services for less, which is setting the tone for wider discussions: digitisation has got to be affordable.

2018 promises to be an interesting period with many opportunities for suppliers. Below we outline some of the developments we expect to see as the year unfolds.

The skills challenge will deepen, weakening some suppliers
We see suppliers that are not able to address the volume of opportunities in the pipeline because they simply do not have the people to deliver the services. Furthermore, we believe this issue will get worse in 2018 for some service providers as recognised specialists gravitate - and stick - to certain brands.

Risk that buyers become desensitised to co-innovation
Many suppliers now have digital transformation ‘labs’ where they can demonstrate their offerings and work on defining strategies and solutions – together with their clients. However, ‘veteran’ buyers may feel they have been here before, for example when there was a big push to put innovation into outsourcing contracts several years back.

Demand for sub-sector expertise will heighten
In 2018 we expect to see an evolution of demands from buyers. Increasingly they will want to see evidence of expertise and solutions within industries to the sub-sector level (this does not, however, mean they don’t understand the advantages of cross-pollinating ideas between sectors as well).

Automation of Infrastructure Services will step up a gear
Supplier openness to funding – and their desire to invest at speed and scale – means we will see many more end user organisations gain access to, and benefit from, automation technologies in 2018.

From help desk to customer service: AI makes it mark
Do we think 2018 will see the emergence of the perfect service desk? No – we are a way off that. However, as suppliers refine their technological approaches we expect to see incremental improvements that will help nibble away at what is a complex and widespread issue.

Infrastructure Services Predictions 2018 provides a deeper dive into these topics and the report is now available for download by eligible subscribers. If you’re not a current subscriber please contact Deb Seth for details of how to take one out.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '20:58'

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

**NEW RESEARCH**: Enterprise Software & Application Services Supplier Prospects 2018

logoAccelerating the pace of digital adoption at scale must be the priority to re-ignite sluggish Enterprise Software & Application Services market growth.

Click here to download the Enterprise Software & Application Services Supplier Prospects 2018 report for insight into how the top suppliers in the UK tech market are tackling this challenge.

While there have been encouraging signs that the newer digital enabling technologies are maturing and moving into ‘operations’ mode, buyers remain nervous and skeptical about the business value achievable which is a real give away that the tipping point has not yet been reached. The question then, is ‘what action can suppliers take?’.

That's the market context for the latest research from the ESASViews stream. The ESAS Supplier Prospects 2018 report provides insight and analysis into the challenges facing suppliers over the coming year, what they need to do to be successful and highlights ways to win in the longer term. The report also includes profiles of the top 10 ESAS suppliers to the UK market. 

If you are an existing ESASViews subscriber you’ll know you can access the report by clicking the link above. If you’d like to discuss an extension to your existing subscription or would like details of how to subscribe to TechMarketView, please email Deb Seth.

Posted by Angela Eager at '17:57' - Tagged: software   trends   rankings   ApplicationServices  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Prince's Trust...

PTPTVery little to do with tech but I know how many readers are also Prince's Trust supporters.

Today I had the honour of actually visiting the Richard Holway Room at the Prince's Trust Centre in Bristol. Joined in various meetings etc and took my daughter (who lives in Bristol) and Gemma Craggs (from the Prince's Trust) out to lunch. At my age that makes me a very lucky guy!

For those of you with good memories, the Richard Holway Room was given as a surprise 'gift/thankyou' at the Prince's Trust ICT40 Dinner that I organised in Oct 16 and as I announced that I was standing down from my various board appointments at the Trust after some 15 years.

But I am still very much involved.

Posted by Richard Holway at '17:53'

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

InsurTech returns to centre stage at Startupbootcamp

logoFebruary will see the start of Startupbootcamp’s third InsurTech programme, bringing 11 startups to the attention of potential partners, mentors and investors.

The insurance sector is embracing innovation like it is going out of fashion, with clear views as to how analytics, the Internet of Things and improved customer engagement can help a business that is facing the fragmentation of value chains, increased complexity in managing risk and narrowing returns. The eleven successful candidates for this 3-month insurance accelerator programme were chosen from among over 1,000 applicants and offer a wide range of skills to address a number of pressing industry issues.

Scandinavia is the source of four of the incubatees; offering a reputation and social verification tool for expanding P2P marketplaces (Deemly), a predictive AI solution to build smart insurance products (Flowenum), a platform to collect data from connected cars (vDexi) and an AgTech cloud-based decision platform that uses a wide variety of data sources (CyStellar). Israel delivers two candidates; a deep learning-based insurance portfolio analyser (Polywizz) and a system to improve the success of outgoing service and claims calls (PicUp). Other companies represented are; Derma 4.0, a German company enabling at-home skin cancer check-ups, Croatian vHeart, driving a machine-learning based telemedicine platform to support portable ECG machines, Indian ZASTI which predicts mechanical or component failure in commercial and industrial environments and US-based Zeguro, a cyber insurance platform to help SMEs mitigate the risk of loss. The sole UK-founded participant, ForestCar, offers car owners free airport parking in exchange for renting out their vehicles while they’re away on a trip.

Startupbootcamp has already run more than 20 accelerator programmes across the world, so they will be confident that they can sharpen the cutting edge that these candidates offer potential partners.

Posted by Peter Roe at '17:20' - Tagged: insurtech  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Sn-ap gets its wheels in motion

logoI couldn’t work out the rationale behind its name but now I know. This is the curiously monikered Walthamstow-based on-demand interurban coach start-up, Sn-ap, which I wrote about a couple of months ago (see Sn-ap raises funding from kindred spirits). When I met founding CEO Thomas Ableman very recently, he explained it thus: “We ‘snap’ people to places, we ‘snap’ people and operators together and we ‘snap’ people into groups for trips.” And there we go - literally! More …

Posted by Anthony Miller at '10:29' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

**NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018 - Enterprise Software

imageThe TechMarketView 2018 research theme of Breaking the Boundaries reflects the need for drastic change by enterprise software suppliers if they are to meet the needs of their customers who want straightforward ways to derive the insight needed to move their businesses forward. However, many customers are trapped within the confines of traditional applications where functional silos, hierarchical architectures and hard coded approaches to processes reinforce rigid business operating models.

Breaking customers out of this restrictive architecture and patterns of behaviour (while retaining much of the value of existing investments) is the task facing software suppliers. That task is made more difficult because although enterprises intuitively understand the need to invest to take their place in the data and event driven digital business world, many struggle to find a pathway, quantify the value of large scale digital investments and imagine new possibilities.

We see the following factors driving enterprise software activity during 2018:

Machine intelligence makeover to boost mainstream adoption.  Machine intelligence already needs a makeover if it is to generate substantial revenue through mainstream adoption because its presentation to market has been technically focussed and lacking sufficient proof points about the business benefits achievable when properly understood and implemented. We anticipate a maturity leap in 2018 and beyond as software suppliers apply themselves to the usability and business use cases of machine intelligence via intelligent applications.

Intelligent features will progress towards intelligent applications. Currently, we have intelligent features rather than intelligent applications (IAs). Chatbots and digital assistants are a long way from complete IAs but they are important in breaking open machine intelligence revenue streams, providing a non-threatening entry point into IA and machine intelligence for enterprises and individuals, while hinting at what could be achieved. What is particularly significant is that they will start to demonstrate how machine intelligence can augment individuals’ activities, showing how people and bots can operate as co-workers, while also serving as ‘land and expand’ opportunities for software suppliers.

Increased focus on distributing and monitising algorithms. Algorithms underpin intelligent applications, providing the capability to unlock the value from data. Understanding and deploying them is one thing, monetising them is another. Suppliers also have the opportunity to think about new value propositions and strategies around the creation and distribution of algorithms and other services and related delivery models such as Machine Learning-as-a-Service.

Commitment to convergence, collaboration and trusted chains. Operating successfully in the digital world requires organisations to look outside their four walls and take part in a highly networked, converging and collaborative ecosystem where is it critical to trust and be trusted. It also means exploring different types of collaboration such as swarm AI and hive minds.

Bringing on a new class of ‘super professionals’. Future skill requirements are one of the ‘known unknowns’ of digital transformation so fostering continual learning among employee bases to keep up to date with rapidly moving developments will be imperative. Organisations need ‘super professionals’ – individuals adept in the art of change who have the ability to repeatedly adapt to the evolving unknown in terms of skills and job functions. These super professionals need to be identified and nurtured now.

Enterprise Software Predictions 2018 provides a deeper dive into these topics and the report is now available for download by eligible subscribers. If you’re not a current subscriber please contact Deb Seth for details of how to take one out.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:57' - Tagged: software   predictions   machineintelligence  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

**NEW RESEARCH** Predictions 2018 – Application Services

imageBreaking the Boundaries is TechMarketView’s research theme for 2018 and goes to the core of what we will be seeing in Application Services (AS) during 2018.

Longer-term, survival and success for today’s Application Services (AS) providers will demand radical changes to current business models, service portfolios and mixes, skills strategies, delivery models, supply chains, pricing and contractual constructs and beyond. Driven by both rapidly developing technological possibilities and ever heightening customer expectations, traditional service tower boundaries are breaking quickly and convergence is accelerating fast in this domain.

In 2018, we expect to see the following major factors at play:

Self-cannibalisation accelerates as the full impact of resistance is felt. With competitive renewals now regularly resulting in 40% price cuts, vendors will increasingly choose to get ahead and seek to both best ameliorate the short-term pain while positioning to maximise for longer term returns. Observing Steve Jobs’ maxim of “If you don't cannibalize yourself, someone else will," will become mainstream practice.

 Convergence and hyper-specialisation are the new the watchwords. The AS paradigm is shifting to one of mass micro manufacturing – hyper-specialisation based approaches capable of offering bespoke customisation of platform based services at (or below) ‘apps store’ prices. This in turn is both challenging fundamentally the de facto delivery model that forms the core of most established AS suppliers and breaking down the boundaries between traditionally adjacent service towers.

Commercial ‘creativity’ comes to the fore. Suppliers will increasingly leverage their balance sheets and those of their ecosystem partners to offer buyers substantial co-investment incentives and bring forward anticipated longer-term benefits. Attitudes towards risk will also embolden, with outcomes of enterprise-wide digital transformation programmes underwritten in efforts to both loosen customer purse strings and land elusive bigger deals.

AS suppliers break into BPS. The new world of Business Process Services (BPS) is developing apace. It is also becoming a key battleground between AS suppliers seeking additional sources of revenue through product extension and established BPO players looking to reinvent themselves for the Business 4.0 age.

Acquisitions regain their mojo. Having fallen back significantly this year from record breaking levels of acquisitive activity in 2016, AS suppliers will be back out in the market and shopping with gusto as we head through 2018 and beyond as they seek alternative sources of improved top-line performance and to build out the capabilities now demanded for success.

More detail on these predictions can be found in Application Services Predictions 2018. Readers who don’t have a subscription can contact Deb Seth for details.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:08' - Tagged: predictions   ApplicationServices  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Southampton’s Senseye raises money to master machine monitoring

logoThe received wisdom is that it costs about ten-times more to correct a failure than prevent it. No surprise, then, that predictive maintenance technology is all the rage in engineering and associated industries, and startups abound.

For example, London-based IoT/analytics startup, ThingTrax, can post-fit sensors to legacy machinery with software to alert operators of potential problems (see ThingTrax gets £250k to make dumb machines smarter). Then there’s Oxfordshire-based IoT startup Shepherd Network, which has developed an analytics platform to monitor machinery and raise alerts if problems occur (see Shepherd gets dosh to watch over mechanical flock).

And now there’s Southampton-based Senseye (play on Japanese ‘sensei’ – teacher), which has just raised £3.5m in a Series A funding round to further develop its predictive maintenance software. The round was led by MMC Ventures, and supported by Breed Reply, IQ Capital and Momenta Partners. Breed and IQ were also involved in a £1.3m seed round in November 2016.

Founded in 2015, Senseye’s USP is that it is a software-only solution, which is true enough if you are already collecting maintenance and operational data. If not, I guess you call in ThingTrax!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:56' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

K3 shuffles the product deck

logoAfter a traumatic year or so which saw the company swing from a net profit of £4.1m to a net loss of £8.8m, a dash for cash, and a refresh of the top team, new management at buy-and-build value-added reseller and managed services supplier K3 Business Technology Group has started reworking the business lines.

In outline, K3 is to merge its core Microsoft Dynamics businesses into a single unit, and likewise its software product development and own IP management functions. This will incur a further £2.5m write-down on deferred capitalised R&D costs. No further cost reductions are expected.

At first blush this looks more like tinkering round the edges rather than the ‘hard calls’ I suggested a couple of months ago that management needs to take in order to streamline and focus the business (see K3 – time for the hard calls). K3 has too many ‘moving parts’ which dilute management attention from its core Dynamics-based business and inflate the cost base.

Having reset its FY to end on 30th November (was 30th June), management signalled that trading for the balance of the year was ‘in line’ and will reveal more detail on its progress at its ‘extended’ FY results, though we’ll have to wait until the end of March for those.

There really is so much more to do – and time really is of the essence.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:13' - Tagged: trading   restructuring  

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Tuesday 12 December 2017

NOMINATIONS OPEN – GREAT BRITISH SCALEUP EVENT MARCH 2018

logoWe are delighted to announce the third TechMarketView Great British Scaleup Event will be held in London on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th March 2018.

The Great British Scaleup programme is already helping UK tech SMEs achieve a step-change in growth, through a closed-door, 90-minute workshop session with TechMarketView analysts and executive advisors from ScaleUp Group, the team of successful tech entrepreneurs that have been responsible for accelerating growth and achieving over £4b in successful exits at many well-known tech companies.

logoThe workshop will assess your company’s potential and scalability using the ScaleUp Growth Index®, a proprietary scorecard which identifies areas of your business that might be an inhibitor to achieving extraordinary growth. Unlike traditional company scorecards which measure past financial performance, the ScaleUp Growth Index® assesses your company’s future scale-up potential. The ScaleUp Growth Index® gets you better prepared to undertake the next stage of your scale-up journey. You can use the Index to compare yourself with peers and track your progress as you implement your plans.

logoIn addition, every applicant will be entitled to an optional initial infrastructure assessment at no charge and with no obligation by managed cloud and infrastructure services firm Cogeco Peer 1, the Enterprise Cloud & Infrastructure Services Technology Partner for the Great British Scaleup programme.

There are 4 workshop slots available on each day. To nominate yourself or a company you know, just fill in the Nomination Form on the TechMarketView website here by Wednesday 31st January 2018. There is no charge to participate, nor any obligation to follow through on the outcomes.

If you have any queries about the Great British Scaleup programme, please drop an email to gbs@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '06:00'

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Monday 11 December 2017

Official: Nick Wilson to leave DXC Technology

dxcDXC Technology has today confirmed that Nick Wilson will be leaving the company. Wilson, who joined earlier this year when the DXC brand was launched in April, will have done a year with the firm by the time he has completed his notice period.

We understand he resigned a few weeks ago but by the time he leaves Wilson will have had the chance to make his mark as the company goes through this period of significant change. nickWe know Wilson has spent considerable time with customers, trying to reassure them about the merger (DXC was created through the merger of CSC and HPE Enterprise Services), but also articulating how DXC might help them on their quest for so-called digital transformation.

The role won’t have been without its challenges, to say the least, but that’s something Wilson is used to. He has run through the UK IT services industry like a ‘stick of Blackpool rock’. He has been GM of IBM Global Services UK&I (1996-2006), MD of Unisys UK (2006-2007), President & CEO EMEA Outsourcing at CSC (2007-2009), MD and VP UK&I for HP (2009-2013), and MD South Pacific (Australia and New Zealand) for HPE (2013-2017).

DXC has been ploughing through its “cost actions” and strategic objectives this year – see DXC hits cost action milestones in Q1 and DXC Q218: Integration cost savings on track – meaning the past few months will have been a period of challenging change for DXCers. Clearly Wilson feels he has done what he can at DXC and that now is the right time to part company.

The company says it expects to announce a new lead for the UK early in 2018. Meanwhile, we fully expect Wilson to pop up elsewhere in due course.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '18:30' - Tagged: people   leadershipchanges  

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Monday 11 December 2017

What will Apple do with Shazam?

ShazamApple has just confirmed the widespread rumours in the media over the last few days, that it is to acquire the UK’s Shazam. Shazam, for those that don’t know, is a service which allows you to identify any song (on the radio, TV etc). 1b downloads of the Shazam App have been made todate and it has hundreds of millions of users.

Founded way back in 1999, Shazam was launched in the UK in 2002 as a service known as ‘2580’ (the shortcode you dialled on your mobile phone to access the song recognition service) and then on the iPhone in 2008. Shazam was, at one time, counted amongst the UK’s Unicorns - ie tech companies valued at $1b+. But, if the valuations suggested in the media are correct, Apple has paid a more modest $400m. Yet again, Shazam is a great service which has had difficulty monetising its product. Perhaps if they had moved into steaming music their fortunes would have been better.  But, I guess many would consider a valuation of $400m pretty good for a loss-making company with revenues of c£40m last year!

SnapChat and Spotify were both said to be in the bidding for Shazam. It’s not impossible that Apple has bought it to keep it out of the hands of their competitors. Afterall, Spotify is the main competitor of Apple Music.

It remains to be seen how Apple will use Shazam but one can imagine it being integrated into its new Home Hub  (as in ‘Siri - What’s that song?’) or even as a subtext on your iPhone telling you what song is being played. You could then buy a download from iTunes.

Or maybe Apple will just put it in a drawer and let it slowly die?

Posted by Richard Holway at '17:30'

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Monday 11 December 2017

Agilisys extends contracts with multiple clients

Agilisys logoIT and business process services provider, Agilisys, has signed three extensions to contracts with long-term clients: Westminster City Council; Legal Aid Agency; and Save the Children UK. Agilisys signed the original deals with the organisations in 2014 (see Agilisys bags Westminster customer service deal), 2014 (see Agilisys: into central government with legal aid agency), and 2013.

We spoke with Agilisys about the nature of these extensions. They are an interesting case study in the evolution of customer service delivery and reflect how the market is now procuring and managing services. Read more…

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '12:47' - Tagged: public+sector   centralgovernment   localgovernment   contract   bps   callcentres   customerservices   digital  

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Monday 11 December 2017

Mercia on soccer kick with Realtime Games funding

logoClearly there are some keen football fans among the investment managers at Mercia Technologies, given its propensity to invest in soccer-related games developers.

A couple of years ago Mercia kicked some dosh at Preston-based games developer Soccer Manager (see here) and now Mercia has backed London-based Realtimes Games to the tune of £600k. Founed in 2013, the startup provides a real-time fantasy football game called UFL (Ultimate Fan Live) which apparently mirrors every player’s move during a match (which for me begs the question, where’s the fantasy element?).

Anyway, I’m more a snooker fan myself (go Ronnie!).

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:11' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 11 December 2017

Predictions 2018 – Business Process Services

Breaking the boundaries graphicTechMarketViews’s theme for 2018 is “Breaking the Boundaries” which fits neatly with what we expect to see in UK Business Process Services (BPS) next year.

IP led services of BPaaS and platform based BPS are already breaking down barriers between BPS providers and enterprise software and application services players. Partnering is becoming an ever-common feature with suppliers and buyers increasingly moving away from a traditional outsourced relationship towards one based on shared risk and reward, pursuing mutually agreed outcomes. Consulting and automation technologies are breaking the boundaries of the front, middle and back offices, allowing processes to be redesigned and integrated throughout an organisation.

We see specifically the following factors playing out in 2018:

Brexit - A ‘glass half-full’ for BPS? - At a very minimum the Government will need new services dealing with immigration, customs, trade and agriculture. These services will need to be scoped and procured very quickly and will lean heavily on SITS providers to make this happen. This provides the opportunity for suppliers to bring ‘ideas to the table’ and contribute to solving some of these challenges.

Partnering replaces outsourcing - the move to strategic BPS - Relationships between suppliers and buyers continue to evolve with new commercial and operating models becoming prevalent. Relationships are less about outsourcing and more about creating genuinely transformational partnerships.

The maturing of Intelligent Automation - Consulting companies and BPS players are partnering with and acquiring capability across a range of technologies to develop Intelligent Automation ecosystems. As the technology matures you can expect to see greater consolidation and integration between consulting capability, RPA and AI. An integrated approach offers a genuinely transformational environment.

‘Virtual BPO’ - a game changer for UK BPS - Combining strategic consulting expertise and intelligent automation technologies will lead to the creation of ‘virtual BPO’ players – a potential game changer for BPS.  ‘Virtual BPO’ has no legacy of labour intensive operating models with which to contend and can offer those clients who are ready for it a ‘blank sheet of paper’ for process redesign and delivery.

Moving beyond the ‘mega deal’ with commodity services - Mega-deals within the UK BPS market will continue to remain in short supply and a marketplace moving towards smaller opportunities, with shorter contracts and greater flexibility, will require a more productised approach. This is already causing an increased focus on suppliers developing replicable propositions that are fast to deploy, technically simple, commercially easy to understand and deliver clients quick value.

GDPR – the risk and the reward - Some organisations have made good progress and have been gearing up for years but there remain many that are not fully prepared. With many of the issues and permissions already automated and integrated within existing business processes there is huge opportunity for BPS providers to help.

More detail on these predictions can be found in the research note Business Process Services Predictions 2018. Readers who don’t have a subscription can contact Deb Seth for details.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:06' - Tagged: bps   predictions  

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Monday 11 December 2017

TechMarketView research theme 2018: Breaking the Boundaries

Breaking the Boundaries graphicEvery year TechMarketView chooses a theme that we believe sets the tone for the key trends that will determine the shape of the UK tech market and the fortunes of its players for the year and beyond.

In 2016, we were all ‘Surfing the Waves of Disruption’ as competition—especially from new market entrants—forced the pace of digitalisation in traditional business enterprises, including the technology industry itself. Then in 2017, we were ‘Unlocking the Intelligence’; this theme acknowledged the complexity of true digitisation, involving the need to extract value from vast swathes of data created by both legacy and ‘change the business applications’.

In 2018, TechMarketView’s research focus remains on digital transformation, as we watch the story further evolve. Our theme – Breaking the Boundaries – emphasises that, as organisations progress with their digital transformation agendas, they can no longer be insular. They must look beyond their organisational boundaries in ways that they never have before. To fully embrace the possibilities presented by digitalisation, enterprises and government organisations – and the ICT suppliers supporting them - must throw off the shackles limiting progression. They must look beyond their own four walls when it comes to skills & resources, to data, to technology, and to innovation.

With digital skills & resources scarce, creative ways to pull in digital talent must be considered. As well as traditional routes such as partnering (which need to become more innovative), that might also include the use of public freelance marketplaces or crowdsourcing. Such an approach will also allow the flexibility and agility to respond to rapidly changing digital requirements.

In a digital world, organisations are increasingly harnessing the power of data for competitive advantage. So, drawing on data from external sources – particularly if it is difficult for others to access – that can be exploited to advance organisational aims, is highly valuable. Those sources might be public, but they might also come from forming innovative – even exclusive - partnerships with data owners.

Gone are the days when all technology assets sat within internal datacentres. As organisations increasingly adopt as-a-service models, there is an increasing reliance on technology in the cloud. The internet-of-things adds another dimension. Now, the source of more and more data is the raft of sensors sitting on everything from shipping containers to street lights. As organisations adapt their modus operandi to take advantage of the data collected, they become increasingly reliant on third party technology sitting in far harsher, and less secure, environments than a server room. The supplier ecosystem within which ICT suppliers reside will become increasingly complex – with more potential points of failure.

And when it comes to organisations ensuring that their use of technology is advancing at an appropriate pace, innovation can also come from ‘outside’. For suppliers and end user organisations alike, drawing on ideas from academia, hackathons, or innovation hubs to keep ahead of the competition is increasingly common and will grow in popularity.

Crucially, to cope with these changes, our view is that traditional organisations – both end users and technology firms - must push their own boundaries culturally, and adopt an entirely different mindset. ‘Breaking the Boundaries has wide implications and the theme will be picked up in each of our research streams throughout the year ahead.

Over the next few days, TechMarketView’s Research Directors will be publishing the 2018 Predictions for their research focus areas: Enterprise Software, Infrastructure Services, Application Services, Business Process Services and in the verticals, Public Sector and Financial Services. They will each explain how our 2018 - Breaking the Boundaries - research theme applies to their area of the market. Today, we start with insight from our BusinessProcessViews Research Director, Marc Hardwick: see Predictions 2018: Business Process Services.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:00' - Tagged: predictions  

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Monday 11 December 2017

Save the date: TechMarketView Evening 2018!

TMVE imagesWe are delighted to announce that the 2018 Evening with TechMarketView will take place on Thursday 13th September 2018.

This will be our sixth annual TechMarketView Presentation and Dinner and in line with our 2018 theme we will of course be ‘Breaking the Boundaries’.

It promises to be another enjoyable evening of analyst insight and quality networking over drinks and dinner. The venue will once again be the magnificent Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in Portland Place, London.

So, mark your calendars now and email tx2 Events to express interest in the event and receive notification when tickets go on sale.

If your organisation would be interested in sponsorship opportunities at the 2018 event please contact Tola Sargeant for further details of the various packages available.

We look forward to seeing you at RIBA in September 2018! 

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:48'

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Monday 11 December 2017

MishiPay checks out £1.6m funding

logoThere are ever-increasing ways for us to pay for our purchases through personal technologies – and London-based startup MishiPay has developed another. Basically, using your mobile you scan the barcode of things you want to buy and pay for them all through the app, stuff them in your bag and then walk out the shop without getting your collar felt – in theory at least.

This all depends on everything in the shop having an RFID tag, which MishiPay’s software automatically disables once the item is paid for, so it’s not necessarily a solution for every retailer – at least, not yet.

Founded in 2015, MishiPay has raised £1.6m in a seed funding round led by Nauta Capital. The startup is currently running proof-of-concept trials with a few European retailers, and is supported by a number of partners including Cisco.

I wonder if anyone is doing any research on the psychology of self-serve, self-pay systems? I can see how a shopper could easily be tempted into ‘picking and scanning’ without the reality check of seeing everything laid out at the checkout giving them time to reconsider a purchase. An opportunity to take impulse buying to new heights?

By the way, If you really want to know what’s happening in the vibrant UK Payments market, then you must read our latest FinancialServicesViews report, Understanding the UK Payments market. Contact our Client Services team (info@techmarketview.com) for more information.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:39' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 11 December 2017

First Derivatives buys to develop telco vertical

logoFirst Derivatives, the supplier of fast Big Data solutions is continuing its development of vertical markets where its high-speed Kx database technology can support sophisticated and near real-time analytics.

A major plank of First Derivatives’ growth strategy is to hire, acquire and partner to infiltrate its approach, and database, into an increasing number of verticals ranging from retail to Formula One (See here and work back). The telco sector is a logical target. This vertical has a lot of data, an increasingly fickle customer base and a big problem about fraud and revenue assurance. Service quality and network optimisation are also key issues.

This time, FD is buying privately held Telconomics 09 S.L., a Spanish provider of telco analytics software. The outlay is small, at up to €2.5m and provides FD with a software platform to support network development and planning which will be added to FD’s existing Kx Telco solutions suite which supports operations and marketing.

Half-year results published in November showed revenue up 21%. This growth included 30% growth from its business in MarTech (Marketing Technology, supporting the retail sector), the company’s first foray away from its FinTech base. Pre-tax profits were down 10% due to product development and investment in new verticals.

The company looks to be building a sound base for sustainable growth and although this could mean a deferral of profits, it doesn’t seem to be harming the share price which is up 80% over the year.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:28' - Tagged: acquisition   analytics   big+data   telco   M&A  

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Monday 11 December 2017

Imperial’s Touchstone joins Dearly Departed

logopicAs presaged in October, Touchstone (nee Imperial) Innovations, the AIM-listed, university-focused IP commercialisation business born of London’s Imperial College, delisted from AIM this morning after succumbing to a takeover bid by peer IP Group (see IPO vs IVO – Game, Set and Match).

Touchstone was a prolific investor in UK tech, and a keen support of TechMarketView ‘Little British Battlers’ Concirrus and Featurespace.

Let’s hope the new ‘whole’ will be greater than the sum of its parts!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:46' - Tagged: delisting  

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Saturday 09 December 2017

Bitcoins - "Buy shovels..."

BitMy article yesterday - Holway on Bitcoins - produced an interesting postbag. To those who asked “Should I buy -or sell - bitcoins?”, my answer is simple. Not only do I not give financial advice but a flutter on the 3.30pm @ Newbury might be a better bet…

As an aside, in my article I made the point that “just like in the Gold Rush, it might ultimately be that the real money is made by those making and selling the shovels!”. The Times today reinforced that point with an article entitled Bitcoin network ‘is using more energy than the world can sustain’. A report by Digiconomist ‘the cryptocurrency analytics company’ had claimed that the power consumed by computers mining for bitcoins was now 31TWh pa. The whole of Ireland uses just 23TWh pa. The article quotes ‘one facility in Beijing runs 25,000 machines in eight buildings with a daily energy bill of $40,000’.

That’s just the energy dimension. Just think of the orders to all those tech companies supplying the processing power. Eg chipmakers like Nvidia, Intel, AMD etc.

As I said ‘Buy shovels…’

Posted by Richard Holway at '12:05'

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Friday 08 December 2017

** New Research ** Alibaba Cloud and Doob highlight Vodafone network/cloud expertise

** New Research ** Alibaba Cloud and Doob highlight Vodafone network/cloud expertiseVodafone’s November analyst event saw a trio of its most valued customers line up to describe their experiences with the telco, including Chinese public cloud provider Alibaba Cloud, 3D modelling and digitisation specialist Doob and UK insurance company Admiral Insurance (see Vodafone reveals Admiral telematics tie up).

TechMarketView subscribers can read our HotViewsExtra report Alibaba Cloud and Doob highlight Vodafone network/cloud expertise to find out what they said and how Vodafone’s combination of connectivity and cloud hosting is supporting their European business expansion.

If you would like to access the report and are not currently a subscriber to our research, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '10:02' - Tagged: cloudservices   Vodafone   networkinfrastructure   AlibabaCloud   Doob  

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Friday 08 December 2017

New funds to help Graduway build alumni networks

Graduway logoUK-headquartered Graduway (Headhunter Systems Ltd) has raised $12.7m (c. £9.4m) in growth funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE).

Graduway develops a software platform designed to help education and non-profit organisations engage with their alumni and supporters. It launched in 2013 with $1.1m seed funding from BTG Pactual, Gigi Levy and RSL Venture Partners. The SGE deal, which represents Graduway's largest investment to date, follows $2m debt financing from SaaS Capital earlier this year.

The business intends to use the new funding to accelerate its already rapid growth through expansion of its US office, bringing in new employees across the organisation and continuing to invest in product development. Graduway claims over 500 customers in more than 40 different countries. These include high profile universities in the UK and USA, including University of Oxford, University College London, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins University.

As we discussed in UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts, universities are increasingly using technology to improve the recruitment and retention of students, but this extends to alumni management as well. Alumni funding is an important source of income for universities. The Ross-Case Report 2017 found that UK universities invested over £43m in alumni relations in 2015-16 and of the c.£1bn philanthropic income secured in that year, approximately 30% came from former students.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:46' - Tagged: education   funding   startup   university  

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Friday 08 December 2017

Deep chat analysis helps Chattermill secure funds

logoThere’s no shortage of deep learning-based startups around and one of the latest to join the party is London-based Chattermill. The clue to what it does is in the name because it applies deep learning techniques to customer experience analysis, converting customer feedback into insight to support decision making. It has customers such as Transferwise, HelloFresh and Just Eat on its books.

It’s a good area to target as there is plenty of customer chatter available and deep learning algorithms are certainly greedy for data if they are to perform to their best. Chattermill's proposition has secured it £600,000 in seed funding from Entrepreneur First, Avonmore Developments and angel investors, including Jeff Kelisky, the CEO of Seedrs. This sum takes total investment to close to £1m - Entrepreneur First invested in the company back in 2015. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:34' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Friday 08 December 2017

Huddle keeping schtum as CEO, COO & CTO quit

Huddle logoWell, it seems the saga continues at collaboration software company, Huddle. I just happened to spot on my LinkedIn newsfeed that CEO Morten Brøgger had departed and joined secure messaging firm, Wire. Investigating, Business Insider came up trumps again – see Huddle CEO & CO quit three months after acquisition. It seems that its not just Huddle’s CEO that has quit; it’s also the COO – Rasmus Holst (who has also gone to Wire – as its Chief Revenue Officer) – and the CTO, Stuart Cochran (who has left to take up the same role at Bridge EU, a firm which matches students to university courses).

There’s plenty in TechMarketView’s research archive on the Huddle story so far – see Huddle sold; employee shareholders lose out, which we wrote just after the company was sold to San Francisco-based private equity firm Turn/River three months ago, and having spoken to Brøgger just prior. With this latest turn of events, there’s a familiar feel, i.e. according to Business Insider, “Huddle has not responded to a request for comment”. That means yet more uncertainty for clients, which will already have been a bit spooked by its financial troubles; have successors been appointed, and what is Huddle’s future? Looking at Companies House, Ninian Solutions (which trades as Huddle) should have filed its accounts for FY16 by end September. They are now overdue, as is its confirmation statements. It’s all adding up to a worrying picture.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:29' - Tagged: software   management   sme   collaboration   leadershipchanges  

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Friday 08 December 2017

Avora's next gen BI service secures funding

logoLondon-based Avora has secured £1.5m in funding from Crane Venture Partners and angel investors Steve Garnett and Peter Simon for its next gen BI and machine learning as a service offering.

Machine learning services come in all shapes, sizes and levels of sophistication, from the cloud platforms and libraries from Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft, IBM, to Salesforce’s Einstein, communities where developers can share and distribute their algorithms such as Algorithmia, through to more entry level all in one services such as those from Logical Glue and Actual Intelligence. This type of service - where the supplier takes on the task of applying algorithms to company data assets to produce output organisations can use - is becoming more popular and tackles the shortage of data science skills. Avora operates in this part of the market.

Avora aggregates data from multiple sources within a business, detecting anomalies and trends and alerting users to important changes. The proposition is clearly appealing as customers include Boohoo and Ocado and several other brand names. There are questions potential users of these type of services need to ask around integrations, normalisation and how unclean data is handled, as well as discerning whether the algorithms are appropriate for the individual companies’ data and desired outputs, but the types of services offered by the likes of Avora do make machine learning accessible to more organisations. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:12' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Friday 08 December 2017

Subdued month for European tech M&A

chartEuropean TMT M&A activity was more subdued in November with the number of deals 7% lower than the 2017 monthly average, according to latest data from rom corporate finance firm Regent Partners. The aggregate value of deals in November was also lower at $12b in November from $13b in October. Valuation multiples remain healthy with the aggregate Price/Sales ratio unchanged from October at 1.3x although the Price/EBITDA ratio was down from 10.9x in October to 10.0x.

In the UK, November was notable for acquisition of startups, including that of London-based, Accomable, a travel listing platform aimed at the disabled, by Airbnb (see Airbnb accommodates Accomable). Meanwhile, a few months after employee engagement and loyalty platform Perkbox raised more funding (see Perkbox gets further £6.5m backing from Draper Esprit), it went on to acquire London-based digital rewards platform startup, Loyalty Bay (see Perkbox claims digital rewards with Loyalty Bay). And we also lost another UK startup to the Chinese, with the acquisition of London-based social media startup, Twizoo, by Skyscanner, the Edinburgh-headquartered ‘unicorn’ flight search platform acquired a year ago for £1.4b by Chinese peer Ctrip.

Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can read our regular quarterly summaries of corporate activity in the UK software and IT services sector in IndustryViews Corporate Activity, or just search on ‘acquisition’ in the UKHotViews archive.

For further information, please contact our Client Services team at info@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:37' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Friday 08 December 2017

Holway on Bitcoins

BitcoinA year ago you could have bought your loved one a Bitcoin for Christmas for <$1000. Now that Bitcoin might cost you $20,000. That is double what it was as recently as the start of Dec 17. Every media article on Bitcoin is littered with the word ‘Bubble’ and references to 'Tulips' and 'South Sea Bubbles'. References to the Dot.com Bubble are a bit far-fetched as valuations never rose anything like that of Bitcoin.

Last month I was told that the value invested in cryptocurrencies was then $245b. It’s probably nearer $500b now. An analysis had shown that most of the Bitcoin transactions to date were from speculators. Those few remaining transactions were mainly from drug dealers, ransom demanders and others wanting to hide their identities for nefarious reasons .

The only way in which the number of Bitcoins can be increased is by mining by computer. Apparently vast sums are now being invested in data centres to undertake this mining. Just like the Gold Rush, it might ultimately be that the real money is made by those making and selling the shovels!

In 1999, I remember serious financiers and fund managers all knew that internet prices were in a bubble. But they didn’t want to be the only ones not at the party. They knew the music would end someday but didn’t want to be on the dancefloor - or, to mix my metaphors ‘holding the baby’ - when it did. I get similar vibes now as reports show that more serious financiers and financial institutions are now entering the Bitcoin market.

I have little doubt that the current Bitcoin Bubble will burst.

However, the Blockchain concept behind it is sound. Just like in the dot.com era, the ‘Froth Stocks’ collapsed but the internet went on to even greater success than any speculator at the time had envisaged. Just like the Wild West, Blockchain needs some globally recognised  regulations before it becomes mainstream.

You have been warned…

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:36'

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Friday 08 December 2017

Backers insure Cytora’s risk engine for £4.4m

logoWhen I wrote about Cambridge University spin-out Cytora’s Series A funding round about a year ago (see Investors help Cytora 'unlock the intelligence'), the startup had the lofty ambition to ‘generate data to help companies measure change in the world’, using AI and machine learning to ‘collect raw data from millions of different web sources, detect and geolocate real-world events in real time.

Cytora has since focused its risk analysis endeavours specifically on the insurance sector, to which end its has raised a further £4.4m, backed by insurer QBE and Starr Global Holdings, chaired by ex-AIG CEO, Hank Greenberg. Cambridge Innovation Capital also participated, as did existing investor Parkwalk Advisors, along with other angels. Cytora is preparing to deploy its risk engine initially with its insurer backers.

Focus is good.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:11' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 08 December 2017

* NEW RESEARCH * New high for UK-Irish tech funding

chartThe steady increase in venture capital funding of UK and Irish technology companies continued in Q3 to set a new record, according to the latest data from corporate finance firm, Ascendant. During Q3, £1.69b was invested in 217 deals of more than £0.5m by 268 investors at an average deal size of £7.8m. This represents a 34% yoy increase in the number of deals and a 130% yoy increase in the total quarterly value.

The latest edition of IndustryViews Venture Capital includes nearly 30 pages summarising significant venture funding in UK tech companies during the quarter.

Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can download our latest quarterly review of UK software and IT services M&A in the just released report, IndustryViews Venture Capital Q3 2017.

For further information, please contact our Client Services team at info@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:40' - Tagged: funding  

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Thursday 07 December 2017

MyTop revisited ten years on...

MytopI’m sure most of you get reminders of your posts from ‘X’ years ago via Facebook. I suspect few of you get reminders from TEN years ago. Afterall, Facebook had <100m users then and most were in the US. The iPhone had only just been launched and Nokia and Blackberry ruled the mobile world.

But today I had a reminder of my MyTop post from 10 years ago. Actually I had introduced MyTop at my Prince’s Trust ICT Leaders Presentation at BT Tower in Sept 2007 but had posted it to my Facebook account in Dec 07 when I had written an ‘Open Letter’ to Mark Zukerberg. See MyTop - It could be you! He never replied.

 ‘MyTop’ was all about users having a ‘portal’ - one ‘mobile portal’ or 'MobiTop' - to access everything they might ever want to do. The ‘Closed Garden’. The One App you signed into and never left. Facebook could really have been ‘IT'.

I was reminded of this on a recent visit to Silicon Valley in California when we discussed the use of WeChat in China. WeChat is now the ‘MyTop’ in China. Users never leave it! WeChat has nearly 1b monthly active users and is owned by TenCent. It is called the Chinese “App for Everything”. Many Chinese make all their payments via WeChat. The person I was speaking to couldn’t buy a cup of coffee in China because he didn’t have WeChat enabled!

The ‘MyTop’ concept is hugely powerful. I now do all my ‘purchase’ searches in Amazon - not Google. Just think of the power Amazon could have if it became ‘MyTop’. But, it is a long, long way from being the ONLY site I use.

If only Zuckerberg had taken my advice back in 2007, he could have been even richer - even more successful and powerful - than he is already. 

Posted by Richard Holway at '15:53'

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Thursday 07 December 2017

Doleful H1 for Imaginatik

logoImaginatik didn’t have a great end to its last financial year and disappointing H1 results for the innovation software and consultancy company show the current year isn’t going too well either. In the six months to September 30, revenue dropped to £1.73m from the £1.84m of the year ago period and while sales were loaded towards Q2 – providing visibility into H2 – deferred revenue also fell back to £2.62m (vs. £3.35m). The loss after tax deepened to £0.37m vs. £0.26m.

Bright spots were customer renewals, 10 new customers signed during the period (vs. 4 last H1) and the first customers signed up through its channel partner who came on board towards the end of 2016 (3 of the 10 new customers). The overall momentum has apparently carried through to H2.

Due to the nature of the business, there is a lag between sales and revenue at Imaginatik and with its revenue levels this can make life difficult. The partnership with the still unnamed global IT and Services supplier is starting to generate business though so there is scope for improvement and greater volume of business – that is something for the company to build on. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:57' - Tagged: results   software   consultancy  

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Thursday 07 December 2017

Intuit lines up time sheet TSheet for acquisition

logoIntuit is putting up $340m (cash and other considerations) to acquire time tracking and scheduling provider TSheets in order to help build out the QuickBooks ecosystem.

It should be an easy slot-in as TSheets is already integrated with QuickBooks and the two companies have 12,000 shared customers. What is more surprising is that this will be one of Intuit’s largest acquisitions although with estimated revenue of around $40m (according to Forbes) TSheets will not have a material effect on Intuit’s 2018 revenue. The deal is not expected to close until H2 2018.

In our view, the rationale for the acquisition is part of the work to build out QuickBooks as an open platform, a goal that was emphasised when we met the Intuit exec team earlier this year. As part of that, Intuit also aims to bring together the most important applications its customers use and to personalise user experiences and reduce manual work by leveraging customer data. TSheets ticks those boxes –as well as international expansion (see Intuit hangs on to small business, ecosystem and international expansion).

As far as we are aware, TSheets does not have embedded machine intelligence capability but we can see that being grafted on as post acquisition integration kicks in. QuickBooks Self Employed is a poster child for Intuit’s embedded machine learning and the TSheets Time Capture function will become a new offering within Intuit’s Small Business and Self-Employed Group, which TSheets CEO Matt Rissell will lead. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:15' - Tagged: acquisition   software  

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Thursday 07 December 2017

IMImobile Targets NHS Efficiency Drive

LogoCloud communications software and services provider IMImobile is making a play for the NHS IT services market through the acquisition of UK patient communications specialist Healthcare Communications. The move is aimed at enhancing IMImobile’s public sector position through establishing a foothold in the £1.6b healthcare segment.

The NHS has identified better use of digital patient communications as an important driver of efficiency savings as it works to close a £30b funding gap by 2020/21. The Department of Health estimates that missed hospital appointments cost the NHS around £750m a year. Healthcare Communications, which turned over £3.6m last year and provides services to 140 NHS trusts, has established technologies which address the “Did Not Attend” problem. IMImobile believes adding these capabilities to its products and solutions that will provide significant cross-sell and up-sell opportunities in the NHS IT services arena (read the latest UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts Report for further insight into the healthcare market).

Under the terms of the deal, IMImobile will pay an initial consideration of £9.0m in cash on completion withh additional deferred payments of up to a maximum aggregate value of £6.0m, split over two years based on a mix of gross profit growth and EBITDA targets. The deferred consideration will be satisfied either in cash or shares. It is being funded from a mix of existing cash resources and a new £12.0m debt facility agreed with Silicon Valley Bank.

This latest announcement comes hot on the heels of the purchase last month of US messaging provider Sumotext (see here). It also marks a continuation of a heavily acquisition led expansion strategy which has accounted for three quarters of the near 50% top-line growth achieved in its last financial year (see here). This business has grown consistently at double-digit rates while generating cash. There is every reason to expect that this rate of progress will continue.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:12' - Tagged: cloud   mobile   acquisiiton  

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Thursday 07 December 2017

RM trading ahead of expectations

RMRM the education specialist, expects results for FY2017 to be ahead of expectations siting progress made in the second half of the year on a number of fronts.

RM acquired the education and care business of the Connect Group earlier this year. As we suggested at the time synergies between RM’s Resources division and Connect were likely to be strong with RM able to improve its position in the secondary school education resources market and thus take a greater chunk of school consumables spending (RM acquires Connect Group’s education business for £56.5m). Today’s trading update shows that synergies are now expected to exceed the original £2m.

RM is making progress across its three divisions – RM Resources benefited from organic growth in the second half of the year (in contrast to H1), performance at RM Education (SITS) has held up following its 2016 restructuring and RM Results (e-assessments) was trading in line with expectations, having had a good summer.

UK schools remain a tough market in which to operate, struggling with a decline in funding per pupil and uncertainty about future funding settlements. The decision to be bold earlier in the year and make its largest acquisition to date appears to be delivering for RM.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:08' - Tagged: education  

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Thursday 07 December 2017

Henchman provides tonic for flat Jinn

logoHat-tip to TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear for another great piece of investigative journalism, unearthing the apparent denouement of the demise of ‘quick response’ courier app, Jinn, which shut its doors in October (see Jinn runs out of tonic). The failure of Jinn reportedly left 1,800 couriers both out of work and out of pocket.

It appears that the Jinn app and brand has been acquired by up-market quick response delivery app Henchman and will be rolled out as part of its new ‘on demand concierge brand’ next year. Henchman was founded in 2012 as a posh people’s quick response delivery app and was acquired by supply chain logistics firm Rico earlier this year. Rico, which started life as Slough-based Ricochet Couriers, was itself acquired by US-based logistics giant TVS in 2012.

Frankly, trying to break into today’s ‘on demand’ delivery market is a mug’s game. The giants like Uber and Amazon are already all over it, threatening established services such as Just Eat and Deliveroo in their own segments. Trying to go niche and charge a premium fee just can’t work as there won’t be the volume to sustain a stand-alone business without a substantial backer (like Rico for Henchman) behind it. Others have also tried and failed – such as London-based Dispatch. Avoid!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:08' - Tagged: acquisition   startup  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

*OUT NOW* UK Public Sector Market Trends & Forecasts to 2020

3Bs Bodies Brexit BudgetDid you miss it? Last week, TechMarketView’s PublicSectorViews team published its annual review of the key trends impacting the UK public sector software and IT services market. The report gives our detailed analysis of how those trends will impact each of the subsectors – central government, local government, health, education, police and defence – through to the end of the decade.

We highlight a push-pull scenario. On the one hand, public sector organisations know they must control budgets in the short-term, as well as dealing with all sorts of uncertainty (accentuated by Brexit). On the other hand, they are conscious of the need to invest to attain increased efficiency and productivity for the longer-term. The impact will vary between subsectors, between service lines, and between suppliers. And with diversity of performance a continuing feature, the ‘winners’ in the market will be those that judge the market correctly, make sure they are in the right place at the right time, and offer the right mix of products and services for a sector’s needs.

UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts to 2020 is available for download by PublicSectorViews subscription clients now. If you are not sure if your organisation has a subscription or you would like to sign up, please contact dseth@techmarketview.com to find out more.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '22:36' - Tagged: health   public+sector   centralgovernment   localgovernment   market+trends   defence   education   police   forecasts   police   police   police   police  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

**NEW RESEARCH** Business Process Services Supplier Prospects 2018

For the most comprehensive understanding of the UK’s Business Process Services supplier landscape for next year and beyond, read BPS Supplier Prospects 2018.teaser

The report looks at the leading players in the UK BPS market, and assesses what they will need to do to be successful from 2018 onwards. We also provide our view on the likely hurdles that will prevent suppliers reaching their potential in the short and mid-term.

The BPS market is going through a period of unprecedented change and all the major suppliers are having to adapt to the conditions. New greenfield and ‘big-ticket’ opportunities are in short supply at a time when intelligent automation is shaking up existing business models. Buyers are looking for partners who can deliver greater flexibility and demonstrate faster results.

If you are either a BPS provider looking to understand how the competition is gearing up for 2018, or a buyer of business services looking to evaluate potential suppliers, then this is the report for you.

If you would like to access the report (which is authored by Research Director, Marc Hardwick) and are not currently a subscriber to our Business Process Services research, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '20:00' - Tagged: RPA  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

Backer calls in loan on posh e-pawnbroker Borro

logoBorro, the nine year-old London-based consumer lender that offers loans secured by luxury assets (i.e. posh e-pawnbroker), has in effect been acquired through a majority investment by one of its backers, Chicago-based Victory Park Capital (VPC). Terms were not disclosed. VPC provided Borro with a £67m credit facility in February 2014 (see IndustryViews Venture Capital Q1 2014).

According to media reports, Borro’s CEO and founder, Paul Aitken, left the business earlier this year and the company subsequently pulled out of the property bridging loan market. Borro entered this market in August 2015 and subsequently reported an operating profit of £1m but a £2.7m net loss following a £7m operating loss and £9.8m net loss in 2014. At the time (September 2016) the company was predicting a £5m operating profit and ‘a small profit after loan funding costs’ in 2016, though these accounts have yet to be filed.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '10:04' - Tagged: acquisition   funding  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

Analysing Oxford Metrics

logoOxford Metrics is not a company we are very familiar with but it could be one to keep eyes on. It provides analytics software for motion measurement and infrastructure asset management, capabilities that will be in ever more demand as preventative maintenance and IoT deployments take off, and it also has fingers in AR and facial recognition.

At the moment, it is an eclectic business serving the government, life sciences, entertainment and engineering sectors via two segments. Yotta provides cloud infrastructure asset management software to local and central government and other infrastructure providers where UK customers include Highways England and Amey. Vicon provides high precision motion measurement analysis and its customer list includes Guy's Hospital, EA Sports, MIT and NASA. The company has a presence in 70 countries.

On a first pass analysis, Oxford Metrics (HQ: Oxford, founded in 1984, current CEO Nick Bolton) looks like two separate companies under one roof serving very diverse industry segments and would benefit from clearer direction. However, it is one year into a five year strategic plan so changes are underway, including what appears to be a shift to more of a software focus. Its financials also point to change. For the year to September 30 2017, revenue was up 10.7% to £29.2m (the bulk from the Vicon segment) with adjusted PBT of £3.9m vs. £5.1m due to investment activity. Companies in change are always worth monitoring, especially mid sized UK companies. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:58' - Tagged: results   software   analytics  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

Payday lender Oakam wins victory loan

logoChicago-based lender Victory Park Capital (VPC) is on a bit of a roll here in the UK with two investments in quick succession. Having recently (in effect) acquired ‘posh e-pawnbroker’ Borro, (see Backer calls in loan on posh e-pawnbroker Borro), VPC has just announced a £35m debt investment in London-based payday lender, Oakam. Oakam mainly serves the ‘unbanked’ and those with poor credit history, offering loans from £200 up to £5,000 at a 1,421% (representative) variable APR. Founded in 2006, and backed by Cabot Square Capital, Oakam secured a line of credit with RBS in February 2016.

One wonders whether VPC has the same end-game in mind for Oakham as it did for Borro.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:42' - Tagged: funding  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

SysGroup without CEO but remains “confident”

sysFollowing on from its November warning that FY18 profits would come in significantly below market expectations, SysGroup has issued its full half-year results. The company has been trying to engineer a shift into more profitable managed services, where contracts are also bigger. Revenue (from continuing operations) for the first six months to the end of September was up 47% to £3.9m (managed services is 73% of this). However, adjusted EBITDA was squeezed to £140k from £230k.

While the profit numbers are not likely to please management, there have been structural and operational improvements that are intended to get the company into better shape for growth – e.g. the integration of acquisitions and the creation of a new strategic marketing function.

Indeed, acquisitions are central to its evolution, as demonstrated by its recent purchase of Rockford – see SysGroup files Rockford under “Acquisition Strategy”. CEO, Chris Evans, outlined the company’s plans to us in June, but he has now left the company “due to long term health reasons”. As a small firm with fairly high ambitions to make a consolidation play, SysGroup really needs to get a leader back in place as soon as possible. And it perhaps needs to focus more intensely on getting its internal ‘ducks in a row’ before making any more significant acquisitions.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:36' - Tagged: results   managedservices  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

Fresh funding for Anaplan

logoAs a company providing corporate performance management and enterprise performance management cloud software and with a platform play too, privately held Anaplan is deep in the data driven domain which is one of the reasons why it previously gained unicorn status. The unicorn has gained some extra gilding following another funding round that has raised $60m, taking total funding up to $300m and its valuation up to $1.4bn.

Like previous rounds, the funding round was led by Premji Invest, the investment fund of Wipro founder Azim Premji, with Salesforce Ventures and Top Tier Capital also taking part.

The company, who started out in Yorkshire but shifted to San Francisco, reported FY17 revenue of $120m and 75% subscription revenue growth in March 2017, and CEO Frank Calderoni now talks of revenue in the "couple hundred millions" so it appears to be in good growth mode. It has around 800 customers and is gaining something like 70 new customers per quarter.

Since its last investment in January 2016 (see here) Anaplan has faced some challenges. In April 2016 the CEO of the time Frederic Laluyaux (formerly SAP) exited and it took until January 2017 to appoint replacement Calderoni (formerly CFO/exec VP, Red Hat). His task is to drive high growth – not easy in a busy sector filled with financial accounting and ERP providers from SAP, Oracle, NetSuite to Workday. But after a period of change, it looks like Anaplan is ready to move again. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:21' - Tagged: funding   startup   software  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

How do you teach Computing without computers?

Bury schoolHow do you teach Computing without computers? That was the desperate plea from one of my teacher friends on Facebook last week as she set about planning computing lessons for her small rural primary school.

Laura teaches at Bury Church of England Primary in West Sussex, where she has been given the role of ‘computing lead’ even though she’s never had any official training in the topic. Bury has just 42 children on its roll and teaches them in three classes of mixed year groups, the largest being the year 5/6 class of 19 children. Across the school they have five working laptops, all of which are five or more years old, plus three iPads (for the teachers’ use, not the children) and one interactive whiteboard.

Now Laura is an innovative, enthusiastic teacher but even she is struggling to see how she can effectively teach coding and computing - and most importantly engage the children so that they are enthused to learn vital digital skills - with only five working laptops. Amongst the more helpful suggestions that she received on Facebook were coding with graph paper and cutting a yoga mat into squares to make a floor grid to teach some of the skills.

Of course, without sufficient working computers, it’s not just the children’s coding skills that will suffer. If they had laptops or tablets they’d use them for general class use too – typing, numeracy, creating presentations and even creating films to improve literacy.

Unfortunately, I’m sure Laura is not the only teacher in UK schools facing this near impossible challenge. As our education market trends analysis makes clear (see UK Public Sector SITS Market Size & Forecasts 2017/8), funding for UK schools is incredibly tight – indeed, education is the worst performing area of the UK public sector software and IT services market and was the only sub-sector to decline last year. At Bury primary school, they are having to cut costs on everything from pencils to exercise books and don’t have any funding available for computers. Other local primary schools have asked the parents for donations to help them purchase IT equipment but with only 33 families in the school, Bury’s options are limited there too.

If the UK is serious about improving productivity and becoming a ‘tech nation’ then we need our young people to have the right digital skills. The evidence suggests that means inspiring children to embrace tech at primary school age, but how do you do that without computers?

If any of our UKHotViews readers have suggestions for organisations that may be able to help Laura and others like her teaching computing in UK schools, please do let us know. You can email me at tsargeant@techmarketview.com.  

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '08:59' - Tagged: education   skills  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

Maintel revises expectations after contract wind downs

Maintel revises expectations downwardsA faster than expected wind down of two large legacy contracts has prompted Maintel to revise its FY17 profit expectations.

The UK systems integrator and managed services provider issued a trading update that forecasts adjusted EBITDA in the range of £12.5-£13m. That would still represent a healthy 12-18% increase on the £11m adjusted profit before tax posted in FY16 (at that time up 52% yoy) after the acquisition of Azzurri Communications pushed revenue up 114% to £108m.

Both of the contracts in question generated higher than average gross margins and were due to carry on into the first half of FY18, and we expect they will take a sizeable chunk out of Maintel's expected turnover. The company also said its managed services division had been impacted by delays to customer installations after its trading partner Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, though ordering activity began to recover in November.

On the upside, Maintel's ICON cloud services have seen good growth and the acquisition of Intrinsic Technology could inject as much as £50m of annual revenue into the business. We await the final FY17 numbers with interest, but note that management are confident that the full year dividend is still on course to grow 10% yoy in line with existing guidance.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:56' - Tagged: tradingupdate   Maintel  

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Wednesday 06 December 2017

Concepta marrs Mercia’s emerging stars

logoI’ve always admired Mercia Technologies’ business model and the way it has expanded from being an essentially Midlands University-focused tech investor to a broader based UK-wide tech investor, though still keeping strong regional and university ties. Its ‘business-of-two-halves’ model comprises the AIM-listed PLC, which makes direct investments from the balance sheet in ‘emerging stars’, and a slew of funds under the Mercia Fund Management (MFM) brand, which provide a breeding ground for ‘emerging stars’ and of course fee revenue to run the PLC business.

This model works well and mitigates the occasional hiccup in the performance of Mercia’s direct investments, such as AIM-listed Concepta, which targets the personalised mobile health market with a primary focus on unexplained women’s infertility (see Investors back Concepta in £2m equity fundraising). Mercia wrote down Concepta’s fair value by £1.3m in first half (to 30th September) which, even with £0.4m impairment in some smaller direct investments, still saw Mercia’s aggregate direct portfolio valuation increase by £3m. This now tallies £64.7m, including £9.7m additional investment in the period.

Mercia’s P&L also told a good story, with MFM fees mostly accounting for the near-70% uplift in revenues to £4.8m. Net profit rose by 26% to £1.4m, though EPS declined by 9% to 48p on an increased issued share count. However, the key measure of NAV per share grew by 8% to 41.1p.

Mercia is a prolific investor in UK tech, recently supporting MindTrace, Smartgate, and nDreams (its largest direct investment) among others. Long may this last!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:32' - Tagged: resullts  

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