HotViews Archive

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Snap stretched!
17 Jun 2019
Prowler.io secures $24m for its decision platform and vertical expansion
17 Jun 2019
FairFX heralds continued growth
17 Jun 2019
Serco Babcock talks a sign of the times
17 Jun 2019
Zava raises $32m to expand its online doctor service
17 Jun 2019
Dan Docherty - key SaaS appointment at Advanced
17 Jun 2019
Riverlane gets a quantum of funding
17 Jun 2019
Audio Analytic hears the sound of a ‘B’ round
17 Jun 2019
An Evening with TechMarketView: Mastercard's Gamino joins speaker lineup
17 Jun 2019
*NEW RESEARCH* OffshoreViews Q1 2019 review: TCS widens the UK gap
16 Jun 2019
Mindtree independent directors recommend L&T offer
16 Jun 2019
Privitar cooks up better cookie control
16 Jun 2019
RM acquires SoNET to deepen digital assessment services
14 Jun 2019
Mporium raises £1.9m for restructure
14 Jun 2019
CGI sees the value in SCISYS
14 Jun 2019
Buyers paying less for European tech M&A
14 Jun 2019
Revolut's global push arrives in Australia
14 Jun 2019
Atos lands $150m National Grid EX deal
14 Jun 2019
VMware bolsters multi-cloud security with Avi Networks buy
14 Jun 2019
Hexaware dishes the dosh for CX play Mobiquity
14 Jun 2019
New CEO presides over ‘in line’ SThree
14 Jun 2019
Adarma breaks out of ECS Security
13 Jun 2019
Dassault Systèmes invests in Medidata analytics
13 Jun 2019
ThetaRay boosted by ABN Amro investment
13 Jun 2019
Great British Scaleup: Wieldy
13 Jun 2019
OnTheMarket's losses on the move
13 Jun 2019
**NEW RESEARCH** Recruitment Outsourcing - Is there a better way?
13 Jun 2019
**NEW RESEARCH** Another Year Another $1Billion – the SI Creative Agency Spending Spree Continues
13 Jun 2019
TechMarketView Advertising Summer Deals
13 Jun 2019
Strong sales boost Eckoh as profits slide
12 Jun 2019
StatPro acquires ESG research and index business
12 Jun 2019
Latest TechMarketView Research
12 Jun 2019
The Panoply acquires FutureGov
12 Jun 2019
Belfast’s Datactics finds funding match
12 Jun 2019
Smiles for Realeyes as realises more funding
12 Jun 2019
*UKHotViewsExtra* Salesforce: $15.7bn to visualise a future with Tableau
11 Jun 2019
Privitar raises dosh but fails ‘cookie privacy' test
11 Jun 2019
iomart hits £100m revenue milestone
11 Jun 2019
**NEW RESEARCH** Securing the cloud: A case of shared responsibility
11 Jun 2019
Infosys aims to create magic on the roundabout
11 Jun 2019
London Tech Week brings boost to UK tech
11 Jun 2019
*UKHotViews Extra* Shifting gear
11 Jun 2019
Ocado invests in AgriTech
11 Jun 2019
Tech Talent Charter: Tackling the female talent pipeline
10 Jun 2019
New Signature's Microsoft award reflects customer innovations
10 Jun 2019
Woodford sell-down prompts interest in Purplebricks
10 Jun 2019
TrueLayer secures $35m for Open Banking push
10 Jun 2019
Triad revenues drop 18%
10 Jun 2019
Ideagen buys again
10 Jun 2019
NEW RESEARCH: Partnerships help drive growth at LBB Infoshare
10 Jun 2019
Social fashion marketplace Depop pops another $62m
10 Jun 2019
Want To Stand Out From The Crowd?
10 Jun 2019

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Monday 17 June 2019

Snap stretched!

logoNo, not the photo app. This is the Walthamstow-headquartered 'on-demand' coach booking platform formerly known as Sn-ap and now ‘sans hyphen’.

Founding CEO Thomas Ableman has just called me to say that he will be pausing operations from tomorrow pending further discussions with funding partners. Snap last raised funding in May 2018 (see Sn-ap's wheels turn faster with new funding).

Ableman was at pains to stress that Snap has not run out of cash; he intends to honour all its commitments to operators, customers and staff. He has chosen to pause the business specifically to ensure that nobody would be left high and dry if things did not go to plan.

I met Ableman late 2017 and I like the cut of his jib (see Sn-ap gets its wheels in motion). I think it would be a great shame if the wheels fell off.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '15:18' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 17 June 2019

Prowler.io secures $24m for its decision platform and vertical expansion

logoCambridge-based Prowler.io has secured another tranche of funding, its biggest to date as far as we are aware. Having secured £1.5m in September 2016, followed by a £10m round in 2017, this time it will benefit from a $24m investment.

The funding round was led by Tencent Holdings. with participation from Pearson plc, Amadeus Capital Partners, Atlantic Bridge, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Mandatum Life, Passion Capital, RB Capital and Singapore Innovate.

The number of investors in the group is notable, no doubt attracted by AI/machine learning-based Prowler’s focus on bringing together complex and fast changing real time data from its environment, with its AI/machine learning capability, to create a decision making platform. The funding will go towards new product development and expansion into industry verticals, including finance, logistics and education.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:55' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   AI   machinelearning  

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Monday 17 June 2019

FairFX heralds continued growth

FairFXFairFX, the AIM-listed provider of online banking and payments services, has indicated strong momentum, ahead of its AGM today. The company's full year results (released in April) revealed an organic increase in group revenues of 39% coupled with a 40% increase in gross profit.

Founded in 2007 by serial tech entrepreneur, Jason Drummond, FairFX enables personal and business customers to make low-cost payments, domestically and overseas via a variety of methods including, SMS, wire transfer and MasterCard/VISA debit cards.

In addition to its ongoing, strong business performance, FairFX has also been boosted by its 2018 acquisition of City Forex which has added additional dealing capacity as well as scale. The City Forex business has now been successfully integrated into FairFX and the company has also recently surpassed the 1 million customer mark.

FairFX has indicated a strong start to fiscal 2019, both in terms of revenues and margins. The company, which has been AIM listed since 2015 (see: FairFX joins the lists), has delivered some impressive performance of late and appears to be reaping the rewards of its recent technology investments and M&A strategy. Both of these have helped to increase the capacity and functionality at FairFX and thus fuel its ongoing expansion.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:43'

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Monday 17 June 2019

Serco Babcock talks a sign of the times

SercoCovered widely in the press over the weekend was Serco’s alleged attempts to consolidate the UK Public Services market having looked to merge with its higher margin rival Babcock, the Ministry of Defence operator (subsequently confirmed by Babcock).

BabcockThe Sunday Times cited two all-share offers made over the winter, both rebuffed by Babcock, in an attempt to to create an outsourcing giant with c.£8b annual revenues.

Both Serco and Babcock are faced with similar issues - the UK public services market remains a tough place to operate and their respective share prices remain significantly below where they were a few years ago. However, over the last year of so the respective fortunes of the two businesses have been heading in opposite directions. Whilst Babcock’s share price has almost halved over this period, shares in Serco are up by almost a third. 

Serco has been able to pivot to growth overseas and has made some canny bolt on acquisitions (see here & here) all of which have been reflected in the share price. The challenge for Serco is to keep the momentum heading in the right direction whilst market headwinds remain strong. 

Given where we are with the market, I suspect that we will continue to see consolidation in the outsourcing space although I am not convinced that mega-mergers of this type are the answer. Large scale acquisitions rarely deliver the expected value and whilst there would have been significant synergies in their Defence businesses and it would have certainly better spread risk across a wider range of contracts, the complexity of bringing these two businesses together would have been huge. 

Serco has been performing well of late and more of the same incremental improvements may well remain the best approach.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:33' - Tagged: publicsector   defence   outsourcing   mergertalks  

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Monday 17 June 2019

Zava raises $32m to expand its online doctor service

Zava logoDigital healthcare provider Zava (Health Bridge Ltd) has raised $32m (c.£25m) in a Series A funding round led by European technology growth investment firm HPE Growth.

Founded in 2010, the London-based business allows patients to communicate with online doctors to manage their health and order treatments. It specialises in treatments for conditions people often don’t want to talk about, such as sexual health, and provides the technology behind Superdrug’s Online Doctor.

Since 2011 it claims to have provided three million paid consultations across Europe, with one million taking place in 2018. The company is active in UK, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Ireland. Revenue was up 118% in the year ended 31 December 2017 to £17.4m—2018 accounts have yet to be submitted to Companies House.

Zava intends to use the investment to accelerate its growth including expanding its medical team to provide a more comprehensive offering. The company is looking to extend its reach in existing markets, including targeting opportunities in the NHS and statutory healthcare systems in Germany and France, before looking to spread across Europe and eventually globally.

We have seen significant investment in AI in healthcare and online consultation tools (see The Expanding Influence of Babylon) in recent years, but Zava’s proposition is closer to that of Pharmacy2U, which secured £40m in private equity funding last year (see Pharmacy2U on mission to disrupt UK healthcare market). Interest in digital health technologies will continue to grow as the sector explores new delivery models to improve access, efficiency and effectiveness.

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:23' - Tagged: nhs   funding   healthcare  

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Monday 17 June 2019

Dan Docherty - key SaaS appointment at Advanced

logoWhen it comes to SaaS, suppliers and customers first have to transition, then accelerate (and there is an overlap across these stages). Having launched 13 cloud products over the past 18 months, Advanced is gearing up on acceleration from its and its customers’ perspective, which includes the appointment of Dan Docherty as Head of SaaS Operations.

Bringing 13 years of experience of cloud-based ERP solutions with Sage in roles ranging from Customers Services to Director of Product Marketing, his remit at Advanced is the cross function end-to-end go-to-market process and  driving adoption of Advanced’s SaaS solutions. The initial focus will be Business Cloud Essentials, Cloud Financials, Cloud HR and Cloud Engage, the recently launched fundraising solution for charities. With the SaaS portfolio growing organically and via M&A (significant cloud acquisitions to date include Hudman and Docman), it is set to grow. The recent Advanced World 2019 conference provided in sight into Advanced’s ambitions (see here).

Customers may buy into SaaS but widespread internal adoption can be an issue. The nature of the subscription model puts the onus on suppliers to invest and work with customers to drive adoption and deliver success. Advanced is well aware that selling and supporting SaaS is a very different proposition from traditional on-premise products. Docherty’s appointment represents a focus on the often overlooked last ‘S’ in SaaS –-Service - and Advanced’s desire to build best practice around it. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:13' - Tagged: cloud   software   appointment  

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Monday 17 June 2019

Riverlane gets a quantum of funding

logoPlease do not ask me to explain ‘quantum computing’. It is above my pay grade. But you could read our recent research on the topic (see Quantum technology is moving, are you up to speed?). Indeed I encourage you to do so.

I tell you this because Cambridge-based startup Riverlane is right in amongst it. They have recently raised £3.25m in seed funding, led by Cambridge Innovation Capital and Amadeus Capital Partners, with the participation of Cambridge Enterprise.

Founded in 2016, Riverlane is building a simulation engine for microscopic systems to replace expensive laboratory tests with computer simulation (they say). Their simulation software operates on quantum computing principles, and if you want further explanation please refer to the first sentence of this post.

Clearly early stage – as is quantum computing – Riverlane is pioneering technology which could have significant benefit in areas such as materials science and pharmaceutical development – potentially any application where the ‘real world’ can be simulated by a ‘digital twin’. Important stuff.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:52' - Tagged: funding   startup   quantumcomputing  

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Monday 17 June 2019

Audio Analytic hears the sound of a ‘B’ round

logoWe are surrounded by sound. Most of it is benign – indeed pleasant. But some sounds portend danger; can we recognise them in time to act?

This is just one illustration of the thinking behind the technology developed by Cambridge-based startup, Audio Analytic. It’s basically sound recognition, but not for speech. Their technology allows consumer devices to interpret and react to ambient sounds – such as windows breaking, animals in distress, vehicles approaching (all my examples I hasten to add). Audio Analytic has created “the world’s largest commercially-usable audio dataset for machine learning, featuring millions of audio files” which is referenced by its proprietary deep neural network technology to recognise different types of sound.

Audio Analytic recently closed a $12m Series B funding round backed by existing investors, Cambridge Innovation Capital and IQ Capital, with significant new investment from (Silicon Valley-based) National Grid Partners. Founded in 2010, the startup closed a $5.5m Series A round in early 2017 (see UK VC tech funding off to a good start in 2017).

Audio Analytic’s platform is already used by ‘smart home’ brand Hive, and is being integrated with technology from Intel and Arm. While Amazon and Google let you control your devices by speech, Audio Analytics listens out for everything else that’s going on around you. I can easily see this becoming a pervasive function in consumer tech. Well done them!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:14' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 17 June 2019

An Evening with TechMarketView: Mastercard's Gamino joins speaker lineup

MastercardTechMarketView is delighted to announce that our guest speaker for the seventh annual ‘Evening with TechMarketView’ on September 12 will be Mastercard’s EVP for Global Cities, Miguel Gamiño

MiguelMiguel is the perfect addition to the line-up for the evening during which TechMarketView’s expert analysts will also take to the stage to share their views on the trends and suppliers in the UK tech market under the banner of TMV’s 2019 research theme – ‘The Year of the Relationship: Extend. Evolve. Optimise’.

Miguel lead’s Mastercard’s global activities with cities and the City Possible platform. In a fireside chat with TechMarketView’s Martin Courtney, he will share Mastercard’s model for urban collaboration, where cities, companies and communities come together to surface common challenges and harness their collective power to co-create, pilot, and scale solutions to address the world’s most pressing urban issues.

Prior to joining Mastercard, Miguel served as the CTO of New York City, pioneering a new civic engagement and innovation platform for NYC. He stood as a voice of leadership in tech policy, including smart city and IoT programmes. Previously, Miguel was also the CIO for the City and County of San Francisco and the CIIO for the City of El Paso and founded the Council of Global City CIOs. 

We’re excited to have Miguel join us to share his insight at what promises to be another sell-out event. For more details of the evening and to book your place see below:

Event details

Date: Thursday 12th September 2019

Venue: Royal Institute of British Architects, London

Format: An extended networking drinks reception commences from 6:30pm, sponsored by InterSystems.
This will be followed by 90 minutes of speaker sessions and a first-class silver service dinner.

CLICK HERE to book now!

Or for more information contact tx2events at 020 3137 2541.

'An Evening with TechMarketView' is proudly sponsored by:

InterSytems
aqilla Kimble logo

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:00' - Tagged: event  

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Sunday 16 June 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* OffshoreViews Q1 2019 review: TCS widens the UK gap

chartThe gap between the peer-group leader and the rest of the India-centric top tier offshore service providers widened yet again as TCS saw its UK revenues soar by 22% in FY19 (to 31st March), increasing its lead over second-ranked HCL.

The Top 6 offshore services firms generated aggregate UK revenues of £6.54b in the period, 12.4% higher than the prior year. With the UK IT services market still growing in low single digits, the India-centric firms once again gained material share.

This edition of OffshoreViews also includes snapshots of the leading players as well as a round-up of the volatile mid-tier scene.

Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can download OffshoreViews Q1 2019 review here.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '16:18' - Tagged: offshore  

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Sunday 16 June 2019

Mindtree independent directors recommend L&T offer

logoIt looks like the bid for control of Bangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm Mindtree by Larsen & Toubro, the Indian industrial conglomerate and parent of offshore services firm LTI, is all but set to succeed.

Last Wednesday, Mindtree’s independent directors issued a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange that L&T’s offer to acquire a further 31% of Mindtree shares at Rs980 per share is ‘fair and reasonable’. The reason given was the offer premium to Mindtree’s current share price of around Rs975. The offer now closes on 28th June. Mindtree’s promoter group holds 13.3% of the stock but I can’t find any statement from Mindtree’s executive team (which was fiercely defending the company's independence) about the recommendation. L&T had already paid Rs980 per share to acquire the 20% stake owned by Mindtree’s largest shareholder, Indian entrepreneur VG Siddhartha, founder-owner of the Café Coffee Chain business (see Time’s up to smell the coffee at Mindtree!), and its stake has since risen to almost 29%.

Clearly a 1% premium is an unusual rationale for acceptance of an unsolicited offer. More likely, it is the view of Mindtree’s independent directors that the outcome was inevitable and that it was in shareholders’ best interests to get things over and done with as quickly as possible.

Mindtree recently hit the $1b revenue milestone at which time management opted to pay shareholders an additional dividend of 200% (see Mindtree hits $1 billion). Whether this will be enough to keep investors loyal is a moot point – assuming it gets approved at the company’s next AGM, scheduled for 16th July, just four days after the results of L&T’s open offer is due to be disclosed to shareholders (public announcement due 19th July).

Posted by Anthony Miller at '12:30'

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Sunday 16 June 2019

Privitar cooks up better cookie control

logopicAs quick as I am to ‘name and shame’, I like to think I am equally swift to lavish praise on those who react promptly to fix the problem.

Such is the case for London-based data privacy software startup Privitar, whom I castigated last week for playing to the GDPR cop-out of not allowing you to set cookie preferences from within its own website (see Privitar raises dosh but fails ‘cookie privacy' test).

We received a tweet from them the other day (see right) and I have checked their website and they are as good as their word.

Well done them; others (you know who you are) please take note!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '10:26'

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Friday 14 June 2019

RM acquires SoNET to deepen digital assessment services

rmRM has acquired Melbourne-based SoNET Systems Pty Ltd to open up new market opportunities and underpin the growth of its RM Results division.

SoNET’s e-testing  software (for exams) strengthens RM Results’ e-marking offering, broadening its range of services covering digital assessmensonetts. In the year to the end of April 2019, SoNet generated revenue of £3m. RM Results showed modest growth in FY18 (+0.5%) with revenue of almost £32m. Outside of the UK (international revenue was £6.5m), the profile of the top line was much different with growth of 28%. RM’s total revenue in FY18 (to end November 2018) was £221m (+19%).

The acquisition of SoNET is a smart move. It’s low risk: RM has worked with SoNET in the past and thus it is a known quantity, and it’s size is small relative to the RM Results business. It also underpins international expansion plans and brings new (SaaS-based) technology into the portfolio.

In FY18, RM reached an important milestone, registering organic growth (2%) for the first time since 2010. Building out capability to capitalise on growth markets should in theory further enable organic growth down the line.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:48' - Tagged: acquisition   education  

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Friday 14 June 2019

Mporium raises £1.9m for restructure

MporiumAIM listed “Mobile-first” technology company Mporium has raised £1.9m from a share issue to help it restructure the business and provide working capital.

Mporium announced a "major" restructuring with immediate effect that will refocus the business on the its MporiumX division due to an underperforming Agency division. 

MporiumX was established last November as a performance division designed to drive customer leads at scale across digital channels and accounted for 95% of company revenue in Q1.  MporiumX uses proprietary tech to deliver direct results and gets paid based on performance rather than percentage of marketing spend. Performance is achieved using a range of signals to manage in real-time the pricing, timing and selection of creative for digital advertising campaigns.

The Agency business has been under pressure from a number of angles with margins squeezed by stiff competition, brands increasingly looking to bring marketing capabilities in-house and with agencies remaining stubbornly slow adopters of technology.

Mporium last raised money back in November when it was looking to build on the previous year’s 20% revenue growth. Recent problems in the Agency business have thwarted its aspiration for EBITDA breakeven within 2019 and will no doubt be hoping that this refocus will get it back on track.

Alongside the share issue the company announced a management rejig with Executive Chair Barry Moat stepping down and Tom Smith promoted to group managing director responsible for the execution of the restructured business. 

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:43' - Tagged: marketing   fundraising   restructure  

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Friday 14 June 2019

CGI sees the value in SCISYS

logoAt the SCISYS investor lunch just last week there was private chatter about how SCISYS was undervalued given its performance and prospects. CGI has spotted and acted on the realities of SCISYS and today announced its intention to acquire the company in a £78.9m cash deal that has the approval of the SCISYS board and is expected to close in H2.

logoWhen explaining the rationale behind the decision, reasons cited by the SCISYS management team included the low rating of its shares as an issue when it came to scaling the business via acquisitions, along with limited trading liquidity. The low rating was attributed to SCISYS’ earnings relying on the success of larger discrete contracts which it says are not rated as well by the stock market as suppliers whose earnings are more recurring in nature. Lack of bandwidth within the management team and the position as a small publicly limited company also hampered the ability to scale the business, including via acquisitions. SCISYS has made acquisitions (including strategic Annova within Media Solutions) but clearly there was an unfulfilled appetite for more. The CGI offer brings the resources to scale, plus a 24.6% premium on the share price that is currently riding high on a solid full year and trading update and raised medium term targets of revenue of £75m and adjusted operating profit of £7m by the end of 2022.

For CGI this offer fits with its  ‘Build and Buy’ strategy and will provide the opportunity to expand in the space, defence (where like SCISYS it has been benefitting from the Galileo programme, see also SCISYS navigates to more Galileo wins), government and media sectors in the UK and Germany. It will have access to valuable IP-based services and solutions and also a 650-strong skilled workforce with important vertical expertise. There are plans to “globalise certain platforms”. With SCISYS within the fold, CGI expects to be able to build closer relationships with its clients and win larger scale contracts. It is also looking to expand its footprint in the UK and Germany within metro-markets where it currently does not have offices. We can see SCISYS complementing CGI who, as its most recent H119 results indicated, is itself performing well. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:26' - Tagged: acquisition   software   itservices  

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Friday 14 June 2019

Buyers paying less for European tech M&A

chartMay wasn’t a particularly good month for European TMT activity, according to the latest statistics from corporate finance firm Regent Assay. Despite the number of transactions going up by 10%, the aggregate deal value fell to $13bn, the lowest figure since September of last year. In terms of aggregate valuation multiples, Price/Sales ratios decreased from 1.44x to 1.25x – the fourth consecutive monthly decline – and Price/EBITDA from 8.96x to 8.33x, both multiples recording their minimum values of the past 12 months.

May saw a smattering of acquisition activity involving UK software & IT services companies, including the ever-reliable Sanderson acquiring supply chain and distribution solutions specialist Gould Hall Computer Services, Leeds-based traffic data and transportation industry software and services provider Tracsis buying timetabling optimisation software provider Bellvedi, and Cambridge-headquartered 1Spatial acquiring French geospatial software provider Geomap-Imagis. However, these were dwarfed by Serco’s $250m acquisition of North American engineering firm Alion’s naval systems unit.

Keep in touch with the broader picture in our quarterly report, IndustryViews Corporate Activity.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:09' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Friday 14 June 2019

Revolut's global push arrives in Australia

RevolutLeading UK FinTech, Revolut, has begun piloting its services in Australia, in a move that marks a further step in the company’s global expansion. Revolut currently provides debit card payments, foreign exchange, cryptocurrency and peer-to-peer payments to more than 5 million customers, in the UK and Europe.

London based, Revolut is initially launching its Australian push with the provision of currency exchange and money management services. The company is recruiting around 30 staff for its operations based in Melbourne and has plans for a phased roll-out of its wider services, including business accounts, cryptocurrency exchange, equity trading.

Revolut is in the throes of a global expansion and recently launched its operations in Russia, the company has also acquired licences to operate in Japan and Singapore. Founded less than 5 years ago, Revolut has successfully grown its customer base and geographic reach at a fantastic rate. The company has so far processed transactions worth more than $50bn and has comfortably secured "Unicorn" status with a valuation well in excees of $1bn.

Revolut has been a great example of disruptive innovation within financial services and the company is well on the way to becoming a genuine global brand. Founder, Nik Storonsky, recently highlighted the threat to UK technology innovation posed by Brexit (see: Revolut highlights Brexit threat to FinTech innovation). His company’s success, and its ongoing expansion overseas, are all the more pointed as the risk of a damaging No-Deal scenario increasingly looms over us.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:02'

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Friday 14 June 2019

Atos lands $150m National Grid EX deal

AtosAtos has signed a multi-year $150m deal to provide Digital Managed Workplace Services for National Grid's core business.

National GridUnder the contract Atos will look to improve a range of employee services under a digital workplace transformation plan that will cover a global enterprise service desk, device management, and a “proactive experience” centre designed to expand the resources available to staff.

The centre will be dedicated to improving National Grid’s employee experience (EX) with a focus on integrating automation and AI. Digital EX is an area in which we see huge potential for service providers like Atos and subscribers can read our thoughts on the market opportunities in our recent research report - Digital Employee Experience and The Future of Work.

This is a really good win for Atos with a big-name client in a field, digital employee experience, that is only going to become more important as the workplace become increasingly automated and augmented.

The contract covers National Grid’s core UK business and its operations in North Eastern United States, where the energy group serves more than 20m customers through its utility networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:55' - Tagged: contract   energy   EX  

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Friday 14 June 2019

VMware bolsters multi-cloud security with Avi Networks buy

VMware bolsters multi-cloud security with Avi Networks buyVMware’s proposed acquisition of US multi-cloud application services specialist Avi Networks adds virtualised security tools to its portfolio alongside a well-established enterprise customer base running into the hundreds.VMware bolsters multi-cloud security with Avi Networks buy

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Avi claims to have more than doubled it revenue and client base each year for the past three years. Founded in 2012, the privately held company has received US$115m of funding to date. That includes US$60m of Series D funding in 2018 partly provided by Cisco Investments, the investment arm of Cisco, a company with a long history of co-operation and competition with VMware in the data centre infrastructure market.

The Avi Vantage product is a software platform designed to replace hardware-based application delivery controller (ADC), firewall and load balancing appliances in enterprise networks and provide a single interface to virtual, software-defined equivalents provisioned in either public or hybrid clouds.

As such it looks like a natural fit for integration with VMware’s NSX network virtualisation and security platform. It also reinforces VMware’s avowed strategy of simplifying security management across multiple clouds, applications, devices and infrastructure in large enterprise environments (subscribers to SecureConnectViews can read more analysis of that trend in our Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2021 report here).

VMware has spent heavily in expanding its security capabilities in recent years (see Acquisitions swell VMware FY19 revenue), though we are yet to pinpoint the reported £1bn investment earmarked for the UK over the next five years.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:42' - Tagged: cybersecurity   VMware   multi-cloud   AviNetworks  

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Friday 14 June 2019

Hexaware dishes the dosh for CX play Mobiquity

logoMumbai-based mid-tier offshore services firm Hexaware has placed a rather significant bet on the ‘customer experience’ market, acquiring US consultancy Mobiquity for a maximum of $182m. Hexaware will pay $131m up front with the balance mainly based on earn-out, using its own cash and borrowings to finance the deal. Hexaware is majority-owned by Baring Private Equity Asia, which had recently been given the go-ahead by the Indian Competition Commission to acquire a 30% stake in Hexaware rival NIIT Technologies (see Steady new year start for Hexaware et al).

Founded in 2010, Mobiqiuity had revenues of some $70m in 2018 (that’s a 2.6x PSR for those without a calculator), around 10% of Hexaware’s. There was no information on Mobiquity’s profitability, though Hexaware management expects the deal to be ‘EPS neutral’ in 2019 excluding transaction costs. Hexaware runs a 14% operating margin.

Mobiquity, which has 650 employees, is mainly US-focused with offshore capacity in India. The only market presence it has outside of the US is in The Netherlands.

Hexaware intends to run Mobiquity ‘as is’, which will present the ever-formidable challenge of making the whole worth more than the sum of its parts.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:34' - Tagged: offshore   acquisition  

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Friday 14 June 2019

New CEO presides over ‘in line’ SThree

logoI was a little concerned when UK-born and bred, IT-focused, but now very much multinational, multidiscipline recruiter SThree announced earlier this year that its new CEO was to come from outside of the industry (see SThree appoints ‘3-times outsider’ to run the business). Since then, I have had the chance to meet Dundee-born and now US-naturalised, Mark Dorman, and I am happy to reserve judgement as to whether he can apply his impressive credentials in the media sector to carry on the good works of his predecessors at SThree.

As Dorman has only been in post these past three months, he would not have had much chance to influence today’s half-time trading update (to 31st May) which once again demonstrated the divergent fortunes between SThree’s ‘challenging’ UK business (net fee income down 9%) and its thriving international operations (NFI up 13%). Fortunately, the latter outweighed the former, so that Group NFI improved by 9%, in line with expectations.

We’ll get the ‘colour and movement’ when the detailed numbers are reported in July, and perhaps by then we’ll hear what changes Dorman plans to make to the business.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:47' - Tagged: trading   recruitment  

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Thursday 13 June 2019

Adarma breaks out of ECS Security

Adarma breaks out of ECS SecurityGlasgow-headquartered consultancy and IT services firm ECS Group’s divesture of its cyber security division leaves the company better placed to invest and expand its enterprise IT infrastructure, public cloud and DevOps activities.

The management buyout was led by former MD of ECS Security David Calder and Group CTO and founder Nathan Dornbrook, supported by funding from private equity firm Livingbridge and a Bank of Scotland loan. The spin-out has been rebranded as Adarma and comprises 250 staff.

Adarma begins its new life on what looks like a strong footing. The latest financial statement filed with Companies House calculates ECS Security’s turnover at £26.3m for the year ending December 2017, up a whopping 72% over the previous 12 months. Post-tax profits too appear respectable, up 63% yoy to £3.6m according to the report.

Growth on that sort of scale begs the obvious question of why ECS Group felt its security business was surplus to requirements. Management said it made strategic sense for the two to separate, leaving ECS Group better positioned to grow other parts of its business, which include Amazon Connect integration, digital workspace solutions, and cloud contact centre transformation.

Earlier this year, ECS appointed Mark Farrington, formerly UK&I VP for HPE’s Pointnext services arm as it’s MD of its enterprise cloud business, which by our reckoning delivered around half of its £100m annual revenue at that time.

The two companies will maintain a close partnership, with Adarma continuing to provide a range of IT security solutions and consultancy services backed by resident expertise in enterprise threat management and security operations centre (SOC) design and implementation.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:55' - Tagged: cloud   cybersecurity   ECSGroup   Adarma  

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Thursday 13 June 2019

Dassault Systèmes invests in Medidata analytics

logoIt’s a month for major analytics acquisitions. Dassault Systemes is the latest to join the party with the announcement of an agreement to acquire US life sciences specialist Medidata Solutions. At $5.8bn it will be Dassault’s largest acquisition. Salesforce recently announced its largest planned acquisition, of visualisation and analytics provider Tableau, while Google is paying up for analytics data platform Looker.

Medidata provides software to life sciences companies, supporting back office operations but particularly providing analytics capability for clinical trial data. Last year revenue rose 17% to $635.7m with net income of $51.9m, so it will contribute to Dassault’s growth from 2020 (the transaction is expected to close in Q4). Medidata will enable Dassault to expand its offering and take it deeper into the life sciences market. It will also play a part in Dassault’s strategy to diversify and the company describes the move as a logical evolution of the scope of what it does in life sciences and in connecting the physical and digital worlds.

A common thread across the Dassault, Salesforce and Looker acquisitions is the connecting of people, data and ideas via a platform approach. It's a theme that will continue to play out. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:53' - Tagged: acquisition   software   analytics   digitaltransformation  

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Thursday 13 June 2019

ThetaRay boosted by ABN Amro investment

ThetarayIsraeli startup, ThetaRay, has secured an investment from leading Dutch bank, ABN Amro. As a result of the funding, ABN Amro has taken an undisclosed stake in the vendor, via its Digital Impact Fund. ThetaRay, which was founded in 2013 by Amir Averbuch, a professor of computer science at Tel Aviv University, is a provider of sophisticated cybersecurity services. The firm’s co-founder was Ronald Coifmanus, a professor of mathematics at Yale University and a recipient of the National Medal of Science.

ThetaRay secured more than $30m in Series B funding in 2018 via investments from a variety of sources including Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), GE, OurCrowd and Bank Hapoalim. The company uses advanced analytics and machine learning, to detect and predict financial crime by identifying anomalies in large data sets.

ThetaRay’s financial services clients currently include fellow Dutch bank, ING and OCBC Bank Singapore. In 2018, ABN Amro agreed a 5 year contract with the vendor to help the bank tackle money laundering and terror financing risks.

The application of applied intelligence and advanced analytics to detect and prevent financial crime, coupled with the increasing variety and complexity of threats, has given rise to major growth in this space (see: Networking and cybersecurity predictions 2019). ThetaRay has some extremely impressive alumni and sits amid Israel’s thriving ecosystem of sophisticated cybersecurity and financial crime vendors. Recent investments should help the firm to expand its presence in this lucrative marketplace.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:46' - Tagged: funding   cybersecurity   startups   financialcrime  

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Thursday 13 June 2019

Great British Scaleup: Wieldy

logoFounded in 2018, Woking, Surrey-based Wieldy’s ambition is to shakeup the hotel sector, improving customer engagement via its hotel-specific chatbot. There are myriad chatbots available but to be useful they have to be sector specific and encompass domain knowledge - and that is what the natural language processing-enabled Wieldy chatbot brings to market.

What sets the offering apart is the ‘digital concierge’, booking assistant and content management combination designed to help travellers “click less, chat more and shorten their distance to achieve their goal.” It can be deployed to help customers at the different stages of their interaction with a hotel – pre- booking, post booking/pre-stay, during stay and post stay – providing the basis for improved engagement with all that means in terms of loyalty, customer satisfaction and recommendation.

logoWieldy handles discrete interactions by accessing content stores to answer individuals questions, using NLP to determine the most appropriate response. Customers can interact with the chatbot, which allows the small, medium sized and independent hotels chain that are Wieldy’s sweet spot to drive greater efficiency by operating a one-to-many direct engagement model. But they also have the option of switching to a human interaction at any time. Even with automation, choice and the personal touch need to be maintained within the hotel sector.

One of the other characteristics is the determination to capitalise on instant messaging, hence the chatbot has been built and runs within Facebook Messenger, and there are plans to embrace other instant messaging platforms. Connectivity with core hotel systems is an ambition too. Tapping into the Messenger platform opens a channel to a mass audience and Wieldy says 1 in 3 hotel guests are Millenniums and Messenger appeals to the kinds of travellers who look for businesses offering a user experience that promotes real time, mobile first and convenience.

Great British Scaleup Wieldy has points of differentiation and sector specialism in its favour and a clear focus on a part of the hotel sector that is ripe for intelligent automation. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:49' - Tagged: software   automation   GreatBritishScaleup  

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Thursday 13 June 2019

OnTheMarket's losses on the move

logoIt’s not only Purplebricks that’s finding the online real estate market challenging (see Woodford sell-down prompts interest in Purplebricks). ‘New kid on the block’ OnTheMarket, which launched on AIM in February 2018, has released its first annual results as a public company (to 31st January 2019 - better late than never, I suppose) with the achievement of losses even greater than revenues.

OnTheMarket’s headline revenues grew by 5% in FY19 to £14.2m. However, net losses deepened to £14.5m, 102% of revenues (FY18: 89% of revenues). The company burned through £12m in operating cash leaving £15.7m in the piggy bank. OnTheMarket raised £30m gross when it IPO’d.

There are of course excitable statements from the management team about OnTheMarket’s increasing penetration of the real estate market, claiming third ranking behind Rightmove and (Silverlake-owned) Zoopla based on residential properties listed (Purplebricks doesn’t seem to report this metric). Both Rightmove and Zoopla are profitable (see More interesting times in online real estate); Purplebricks is to announce FY results next month, but reported net losses of £27.8m on revenues of £70.1m at half-time.

Nonetheless, OnTheMarket’s investors appear to be keeping the faith. It shares are up 10.5% so far this year but, at 101p, are still some 40% below their 165p listing price. In contrast, Rightmove’s shares are up 33% ytd, and Purplebricks' are down 26%.

The battle for property sales continues …

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:36' - Tagged: results  

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Thursday 13 June 2019

**NEW RESEARCH** Recruitment Outsourcing - Is there a better way?

Recruitment remains one of the largest and most important components of the UK business services market, though in recent years the sector has become increasingly commoditised and fragmented. Many household names play in this space such as the likes of Adecco, Hays, Reed and Manpower, but with some 40,000 recruitment agencies in operation even the very largest players have less than a 5% market share.

Report coverAs the service has become increasingly commoditised and transactional in nature, the focus has naturally fallen on driving higher sales volumes. In turn, the offer has become both less strategic and less about delivering a personal service. Recruitment in some eyes is now positioned alongside the likes of Estate Agents as being all about a ‘numbers game’.

However, perhaps under the surface things are starting to change, with some businesses taking a fresh look at the offer with a view to a partnership-led approach to service delivery. After all 2019 is TechMarketView’s ‘Year of the Relationship’. Could this even apply to recruitment one of the most transactional parts of the Business Process Services (BPS) sector?

Read the report here: "Recruitment Outsourcing – Is there a better way?".

For subscription enquiries, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:25' - Tagged: recruitment   newresearch  

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Thursday 13 June 2019

**NEW RESEARCH** Another Year Another $1Billion – the SI Creative Agency Spending Spree Continues

Last year we published our first report on the push by Systems Integrators (SI’s) into the Creative Design AgencyCover arena. At that time, half of the companies which feature in TechMarketViews’ Top 10 ranking of UK application services (AS) providers and eight of the Top 20 had made company purchases in this space spending over $5bn in the process. Judging by how well both the acquired personnel had been retained and the associated skills pools expanded, the creative agency gamble appeared to be paying-off.

Twelve months on and this particular spending spree shows no sign of abating. The last year has seen a further sixteen creative agencies snapped up by the leading SI’s for a total price tag that we estimate is in excess of $1bn. The jury remains out, however, over whether this proving to be money well spent. Just how successful are the acquiring SI’s being at bringing these new capabilities fully into the mainstreams of the businesses to generate increased market leverage?

Click to download Another Year Another $1Billion – the SI Creative Agency Spending Spree Continues for both answers to these questions and fresh insights into this huge industry play.

This paper examines the increasingly strategic role of design in the digital era, updates the picture who’s be buying who and considers both the impacts on and the responses by the advertising and branding industry from this continuing acquisition spree. It also looks at the how well SI’s are dealing with the integration challenges posed by these new, increasingly essential, but very different talents.

If you are an existing subscriber to our ESASViews 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 Duncan Aitchison at '07:40' - Tagged: marketing   newresearch   digitaltransformation   designthinking  

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Thursday 13 June 2019

TechMarketView Advertising Summer Deals

Want to Stand Out from the Crowd?

Posted by HotViews Editor at '00:00'

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Wednesday 12 June 2019

Strong sales boost Eckoh as profits slide

EckohAIM-listed provider of contact centre and secure payment solutions, Eckoh, has released an encouraging set of full year results, for its financial year ended 31st March 2019. The results revealed a strong close to the year with new business climbing 47% to £22.6m and total contracted business up 62% to £32.7m. As reported in its May trading update (see: Eckoh enjoys strong momentum) Excoh enjoyed double-digit growth in sales, in the UK and in the US during H2. Total revenue was up 5% to £28.7m, however overall net profit after tax fell by 30% to £0.9m.

New business at Eckoh’s US Secure Payments business grew by 47% to $13.7m during the year, with sales boosted by wins in a number of sectors including, insurance, healthcare and telecoms. These new contracts included both cloud and on-premise deals. Excoh also revealed strong performance in the UK, with the company’s growth boosted by its ongoing relationship with Capita.

Eckoh has performed strongly in terms of new business of late (see: Eckoh’s new business booms) and the company has built up some impressive sales momentum. Eckoh’s fortunes are in part tied to its relationships with both Capita and BT and these corporate partnerships appear to be providing healthy opportunities for the company once again.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:54' - Tagged: results  

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Wednesday 12 June 2019

StatPro acquires ESG research and index business

SPAIM listed StatPro, a provider of cloud-based, portfolio analysis and pricing tools for the investment industry, has announced the acquisition of ECPI for £2.6m in cash. The deal relates to the environmental, social and governance “ESG” research unit of ECPI Group Srl.

ECPI carries out ESG research and produces ratings on around 3,500 companies globally. The information is primarily used to rate companies for inclusion in a series of investment indices. The company has annualised recurring revenues of around £0.8m

As a result of the deal, StatPro will take on the Milan based employees of the ESG research unit and plans to integrate them into its existing Italian operations. StatPro expects annual revenues to remain broadly in line with previous levels and will incorporate ECPI’s revenues in its financials going forward, after the planned completion date in July 2019.

The deal is another interesting development at StatPro and reflects its improving prospects and growth ambitions. The company has been reaping the rewards of its investment in product development (see: StatPro forges ahead with cloud revolution) and has enjoyed improved margins, thanks to costs cuts following a number of other recent acquisitions.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:24' - Tagged: acquisition   M&A  

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Wednesday 12 June 2019

Latest TechMarketView Research

TechMarketView analysts have once again been busy publishing a range of reports and in-depth articles. Take a moment to catch up and make sure you haven’t missed any of our latest research! 

If you’re a TechMarketView subscription client the titles below take you straight to the in-depth article or report:

ReportsOpen Banking momentum starts to build

Securing the cloud: A case of shared responsibility 

Intel: In Place to Power Data Centre Transformation

Recruitment Outsourcing – Is there a better way?

Shifting gear

Salesforce: $15.7bn to visualise a future with Tableau

Partnerships help drive growth at LBB Infoshare

Share Indices for May 2019

Getronics targeting double-digit growth

If you don’t currently subscribe to one of our research streams or UKHotViews Premium and you’d like details of our 2019 subscription packages email Deb Seth (dseth@techmarketview.com) to learn more.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:20' - Tagged: research   research   research   research   research  

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Wednesday 12 June 2019

The Panoply acquires FutureGov

The PanoplyThe Panoply Holdings is to buy Public Sector service design specialist FutureGov for an initial fee of £11.8m. 

FGThe Panoply, which describes itself as a “digitally-native technology services company” has been busy on the acquisition trail since it listed on AIM back in early December (see here). First off it acquired Deeson a small UK-based digital agency specialising in high-profile content-managed websites and digital products just before Christmas (see here) before going on to acquire D/SRUPTION for its marketing platform in Mid-January. Voice enabled AI GreenShoot Labs was also added in March.

FutureGov looks like an extremely good fit for The Panoply, it has an excellent reputation in UK Public Sector for its service design work, has a great client base (particularly in Local Government where it started) and partner network with relationships with many of the large service providers. FutureGov’s service design work is often related to very strategic projects that feed a wider range of digital transformation services and will provide The Panoply with access to very senior relationships within client organisations.

FutureGov was established in 2008 and last year generated revenues of £6.4m, an EBITDA of £1.52m and profit before tax of £1.45m. Crucially FutureGov's CEO and founder, Dominic Campbell, will also come over taking on a Group-wide role of Managing Director, Public Sector and Health. The Acquisition changes the shape of The Panoply, with circa 45% of Group revenue now originating from the health and public sectors.

FutureGov has developed a very successful consulting business over the last ten years and will be hoping The Panoply’s financial backing and wider service offer will scale it further.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:47' - Tagged: publicsector   acquisition   digitaltransformation  

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Wednesday 12 June 2019

Belfast’s Datactics finds funding match

logoThere’s plenty of general-purpose data cleansing and matching tools in the market, such as from TechMarketView Little British Battlers Infoshare (see Partnerships help drive growth at LBB Infoshare), and HelpIT (see HelpIT sees opportunity in cleaner data).

But Belfast-based Datactics is firmly focused on the financial services sector, with a product that ‘profiles, scores, cleans and reformats data for regulatory compliance’, ticking the Regtech and Fintech boxes.

Founded in 1999 (!), Datactics has recently closed a £1.2m funding round led by Edinburgh-based VC Par Equity, completing a package commenced in 2018 with Bank Of Ireland VC, Kernel Capital.

There must be a story here as to why it’s taken Datactics twenty years to get this far, and, who knows, one day we may find it out. Meanwhile, the company has moved to new HQ premises and opened offices in New York and Milan, so it all seems to be happening at last.

Match on!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:46' - Tagged: funding   FinTech   RegTech  

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Wednesday 12 June 2019

Smiles for Realeyes as realises more funding

logoFlagged as London-based, but actually established in Estonia, facial analysis software startup Realeyes has built on last year's Series A round (see One of many Realeyes faces off £12m funding round) with news of a further €11m/$12.4m raise, led by current investors Draper Esprit, and NTT DOCOMO Ventures, with participation from Global Brain, and previous investors Karma Ventures and The Entrepreneurs Fund. The funding tally now stands at over $30m.

I guess you could argue the case that Realeyes is a more benign side of facial recognition, interpreting viewers’ reactions to marketing ads. It works by participants sharing access to their webcams with Realeyes, whose software measures both their attention level and how they feel. The results are delivered to the Realeyes client ‘in near real-time’.

I admit to feeling ambivalent about facial recognition software. But at least Realeyes seems to take its responsibilities seriously with a very clearly articulated privacy policy on its website (in 12 languages!) which makes it clear, among other safeguards, that participants are not identified to its clients. With that in mind, watch on and let your emotions go with the flow.

Oh, by the way, the Realeyes website lets you turn off cookies with just one click (see Privitar raises dosh but fails ‘cookie privacy' test et al). Good on them!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:02' - Tagged: funding   startup   facialrecognition  

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* Salesforce: $15.7bn to visualise a future with Tableau

logoThe bare facts are that Salesforce is to buy data analytics and visualisation specialist Tableau Software for whopping $15.7bn in an all share transaction.

logoIt will be its largest acquisition by far (outstripping the 2018 $6.5bn Mulesoft purchase) and has roused plenty of debate over the generous valuation (Tableau was valued at just under $11bn prior to the announcement and FY19 revenues are expected to be in the $1.24bn to $1.4bn range); and the impact on Salesforce’s FY20 operating margins (a 75 basis point reduction is anticipated). Tableau is expected to add $350m-$400m of revenue to the Salesforce pot, based on a closing date in October 2019.

logoThree things that stand-out from this proposed transaction: Salesforce’s deeper move into high value data and analytics; the Tableau/Mulesoft combo value proposition; and how Salesforce is adjusting to the hybrid environment. Further insight into Salesforce’s Tableau acquisition is available here in HotViewsExtra, available to TechMarketView clients including UKHotViewsPremium subscribers. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:54' - Tagged: acquisition   cloud   software   analytics   data  

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

Privitar raises dosh but fails ‘cookie privacy' test

logoWhile it is right to celebrate the news that London-based data privacy software startup Privitar is marching onwards and upwards, I find it ironic that it doesn’t do a good job of protecting the privacy of website viewers.

But first the good news. Privitar has closed a $40m Series B funding round led by Accel, with participation from existing investors Partech, Salesforce Ventures, 24Haymarket and IQ Capital. Founded in 2014, Privitar announced a Series A round in July 2017 (see Privitar goes public on $16m funding round). The startup has so far raised a total of over $63m (Source: Crunchbase).

And now the gripe. Privitar is yet another startup (see Depop) playing to the GDPR cop-out of not allowing you to set cookie preferences from within its own website. Instead, Privitar’s cookie policy directs you to their ‘all care no responsibility’ page listing no fewer than 113 cookies linking to third-party websites.

For a company whose strapline is “We create software designed for enterprise-wide privacy protectionI think this is shameful!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:19' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

iomart hits £100m revenue milestone

iomartCloud and web hosting provider, iomart, has edged past the £100m revenue milestone with growth of 6% (to £103.7m). The firm completed two acquisitions during the year (to end March 2019): Bytemark and LDeX, which added new customers and complementary data centre locations.

iomart’s Cloud Services business increased 8% to c£91m with adjusted EBITDA of £40.4m (up 9%). At the organic level (+2%) there is certainly room for increased growth. The firm has been investing in it sales and marketing capability (e.g. a new senior sales management team, revised commission schemes, new marketing tools) to help boost growth. This appears to be paying off with an increase in new lead generation - across both new logos and existing customers. Furthermore, in the final month of the year (March), the business had its highest revenue month of the year. Winning more larger deals (large for iomart if £1m per annum) will be critical to helping the firm strengthen the organic growth rate (it’s aiming for high single digits). 

Acquisitions have always played a notable role in iomart’s approach, and we don’t expect that to change. Indeed, given it has now reached the £100m milestone – and has ambitions to double in size over the next five years – the focus will undoubtedly be on more sizeable purchases.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:06' - Tagged: results   cloud   hosting   hybrid  

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

**NEW RESEARCH** Securing the cloud: A case of shared responsibility

The uptake of cloud has been a drawn-out process, as organisations have gradually familiarised themselves with how to make best use of the opportunities afforded by cloud platforms, including which workloads can be successfully migrated to the cloud, and which would be best kept on-premises.

teaseAnother factor that has slowed the adoption of cloud has been the inevitable concerns over security. Cloud computing is, after all, basically about paying to run your applications and services on systems owned by another party. This inevitably means that an organisation has less than total control over the infrastructure being used to operate their workloads. This alone makes it likely that some applications involving sensitive data, especially in highly regulated industries such as financial services, may never be migrated to a public cloud environment.

Nevertheless, there has been a relentless drift towards the cloud over the past decade, as organisations weighed up the pros and cons of moving to an “IT as a service” model and paying to use resources owned and maintained by a cloud provider rather than continuing to bear the cost of procuring and maintaining their own IT infrastructure.

In Securing the cloud: A case of shared responsibility, we examine the steps the major providers offering cloud services in the UK are taking to ensure the security of their infrastructure and by extension the customer data stored within it. Suppliers included in this report are: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Rackspace, and Alibaba Cloud.

If you are not a TechMarketView subscriber, please contact Deb Seth for more information.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:03' - Tagged: cloud   security  

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

Infosys aims to create magic on the roundabout

LogoBangalore-based offshore services major Infosys has opened its first UK Experience Design & Innovation Studio on Silicon Roundabout in Shoreditch, London. The new facility, which has capacity for 250 employees, is configured to provide a dynamic environment to enable co-creation and co-innovation between Infosys and its clients.

Nested within Brilliant Basics, Infosys’ experience design arm in Europe acquired two years ago (see here), the Shoreditch location is the latest addition to the company’s global network of design studios. This already spans New York, LA, Berlin, Melbourne, Bengaluru and Pune.

Infosys is far from the first SI to establish a dedicated collaboration space in this country. From Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange to Cognizant’s Collaboratory to Wipro’s Talent Hub, such studios have over the past few years become “must have” accessories for those suppliers targeting the customer experience-led digital transformation market opportunity.

As we noted in our recent report Another Year Another $1Billion – the SI Creative Agency Spending Spree Continues, design continues to grow in significance on the corporate strategic agenda. This is increasing not only the emphasis SI’s must place on building the capabilities required to engage fully with their clients around this paradigm, but also the necessity to embrace design thinking within their own businesses. Acquisitions and investments in this arena by service providers are likely to continue apace for the foreseeable future.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '08:48' - Tagged: systems+integration   customerexperience   designthinking  

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

London Tech Week brings boost to UK tech

picLondon Tech Week kicked off with much fanfare yesterday as Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans for £1.2bn investment into the UK from tech companies across the globe, along with additional funding and initiatives “that will ensure the UK remains the largest tech hub in Europe.”

The announcement followed the publication of a report last month by Tech Nation, the UK network for tech entrepreneurs part funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, showing that tech innovation is thriving in the UK (see UK a hotbed for tech innovation and scaleups).

The bulk of the £1.2bn investment is to come from Dell virtualisation software subsidiary VMware, which has announced plans to invest £1bn in the UK over the next five years. We are unable to find any detail behind this plan but will let you know as soon as we hear back from the company.

Also coming as welcome news was a £12m investment by Mumbai-based IT services firm Mastek in a new digital skills programme for 120 graduates in Leeds, creating 200 new jobs.

Bangalore-based top-tier IT services firm, Infosys, also used the occasion to announce the opening of its Experience Design & Innovation Studio in Shoreditch (see elsewhere in UKHotViews).

London Tech Week was officially opened by Jacqueline de Rojas CBE (pictured with the PM), president of industry association techUK, which is playing a major role in the event.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:43'

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

*UKHotViews Extra* Shifting gear

logoI’m only now becoming aware (maybe I’m slower than you are) of a class of startup which at first blush appears to be undifferentiated, on-demand services for consumers, but are in fact rather sophisticated asset optimisation platforms for businesses.

Take, for example, Walthamstow-based Snap, formerly Sn-ap (yeah, I know …). On the face of it, an on-demand, cheap intercity coach service. But under the covers, a marketplace for private coach operators to deploy spare capacity on dynamically created interurban coach routes (see Sn-ap gets its wheels in motion and related posts). Neat.

I tell you this because at first I couldn’t work out how on-demand ‘man-and-a-van’ startup Shift was ever going to be successful (see Backers fuel ‘man and van’ marketplace Shift with £2.5m).

That is, until Mark Fishleigh, managing partner of one of its backers, Oxalyst, arranged for me to meet Shift founder and CEO, Jacob Corlett. I was warned that Corlett was ‘a bit of a force of nature’ and it’s true I needed an extra dose of medication after the meeting. But when the 25-year-old entrepreneur explained what Shift was really all about, the penny finally dropped.

TechMarketView subscription service clients can read more on UKHotViews Extra.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:46' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 11 June 2019

Ocado invests in AgriTech

VertI’ve been getting more and more interested in AgriTech over the last few years as you might have gathered by the many articles I have written on the subject.

Robots that pick soft fruit have caught my attention on several previous occasions. See Automation picking soft fruit. At present armies of largely short term immigrant workers come to the UK in the summer to pick the fruit. Automation could change all that. Keen Archers fans will have heard Alice demonstrate strawberry-picking robots at Open Farm Sunday at Home Farm last week. Whereas strawberries are conventionally grown on the ground, robots can pick them more effectively if they are grown vertically in polytunnels.

My interest was further aroused today with news that Ocado is investing £17m in a new vertical farming venture. Imagine a tall wall of lettuce growing in inert soil under artificial light. Use of water and pesticides is minimised. Wastage is also lower. Crops can be produced throughout the year. On top of that robots can move up and down the lines picking the leaves. You can locate these close to your distribution centre thus reducing transport costs and ensuring maximum freshness.

However, it can never beat Holway’s raised veg beds just outside our kitchen door. Although that only operates in the summer months and we don’t have a robot to pick the crops...yet!

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:23'

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Monday 10 June 2019

Tech Talent Charter: Tackling the female talent pipeline

ttc

Signatories of the Tech Talent Charter met last week to debate practical solutions for the lack of women in technology roles in the UK. Those in attendance included Channel 4, Lloyd’s Bank, Accenture Digital, and the BBC, with the discussion focusing on ways to retrain women and help others return to the profession after time away.

Less than 20% of tech professionals in the UK are female, and while there are programmes in place to encourage more younger women and girls to study science and technology subjects, a multi-pronged approach is critical to fundamentally changing the composition of the workforce.

TTC event LeedsResearch by HP shows that c70% of women surveyed in the UK would be interested in retraining for a job in the tech sector. Meanwhile, we’re hearing that placements for re-training in organisations at the BBC and Sky have been over-subscribed.

The challenge for employers is to create retraining programmes that are both attractive and practical – and therefore effective. More broadly, the culture within their organisations must be inclusive and flexible to ensure women (and men) can juggle important family commitments outside of the workplace.

The Tech Talent Charter is a commitment by organisations to a set of undertakings that aim to deliver greater gender diversity in the UK tech workforce. TechMarketView is among more than 300 signatories. See techtalentcharter.co.uk.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '10:00' - Tagged: skills   diversity   Inclusion  

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Monday 10 June 2019

New Signature's Microsoft award reflects customer innovations

newWe note that New Signature has picked up the 2019 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year Award (UK), in recognition of the work it has been doing with clients (e.g. the British Heart Foundation and The Met Police).

Microsoft said: “New Signature has distinguished itself as an exemplary partner, demonstrating remarkable expertise and innovation to help customers achieve more.”

We recently caught up with Dan Scarfe, one of New Signature’s founders, to hear more about some of the innovations it has been bringing to its customers (stay tuned for a comprehensive review of progress at The Met Police, including New Signature’s role specifically). The firm’s financial year is about to close and from what we have seen, it has been 12 months of incredibly strong growth. We like the way Scarfe describes the firm’s competitive position as “out-smalling the bigs, and out-bigging the smalls”.

Congratulations to New Signature on a year of undeniable progress!

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:53' - Tagged: cloud   partnerships   Azure  

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Monday 10 June 2019

Woodford sell-down prompts interest in Purplebricks

logoAn interesting article in the FT by Kate Burgess (see Purplebricks investors step in after Neil Woodford and founders sell) highlights some of the market ripples resulting from the Neil Woodford saga. Woodford, an early investor and one-time largest shareholder (29.99%) in troubled online estate agency Purplebricks, has cut the stake held by Woodford Investment Management to 19.5% as at 7th June (there was another disposal after the FT article reported 21.5%). Meanwhile, German media group Axel Springer lifted its holding, as did activist Toscafund and Merian Global Investors, prompting speculation of a bid by Axel Media.

Ms Burgess was rather fulsome in her praise for Purplebricks chairman (and ex-Capita CEO) Paul Pindar for managing the swings and roundabouts in the investor base. Just last month, Pindar ‘sincerely apologise(d)’ for Purplebricks’ ‘disappointing’ performance over the last 12 months, for which he blamed too rapid geographic expansion and ‘sub-optimal decisions in allocating capital’. Purplebricks’ founder and CEO Michael Bruce got the chop.

Purplebricks’ share price has been in pretty much constant decline since its £5 high a couple of years back (see Purplebrick's business model suffers in today's property market et al). Its shares have perked up a little over the past few days to around 109p, having listed on AIM in December 2015 at £1. Purplebricks is scheduled to announce FY results in early July.

A space to be watched.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:38'

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Monday 10 June 2019

TrueLayer secures $35m for Open Banking push

TrueLayerTrueLayer, the London-based provider of APIs to the banking industry, has successfully raised $35m in Series C funding. The funding round was led by Temasek and Tencent and brings the total raised to date to $47m. The company intends to use the funds to support its growth in Europe and globally.

TrueLayer provides API functionality that enables the flow of data between banks and the new wave of third-party service providers, borne out of Open Banking. The company is already working with a number of major institutions as well as other FinTech startups (see: *New Research” Open Banking momentum starts to build).

Over the last twelve months TrueLayer has secured a number of significant partnerships with stakeholders in the Open Banking ecosystem in Europe, including: Zopa; ClearScore; CreditLadder; Canopy; Plum; BitBond; Emma and Anorak. In February, the company launched one of Europe’s first, Open Banking based, payments APIs. This latest investment highlights the growing market for Open Banking services and follows similar news last week, in respect of API provider, Yapily (see: Yapily attracts $5.4m as Open Banking market expands).

The market opportunity for vendors such as TrueLayer and Yapily is not limited to the European banking reforms. On a global basis, the growth of Open Banking and API-enabled access to data, is facilitating the growth of third-party providers and contributing to the transformation of financial services across a number of territories and jurisdictions.

Posted by Jon C Davies at '09:26' - Tagged: fundraising   OpenBanking   FinTechs  

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Monday 10 June 2019

Triad revenues drop 18%

TriadFull-year results (for the year ended 31stMarch 2019) from Godalming-based Triad Group show revenues falling some 18% to £22.7m (2018: £27.8m) with profits before tax decreasing to £1.02m (2018: £1.67m).

Revenue declined predominantly due to contractor numbers across two large private sector accounts reducing significantly during the year, a trend that emerged towards the end of the previous financial year. Indeed, we highlighted then the danger of such a high portion of revenue being generated by its largest customers.

Triad also cited an increasingly competitive environment in its core Public sector market, where it sits on the G-Cloud 10 and Digital Outcomes & Specialists (DOS) 3 frameworks and which account for a significant portion of revenue. Here Triad historically has gone up against 8-10 participants whereas now is more likely to see 30-50 participants, with pricing a more significant factor. Triad will have to improve the quality of its responses and likely its pricing strategy if it is to deliver on its stated aim of improving its win ratio.

The company is in the process of transitioning from being highly dependent on contractors to being consultant-led. It has improved consultant utilisation rates and plans to recruit more consultants in permanent positions and has set ambitious targets here. By the end of the year, it hopes to have doubled permanent consultant numbers with year-on-year increases after that. If it can attract the right people, this should continue to support improving Gross margins which are now up to 19.3% (2018: 17.0%).

Triad’s shares have not moved much this morning with much of the performance already priced into the share price which took a big fall back in November following H1 results (see - Triad Group revenue tumbles 17% in H1).

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:06' - Tagged: results   consulting  

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Monday 10 June 2019

Ideagen buys again

LogoFast-growing AIM-listed risk management software specialist Ideagen PLC has bought RegTec SaaS supplier Redland Solutions for £15.8m. This move is Ideagen’s fourth acquisition in the last ten months. The purchase is immediately earnings enhancing and is expected to add mid-single digit accretion within the current financial year.

Founded in 2001, Bromsgrove-based Redland has evolved from an IT services firm into a software business through the development of Insight, a Senior Manager & Certification Regime (SMCR) and individual employee competency SaaS platform for the financial services industry. Employing some 30 people, the company’s clients include Santander, Old Mutual, Legal and General, Nomura and Homeserve. Redland revenues for the year to 31 March 2019 were £3.6m with operating profits of £1.2m. Current Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) is approximately £3m - an increase of 50% from April 2018.

Having delivered c.30% yoy improvements in both the top and bottom lines for its most recent financial year (see here), Ideagen would appear to be very much on a roll. Through the recent purchases of audit management specialist Morgan Kai, quality inspection software supplier InspectionXpert and environmental health, safety and quality platform provider Scannell Solutions, moreover, the company has also demonstrated its ability to acquire and integrate successfully risk management software businesses.

The purchase of financial services industry-focused Redland will not only further advance Ideagen’s position in one of its key vertical market sectors, but also contribute to the company’s continuing transition from a perpetual licence to a SaaS based subscription model. Ideagen management expects to generate 74% of revenues from recurring contracts by the end of 2020.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '08:30' - Tagged: saas   acquisiiton   RegTech   financial+services  

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Monday 10 June 2019

NEW RESEARCH: Partnerships help drive growth at LBB Infoshare

Infoshare logoAvid readers of TechMarketView research will know that we like to keep in touch with the companies that have been through our various SME programmes, following their progress from start-up to scale-up and beyond. We have a special affinity with the disruptive SMEs that took part in our inaugural programme - the ‘Little British Battlers’ or LBB Programme– so we were delighted to catch up with the CEO of one of these LBBs, Pamela Cook from Infoshare, a UK-owned software company that works with organisations to create single views of people, objects, locations and account information.

We were particularly pleased to hear how successful Infoshare has been with its partnering strategy. Often the SMEs that we talk to complain about the challenges of partnering with larger SIs, or the lack of business they’ve won through formal SME partnering programmes, but for Infoshare the experience has been a very positive one. In particular, Pamela highlights the success they have had with AccentureAtos and most recently Agilisys.

TechMarketView subscription clients and UKHotViews Premium subscribers can read the full story today in UKHotViewsExtra: Partnerships help drive growth at LBB Infoshare.

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '08:30'

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Monday 10 June 2019

Social fashion marketplace Depop pops another $62m

logoLondon-based fashion marketplace Depop first piqued my interest back in 2015 when I wrote about its Series A funding round (see Depop pops another £5m). It’s basically a social media-driven, fashion-focused, person-to-person marketplace. This was followed in January 2018 with a Series B round (see Depop goes ‘bricks and mortar’ with $20m funding) along with the announcement that Depop was to open retail outlets in New York and Los Angeles.

Well, not only has Depop ‘got legs’ – its blazing a trail, having recently raised a further $62m in a Series C round led by General Atlantic with participation from existing investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Balderton Capital, Creandum, Octopus Ventures, TempoCap, and Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Founder and CEO of Swedish fintech company Klarna. Depop’s total funding now tops $100m (Source: CrunchBase). And it’s good to hear that some of the funding will go towards building its engineering and data science team in London.

Depop reportedly has over 13m users worldwide – mostly under 26 – and 16m items for sale on its website – there’s a very good article on them by @ingridlunden in Tech Crunch, by the way. Looks like a winner!

Gripe warning: As successful as Depop clearly is, they have succumbed to the GDPR cop-out of directing you to third-party websites in order to control cookie settings for each advertiser, or advising you to disable cookies in your browser, instead of allowing you to do this from within their own website. This is NOT in keeping with the spirit of the Act – especially for a youth-oriented social marketplace. Guys – you should be setting an example!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:29' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Monday 10 June 2019

Want To Stand Out From The Crowd?

Want to Stand Out from the Crowd?

Posted by HotViews Editor at '00:00'

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