UKHotViews
Wednesday 18 September 2019

Q3 challenges for Adobe despite 24% top line growth

logoAdobe shares dropped 3% in after-hours trading, despite beating market expectations, due to lower than expected Q4 guidance. 

Although Q3 revenue was up 24% to $2.83bn and net income rose to $793m from $666m Q3 had its challenges. In particular, performance of the $4.75bn Marketo acquisition was below par. Subscription bookings growth for the Marketo midmarket sector were below Adobe’s expectations;  the company is now adjusting its focus on demand generation and inside sales. There were also Analytics Cloud subscription bookings delays and related shortfalls in consulting services bookings and revenue associated with the launch of the new Adobe Experience Platform. 

Looking at the shortfalls within the context of overall Adobe performance, it looks like a case of acquisition indigestion. However, there are multiple areas of new activity within Adobe that need to be managed and even though revenue from the major Digital Media unit increased 22% to $1.96bn it was the slowest year-on-year increase in c.10 quarters. Meanwhile, the Digital Experience division saw 34% revenue growth but it only contributed $821m. Q4 should provide more insight into the overall Adobe position. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   saas   cloud   software  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Royal Derby Hospital teams with DXC for mobile app

DXC logoAs the digital health agenda continues to progress steadily across the NHS, Royal Derby Hospital has gone live with a new mobile application from DXC Technology that enables clinicians managing patient handover to access vital patient information via their mobile and tablet devices.The app, ClinicalAide, integrates with the trust’s Lorenzo EPR (electronic patient record system), also from DXC.  It is designed to save clinicians time and enhance clinical safety during the critical patient handover process - either between shifts or when a patient’s care environment changes, such as during a move from A&E to an inpatient setting.

This deployment is just one small example of much needed investment by the NHS in digital and tech. As we’ve highlighted in previous analysis (see for example NHS Long Term Plan: What does it mean for tech? and NHS Long Term Plan: Implementation), data and technology are fundamental to the NHS’ future. The example of Royal Derby and DXC illustrates the appetite for mobile apps and, generally, systems that improve patient safety, save clinicians time, facilitate patient flow and enable more integrated care. It also shows the growing importance of co-creation – by all accounts the trust has been heavily involved in the design and configuration of ClinicalAide to ensure it responds to frontline needs.

For DXC Technology, which has a checkered history in the NHS given its heavy involvement in the National Programme for IT in the NHS (NPfIT), ClinicalAide is a useful addition to its portfolio that is likely to appeal to other existing Lorenzo customers. DXC is currently fourth in our UK Healthcare Software & IT Services rankings despite declines in revenue from its legacy NPfIT EPR contracts, and incremental revenue from products such as ClinicalAide will be vital if it is to maintain this position in a competitive UK healthcare market.

If you are interested in the trends and suppliers shaping the UK healthcare software and IT services market and your organisation doesn’t currently subscribe to PublicSectorViews, the home of TechMarketView’s in-depth healthcare research, please contact Deb Seth to find out about our subscription packages.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: software   app   healthcare   mobile  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Accesso misses on revenue as it looks for buyer

AccessoInterim results from Accesso, the software provider to the leisure and entertainment industry shows revenue growth to have stalled in the first half of 2019. 

The business booked revenue of $50.7m (-6.8%) or $51.8m (-4.8%) at constant currency (H1 18 $54.4m), below management expectations following slower than expected scaling within its distribution network. Despite progress on costs, as it continues to integrate its various acquisitions, profitability also dipped with adjusted EBITDA of $11m, down 27.2% year-on-year (H1 18 $15.1m).

Accesso had been making steady progressing growing under new leadership for the previous twelve months focusing on increasing the proportion of the business delivering repeatable revenues. Revenue here increased to $35.7m in the period (79.3%), or $36.8m (79.7%) at constant currency (H1 18 $34.8; 71.3%), a trend management expects to continue.

Management is now expecting FY revenue of between $118m - $121m ($120m - $123m constant currency) (FY 18 $118.7m). 

However, the big news in the first half was that the business has put itself up for sale after receiving several bid approaches. The formal sale process was announced in July and remains ongoing having met with a number of interested parties.

Accesso’s share price had jumped some 46% on the announcement of the planned sale back in July, having been heading south since this time last year (it had reached a high of 2930p back in Sept 2018). This morning’s results have now wiped out a good chunk of those gains with shares down c.10% to 819p. Finding a buyer soon will be key to getting shares heading in the right direction.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   software   ticketing  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Milestone H1 for Attraqt

logoThe first half of the year has been a “milestone period” for omnichannel search, merchandising, and product & content personalisation software provider Attraqt according to CEO Luke McKeever. Progress is reflected in the financial results for the six months to 30 June 2019 and more so in the operational activities. 

On a financial level revenue rose 7% to £9m, half of which was organic, while LBT was fairly steady at £1.9m vs. £1.8m and the company moved into a position where operational cash flow was small but positive.  

Having refreshed its strategy in early 2019 with a focus on a data-led approach, increasing the speed of innovation, customer success and customer experience optimisation, partnerships, key verticals and replicating its UK approach in other geographies, Attraqt has a lot to work on but also has more to work with. 

Many of the efficiencies of scale the Fredhopper acquisition were expected to deliver are now in place setting the scene to accelerate growth. Perhaps more significant was the May 2019 completion of the Early Birds acquisition. Its personalisation platform enriches the Attraqt platform, plays to the data led strategy and brings AI/Machine learning capability to Attraqt  enabling it to take a real time intelligence story to market, having lacked AI/ML capability previously. What is good to see is that the SaaS company is not just adding functionality and building out technology (which it is doing); it has also created a small advisory team to help customers with the practicalities of converting strategy in action, which is one of the barriers to digital change within organisations. We see this as a positive move. 

With more multi-year deals signed, and more new logos onboard, customer confidence in Attraqt is increasing which should help the rather quiet partner programme, and help the company with its goals of increasing the sales cadence and the top line. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   saas   software  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Consulting surge accelerates PwC’s growth

LogoMirroring the performance of rivals Deloitte (see here), PwC UK has bounced back to deliver yoy top line growth of 11% for the twelve months to 30th June 2019. Revenue for the last financial year of £3.46b translates into a distributable profit per partner of £765K, an increase of 7% on the 2018 pay-out.

Consulting, which only grew by 1% in FY18 (see here) was the star of this year’s show. Driven by strong demand for digital and cyber advice and support, FY19 sales for this line of service surged ahead by 21% yoy to £950m. Total technology solutions-related revenue now accounts for a fifth of the firms UK turnover. This includes income from PwC Operate, the company’s BPS business. Launched in 2017, this unit has helped establish Belfast as the firm's second largest UK location employing 2,300 people.

From an industry vertical perspective, financial services, which generates a third of PwC’s UK revenues, reversed a 2% decline in FY18 to grow by nearly 14% last year. The technology, information, communications and entertainment sector grouping enjoyed the fastest rate of expansion. Sales in these segments increased by 23% yoy to £442m.

Despite the continuing macro-economic uncertainties in the UK, the firm is optimistic regarding the business outlook. £140m investment in people, quality, training, technology and upskilling is planned for the year ahead. With regulation of the audit sector under renewed political scrutiny and proposals for the separation of these businesses from wider advisory activities back on the table, however, the future for the Big 4 consulting heavyweights remains far from clear.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   systemsintegration   consulting   big+4  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Tribal celebrates brace of wins and appoints new CTO

Tribal logoEducation software and services supplier Tribal Group has announced a brace of new contract wins. The Bristol-headquartered business has agreed a deal with the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) in Abu Dhabi for the inspection of schools. The contract is worth AED28.9m (£6.3m) over two years and will commence next month. Earlier this year Tribal announced that revenue was down £1m in H1 as ADEK curtailed its existing schools inspection contract early in order to redefine its requirements for future inspections. The new contract should help Tribal make up the revenue loss in the second half of the year.

The second contract is with Health Education Training Institute (HETI) in Australia for the implementation of its SITS Accelerate solution. SITS Accelerate is Tribal’s new out-of-the-box SaaS-based student management system, which is designed to enable faster deployment at a lower cost. The HETI deal is for three years and is worth $A0.5m (£0.3m).

The company has also announced the appointment of Mike Cope as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Mike has been Chief Information Officer (CIO) at University College London (UCL) since 2010 and before that was CIO at Virgin Atlantic Airways and CTO at British Airways. He brings extensive experience of strategic change programmes and has been working with Tribal during his time at UCL.

The contracts announced today will be welcomed, but there are longer term challenges. In its H1 results Tribal warned fewer education institutions are looking to procure full student information systems, which represents the core of its business (see Tribal on track but facing market challenges). Helping existing customers shift to the cloud and interest in its Tribal Dynamics products should help the business meet expectations this year, but 2020 is likely to be more challenging. Tribal’s new CTO will need to employ all his experience and sector knowledge to ensure the new Tribal Edge cloud-based student information system is a success.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   education   appointment   university   schools  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Backers seed Coadjute’s ‘art of the possible’ conveyancing platform

logoI can intuitively see the potential of applying blockchain technology to the property conveyancing process given the number of different parties a transaction has to pass through to completion.

This is of course pioneering stuff, and it’s a challenge that has been taken up by London-based startup Coadjute (meaning ‘readily or continually undergoing change’).

Founded in 2018 and previously known as Instant Property Network (via Blockchain Digital Services), Coadjute has closed a £750k seed funding round. Although investors were not named, media reports of Coadjute’s software trials in April this year disclosed that the startup was backed by blockchain software firm R3.

I feel that the real challenge for blockchain-based business process platforms is perhaps more about buy-in than anything else; you really need to have every party in the process linking in else the ‘chain’ is incomplete (is this too simplistic a view, I wonder? Answers on postcards only, please, to ...).

In any event, this is a big 'ask' for traditionally tech-risk-averse professional services industries such as are typically involved in conveyancing and which are less likely to ‘readily and continually’ undergo change.

But surely it’s worth understanding ‘the art of the possible’.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   PropTech  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Capgemini reveals banking's insecurity over Big Tech

CapGeminiResearch from Capgemini has highlighted that the World's developing markets are driving significant growth in the volume of non-cash payments transactions. The newly published, World Payments Report 2019 reveals that growth is being fuelled by the adoption of mobile payments and contactless technology as well as digital innovations from FinTechs.

Emerging Asia is the most significant growth market for non-cash payments and volumes there increased by 35% (CAGR) between 2013 and 2017, compared to just 8% in Europe. At current rates of growth, the volume of non-cash payment transactions globally is set to increase from around 684bn in 2019 to an estimated 1,046bn in 2022. The US is still by far the largest global market, with more than 150bn transactions completed annually, whilst the UK accounts for around 30bn transactions.

Capgemini’s research also highlights that the majority (60%) of digital transformation efforts within banks are still driven predominantly by regulatory compliance. Meanwhile the adoption of open-APIs globally has been generally slow, beyond what has been mandated by the regulators. Just 48% of the banks surveyed had plans to use open APIs beyond regulatory requirements. The research confirms UK’s position as an API pioneer, in light of the Open Banking reforms here (see: Open Banking momentum starts to build).

The World Payments report also reveals that the large global technology companies are perceived as a far greater competitive threat by the established banks than the FinTech community. The banks fear the ability of “Big Tech” providers, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple to leverage their global reach, strong brands and superior customer experience.

As the once distinctly separate worlds of financial services and technology increasingly collide, technology excellence has become a key differentiator. As a result, the leading Big Tech companies appear best placed to capitalise on the evolving landscape and the longer-term prosperity of the currently dominant incumbents is not guaranteed.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: payments   banking  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Nationwide gives Bunk a foot up the property ladder

BunkUK startup, Bunk, has received a cash injection from leading UK building society Nationwide. Whilst the scale of investment was not disclosed, the deal sees the lender secure a minority stake in the digital letting agency and will facilitate a working relationship between the two parties going forward.

Bristol based Bunk (not to be confused with the US startup of the same name) started life in 2016 and is aimed at the UK’s large buy-to-let market. The app-based letting tool allows small landlords to manage their portfolio without the necessity and added cost of a local agent. Bunk utilises the benefits of the Open Banking regulations and enables landlords to quickly list available properties. Properties to be let can be viewed by users either via the Bunk app or via leading property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

Bunk sits in a similar space to fellow startup, Residently, which recently raised £7m in funding from a variety of backers (see: PropTech Residently raises more dosh). In addition to listing properties, finding and vetting tenants the Bunk app helps landlords to adhere to regulations by preventing deposits being taken that exceed the 5-week maximum permitted. The platform also helps with the processing of references and the setting up tenancy agreements.

Bunk is the latest startup to benefit from Nationwide’s £50m venture fund which aims to facilitate partnerships with the start-up community (see: Nationwide invests in Ordo to support SME push). The deal will see the two parties exchange “knowledge and expertise” but will not involve any customer data being shared. This partnership element of the deal may ultimately turn out to be the most beneficial for both parties. Whilst the property tech space is already relatively well served, Nationwide’s position as the UK’s 2nd largest lender should make it a potent advocate.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   partnerships  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Nakama’s 'difficult journey' continues

logoThe challenge for Rob Thesiger, recently appointed CEO of 'recruiter of two halves' Nakama Group (see New chief at Nakama adds ‘je ne sais quoi’) is indeed that it is a business of two halves. Ever since ‘old’ Nakama reversed into veteran specialist staffing business Highams back in the day (see Last waltz for Highams as Nakama reverses in), management has been trying to make the whole greater than the sum of the halves. Without success.

Today’s FY results illustrate the point, with Highams showing a “pleasingly profitable year”, in contrast with Nakama’s more generalist business. Net net, Nakama finished the year with revenues down 20% to £13.4m, but they did manage to turn the prior year’s £1.51m net losses into a £323k net profit, albeit most of which came from discontinued operations.

Nakama chairman Tim Sheffield bemoaned Nakama’s “difficult journey” and expects further restructuring. Let’s see if CEO Thesiger can succeed where others before him have failed.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: results   recruitment  

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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Bumper quarter for UK/Irish tech venture investment

chartQ2 2019 was the biggest ever quarter for venture investment in UK and Irish privately-held tech companies, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Ascendant. Just over £2.3b was invested in a total of 301 deals of over £500k in the quarter, up 27% by value and 7% by deal flow. Amazon’s $575m/£447m investment in Deliveroo in May comprised almost 20% of the total (see Amazon Primes Deliveroo). Indeed, the ten biggest deals represented almost half the total funds invested. Half the deals were less than £2m and received just 5% of the total money.

The most prolific investors were Crowdcube, Scottish Investment Bank, Parkwalk, Seedrs, Mercia, Downing and Octopus. Crowdfunding platforms grew slightly in the mix, accounting for 11% of funds invested vs 10% this time last year.

TechMarketView Foundation Service subscription clients will be able to see our extensive summary of VC investment in the UK tech sector in Q2 2019 in the next edition of IndustryViews Venture Capital, out later this week.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: funding  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Health Data Research Hubs to be rolled out across the UK

HDRUK logoSeven new Health Data Research Hubs are being rolled out across the UK with the intention of speeding up research for new medicines, treatments, and technologies that support quicker diagnoses and improve outcomes for patients.

The initiative is being led by Health Data Research UK, an independent, non-profit organisation funded by UK Research and Innovation; ESRC and EPSRC; the health research departments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and leading medical research charities. The organisation partners with 22 universities and research institutes across the UK.

The Health Data Research Hubs, originally called Digital Innovation Hubs, are part of a four-year £37m government investment that forms part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund announced in November 2017. The competition for these hubs was launched in May 2019 and attracted applications from over 160 organisations in 21 consortia.

The seven hubs chosen by an independent panel involving patient and public representatives comprise over 100 organisations including NHS, universities, charities, pharmaceutical companies and technology businesses. The seven hubs, their area of focus and host organisation are:

  • BREATHE – Respiratory Health – University of Edinburgh
  • DATA-CAN – Cancer – UCLPartners Academic Health Science Partnership
  • Discover-NOW – Real World Evidence – Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
  • G.I. Know – Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Addenbrooke's Hospital
  • INSIGHT – Eye Health – University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • NHS DigiTrial – Clinical Trials – NHS Digital
  • PIONEER – Acute Care – University of Birmingham 

NHS Digital has partnered with University of Oxford, Microsoft and IBM to develop the NHS DigiTrial hub. It aims to transform how clinical trials are delivered in the UK, providing services to determine whether a clinical trial is feasible and support better planning and delivery of trials. The University of Oxford will provide clinical and trial leadership; Microsoft will bring a range of services, including its expertise in confidential computation in public cloud; and IBM will provide expertise in digital, technical service design and modelling, data capabilities and programme management.

Microsoft has also partnered with G.I. Know and PIONEER, and IBM will also be working with Discover-NOW. Other technology companies partnering with hubs include Google with Discover-NOW and INSIGHT; Medopad with Discover-NOW; and Privitar with G.I. Know.

The NHS is sitting on an unrivalled longitudinal data set but delivering on its potential will require the public to be reassured about security and ethics. It’s good to see patients and the wider public having a key role in shaping the research activities in these hubs from the outset. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   investment   government   data   healthcare  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Softbank and the need for a decent flow of IPOs

"I think that a lot of funds exposed to private tech might have a pretty torrid time ahead of them".

SoftbankFurther to my post earlier today - WeWork postpones IPO -I should make comment on SoftBank’s role in this debacle. WeWork was SoftBank’s biggest single investment. 

Indeed it hasn’t had the best of records of late with its other IPOs as both Uber and Slack are now trading significantly below their launch price. SoftBank last invested in WeWork at a valuation of $47b. Even if WeWork manages to IPO ‘at the end of the year’, the valuation could be only a third of that.

Most similar funds value their investments at the last known price at which shares changed hands. Relatively easy when the stock is traded on a public market. When it is a private company, the last trading price is more difficult. This is why serial investors like to see the price go up on each trading round - for obvious reasons. Sometimes you get just a few shares traded at an inflated value - allowing all the other investors to revalue their holdings! To see the shares trade at a lower price means taking write-downs in the value of their portfolios.  Most funds either exit or substantially decrease their exposure on IPO - so they don’t care too much about a post IPO drop.

But, of course, it will all come back to haunt them if IPOs dry up and fire sale fund-raising become more common. Note Neil Woodford’s current problems. Given what we now know about Softbank’s recent investments, I wonder how keen investors will be to dig into their pockets again when SoftBank inevitably goes-a-fund-raising again?

I remember, back in the 1990s, writing a dissertation about how serial acquirers were like drug addicts. As long as you kept a-buying and seeing your share price rise each time, everything was fine. But almost every serial/larger acquirer had to face their Day of Reckoning. Share price started to fall. The currency fuelling the acquisitions was devalued and the buying spree had to end. Many did not survive the experience and ended up themselves being acquired at a greatly reduced value.

I think that a lot of funds exposed to private tech might have a pretty torrid time ahead of them.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Job opportunity in TechMarketView's Client Services team

TMV logoWould you like to join TechMarketView’s friendly Client Services team? We’re looking for a number of people to join the team to support our growth. 

The roles we are looking to fill are varied with scope to grow and evolve over time as you become more familiar with the business. Admin-based, they encompass elements of sales, client support, account management and event management.  In a typical week, for example, you may be scheduling our online advertising and liaising with advertising clients; providing organisational support for our events and programmes; and following up incoming sales leads.

There is scope for the position/s to be part-time or full-time depending on the successful candidate/s, who are likely to be:

·      Detail-orientated and IT literate with excellent organisational skills

·      Strong team players

·      ‘Self-starters’, hard-working and dependable

·      Able to multi-task and willing to adapt and do a variety of tasks as we’re a small team

·      Comfortable communicating with senior execs within client organisations

·      Happy working from home (we all do!) and able to attend regular meetings in the Surrey/Hampshire/Sussex area

·      Familiar with the IT industry and its suppliers in the UK (or keen to learn).

For more details and to express interest in joining the team please email our Sales and Marketing Director Deb Seth at dseth@techmarketview.com providing your CV or your LinkedIn profile, by Friday September 20th.

No agencies please.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

UK SME PSE to join Siemens

PSE logoUK SME Process Systems Enterprise (PSE), a spin-out from Imperial College London, is set to become part of Siemens AG by the end of the year. PSE, which is known for its Advanced Process Modelling software and services, will be integrated into the Process Automation business unit of Siemens Digital Industries, in a deal that looks to represent an excellent exit for investors AlbionVC. 

PSE’s technology is widely used in the chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and food industries to accelerate innovation, improve process design and operation, streamline R&D and manage technology risk. PSE has been working closely with Siemens in a strategic partnership since June 2018 so the two businesses are well-known to each other and their products and know-how appear highly complementary.

The management team of 160-strong PSE will remain in place but PSE will inevitably become a very small cog in a very big machine – Siemens DI has c75k employees internationally whilst Siemens AG has c379k. However, if all goes to plan, PSE's global customer base of Fortune 500 process industry companies and some 200 universities will be even better served by Siemen’s global digitization business.

The terms of the deal have not been made public. To give an idea of scale, in its last financial year (to end December 2018) PSE’s revenues were flat at £16.6m as a 10% increase in software revenue countered a decline in services revenue in the Oil and Gas sector; it made an operating loss of £110k and had cash in the bank of £3.6m.

For analysis of Corporate Activity over the last quarter, TechMarketView Foundation Service and UKHotViews Premium clients can download the latest IndustryViews bulletin here.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: acquisition   software  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Watchstone finds buyer for Healthcare Services business

Watchstone logoWatchstone Group plc has found a buyer for its Healthcare Services business (see Beleaguered Watchstone still waiting for sale). The business has been drastically restructured in recent years (see Watchstone restructuring pays off for now) and has been preparing its remaining businesses for disposal for some time.

This morning, Watchstone announced its Canadian subsidiary, Quindell Services Inc, has agreed to sell PT Healthcare Solutions Corp (ptHealth) and other subsidiaries forming its Canadian Healthcare Services business to 11628542 Canada Inc a subsidiary of LM Holdings Corp. The deal includes an initial cash consideration of C$36.2m (£22.3m) and up to a further C$0.8m (£0.5m) conditional on the business generating target revenues in the first year after the acquisition.

Watchstone’s Healthcare Services business comprises ptHealth, a healthcare company that owns and operates physical rehabilitation clinics across Canada, and InnoCare, a proprietary clinic management software platform and call centre and customer service business.

For the year ended 31 December 2018 Healthcare Services revenue was broadly flat at £30.2m (2017: £30.5m)—see Watchstone suffering on a number of fronts—and it was a similar story at H1 2019 (see Watchstone H1 overshadowed by costly court cases).

Healthcare Services accounted for 84% of Watchstone’s revenue during H1 2019. Its sale leaves behind the struggling ingenie telematics business, which saw revenues decline 31% to £3.3m in H1 2019 (H1 2018: £4.8m). A turnaround plan for ingenie has been created by the management team.

The net cash proceeds of the sale will be kept on deposit until a distribution to shareholders can be effected. No distribution of capital will be made to shareholders until the ongoing Slater & Gordon litigation has been resolved. The trial, which concerns the £637m sale of Qunidell’s Professional Services Division in 2015, will commence next month. Last month Watchstone were granted permission to counter-sue Slater & Gordon for damages of at least £63m for breach of confidence.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: acquisition   telematics   healthcare  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

LoopUp sees momentum checked

LoopUpDespite some strong headline numbers in today’s interim results from remote meetings company LoopUp Group, FY 2019 guidance has been revised down with management citing a “volatile macro environment”.

LoopUp saw revenue increase by 86% to £22.4mn (H1 18: £12mn) and EBITDA up 32% to £3.5mn (H1 18: £2.7mn) following last year’s acquisition of similar sized audio-conferencing provider MeetingZone.

As was flagged up in July’s profit warning, the business is expecting momentum to be checked and saw H1 19 revenue in its established base down 8% year-on-year (FY 2018: +1%) primarily blaming users undertaking fewer meetings in the current business climate. 

We suspect that LoopUp’s premium offer is also coming under pressure from ‘free’ or ‘bundled’ alternatives such as Skype or Teams, even if the LoopUp offer is of superior quality.

As such, full FY 2019 guidance for Group has been revised down to revenue growth of approximately 26% and EBITDA margins of approximately 15%.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   software   collaboration  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Monzo passes 3m customer milestone

MonzoLeading UK challenger bank, Monzo has reached another notable milestone, having passed the 3m customer mark. The rate at which new users are being attracted to the app only bank is accelerating, with only 4 months having passed since Monzo announced reaching 2m customers. The bank is currently recruiting new customers at the equivalent of 55k every week. The latest milestone means that 1 in 20 UK adults are now Monzo customers.

Monzo successfully raised £113m in June to help support its growth ambitions (see: Monzo targets US fuelled by cash injection). The bank introduced in a cash incentive scheme for customer referrals in December but has now ended the promotion. The scheme saw 100,000 new customers attracted as a result of the referral bonuses at an estimated total cost of £1m. Monzo ended the initiative on Friday 6th September.

Earlier this month Accenture, indicated that the customer base of the UK’s digital only challenger banks could swell by an additional 22m over the next 12 months (see: UK challenger banks on the march). The research published by the global consulting firm has indicated that, at current growth rates, the number of accountholders using UK digital only banks is set to rise from 13m to 35m before the end of 2020. 

The challenger banks are currently engaged in something of a land grab and many are expanding rapidly. However, scale alone is not a guarantee of success and running current accounts has never been a particularly profitable area of retail banking. Many of the new breed are yet to achieve profitability and on average these banks are currently losing around £9 per customer.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: challengerbank  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

TCS lands engineering design services mega-deal

logoMumbai-based behemoth TCS has signed a five-year contract with long-time client General Motors (GM) to support its global vehicles programme with engineering design services. Over 1,300 employees of the GM Technical Center – India in Bangalore will transfer to TCS, including teams focused on propulsion systems, vehicle engineering, controls development, testing, creative design and special projects.

This latest move builds on the 16-year long relationship between the two companies. The partnership is intended to strengthen both parties: GM hopes to benefit from the scale and cross-sectoral knowledge of TCS, while TCS will swell significantly the ranks of its engineering talent.

The Engineering and R&D (ERD) services arena, where both IoT implementation and software usage are growing rapidly, is attracting increasing attention from the SI community. Less that three months ago, Capgemini announced that it was in the process of acquiring ERD market leaders Altran for €3.6b (see here). Through the partnership with GM, TCS, which is an established top-ten global player in this space with firm-wide ERD revenues of c.$1.25b, is aiming to capitalise further on the fast-growing Industry 4.0 opportunity. The deal will also help the company to make up ground on rivals HCL, which is currently the leading IPP in terms of ERD services activities.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: acquisition   IPP  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Capgemini names new CEO

LogoAiman Ezzat will be the next Chief Executive Officer at Capgemini. Currently the group’s Chief Operating Officer, Ezzat will take the helm on the 20th May 2020. Paul Hermelin, who has led Capgemini since the end of 2001, will remain Chairman of the Board following the change.

Ezzat is a twenty plus year company veteran. Following a decade at Gemini Consulting (now Capgemini Invent) and a four-year detour via another business and technology company, he re-joined Capgemini in 2005 as Deputy Director of Strategy. His career has remained on an upward trajectory ever since as he progressed from head of the company’s Financial Services Global Business Unit to Chief Financial Officer. In 2018 he was named as one of the group’s two Chief Operating Officers alongside Thierry Delaporte.

Today’s announcement is a part of a managerial transition process that began two years ago and which will complete eight months hence. This should be a very smooth and orderly passing of the leadership baton.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: appointment   systemsintegration  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

New India head for Cognizant

picGreat to see my good friend Ramkumar Ramamoorthy has just been promoted to chairman and managing director of Cognizant India. I first met him way back in 2004 when I was on the ‘dark side’ as an equities analyst tracking the Indian pure-plays and he was in IR. A really solid citizen.

TechMarketView subscription service clients can read our regular quarterly update on the IPPs in the latest edition of OffshoreViews.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: offshore   management  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Aquis Exchange delivers strong H1 growth

AquisAIM listed, Aquis Exchange, has announced interim results highlighting strong revenue growth and an improving profit position. The innovative exchange services group, which runs a pan-European trading platform and provides trading software via Aquis Technologies, reported revenues up 165% to £3.4m. Subscription based Aquis Exchange also added another two trading members in the period ended 30 June 2019, taking the total number of institutional participants to 29.

Aquis grew its share of overall pan-European continuous trading during H1 to 4.8% with its share of available liquidity also increasing. Meanwhile profitability improved markedly, with Aquis reporting an EBITDA2 loss of £0.16m compared to a £1.6m loss for the same period last year. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of H1 were £11.2m compared to £13.1m for H1 2018.

Founded by, Alasdair Haynes, the man behind another Pan-European exchange, Chi-X, Aquis promotes a “fair-play” approach to trading that seeks to eradicate, aggressive, non-client, proprietary trades. As a result, Aquis offers an interesting alternative to other exchanges, with lower toxicity and signalling risk (see: Aquis Exchange continues to grow under the radar).

Whilst there are potentially some dark clouds lingering over the markets due to Brexit, Aquis has successfully secured dual-trading status in European equities, in preparation. In another significant step forward, the company is also set to acquire the NEX Exchange, marking its intention to enter the primary listings market.

Aquis is an intriguing and innovative proposition and the expertise and ambition of industry veteran Haynes are a potent combination. The company has continued to expand and execute on its strategy and appears well on its way to fulfilling its declared ambitions for growth.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: results   trading   equities  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

WeWork postpones IPO

WeWorkIt hardly came as a surprise that WeWork postponed its IPO last night. The announcement talked of a delay until ‘the end of the year’.

I’ve written about WeWork on many occasions. See Bubbles bursting and WeWork files IPO prospectus. Grossly overvalued, poor corporate governance, a scary business model which relied on long-term leases for WeWork but short term rentals to clients, massively loss-making etc etc.

Readers might rightly question what WeWork has to do with tech? It always got lumped together with other recent high profile IPOs - like Uber and Lyft - which have suffered significant declines in their share prices since IPO. ‘Tech’ now seems to embrace any company which disrupts a market with established players. And, of course, every company in the world now embraces tech to some extent. Lloyds Bank and British Airways could both be rebranded as tech companies as they are both highly reliant on their IT. We report regularly on Amazon - which is mainly a retailer!

What really matters is that what happens to the upstarts like WeWork could affect the conventional IT market. I still believe that most of the conventional tech players are fairly valued and are not in ‘Bubble territory’. They are generally profitable, cash generative/rich and have valuation metrics that are historically sustainable. A healthy IPO market really matters to tech too. If all IPOs are tarred with the WeWork/Uber/Lyft brush then that will be bad all the way down the tech investment chain. Ultimately affecting start-ups too.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Rosslyn establishes base from which to grow

Rosslyn DTFull-year results out today from analytics-as-a-service provider Rosslyn Data Technologies show the business making good progress on a number of fronts. 

Revenue grew by 8.3% to £7m (2018: £6.4m) with annual licence fees growing 9.2% to £5.4m (2018: £5.0m). Operating EBITDA improved by 75% to a loss of £432k (2018: loss of £1.8m) whilst the business is now cash generative to the tune of £200k (2018: cash used in operations of £3.45m).

2018 was primarily a year of consolidation putting in place the building blocks for accelerated growth to come. The investment in its RAPid product offering should provide greater value to clients through being more embedded into systems and processes and the business saw a number of new wins in sectors including Logistics, Civil Defence, Healthcare and Pharma. 

A big focus of last year was the integration of 2017 acquisition Integritie and its product suite into a new supplier information management suite (SIM). The Integritie acquisition has also helped drive down the cost base through the deployment of robotic process automation (RPA).

Overall a pretty solid set of results that should provide a platform from which Rosslyn can build.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   analytics  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Smart Metering Systems’ losses not so smart

logoI could well imagine that management at Glasgow-based utility meter installation and asset management firm Smart Metering Systems (SMS) was not best pleased at my commentary on their July trading update (see Smart Metering Systems and the Kool-Aid effect).

I suggested that CEO Alan Foy’s view that momentum in the installation rate of smart meters  was building across the industry might be misplaced on account of the fact of the facts, which are that the rate of smart meter installations is, according to the Government’s own statistics, actually in decline (see Smart Meter Madness (14): Things can only get … worse? and SHOCK HORROR!!! Smart meter rollout programme in trouble!).

Indeed, today’s half-time results from SMS should surely have dampened management’s optimism, given the company recorded a £1.4m net loss in the six months to 30th June 2019, being a near-£10m reversal of the £8.4m net profit recorded in H1 2018.

Quite the contrary!

Foy reports that “The widely reported industry-wide installation issues are now substantially addressed and the mass rollout of SMETS2 can now commence,” expecting a pick-up in the installation run-rate starting later this year. We will have to wait until the end of November when the Government publishes its next set of statistics to see whether there are any signs of this coming true.

Foy also announced what some might view as a veiled ‘dash for cash’ through the sale of “a minority” of SMS’ meter asset portfolio, “which, if completed at an appropriate value, would provide significant additional liquidity and demonstrate the inherent value of our substantial asset base.” Well, that rather depends on which type of meters they are trying to job out. SMS recently acquired some 72,000 SMETS1 smart meters from one of its energy supplier customers; these are the ones that go dumb if the consumer changes electricity supplier. Can’t imagine they’re worth much on the open market!

I have enthusiastically followed the fortunes of SMS since its July 2011 IPO (see Smart maiden interims for Smart Metering Systems). The irony – if not tragedy – of all this is that SMS should have been in a premium position to capitalise on the Government’s deeply flawed smart meter rollout programme. This, to me, is down to a failure by management to take off the Government-supplied rose-tinted specs.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: results   smartmeters  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

SHOCK HORROR!!! Smart meter rollout programme in trouble!

picStockmarkets around the world are expected to remain closed today after last night’s surprise release of a consultation paper implying (by virtue of stating quite the opposite) that the UK Government’s smart meter rollout programme might be in trouble. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has swept aside Brexit negotiations and is calling an emergency meeting of the COBRA committee to discuss next steps.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was quoted as saying, “I have only just laid cables in my allotment for a new smart meter. How am I meant to track electricity usage of my soil warmer now?”

Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, said, “When I’m Prime Minister I will scrap the smart meter rollout on my first day in office in favour of our new Windfarms For All programme. At least we have the weather for it.”

TechMarketView Managing Partner Anthony Miller said, “I’m shocked and horrified. When the Government set out a plan to replace every single gas and electricity meter in the land by 2020, who would have thought that anything could possibly go wrong? I certainly didn’t!”

(Ed’s note: Err – start with Smart Meter Madness (14): Things can only get … worse? and work back to see what Miller really thinks. He never lets the facts get in the way of a good story!!)

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: smartmeters  

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Calling all startups and scaleups looking to revolutionise workplace learning!

logoAre you an innovative UK startup or scaleup with a disruptive digital workplace learning solution? Then apply now to partner with Capita’s corporate venturing unit to turbocharge your growth in national and international markets.

Capita and the Future of Workplace Learning

logoCapita Scaling Partner, the start-up development unit of UK business services leader Capita plc, in association with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme, is looking for partners to revolutionise the Future of Workplace Learning, drawing on the capability of Capita to supercharge businesses that are offering something special in this field. 

Your business should be focused on transforming the way companies, organisations, employees and citizens engage with learning, be it at work, at home or on the move. We are looking for companies with the potential to disrupt established ways of working to help deliver better outcomes, for example by providing:

  • Improved visibility of skills gaps or learning outcomes;
  • Access to enhanced methods and sources of learning;
  • More flexibility for employees to upskill themselves and transfer their skills to other roles.

Four great reasons to apply

If you are selected for the programme you will get:

  • Accelerated market access to Capita’s network of 9,000 corporate clients and 8,000 blue-chip suppliers, as well as businesses in international markets;
  • Dedicated business development support from the Capita Scaling Partner team to help turbocharge your growth;
  • Input from subject matter experts in Capita’s People Solutions business, supporting the employment lifecycle from hiring to retiring for 6,500 clients across the private and public sectors;
  • Unparalleled industry visibility in TechMarketView research, including UKHotViews, arguably the most influential daily commentary on the UK tech scene.

Eligibility requirements

A pitch event for selected applicants will take place at Capita’s headquarters in London on Wednesday 6th November 2019 to identify businesses that are the best fit for a strategic partnership with Capita.

To be eligible for the chance of pitching to Capita, you should:

  • be the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately held UK tech company;
  • have an innovative solution for the future of workplace learning;
  • have a solution that is at least MVP stage and has been successfully deployed to one or more large clients;
  • have ambitions to scale your business and generate substantial revenues in the future.

How to apply

Innovative, high growth, young businesses that are utilising technology to change the Future of Workplace Learning for the better are encouraged to apply by completing this webform by Friday 4th October 2019. Applicants will be notified if their application has been successful by Friday 18th October.

You can find more about the Future of Workplace Learning programme here along with a downloadable flyer, and about Capita Scaling Partner here. For any further information, please email tipp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Monday 16 September 2019

Learning Technologies Group H1 momentum gives FY confidence

LTGProvider of services and technologies for digital learning and talent management, Learning Technologies Group (LTG), has finished its H119 (six months to end June 2019) as expected based on its trading update in July (see LTG optimistic about rest of FY19). Indeed, if anything, things have gone slightly better, at least from a profitability perspective –adjusted EBIT was up 134% to £19.4m (compared to a predicted 125% increase).

Total revenues climbed 85% to £62.6m. The organic revenue growth rate for the Group as a whole is not entirely clear. Across the businesses, the Software and Platforms business (68% of Group revenues) continues to be the stronger performer; its organic revenue growth (excluding PeopleFluent) was 7%; here, LTG states that the PeopleFluent business is “successfully managing retention rates to stabilise revenues” and expects a return to organic revenue growth in 2020. Meanwhile, the Content & Services business (the remainder) reports an organic revenue decline of 3%, but states it is “confident of strong organic growth for 2019” (of c8%) following a great increase in organic sales momentum.

LTG continues to invest with confidence, across its divisions, in acquisitions, in product development, and in sales. As it does so, the mix of the business is changing, making it more robust. For example, in this latest set of results, the proportion of recurring revenues has increased from 51% to 74% (compared to H118). While the proportion of revenues coming from outside the UK has jumped from 59% to 79% - good news when the UK appears to be struggling compared to the rest (down 6% in this period). Overall, it gives us confidence that 2019 performance will be strong.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: training  

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Monday 16 September 2019

TechMarketView raising money for GOSH

GODH RBC Race for the Kids logosOn 12th October, TechMarketView’s Chief Analyst, Georgina O’Toole, and some of the TechMarketView team, including our Managing Director, Tola Sargeant, will be taking part, along with their families, in the RBC Race for the Kids – a 5k fun run (or jog, or walk, or wheel!) - for the seriously ill children at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Some of you will already be aware that Georgina’s younger son (pictured) has been under the care of the Orthopaedic Department at Great Ormond Street Hospital for much of his life… indeed coinciding with Georgina’s time with TechMarketView.

Thomas_amputation_prostheticMost recently the hospital supported Thomas and the rest of the O’Toole family through the difficult decision to have Thomas’ leg amputated. Without the whole-child and whole-family care of this wonderful hospital, the journey could have been so much harder.

Georgina has always spoken highly of the hospital for the amazing care it gives, thanks to the fantastic staff and facilities. Now TechMarketView is looking to raise some money to support the charity and make a difference to other children being treated there.

We have set up a JustGiving page for donations – TechMarketView for GOSH - so please consider digging as deep as you can to support this very worthy cause.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: charity  

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Monday 16 September 2019

Capita re-signs Bexley for Revs & Bens

capitaCapita may have launched a new brand identity at the end of last week, but progress on the contracting front remains very familiar. 

LB BexleyCapita has announced the renewal of its contract with the London Borough of Bexley to deliver its revenues and benefits services, a deal worth £32m over seven years and nine months.

Capita has been working with Bexley since the mid-1990s and the early days of Local Government outsourcing and this time around is promising to accelerate “the use of digital technologies to deliver citizen-centred services in a manner that makes accessing them easy and efficient”.

Given the long-standing relationship and the difficult conditions of the Local Government market, Capita will be pleased to have locked this in for another few years. However, the market is moving fast and delivering on the ‘digital’ bit will be key to retaining this and so many of the other contracts in its Local Government portfolio in the future.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: localgovernment   contract  

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Monday 16 September 2019

Alfa's delivery problems prevail as market slows

AlfaAlfa Financial Systems has released a pessimistic trading update ahead of its interim results, due 26 September. The statement highlighted impaired performance off the back of ongoing implementation issues, a slowdown in the wider economy and included a profit warning for the full year.

The London based provider of asset finance technology indicated that revenues for the six months ended 30th June 2019 are expected to be down by 5.8% at £31m whilst 1st half operating profit is likely to fall by around 42% to £5m. The company indicated that its year-end profit will be significantly lower than originally forecast.

The latest update reflects Alfa’s continuing problems around project delivery, coupled with a decline in customer uptake of optional upgrades and non-critical work. In March, Alfa released full year results that highlighted a difficult 12 months, in which revenues declined by 19% and profits fell by 34% (see: Alfa remain positive despite declines). Alfa’s share price fell by more than 50% in June last year following a profit warning, with the company having previously been bullish about prospects (see: Alfa has to beat a retreat).

In its latest statement, Alfa’s management highlighted that competition for talent is pushing up costs, in addition to which, the company is set to incur some one-off legal costs during H2 2019. Meanwhile, on the plus side Alfa has a strong offering and retains a large installed customer base. Despite its recent travails the company remains in a healthy financial position with strong recurring revenues and ended H1 with net cash of just over £53m.

Whilst Alfa’s management blamed the reduction in additional spend on economic uncertainty, it’s reasonable to assume that the implementation issues have impacted negatively on client satisfaction and contributed to the decline. Management needs to get on top of this issue, as ongoing delivery failures will undoubtedly continue to damage the company’s future prospects. Alfa’s share price was down 24% in early trading and has now fallen by around 83% since January last year.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: profitwarning  

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Monday 16 September 2019

Falling car sales hit 21st Century

Logo21st Century Technology plc, which specialises in IoT systems and software for the passenger transport markets, has found the going tougher during the first half of this year. Revenue for the six months ended 30th June 2019 was down 11% you to £5.7m. This produced an operating loss of £0.3m, compared with an operating profit of £0.4m in H1 2018. The reduction in UK new vehicle registrations, which have fallen by 3.4% so far this year, was cited as the primary cause of the business slowdown.

The Ashby-de-la-Zouch based company, which operates both domestically and internationally, comprises two divisions; Fleet Systems delivering “on-board” vehicle solutions and Passenger Systems focused on electronic passenger information, smart-ticketing and wayfinding.  H119 sales of the former fell by 22% yoy to £3.2m, while in the latter turnover increased by 11% to £2.5m.

Despite the slow start to the year, 21st Century Technology is upbeat about the outlook. Momentum in the company’s passenger business is gaining, fuelled by a 50% growth in order intake in H1. The overall sales pipeline is said to be healthy and expanding with a number of significant value negotiations in late or final stages. Indeed, earlier in the month we reported on a three-year £0.5m contract with East Sussex County Council won by the company for its new Electronic Passenger Information (EPI) software platform (see here). Further similar announcements should be expected over the coming months.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   saas   transport   iot   councils  

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Monday 16 September 2019

Sales growth drives European TMT M&A valuations onward and upwards

chartAs is so often the case, August was a relatively quiet period for M&A. The number of deals within the European TMT space was down to 259, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Regent Assay. However, the aggregate value stayed relatively constant at $31.3b, thanks largely to the $27b megadeal between London Stock Exchange and trading and analytics platform, Refinitiv. Valuation multiples diverged: while the aggregate P/EBITDA multiple fell by 18%, from 12x to 9.8x, the P/Sales ratio continued its climb, to 1.49x, up from 1.46x last month.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t such a quiet month for UK tech M&A. Public sector-focused ‘unicorn’ Civica continued its relentless expansion with the acquisition of Derbyshire-based occupational health and health and safety SaaS specialist Warwick International; terms were not disclosed. Meanwhile, Computacenter decided to buy back its previously divested IT asset disposal business, RDC, from distributor, Arrow, which it had sold for £56m. One assumes they didn’t pay as much on the way back in!

It was good to see a TechMarketView Great British Scaleup carry on scaling up, with news that operations management SaaS player ActiveOps, has acquired Texas HQ’d OpenConnect in a deal that expands its US operations. AcitveOps is chaired by Sean Finnan, an ex-‘big tech’ exec well known and respected in this parish. Terms were not disclosed.

The month also saw the UK wave a fond farewell to Hemel Hempstead HQ’d NGA Human Resources, acquired by US BPS specialist Alight Solutions. NGA HR was one of the many fragments of once-listed Northgate Information Solutions (nee MDIS), which saga has provided rich fodder for UKHotViews for many, many years. Again, terms were not disclosed.

There’s more besides if you search on 'acquisition' in the UKHotViews archive, and you can keep in touch with the broader picture of M&A activity in the UK software & IT services sector in our quarterly report, IndustryViews Corporate Activity.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: acquisition  

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Friday 13 September 2019

One Team Logic secures £3.2m to extend safeguarding software

MyConcern logoSafeguarding and child protection software business One Team Logic has secured £3.2m of funding from Octopus Investments.

The Talbot Green-based business was founded by Martin Baker, Mike Glanville and Darryl Morton in 2014. It has developed MyConcern, a SaaS solution for recording and managing safeguarding concerns in educational settings, including nurseries, schools, multi-academy trusts and colleges in the UK and internationally (including all Ministry of Defence schools around the world). The system is designed to allow safeguarding leads to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the people in their care, enabling them to identify risks and trends before they escalate. It also supports inter-agency information sharing to ensure key decision makers have access to the appropriate information needed to provide the best outcomes for vulnerable individuals.

The company, which also has a training office in Poundbury, Dorset and a sales office in Birmingham won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category last year. The new investment will allow the business to further develop MyConcern and associated services.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: education   funding   startup   software   schools  

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Friday 13 September 2019

Unilever blows hot for Blow

logoClearly Unilever has the hots for London-based beauty services (Beautech?) startup Blow, as its venture arm has just led another raise on crowdfunding site Seedrs. This is second time (I think) Unilever Ventures has backed Blow (see Unilever pumps more dosh into ‘beautech’ Blow).

This follow-on round raised £1.93m in a ‘convertible’ campaign, i.e. you don’t get equity yet (and the ‘crowdfundee’ doesn’t have to disclose a valuation). The investment is converted to equity at a predetermined discount (in this case, 22.5%) at the next formal raise.

By the way, I note from TechCrunch that beauty professional booking app beautystack raised £4m in a seed funding round led by Index Ventures last May. They had previously raised £700k in April 2018 (see Backers beautify beautystack with £700k funding round).

Unfortunately, all these services are wasted on me.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   beautech  

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Friday 13 September 2019

Nivaura creates Santander blockchain bond

NivauraCapital markets workflow and automation startup, Nivaura, has successfully implemented a pioneering blockchain project for leading global bank, Santander. The Spanish based bank has issued a $20m bond that will run exclusively via the Ethereum blockchain. Santander has heralded the innovation as a step towards a potential secondary market for mainstream security tokens.

The use of blockchain’s distributed ledger technology, has made the process of issuing and administering the 1-year bond faster, simpler and more efficient. The bond utilises Ethereum’s public blockchain and was tokenized securely and registered in a permissioned manner on the platform. The Spanish bank’s Securities Services arm is acting as tokenization agent and custodian of the cryptographic keys.

In February last year Nivaura received an investment from Santander's $200m venture capital fund. Earlier this year the FinTech secured a further $20m in seed and extension capital, via a funding round led by the London Stock Exchange Group and supported by a number of prominent investors (see: Nivaura attracts $20m).

Nivaura was launched in 2016 and aims to automate and accelerate many of the processes related to the issuance and administration of financial instruments. In some circumstances, the FinTech claims to be able to reduce time to market by up to 80%.

The Santander bond project is an interesting development and is yet another example of the significant opportunities to facilitate change within financial markets. In a sector in which the movement of money is the prime process, digital ledger technology clearly has great potential. As the transformation increasingly leads to the adoption of new technologies such as blockchain, the cost and efficiency gains are potentially massive.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: blockchain   CapitalMarkets   financialmarkets  

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Friday 13 September 2019

Uhive raises dosh for fantasy social network

logoMaybe I’m getting just a tad cynical in my advancing years, but when I see a strapline that describes a startup as “an innovative social network, aiming to create a positive, creative and noble Idea that will spark a social movement” – complete with its own cryptocurrency token (on sale soon) – I just wonder how many punters will be taken in.

This is Uhive, a “unique, genuine and creative social network linked to a fantasy world.” Incorporated in London last year and soon to launch in ‘beta’.

Uhive claims to have raised $2.3m in unspecified funding rounds and is soliciting for retail investors on its website. I guess only fantasists need apply.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Friday 13 September 2019

Scottish banking startup selects Temenos

TemenosFledgling, Scottish banking startup, Alba, has selected leading banking software vendor, Temenos, to provide its core technology needs. The new venture is set to launch a UK challenger bank in 2020 targeting the SME market and has chosen cloud-based versions of the Swiss vendor’s flagship banking products.

Alba will utilise Temenos T24 Transact as its core processing engine and Temenos Infinity for its front office requirements. Alba will also use the Advanced Analytics and Payments modules from the Temenos suite to support digital lending and savings. All of the services will run on Microsoft Azure via Temenos Cloud Services. The implementation will delivered by LTI’s dedicated Temenos consultancy Syncordis (see: LTI’s Syncordis strikes strategic partnership with Temenos).

Alba is the latest neo-bank to target the UK SME market. In a similar move, Manchester based startup, revverbank, recently selected rival vendor Finastra to provide its core banking platform (see: revverbank selects Finastra for core banking needs). The SME segment is widely recognised as being underserved and has become a key battleground for UK banks, with many of the new wave of API-enabled offerings focused upon it (see: Open Banking momentum starts to build). The larger banks are also responding with new products and services targeting the segment. After years of neglect by the banking industry, small businesses in the UK may soon be spoilt for choice!

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: sme   banking  

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Friday 13 September 2019

An Evening of Relationships (Old and New)

picVery many thanks to all our clients and guests who joined us at our annual Evening with TechMarketView last night at the Royal Institute of British Architects. It was a fantastic success with one of the biggest turnouts we’ve had since we held our first event seven years ago.

We must give a very special thank you to our sponsors Intersystems, Datto, Aqilla and Kimble, whose support was instrumental in making the TMV Evening one of the ‘must attend’ events for executives in the UK tech industry, and of course ‘The Two Tina’s’ at tx2events who made it all happen.

We were also delighted to give a platform to Tara Leathers, Deputy CEO at The Prince’s Trust, which as many of you know is a cause to which TechMarketView is deeply committed. If you would like to find out more about the Trust’s good works, just drop a line to Busdev@princes-trust.org.uk.

Many thanks also go to Miguel Gamiño, Executive VP for Global Cities at Mastercard, who was interviewed on stage by TechMarketView’s Principal Analyst, Martin Courtney.

The theme of the event (and indeed TechMarketView’s theme for 2019) was The Year of the Relationship. Our Chief Analyst, Georgina O’Toole, and Chief Research Officer, Kate Hanaghan, brought the theme to life with their urgent call to action to tech suppliers to cultivate a wide ecosystem of relationships both within and beyond organisational boundaries if they are to succeed in today’s marketplace.

Georgina also used the occasion to launch TechMarketView’s theme for 2020, Digital Chaos, emphasising the need to create ‘islands of stability’ before contemplating a move to truly disruptive digital transformation. You’ll be hearing much more about Digital Chaos soon.

TechMarketView Managing Partner Anthony Miller closed the formal proceedings as only he can!

We’ll be sending the presentation slides to all attendees next week, and they will also be available for download by TechMarketView Subscription Service clients in due course.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Mastercard recruits R3 in pursuit of blockchain payments

MCLeading US payments provider, Mastercard, has revealed that it is working with blockchain specialist, R3, to develop a new system of cross-border payments. The initiative, which is apparently in its very early stages, sees Mastercard's playing catchup in the blockchain payment space, as the company hopes to capitalise on R3's expertise and its Corda ecosystem. The agreement with R3 follows the recent news that Mastercard has joined the blockchain-based trade finance network Marco Polo.

Cross-border payments is the most well-established use case for blockchain and digital ledger technology (DLT) within financial services. Just as elsewhere in the industry, traditional approaches and incumbent providers are being undermined by the ability of innovative alternatives to circumvent complex and convoluted processes. This is evidenced by the success of pioneers such as Ripple and UK FinTech Currencycloud (see: Currencycloud attracts interest from FS giants).

Earlier this year, Mastercard lost out to rival US card giant, Visa, in its pursuit of blockchain based cross-border payments provider Earthport (see: Visa wins Earthport battle as Mastercard buys Transfact). Visa recently launched its own DLT based platform B2B Connect, targeting high-value corporate, cross-border payments (see: Visa and FIS push blockchain-based B2B payments).

The payments space remains one of the most competitive areas of financial services and perhaps the one that has been most disrupted by technology innovation in recent years. Whilst publicly, activity around blockchain may have gone a little quiet for a while, there has been a great deal going on behind the scenes within major institutions and Mastercard is coming to the party a little later than many.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: payments   blockchain   CrossBorder  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Living Map locates new source of funding

Living Map logoBath-based digital mapping company Living Map has secured £2.6m investment led by Committed Capital with additional contributions from Mercia and other existing shareholders.

The company was founded by Tim Fendley in 2010 as a research and development arm of his other company, urban design consultancy Applied Wayfinding. After working on prototypes of digital map applications for a number of years the company launched its Living Map platform in 2016.

The platform allows companies to produce customised maps across both outdoor and indoor spaces. The system can also be linked to sensors to locate and track people or assets in real time. Living Map has already produced systems for major visitor destinations such as Heathrow Airport and the MET Museum in New York.

The latest funding follows a £1.2m investment in May 2018, also from Committed Capital and Mercia, taking total funds raised to £3.8m. Last year’s investment was used to expand its product team and this round will be used to launch a new off the shelf SaaS solution that will enable its technology to be adopted by a wider audience.

Living Map has already secured a number of high-profile clients, but it faces tough competition e.g. ESRI and Google Maps. However, as the use of these platforms develops and the adoption of IoT technology becomes more widespread the need for more complex map-based visualisation will grow and there will clearly be opportunity for Living Map to establish itself in the sector.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: funding   data   geospatial   mapping  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Uninspiring Q120 at Oracle

logoA company is not reliant on its CEO alone (or even its co-CEOs) but when one takes a leave of absence it is a blow and this is something Oracle will be dealing with following the announcement that Mark Hurd is taking medical leave. Co-CEO Safra Catz and founder and CTO Larry Ellison will cover during his absence. 

Hurd is the driving force behind the sales strategy so his focus will surely be missed; and Q1 2020 results indicate the pressure Oracle is under. At $9.2bn, revenue was essentially flat yoy while net income fell 6% to $2.1bn. 

Cloud Services and License Support rose 3% to $6.8bn, representing 74% of revenue (vs. 72%) while Cloud Licence and On Premise Licence revenue fell 6% to $812m but the percentage of revenue remained steady at 9%. These rates of change indicate cloud progress remains stodgy even though the progress of the cloud ERP business (Fusion and NetSuite) was being extolled: a 33% increase, and customer numbers at 6500 for Fusion and 18000 for NetSuite. The Autonomous Database gained 500 new customers during the quarter to 31 August, with the number expected to double in Q2. 

Oracle bumped along with low single digit quarterly revenue growth throughout the last fiscal year and 2020 has started in the same way. The patterns for Support and Licence fee revenues are also similar to the prior year. Despite extensive data centre and product investment, and talk of Generation 2 Cloud, Oracle’s cloud business is not firing well. OpenWorld is next week, presenting an opportunity to pour on some accelerant. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   cloud   software  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Salvino replaces Lawrie as CEO at DXC Technology

SalvinoUS technology giant, DXC, has announced the departure of its CEO and President, Mike Lawrie, with immediate effect. Lawrie, who is also Chairman of DXC’s non-executive board, has been replaced by former Accenture operations executive, Mike Salvino (pictured), with effect from 11 September. Lawrie will also step down from his chairman’s role in December.  The news was announced by Manoj P. Singh, Chair of the DXC board's nominating committee.

Lawrie, a former IBM executive and Misys CEO, took the reins at DXC when it was formed via the merger of CSC and HPES in 2017. He previously joined as CSC’s chief executive in March 2012. During Lawrie’s tenure, he became a highly controversial figure, who was renowned for his dogmatic style and acrimonious interactions with key senior executives. 

Under Lawrie’s stewardship, the fortunes of DXC followed a similar pattern of prolonged revenue decline and largescale job cuts to that which he presided over during his 5 years in charge at CSC. In August, Lawrie announced yet another disappointing set of quarterly results that revealed a sharp acceleration in the company’s revenue decline, worsening margins and lower profits (see: DXC revenue decline accelerates in Q1). DXC was forced to cut its full year targets sending the company’s stock price plummeting to an all-time low of just over $30, around 70% off its peak of more than $96.

Lawrie’s replacement, Mike Salvino, joined DXC’s board in May 2019. In total he has spent around 23 years with Accenture, during two separate stints and has also served as MD of private equity firm Carrick Capital. Salvino, who is in his early fifties, is a graduate of Marietta College in Ohio and is a keen basketball fan. Crucially his profile highlights his credentials as a team player and someone who is likely to recognise the crucial importance of talent management and motivation when exercising largescale business transformation.

Salvino’s LinkedIn profile states “My philosophy is about making a positive impact – whether that’s through working as a business leader or through a charity, my community or my family – that’s the bottom line for me.” Meanwhile, Lawrie’s toxic relationship with DXC’s 100k plus workforce was probably his greatest failing as a leader and his most damaging legacy. If Salvino is true to his words, then a significant change in style is coming to the hard-pressed employees at DXC.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: appointments  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Job Teaser ramps up UK focus

LogoGraduate recruitment and career guidance platform provider Job Teaser has raised £45 million in new funding to help it expand its partner network of schools and universities across the U.K. and Ireland. The investment is led by Highland Europe, with additional support from existing backers Alven, Idinvest Partners, Seventure Partners and Korelya Capital. It brings the total amount raised to £61 million since the company was founded in 2008.

Paris-HQ’d Job Teaser has built a platform that combines bespoke career guidance with internships, job opportunities and ongoing career and interview support. The platform is provided free of charge to universities. Revenue is generated from job advertisement fees charged to prospective recruiters wishing to use the channel. Since its launch, JobTeaser says it has served 2.5 million students and recent graduates. The company, which now employs more than 200 personnel, works with more than 70,000 businesses, including Amazon, PWC, Deutsche Bank, Blackrock, L’Oreal and LVMH.

Recruitment was one of the earlier arenas to experience digital disruption and Job Teaser will face no shortage of competition in the UK from established players which target the university student community. These include Graduate Recruitment Bureau and Give a Grad a Go. That company has landed such a substantial tranche of new funding is, however, a significant vote of confidence from investors in its prospects.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: saas   funding   recruitment   platform  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Capita freshens up

CapitaCapita will launch today a new visual identity and logo as part of its multi-year transformation programme.

It’s easy to brush over or pooh-pooh changes to company logos and colour palettes but Capita’s new look is hugely symbolic of the wider changes happening in the business, particularly those going on behind the scenes. 

Capita has been repositioning its brand and associated propositions on multiple fronts over the last couple of years. For example, the business is becoming much more employee focused having opted to put workers on the board and pay all of its UK employees a minimum of the government’s real living wage. It’s also looking to move its offer up the value chain with the launch of a new consulting offer to help clients navigate the challenges of digital driven change management. This is seeing the business take a much more proactive approach to thought leadership, launching its ‘Think Tank’ (Capita’s Institute) as well as partnering with the likes of TED Talks in events such as the one this afternoon at London’s Science Museum.

In practical terms the new identity is of course designed to work more effectively in digital formats and given that the previous identity had not been touched in 13 years, was definitely due an overhaul. However, what is most important is the symbolism as a visual manifestation that Capita is changing.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: brand   transformation   Capita  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Backers fit out Kitt’s managed office service

logoI think it’s a courageous entrepreneur who wants to take on WeWork and other serviced office giants at their own game. But that’s exactly what Steve Coulson and Lucy Minton, cofounders of London-based startup Kitt have done.

Kitt (not to be confused with the New Zealand-based real estate accounting startup) offers a bespoke managed office service with “Flexible terms, no co-working distractions, no upfront costs, hassle free.” Prospective tenants choose a site from Kitt’s list (currently inner London) and co-design the layout “using virtual reality”. Kitt then fits out the office and the tenant moves in.

From what I can tell, Kitt’s business model is based on charging the tenant an all-in managed service fee (I assume this includes an amortised fit-out cost) but there’s nothing about how the landlord is paid.

Anyway, Kitt has just raised £2m in a seed funding round led by Proptech investor Andrew Barclay, cofounder of Purplebricks competitor YOPA).

As I say, courageous!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   PropTech  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Why no 5G-ready Apple iPhone?

ApplePleased that many readers enjoyed my rather disrespectful review of Apple’s Special Event to launch the Apple iPhone11 (and other stuff). See ‘Incredibly awesome and amazingly exciting’ Apple Special Event.

However, some pointed out that the iPhone11 was not 5G enabled. Indeed Tim Cook didn’t mention 5G in the whole of the 104 minute presentation. One reader suggested it was a bit like not buying an HD-Ready TV in years gone by. Even though HD might not be available yet in your area, it meant that your TV would have to be replaced when it was (assuming you wanted HD...) Hence I really ought to wait for a 5G-enabled iPhone - possibly coming BEFORE the usual Sept 2020 next iPhone launch date.

The arguments are well made. 5G is currently only available in a very few places. (Worth saying that I can’t even get 4G yet where I live!) An article in Techradar said ‘If you had spent £1500 on a 5G iPhone and then found you only get the advertised speeds when you stood at just one bus stop, you might not be too happy”.

But that doesn’t address the 5G-ready issue. Looks like getting a 5G phone to work on the various nuances of 5G around the world is difficult. There is a different 5G in the US to that in Europe and China. So even if you buy one of the currently available 5G phones, it might not work around the world. On top of that Qualcomm seems to have one of the only viable 5G chips and Apple has only just settled its lawsuit with them.

So it seems that hanging on until next year to upgrade your old iPhone6 might yet again be the best bet.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Myriad reasons why Mirriad doesn’t belong

logoPlease can somebody tell me what a company with revenues of £710,866 (that’s pounds, not thousands) and net losses of £7.15m (that’s millions) was able to list on AIM with a valuation of £63.2m (that’s millions)?

Anybody?

I’m referring to London-headquarterd video advertising software developer, Mirriad, which listed on AIM in December 2017 and has just announced another glorious set of results, with revenues of £429k and net losses of £7.18m – and this is just for the six months to 30th June.

Mirriad’s AIM Admission Document makes interesting reading. “The company was incorporated in 2015. Shortly after formation, the Company acquired the business, customers, technology and know-how of a predecessor company, Mirriad Limited, which had shut down due to a shareholder issue which was unrelated to commercial activities. The purpose of the acquisition was to secure the business and assets which Mirriad Limited had built up over seven years and in which it had invested over £35m (my emphasis).”

There’s more, of course, but nothing that I could see made Mirriad a compelling proposition for public markets.

A few months ago Mirriad raised a further £14m after announcing a new two-year agreement with Chinese online video platform Tencent (see Mirriad raises £14m to build on China win), which will pay Mirriad a fixed monthly fee to use Mirriad’s technology in return for which “Mirriad will provide a minimum volume of advertising and promotional work for use with Tencent advertising clients.” Management expected the contract to generate “millions of pounds of revenues” over the two years, though there was no mention of costs.

Mirriad recently changed leadership and strategy, acknowledging “the missteps that led to the requirement for this new strategy”.

I think Mirriad demonstrates a massive failing in public market governance. It simply doesn't belong!

PS Mirriad's market cap is now around £28m!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: results   adtech  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Job opportunity in TechMarketView's Client Services team

TMV logoWould you like to join TechMarketView’s friendly Client Services team? We’re looking for a number of people to join the team to support our growth. 

The roles we are looking to fill are varied with scope to grow and evolve over time as you become more familiar with the business. Admin-based, they encompass elements of sales, client support, account management and event management.  In a typical week, for example, you may be scheduling our online advertising and liaising with advertising clients; providing organisational support for our events and programmes; and following up incoming sales leads.

There is scope for the position/s to be part-time or full-time depending on the successful candidate/s, who are likely to be:

·      Detail-orientated and IT literate with excellent organisational skills

·      Strong team players

·      ‘Self-starters’, hard-working and dependable

·      Able to multi-task and willing to adapt and do a variety of tasks as we’re a small team

·      Comfortable communicating with senior execs within client organisations

·      Happy working from home (we all do!) and able to attend regular meetings in the Surrey/Hampshire/Sussex area

·      Familiar with the IT industry and its suppliers in the UK (or keen to learn).

For more details and to express interest in joining the team please email Deb Seth, Sales & Marketing Director, providing your CV or your LinkedIn profile, by Friday September 20th.

No agencies please.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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