Menu
UKHotViews
Thursday 17 October 2019

AI-driven Healx raises $56m to fight rare diseases

Healx logoCambridge-based Healx has raised $56m (c.£44m) in Series B funding to help it accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments for rare diseases using AI.

The funding round was led by Atomico with participation from Intel Capital, Global Brain and btov Partners. The investment follows a $10m (c.£8m) Series A round in 2018 and a £1.5m seed funding round in 2016 (see Healx finds purpose to repurpose with £1.5m). All previous investors, including Balderton Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners, and Jonathan Milner also participated in the latest round.

The company, which was co-founded in 2014 by CEO Tim Guilliams, Andreas Bender and David Brown (the latter being a co-inventor of Viagra and former Global Head of Drug Discovery at Roche), will use the investment to develop its therapeutic pipeline and to launch its global Rare Treatment Accelerator programme. This programme seeks to combine the knowledge, information and expertise in rare disease patient groups and clinicians, and employ Healx’s Healnet AI platform to accelerate the discovery of new treatments.

Healnet uses natural language processing to extract disease knowledge from published sources and to complement biomedical databases and proprietary, curated data in a similar way to BenevolentAI (see BenevolentAI raises $115m to scale-up drug discovery). Healx aims to move new treatments towards the clinic within 24 months. Traditional commercial models of drug discovery aimed at more common diseases typically take at least 10 years to reach the marketplace.

In the EU a rare disease is defined as any disease affecting fewer than five people in 10,000. It is estimated there are between 6,000 and 8,000 rare diseases, with another five being described in medical literature each week. Almost 6% of the UK population will be affected by a rare disease, which are often chronic and life threatening, at some point in their lives. Healx’s ambition is to advance 100 rare disease treatments towards the clinic by 2025.

Most of the large pharmaceutical companies have started to adopt AI to accelerate drug discovery, but they will always concentrate on treatments for the most common diseases. By targeting rare diseases Healx could carve out a niche in the market and help those suffering from often overlooked diseases.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: funding   startup   lifesciences   AI   healthcare  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 17 October 2019

IBM revenue dips for fifth consecutive quarter

ibmThird quarter results out from IBM overnight showed revenue was down over the comparable period last year by 3.9% to $18bn – or 0.6% when adjusting for divested businesses and currency. That appears to be a little lower than concensus targets from financial analysts. Meanwhile, revenue for Red Hat was up a healthy 20% (constant currency).

Global Technology Services (includes infrastructure and cloud services and technology support services) was down 4.1% (cc) to $6.7bn. Global Business Services (includes consulting, application management and global process services) was up 2.2% (cc) to $4.1 billion - led by growth in consulting (+5% constant currency).

Cloud & Cognitive Software (includes cloud and data platforms which includes Red Hat; cognitive applications; and transaction processing platforms) was up 7.8% (cc) to $5.3bn.

The pedestrian top line performance masks a sound strategy beneath. It’s certainly not that IBM is doing the wrong things (e.g. see IBM continues crucial divestment strategy, IBM software goes cloud native with Cloud Paks, Inside the dramatic world of Quantum Supremacy) or that it is unable to ink the right type of “New” deals (e.g. see IBM lands MoD Land AI deal). The challenge – and it is the same across the industry – is doing all of this quickly enough and at scale in order to counter pressures on the top line performance from elsewhere.

The Red Hat acquisition is just the sort of brave move we need to see from the very large, established Software and IT Service providers, but shareholders will have to remain patient. Evolving a business of this scale will require further big, bold moves, cash and excellent execution. No pressure, then.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: results  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 17 October 2019

HPE backs Pensando for edge computing

HPE backs Pensando for edge computingHaving emerged from stealth mode, it looks odds on that start-up Pensando Systems has the vision and backing to make a sizeable impact in a new world of edge computing where the processing architecture moves closer to the data rather than the other way round.

Founded by former Cisco telecoms executives, the firm coincided the launch of its software-defined distributed services platform with US$145m series C funding led by HPE and Lightspeed Venture Partners, taking the total amount of investment to date past the US$278m mark.

The money will beef up Pensando’s engineering, operations and go to market efforts, with HPE chief technology officer Mark Potter joining its board alongside ex-Cisco chief executive John Chambers. HPE also plans to integrate Pensando’s technology into its own network, server, security and storage portfolio, which we guess will form the basis of an alternative play to its traditional hyperconverged data centre products for the customers that want it first outlined it its Intelligent Edge programme last year.

Edge computing is important for telcos, cloud service providers and large enterprises either already or planning to collect huge volumes of data from billions or trillions of end user devices, information which by virtue of its’ scale is time consuming and expensive to transmit over core networks to large, centralised data centres for processing and analysis.

The thinking goes that by harnessing machine learning and other process intensive techniques to crunch the information in smaller facilities at the edge of the network closer to the data itself, costs can be minimised, latency reduced and application performance enhanced (see Intel: In Place to Power Data Centre Transformation).

Increased deployment and use of Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and fifth generation (5G) mobile networks (see our report  5G: Opportunities in Next Generation Mobile Networks) is likely to drive that need. All that’s left is for the broad church of network hardware/software suppliers, telcos and cloud service providers to work out how they can make the most of the opportunity without cannibalising their core telecoms, hosting and data centre businesses.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: funding   HPE   EdgeComputing   Pensando  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 17 October 2019

Cognizant acquires Contino

cogCognizant has acquired London-based Contino for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2014 by Matt Farmer (CEO) and Benjamin Wootton (CTO), Contino has been through five rounds of funding, most latterly with Columbia Capital (who also took part in Series A funding) and Top Tier Capital Partners.

Targeting highly regulated industries, Contino’s services are based around cloud technologies, DevOps, digital engineering, and data analytics using the 'Squad Model'. Contino is a global premier partner with Amazon Web Services and has “deep expertise” in Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Customers include Adidas, Barclays, Lloyds Bank, Morgan Stanley, and Vodafone.

With some key capabilities in areas where market demand is strong, we fully understand the attraction for Cognizant, which has made various other European acquisitions in the recent past. In the UK specifically, Cognizant acquired design agency Zone in 2017, helping to underpin its prime growth areas in hybrid cloud transformation, digital engineering and customer experience transformation.

The concern, however, is that once the earn-outs are done, key personnel will opt to leave their new owner. And even before that, those that are not tied in could decide the corporate life is not for them. Cognizant has an annual UK revenue run rate of c$1.3bn (revenue +11% in the first half of 2019), with almost 300,000 staff worldwide – versus Contino’s mere 350. Making acquisitions a success is challenging enough, but when the difference in size is such, succeeding can be incredibly challenging. HPE managed to do it with RedPixie by giving key personal from the firm leadership roles inside HPE and by focusing the integration process around people (see Did HPE make a success of its RedPixie acquisition?).

It’s possible that Contino’s Squad Model could play a critical role in retaining teams/staff and the approach customers do seem to love, but Cognizant will have to tread very carefully every step of the way through the integration process to get this one right.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition   cloud   data   DevOps  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 17 October 2019

Novosco sold to CANCOM for £70m

CANCOMBelfast-headquartered managed cloud provider Novosco has been acquired by German IT Services player CANCOM in a £70m deal. Novosco will help strengthen CANCOM's growing presence in the UK and Irish markets building on last year’s acquisition of Organised Computer Systems Ltd (OCSL).

NovoscoNovosco is an IT services provider with offices in Belfast, Dublin and Manchester mainly providing managed services and cloud-based services as well some consulting and support. The business has been in expansion mode recently growing off the back of a large NHS deal and support from Invest Northern Ireland and Danske Bank (see here). Prior to the acquisition the Group was planning to achieve revenues of some £55m and an EBITDA margin of 17% for 2019.

Not only does Novosco help CANCOM grow its UK&I base but will help improve the wider Group's margin profile. Novosco will also help strengthen the managed services offering of CANCOM, a business that already has annual revenues of €1.4bn with offices in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, UK and USA.

Given the current value of Stirling, UK assets like Novosco, Sophos and today’s other acquisition Contino must all look great value to overseas acquirers. Given this, one of the unintended consequences of Brexit to date looks to have been the increasing overseas control of UK Plc.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: acquisition   managedservices   ireland  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 17 October 2019

Yorkshire BS picks OutSystems for low-code development

OutSystemsUS headquartered, low-code platform specialist, OutSystems, has been selected by the Yorkshire Building Society as it seeks to enhance its customer experience and improve operational efficiency. The Boston based technology provider will support the society as it implements a new e-commerce platform and provide additional functionality via various mobile applications for its retail and broker customers.

OutSystems, which was founded in Portugal in 2001, uses a low-code approach to help organisations rapidly develop new applications and integrate them with existing systems. In 2018, the company received a major investment from KKR and Goldman Sachs to support its growth ambitions, as it looks to capitalise on the growing low-code market (see: OutSystems get $360m cash injection).

The original eCommerce system used by the Bradford based building society was deemed, no longer fit for purpose. As a result, the society hopes that its use of OutSystems’ low-code technology will help it to improve operational efficiency and cut inbound calls by 40%, by automating routine account servicing. The new technology should also save the society around £600k per annum by digitising the distribution of annual reports.

The use of low-code platforms is becoming more and more prevalent within financial services as companies seek faster deployment of new functionality. In the face of widespread transformation initiatives and the need shorten delivery timescales, providers such as, OutSystems, Kony, Appian and Mendix (Siemens) are increasingly helping banks and insurer to accelerate change (see: Digital enablement via low code platforms).

The UK’s largest building society, Nationwide, also recently selected OutSystems to help it develop and implement a new digital business savings service. This latest deal with the Yorkshire Buiilding Society is another indication of the burgeoning appeal of the cost-effective, low-code approach.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract   low-code  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 17 October 2019

Mindtree back to double-digit growth

logoNew CEO Debashis Chatterjee should be pleased with the more positive trend at Bangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm, Mindtree, having taken the reins of the now Larsen & Toubro-controlled company in August. Chatterjee was previously President, Global Delivery and Global Leader for the Digital Systems and Technology practice at Cognizant (see L&T appoints new CEO for Mindtree).

Mindtree’s headline revenues grew by 10% yoy to $271m in Q2 (to 30th September), 2.6% higher qoq, with both rates better than the prior quarter (see Uncertainty slows Mindtree’s progress). Growth in constant currencies also improved to 11.1% yoy and 3.2% qoq. By our calculations, Mindtree’s operating margin expanded from 6.3% in the prior quarter to 9.3%, though is still rather below its more typical 12%-14% range of recent years.

We will be meeting Mindtree European management soon and will add colour and movement then.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: results   offshore  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 17 October 2019

Netflix to face stiff competition

NetflixI only feel the need to comment on Netflix as they are the ‘N’ in FAANG.

But they are also an interesting study in the how the Disrupters can themselves be disrupted. Netflix seemed to have the video streaming market much to themselves. Sure, a bit of competition from the likes of Hulu. But now they are about to face competition from some seriously ‘Big Boys – Disney, Apple, HBO Max and even BritBox. At the same time, these other players are pulling their old films and TV shows from the Netflix platform. First run box sets are one thing – but I gain great comfort in watching TV comedy episodes I have watched a dozen times before. Friends was (one of) the most popular views on Netflix but will be pulled from their catalogue when HBO starts up. Same applies to The Office when BritBox starts up.

All these things added to the unease that faced Netfix’s Q3 results where adding 520,000 new subscribers in the US was below the 800,000 expected. Although the 6.3m new subscribers added outside the US beat expectations. Netflix will have to spend heavily on new shows to match the competition. Amazon recently bagged Phoebe Waller Bridge of Fleabag fame for a reputed $50m.

No wonder Netflix’s shares have dived 20%+ in the last few months.

Posted by: Richard Holway

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

Relative Insight speaks the lingo of money

logoI’m not at all sure that Lancaster-based language analysis software developer Relative Insight really wants to be labelled “Paedophile identification tech” (Source: BusinessCloud) as this is just one of its many and varied uses even though this was its origin.

Founded in 2012 as a result of a 10-year research project with Lancaster University’s linguistic and cyber security departments, Relative Insight originally designed its technology to support law enforcement agencies identify criminals masquerading as children in chat rooms. However, the platform is now used by brands and agencies to understand language differences between key audiences to optimise marketing engagement. Clients include Disney, Unilever and New York-headquartered advertising agency R/GA.

Relative Insight has just raised £4m in a Series A round led by Maven Capital Partners of which £1m came from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.  

According to its website, Relative Insight ‘compares two data sets to identify significant differences and similarities in the way people speak, from word choice to emotion through to topics and themes’. As best as I can tell, the platform only analyses English language though can pick up nuances between US and UK English. The challenge – and indeed the opportunity – is surely to cross-analyse different languages.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

SharpCloud: From ‘Battler’ to ‘Scaleup’ to Series A

logoIt’s always great to be able to trumpet the successes of the many UK tech startups and scaleups that have participated in our SME programmes. So we are delighted to report that London-based visualisation platform company SharpCloud has just completed its first external funding, raising £4.5m in a Series A round backed by YFM Equity Partners.

Founded in 2008, SharpCloud, was an alumnus of our sixth Little British Battler programme in April 2015 (see LBB SharpCloud – improving collaboration in the enterprise), and graduated to become a Great British Scaleup in June 2018 (see here).

Many congratulations to cofounders Sarim Khan and Rusty Johnson on this significant milestone.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   lbb   gbs  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

Woefully out of date IT systems hinder screening programmes

NHS logoNHS England has published a report detailing the conclusions from The Independent Review of Adult Screening Programmes. In November 2018 Professor Sir Mike Richards was commissioned by NHS England to lead a review of national cancer screening programmes. Interim findings of this review were published in May 2019 and at that time the terms of reference for the review were significantly extended in recognition it would have implications for the organisation of other adult screening programmes.

Scientific and technological advances in recent years, for example AI, genomics and new biomarkers, have the potential to fundamentally change the nature of national screening programmes and ensure that more people at risk of a condition can be targeted and the timeliness of results for patients improved.

In his report, Sir Mike, who was the NHS’ first cancer director as well as the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, considers the challenges posed by IT systems that he describes as “woefully out of date and long due for replacement”.

The report concludes that IT systems currently “sit in an over-complicated landscape which hinders the delivery of screening programmes” and “none have the full functionality required now or for the future”. The review identifies a number of problems with the current situation, including that multiple versions of systems and poor interoperability delay the transfer of information. It says that individual systems are old and liable to fail, which necessitates manual workarounds that can pose a risk to safety, and that the lack of a coherent, long term strategic vision for screening technology has meant efforts to improve the system have been slowed, stopped or duplicated.

The report highlights the progress made in addressing some of these challenges, welcoming the introduction of NHSX. The discovery phase for developing new systems for breast and cervical screening have been completed and these are now moving into alpha development.

Sir Mike recommends NHSX set out a roadmap for the delivery of new targeted and population screening IT systems as soon as possible and that the development of these systems should include a focus on the functionality needed to support improvements in uptake and coverage of screening.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   legacy   healthcare  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

3D funding for Threedium

logoAs humans we like things that move, we like to look at objects from different angles, and poke and prod them. That’s the behavior London startup Threedium is tapping into with its 3D product configuration and visualisation platform, which has earned it €1m in seed funding from a group led by High-Tech Grunderfonds (HTGF) with participation from Kinisis Investment (KI), and Sandhutch

The company (founded in 2017) has taken the 3D capability found in CAD programmes - the ability to rotate objects around an axis to see them from different viewpoints  - and applied a light weight version to the digital customer experience domain. Using its SaaS platform, organisations can create mobile-optimised 3D configurators, 3D web visualisations and AR mobile campaigns. The aim is customer engagement and Threedium has been working with brands including Sainsburys, Douglas, Johnson & Johnson and Mercedes to optimise their customers’ online digital experiences.

The shift from 2D to 3D, from static to dynamic content, is natural one and the technologies that allow it are becoming more accessible. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: funding   software   startups  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

SD-WAN deals pushing GTT European expansion

SD-WAN deals pushing GTT European expansionGTT Communications, which snapped up London-based network service provider Interoute (formerly Easynet) last year, has used its pan-European infrastructure assets to ink another software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) deal with a Belgian multinational corporate (MNC).

Brussels-headquartered fruit, vegetable and plant supplier Greenyard Group – which operates multiple sites in the UK under the Greenyard Fresh UK brand – will provide a managed SD-WAN service linking 80 sites across the UK and North America, additionally supporting a unified communications platform and SIP trunking service for 6,000 telephone numbers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the customer sees GTT’s SD-WAN as a cruicial element in its ongoing cloud migration strategy that demands resilient network access to Greenyard’s mission-critical SaaS applications. It’s also the third major pan-European SD-WAN contract GTT has won since the Interoute acquisition after similar deals with Europac this time last year and Nilfisk last July, putting the company in direct competition for MNC business with the likes of BT, Orange Business Services (OBS), Telstra, Tata Communications and Vodafone amongst others.

Subscribers to SecureConnectViews can read our round-up of SD-WAN platforms and suppliers in our report SD-WAN Builds New Service Models for Network Providers here.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: contract   SD-WAN   telecoms  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

UiPath doubles down on making automation easier

UiPathRobotic Process Automation (RPA) player UiPath has revealed where it has been spending some of the vast sums raised to date, simultaneously announcing yesterday two acquisitions designed to help clients scale automation.

The battleground for RPA has very much moved on from awareness to adoption and whilst the majority of major organisations have at least some experience of RPA many are struggling to scale. To help address this UiPath has made two acquisitions. 

Firstly, StepShot is an Estonian-based provider of process documentation software that helps clients record, document, and share processes as well as automate some of the key steps in robot creation.

Secondly, UiPath has added Dutch-based ProcessGold, a software provider that identifies processes ripe for automation (process mining) and then measures the impact.

Both of these tools are being combined in the UiPath Explorer product family and are all about making RPA simpler and easier to deploy, breaking down some of the barriers to scaling automation. This looks like smart business for UiPath which gets that the next phase of maturity for RPA is the battle for adoption and democratisation of the technology – indeed, go big or go home.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: acquisition   RPA  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

Attitude and linguistics secures $5m for Relative Insight

logoLancaster-based Relative Insight describes its offering as a language understanding platform which means it analyses language data from unstructured and undefined data sets such as customer feedback, social media, online product ratings and reviews, web page copy and market research surveys. What is noteworthy is that the purpose of this linguistic analytics is to understand and compare linguistic and attitudinal differences. 

For brands looking for better understanding of how customers and influencers are talking about their products, this has the hallmarks of a valuable tool that can replace hours of intensive manual labour. The comparative aspect is particularly interesting because it can be used to analyse language differences over time for example and to help get to grips with the language used by different groups (which could be defined by age, geographic location, interest areas and so on) which could play a key part in customer experience and personalisation improvement. 

That proposition has secured $5m funding from Maven Capital Partners that Relative Insight will use to open its first office in the US, and further develop its AI/ML-based platform. The startup has travelled quite a way since it started in 2012, developing the platform via a 10-year R&D project with Lancaster University that was designed to enable law enforcement to detect language distinctions in online chat rooms.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: funding   startup   software   AI   machinelearning  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

Trad3r secures £1.2m cash boost

Trad3rUK startup, Trad3r, has successfully raised £1.2m in new funding from a group of respected angel investors. The funding was led by Kabbalah founder, Karen Berg and celebrity jeweller, Neil Lane and included Alex Oliver, the founder of US consulting giant, Oliver Wyman.

Trad3r was founded in 2016 by the impressive young British entrepreneur, Gianni O’Connor. The company aims to gamify the stock market experience and thus broaden the appeal of trading to a wider audience. The Trad3r app enables people to experience trading in an entertaining, low risk environment. Users can earn incentives such as points and prizes via successful trading activities in traditional stocks as well as other “virtual” commodities such as footballers and celebrities.

This significant investment marks an important next step for Trad3r, with the app having so far demonstrated considerable appeal amongst its target audience. O’Connor, who already has one successful startup under his belt, is driven in part by altruistic sentiment and is hoping to help transform attitudes to financial services, both inside and outside of the established investment community. Trad3r is certainly an intriguing proposition and it will be interesting to watch the company's future progress, along with that of its charismatic founder.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: trading   funding  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

Genpact makes Rightpoint acquisition

GenpactOne of the symptoms of the “digital chaos” seen in the market at the moment is the increasing requirement for expert advice as clients work out what to do next. Demand for front-end based consultancy services has been increasing as organisations accept the scale of the change management challenge. Genpact becomes the latest service provider to ramp up its consulting offer here, investing in US-based digital experience agency Rightpoint. 

RightpointStrategically, Genpact is making good progress moving itself up the food chain, away from its legacy ‘lift and shift’ heritage towards that of a transformation partner (see here) and has developed strong digital credentials built around its Genpact Cora platform. The addition of a design / experience consulting layer should help elevate its proposition up from operations to something more strategic and the ‘holy grail’ of integrating the front, middle and back offices.

Rightpoint was founded back in 2007 and principally serves big US based clients with five key offers including customer experience and engagement, commerce, digital products, digital workplace, and digital operations. Given Genpact big global client base it’s likely that the offer will be pushed outside the US. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: acquisition   consulting   digital  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

Europe slows Wipro’s growth

LogoOffshore services major Wipro continued to move forward during Q220, albeit still at a gentle pace. For the three months to 30th September, constant currency revenue (adjusted for the sale of its Workday & Cornerstone businesses) increased by 3.8% yoy to $2.05b. This generated sequential top line growth of 1.1% qoq which hit the midpoint of the guidance for the period. Operating margin for the quarter was 18.1%, up a praiseworthy 310bps on Q219.

There were some notable bright spots in the latest set of results. Wipro’s Americas unit, its biggest geography by revenue, saw turnover increase 9.4% yoy. Sales in the company’s BPS centric Digital Operations and Platforms practice were almost 17% higher than during the same period last year. These now account for approaching a sixth of global activities. There were good performances too in the BFSI, Consumer and Energy & Utilities industry verticals, all of which enjoyed 6% yoy top line growth.

Europe, however, slid backwards. Having apparently stabilised in Q120 (see here), Wipro’s revenues in this region, of which the UK generates around half, shank by 2.7% yoy and 1.9% sequentially during the latest quarter. The contrast with IPP rivals Infosys, which saw sales in this geography for the same period surge ahead by 15% yoy (see here), could not be more stark.

We recently caught up with the Wipro UK leadership team. From our discussions with them it is clear that much has already been put in train to reinvigorate growth here. Judging by the guidance the company has provided for Q320, there is also an expectation that business momentum will continue to gather during the next quarter. We will have to wait to see whether this includes an improvement in Wipro’s European fortunes.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   offshore   systemsintegration  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

Vocalink retains Link ATM Infrastructure contract

VocalinkUK based payments provider, Vocalink, has successfully seen off rival bidders to retain the contract to provide the technology infrastructure supporting the UK’s Link ATM network. The Mastercard owned firm secured the deal via a tender process that included alternative competitor bids for the first time. In total there were 4 other potential providers, including US payments giants Visa and FIS.

The latest deal has a maximum term of 10 years and secures Vocalink’s role as infrastructure provider for a minimum period of 5 years. The contract provides for 24 service provision to the network’s 70k ATMs and includes switching and settlement services, including real-time transaction enquiry and liability management, and overnight reconciliation.

The Link contract was put out to competitive tender in response to demands from the UK’s payments regulator. At the time, Mastercard’s 2016 acquisition of Vocalink proved to be highly controversial, handing as it did a significant slice of the UK’s payments infrastructure to one major provider (see: Barclays implements pay by bank).

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract   payments  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

Typhoons and Nomophobia

Typhoon damageThanks for all our readers who emailed their comments on my Streets of Tokyo article last week. Some of you thought that the homeless situation in Japan was not as rosy as I had made out – citing seeing homeless people on the streets of Osaka etc.

We didn’t make it to Osaka as Typhoon Hagibis intervened. We headed North instead to Hakodate to ride out the worst of the storm. Although even there it was pretty bad.

Japan is really well prepared for storms, earthquakes and tsunamis. The death toll was pretty low considering the ferocity of the storm. Indeed, commentators have said that that Japan in the best place in the world to weather these events. Japan has spent billions building storm drains as wide as an airliner under Tokyo. Here the many tall buildings are really earthquake proof.

Also the Japanese tend to obey instructions. If you are told to ‘stay put’ you do just that. How many times have we seen photos of people ignoring such warnings in other countries?

But returning to my homeless theme, the Japanese papers today headline two homeless people in Tokyo who were refused entry to a shelter in Tokyo at the height of the storm because they had the wrong address. The papers were naturally incensed and the Japanese authorities have promised to act swiftly to ensure it never happens again.

I was also impressed with the many text messages we received warning us foreigners about the storm and what to do. It is times like this that make you value your smartphone and its connectivity the most.

Which reminds me that yesterday the Oxford English Dictionary finally included NOMOPHOBIA – the fear of being without your mobile phone. Truly a word of our time!

Posted by: Richard Holway

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Wednesday 16 October 2019

CALLING ALL STARTUPS AND SCALEUPS! Do you have the right Chemistry to partner with Sopra Steria?

logoChemistry – the new accelerator programme from Sopra Steria, a European leader in digital transformation – is working with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme to give start-ups and small businesses an opportunity to accelerate growth and open up new opportunities.

logoChemistry has been created to support businesses with innovative solutions that are near market ready or already established in the market and help them grow further and faster. The programme is industry-led and has been specifically designed to help companies get their products to market quickly, using a collaborative, supportive and a professional platform.

If you are an innovative company looking for accelerated access to key markets, Chemistry has been developed to help you get there.

What we’re looking for

TechMarketView is helping Sopra Steria find partners to address three Challenges of major concern to both the public and private sectors:

  • Challenge 1 – Innovating Cyber Security: Keeping enterprises safe in a world of developing threats.
  • Challenge 2 – Identity Validation and Verification: Ensuring that an individual applying for access to public services is exactly who they say they are.
  • Challenge 3 – Transforming the Inspections Process: Capturing and analysing evidence to radically improve the inspection regime for assurance regarding the fulfilment of fiduciary or statutory responsibilities.

There’s a full explanation of these Challenges here.

What Sopra Steria offers

  • Accelerated market access – Strong, and on-going business relationships with major Public and Private sector clients. We have mature existing client relationships and a reputation for business transformation and excellent service delivery.
  • European presence – You’ll have the opportunity to sell internationally with access to clients outside of the UK through our European presence.
  • Development and growth of your business and product – We will help you grow, mature, and help build your client base, while respecting that your IP is your IP.
  • Development of your people – By joining our programme, you’ll gain access to our masterclasses, expert contacts and a champion within Sopra Steria, all of which will ensure you get the experience and partnership your business needs.
  • Industry visibility – Along with a large Private sector presence, Sopra Steria is a Strategic Partner to Government and by working with us you’ll have the opportunity to raise your company’s profile and visibility across these sectors.
  • Access to Sopra Steria facilities – Sopra Steria have collaborative Digilab spaces country wide and will offer design sprints and workshops to help develop the proposition. There is also an opportunity to use office space and board rooms, if required, to grow your business.

Eligibility requirements

  • Innovative product – The product or service you have created should be on the forefront of the relevant industry.
  • Existing clients – You must have delivered services to at least one previous client, with at least a minimum viable product to help provide future clients with confidence in our services.
  • Potentially scalable solutions – Your product should have the potential to scale to be able to utilise Sopra Steria’s client network and support to deliver to a large range of customers as their requirements develop.
  • Business focused – You should have a product focused on the business benefit for the customer as well as the technical challenge.

How to apply

If you are the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately held innovative, high growth young business and feel you can meet at least one of the Challenges, please apply by completing this webform by Friday 1st November 2019. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session at Sopra Steria’s London offices week commencing 9th December 2019.

You can find more about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme Chemistry event here. You can also download a flyer about the Sopra Steria Chemistry programme here. For any further information, please email tipp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 15 October 2019

Latest TechMarketView Research

TechMarketView’s expert analyst team has been as busy as ever in October. Make sure you haven't missed a must-read!

Advanced reportHighlights include the latest report from Angela Eager, TechMarketView Research Director for Emerging Tech,  Advanced: Developments and Differentiation. After the £2bn vote of confidence in Advanced by existing investor Vista Equity Partners and new investor BC Partners in August, Angela assesses the progress Advanced has made as a transforming and growing UK HQ’d company and where its opportunities lie.

And if you missed it earlier in the month, be sure to check out the UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Rankings 2019 report from our highly respected PublicSectorViews analyst team. The data-rich report provides the definitive Top 20 suppliers to the UK public sector tech market, plus Top 10 rankings for each of the subsectors we track (central government, local government, health, education, police and defence), and a snapshot of the ‘ones to watch’ from outside of the ranking tables.

You’ll also find a host of insightful UKHotViewsExtra articles hot off the presses. This week:

Marc Hardwick, who leads our BusinessProcessViews research, analyses the strategy and outlook for business process services specialist Liberata in Liberata – getting ‘match-fit for digital’.

VMWare’s plans for cloud native endpoint security specialist Carbon Black come under the spotlight in Carbon Black forms spine of new VMWare Security Business from SecureConnectViews’ Martin Courtney. The combination of the two companies looks set to propel VMWare into our Top 20 Cyber Security Players Ranking next year

And our Chief Research Officer Kate Hanaghan shares insight on thriving Great British Scaleup Altius and sister company DataSparQ in Altius: A driving force in data science.  

HVP logo

The UKHotViewsExtra articles highlighted in the section above (and some 500 others) are accessible to all our corporate subscription clients, as well as individual UKHotViews Premium subscribers. Reports are only accessible to corporate clients of the relevant research stream/s. Contact Deb Seth for corporate subscription details or sign up to UKHotViews Premium here.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 15 October 2019

How Google Cloud is addressing its challenges

logoYesterday was a Google day – a full and informative day spent exploring Google Cloud’s EMEA activities and strategies, including insight into UK specifics. 

While recognised for its technical prowess Google Cloud - home to cloud infrastructure, platform and G-Suite - has struggled to attract the volume of large enterprise business resulting in it placing third among the hyperscale cloud providers after Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. That is firing its determination and yesterday was an opportunity for an update on what the company is doing. 

We’ll be publishing a deeper dive before long but three things stood out. One was the focus on practical solutions. Google Cloud has been a technology-first company but technology always needs some sort of link to practical business problems. While there is no let up on the pace of technology development, there is a welcome and increasing focus on mapping technology to business problems and bringing solutions to market, backed by the a focus on six verticals. 

Recognition of the value of heritage IT was also apparent in the emphasis on hybrid and multi cloud. This was also evidenced through the recently announced Anthos offering that is geared towards building and managing hybrid applications and delivering consistency between on-premise and cloud environments; and the focus on services like Dataproc which delivers a cloud-based managed Spark and Hadoop service on the Google Cloud Platform.

The third area that stood out was the partner programme, not just the intention to scale it out but the moves to bring more structure and a more disciplined approach to how Google Cloud engages with its partners.AccentureAtos and Deloitte are its prime global partners but there is a large and growing cohort of certified, smaller, regional and specialist partners rising too. 

Google Cloud‘s European business is growing faster than any other area – and UK performance is likely to be aligned with that. Performance is partly down to the region ramping up on cloud investment it but also reflects Google Cloud’s investments to move towards the market, providing solutions and targeting industry sectors. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: cloud   hybrid   hyperscalers  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 15 October 2019

dotdigital delivers on three pillars

DotdigitalMarketing automation SaaS provider dotdigital’s three pillar strategy - geographic expansion, partnerships, and product development continues to help it grow, increasing full-year revenue by 19% to £51.3m (£43.1m FY18). Organic revenue growth from in the core business (excluding discontinued business units) also remained strong at 15% growing to £42.5m (£36.9m FY 18). Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations grew 24% to £14.7m (£11.8m FY 18).

International expansion has continued to become more important with revenues from outside the UK growing by 28% and now represent 29% of all revenue.

Despite headwinds from the retail sector, overall message volumes sent out by the platform increased by 11% to 16bn from 14.4bn in 2018, reflecting the change in demographics and increasing both recurring revenue growth and average revenue per user (ARPU). Indeed, ARPU grew by 14% from £845 to £966 per month, whilst 86% of group revenues are now recurring of which 90% is contracted, providing good future visibility.

dotdigital has now integrated the Comapi acquisition taking the decision to discontinue both the Dynmark and Donky businesses, increasing the focus in its core SaaS-based marketing platform. This will allow the Group to deliver for clients across a much broader set of channels including mobile and social media. Integration of the Comapi omni-channel capability should drive revenue opportunities off the back of personalised, timely and channel-sensitive campaigns and confirm the shift from being an email-centric to an omni-channel supplier. 

Given the experience with Comapi its perhaps no surprise that Management remains open to further acquisitions should they fit with the strategy.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   marketing   automation  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 15 October 2019

Atos takes Cortisone 3D contract

Atos logoAtos has had an uphill battle trying to grow its business in defence. It has had a small footprint for some time, most notably as Strategic Partner on the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) Programme. But other notable business has not been forthcoming, mainly as a result of delays in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) moving forwards with some of its major procurement programmes. However, as we highlighted in UK Public Sector SITS Supplier Landscape 2019, Atos has had some successes since the beginning of 2019, winning  a couple of multimillion pound contracts in support of the Defence-as-a-Platform model.

Bigger still is the win just announced – a contract with an estimated value of £25m, which we understand from the procurement notices will have a 3+1+1 duration. Atos has been selected, via the Tech Services 2 framework, to support digital transformation of healthcare delivery within Defence Medical Services (DMS).  Atos will be the 3D (Design, Develop and Deliver) partner on the long-awaited Cortisone programme, which aims to deliver a suite of Medical Information Services (Med IS) by exploiting Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) products.

With MoD remaining the overall Design Authority, Atos’ role will be to “execute a sustainable, integrated, cohesive and enduring information capability” to support the delivery of evidence-based medical dental and healthcare outputs. That will involve maintaining and developing the overall solution architecture, artefacts and component integration, providing technical advice and product evaluation; setting up and maintaining environments, installing and configuring COTS products, building and evaluating interfaces and supporting data management; and offering training services and materials.

The Cortisone programme, which will replace and extend the current Defence Medical Information Capability Programme (DMICP), has been a long-time coming; the initial procurement exercise stalled at the end of 2017, when the MoD decided to rethink its approach. It was in January this year that the MoD held an Industry Day to reveal the new procurement route for both the client-side 3D partner services and the Integration Platform and Enterprise Master Patient Index.

The end goal is to optimise the fitness of the military to carry out their roles. But, as highlighted by the MoD, this is a challenging environment, with the DMS estate equivalent to 2x Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and a Community Trust, and healthcare COTS not designed for Integrated Care Services. There is also technical complexity in the MoD’s ICT estate as it seeks to modernise. We will watch Cortisone’s progress with interest.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   contract   defence  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 15 October 2019

Rahko's targeted quantum focus earns £1.3m funding

logoIts approach to tackling the challenging ‘noise’ issue in quantum computing i.e. high error rates, has earned UCL spin-out Rahko £1.3m seed funding from European tech investor Balderton Capital

The London-based company was set up just last year with support from the UCL Challenge Innovation fund and Conception X with a proposition that puts it at the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning. Its work is focussed on 2ndgeneration quantum machine learning algorithms - parametrized quantum circuits - that the company says can be trained like deep learning models and can be highly robust to noise on today’s quantum computers. The Rahko platform is the place for testing and prototyping the algorithms. It is also a means to access available quantum computers (IBM’s quantum computers are commercially accessible for example – see Inside the dramatic world of quantum supremacy). After all, new hardware requires new tech to access it. 

While working on quantum research Rahko also has a targeted and commercial focus and is concentrating on commercially viable problems within chemical simulation. 

Rahko is one of several quantum businesses supported by the UCL Challenge Innovation fund including Quantum Motion (quantum hardware), GTN (generative tensorial networks), PhaseCraft (quantum software and algorithms), Q&I (quantum readiness and consulting). 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: funding   startup   quantumcomputing  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Tuesday 15 October 2019

TrueLayer heads to Australia to ride the Open Banking wave

TrueLayerTrueLayer, the London-based provider of APIs to the banking industry, is set to expand its global footprint with the opening of its first office in Australia. The UK FinTech provides functionality that facilitates Open Banking by enabling data flows between banks and third-party service providers (see: Open Banking momentum starts to build).

The UK FinTech recently secured an investment of $35m via Series C funding round which the company pledged to use to help support its global expansion (TrueLayer secures $35m for Open Banking push). That cash injection brought the total amount raised by TrueLayer to $47m with the company having also recently established operations in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

This is a smart move by TrueLayer with Australia on the verge of its own Open Banking revolution. In 2020 the country is set to introduce new rules that should open up the market for third-party providers in a similar way that PSD2 has done in Europe. TrueLayer is positioning itself to capitalise on the opportunity, which should also provide a bridgehead for the lucrative APAC region, as API-enabled data flows help to transform financial services across a number of territories.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: OpenBanking  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

Iyengar joins executive team at trainer QA

logoIt has been many, many years since we had cause to write about veteran training company QA, but now we have very good reason to pay much closer attention to this private equity-backed industry stalwart.

picThis is because, QA has just appointed our good friend Srikanth Iyengar to its Executive Committee reporting to, and working very closely with, CEO Paul Geddes, himself recruited into the role just last month, coming after his time as CEO of insurer Direct Line Group.

Iyengar was most recently European Group CEO at business process services company Conduent, which he joined in June 2017 after undertaking leadership positions at Capgemini, IGATE and Infosys (see New Europe head for Conduent). Conduent recently changed CEOs after some challenging results (see Conduent appoints new CEO), sparking a rethink of Conduent’s operational priorities.

I have just spoken to Iyengar, who formally starts at QA on 1st November, and can understand his enthusiasm for the new role. Once upon a time publicly owned, QA was acquired by CVC Capital Partners through a buy-out from funds managed by Bregal Capital in June 2017. QA has rapidly grown revenues over the past few years, reaching £253m in 2018, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 24% and an IFRS operating margin of just under 9%.

We hope to meet up with Iyengar and Geddes in the next few weeks and will bring you more then. Meanwhile, our heartiest congratulations go to Iyengar on this career move.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: management   training  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

Sophos on course for £3.1bn PE sale

Sophos on course for £3.1bn private equity saleReports suggesting Sophos is set to be acquired by Thoma Bravo highlights the Abingdon-headquartered company’s recent travails and the continuing attraction of cyber security companies to private equity investment firms.

Now certainly looks like a good time to buy. Despite profit warnings and the flatlining of its billings growth leading to steep declines in its share value last year, Sophos overall FY19 performance actually looked quite healthy. Revenue grew 12% in constant currency with pre-tax profits registering US$54m. The company’s latest first quarter trading update too was promising, with both revenue and billings up by 7% and 9% respectively on the previous year.

The value of Sophos’ shares rose by as much as 34% on news of the proposed deal and TechMarketView expects the cyber security market to see high single digit revenue growth over the next few years. That is an opportunity for further expansion that much of Sophos’ cloud-orientated small to medium enterprise (SME) enterprise portfolio has already been revamped to capitalise on (read more in our Cyber Security Supplier Ranking 2019 report here).

Recent merger and acquisition activity appears to reflect our expectations for the market overall. Symantec accepted a US$10.7bn offer for its troubled enterprise security business from Broadcom last August for example while VMware finalised a US$2.1bn deal for Carbon Black last week (see our HotViewsExtra report Carbon Black forms spine of new VMware Security Business).

Though it remains to be seen what the new owner has in mind for Sophos, we don’t see much currently wrong and would be surprised to see any drastic change to its portfolio, strategy or direction.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   privateequity   cybersecurity  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

Rob Coupland to become new Pulsant CEO

pulsantPulsant, a provider of regional data centre services, colocation, workplace recovery and managed cloud, has said Rob Coupland will take over as CEO on the 28th October.

Coupland is a veteran of the industry, most recently in the role of MD EMEA at Digital Realty, and previously as COO and MD of Telecity. Coupland spent 10 years at Telecity in total, where he led the firm’s data centre expansion programme and was responsible for significantly growing the business. It was at Telecity that Coupland worked with Mike Tobin, who is now Pulsant’s Chairman.

Coupland is replacing Niclas Sanfridsson who has been in the role for a couple of years. During this time, Sanfridsson examined just about every aspect of the firm, including assets (e.g. property), skills, operations, delivery, and financial performance. It was a significant undertaking with the objective of increasing Pulsant’s ‘match fitness’ and accelerating the swing of revenue from colocation to hybrid cloud (read more here: Pulsant: Rejuvenating for hybrid success). 

With that work undertaken, now does not seem a bad time to bring in a new lead to drive growth. And with Coupland’s extensive experience, we think Pulsant will have some critical pieces of the puzzle in place.

We also fully expect Sanfridsson to surface somewhere else in the industry in due course.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: cloud   people   colocation   hosting   appoinments  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

UK source of innovation and growth for Facebook

FacebookWhen Facebook UK filed its 2018 accounts last week the focus was, predictably, on the amount of tax the social media firm paid in the UK, but the results reveal a ‘good news’ story for UK plc too.

First the key figures. Strong growth from advertising led gross revenue to climb 23% to a record £1.65bn in the year to December 2018 whilst recognised revenue was up 50% at £797m (2017: £530m). And the UK accounts show that after adjustments Facebook paid £28.5m in tax 2018, up from £17.2m the prior year, as profits increased by more than 50% to £96.6m (2017: PBT £62.8m). 

Margaret Hodge, former chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and leader of an all-party parliamentary group looking into the tax system, tweeted it was “still outrageous” that big tech firms were not paying “their fair share into society.” But as we’ve pointed out before it’s really the tax system that’s at fault. Facebook does pay the tax that is legally due and as Steve Hatch, the company's vice president for Northern Europe, said "revenue from customers supported by our UK teams is now recorded here so that any taxable profit is subject to UK corporation tax."

What we found more striking in Facebook’s latest accounts is just how quickly it is growing in the UK and how much it’s investing here. Indeed, the UK is now one of Facebook’s most important hubs for innovation. The accounts reveal that the tech giant spent £356m on R&D and engineering in the UK in 2018, up from £264m the year before. 

As a result, in 2018 Facebook employed nearly 2,000 people in the UK, 50% more people in the than it did in 2017, and some 55% of those employees were in engineering roles. According to Hatch by the end of 2019, Facebook will employ 3,000 people in the UK. That makes Facebook a significant employer in the UK tech market and the UK an important source of innovation for Facebook. 

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: tax   R&D  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

Cerillion secures another major win

CerillionCerillion, the AIM listed software provider to the telecoms industry, has announced another major win for its flagship billing and CRM solution, Enterprise BSS/OSS. The latest contract, worth £2.9m, is with a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) in South Africa. Off the back of the initial deal there is also the potential for the contract to be extended to include support for fixed-wire telephony services.

The deal is the latest in a string of recent successes for London based Cerilllion, which in September announced a £3.7m BSS/OSS win in Asia (see: Cerillion rings up another major win). In June, the company announced a £4.8m deal with LINK Mobility, itself hot on the heels of a £5.1m win with Danish telecom and utility company, SE Group.

Earlier this year, Cerillion posted a disappointing set of interims results, reflecting a loss making period and weaker revenues. However, the company’s management remained bullish and expressed a confidence in its future pipeline that has now been proven well-founded (see: Cerillion blames loss on timing issues).

Despite its first half wobble, H2 is shaping up very nicely for Cerillion. The company’s order book remains strong and full year prospects are promising as the company continues to deliver on management’s expectations.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

Over £6K raised for GOSH!

RBC_Race for the Kids_Team celebratioWe did it!

A TechMarketView team consisting of Managing Director, Tola Sargeant, Chief Analyst, Georgina O’Toole, and Research Director, Marc Hardwick, along with our families, completed the RBC Race for the Kids 5k for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), on a very wet Saturday in Hyde Park over the weekend…

Our times ranged from a brilliant 24 minutes for the older boys – William and Josh – to a very respectable 56 minutes for Thomas, as he tackled the 5k on his first prosthetic leg. It brought home to us how much extra energy is required running on a prosthetic (apparently 60% extra!), and how much more you need to concentrate on your breathing and technique. Thomas is determined to become a Paralympian one day (he just can’t decide on which sport yet...) so he’ll be working on improving over the coming months and years!

We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from family, friends, clients, UKHotViews readers and social media followers. The generosity exhibited has been amazing. The total raised is still edging up but we have, so far, raised £6,330.21 from 108 extremely kind supporters. Thank you! An astounding amount that makes getting soaked to the skin all worthwhile!

There is still time to donate to help give other children the same wonderful care and support that Thomas has received at Great Ormond Street Hospital over the last decade. Here’s the link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/techmarketview-for-thomas.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: fundraising   charity  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

1Spatial books solid H1

1SpatialSix months ago, at FY results 1Spatial, the Cambridge-based geospatial software firm, mapped out its path to growth. Having raised significant sums, it took the decision to invest in French geospatial software provider Geomap-Imagis for €7m and line up an important strategic agreement with GIS player Esri.

The benefits are already being seen in this morning’s interim results where the strengthened European business contributed to revenue growth of 23% to £10.9m for H1 (£8.8m H1 18), increasing adjusted EBITDA to £1.7m up 170% on H1 18 (£0.6m).

1Spatial is coming to the end of a three-year turnaround and the last couple of results have showed decent progress – recurring revenues have increased, and the business is becoming increasingly profitable. Progress has also been made getting its European business in order and aligned with the Group.

News of a pilot earlier this month with the Greater London Authority London Underground, Asset Register (LUAR) was another positive indicator and a strategic win that illustrates the value of location and geospatial data.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

SCISYS cultivates Defra relationship with livestock contract

SCISYS logoChippenham-headquartered software, solutions and services provider SCISYS has won a contract to provide IT services, project management, integration and maintenance of software in Defra's (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Livestock Information Programme (LIP).

The contract is valued at £2.6m and runs until 2022, with the option to extend for a further two years. It was secured via Shearwell Data, the lead contractor on LIP, who will provide the core management database for the recording and tracing of farm livestock. The deal was included as part of SCISYS' existing market guidance (see SCISYS sets expectations for stronger H2).

LIP is Defra’s programme to replace its livestock traceability systems, it is designed to improve customer confidence in the food chain, prevent contaminants from entering the system and make the UK more responsive to animal disease. Earlier this month a new company, Livestock Information Ltd, was created to manage the development and implementation of the Livestock Information Service. The company is 51% owned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), with Defra holding the remaining 49%.

This is another good win for SCISYS and it cements its existing relationship with Defra, which includes a £2.2m call-off agreement to provide software and services as part of the Beta Transformation Earth Observation/Flood Risk/Bovine Tuberculosis project that was secured earlier this year (see SCISYS keeps winning). The award follows last month’s news that a consortium led by SCISYS alongside DCE and HFE Solutions was one of six demonstrators awarded a share of £3m from the MoD’s Defence And Security Accelerator (DASA) to develop new semi-autonomous vehicle concepts for the British Army.

Earlier this month the Competition & Markets Authority cleared CGI’s planned acquisition of the business—it is now waiting for final approval from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (see CMA green-lights CGI SCISYS takeover).

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   government   agriculture  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

Revolut seeks $1.5bn to super-charge global expansion

RevolutAccording to reports over the weekend, leading UK FinTech, Revolut, is seeking a massive $1.5bn in additional funding as it aims to establish itself as a dominant global brand in banking and payments. Sky News revealed that the Revolut has enlisted JP Morgan to help it raise $500m via an equity-based transaction and a further $1bn via a convertible loan against the company.

Founded in 2015 by CEO, Nik Storonksy, Revolut provides a range of banking services, including payment cards, currency exchange, and P2P payments. The company also supports retail purchases and cash withdrawals in 120 currencies, via its mobile app. The latest funding exercise follows news that Revolut is to take its offering to an additional 24 countries, off the back of its expanded relationship with global payments giant Visa (see: Revolut’s Visa partnership highlights reality of industry disruption).

The value of some of the most successful FinTech startups has spiralled in recent years with a number achieving “Unicorn” status with a valuation in excess of $1bn. However, the level of funding that Revolut is seeking is virtually unheard of amongst such relatively young financial services startups/scaleups. Storonsky is apparently hoping that the latest cash injection will see his company valued at between $5bn and $10bn, which would make place Revolut amongst Europe's most valuable FinTechs.

Storonsky clearly sees quickly building scale as the key to Revolut’s future prosperity, as the company pursues its programme of entering multiple new markets. Whilst the ambitions of its founder have so far seen revenues increase to £58m, pre-tax losses have more than doubled to £33m. Regardless of the risks associated with rapid expansion, on the face of it, these numbers do not appear reflective of a financial services provider with a $10bn valuation.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   FinTech  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

Infosys powers ahead

LogoHaving regained its mojo during the start of its current financial year (see here), off-shore services major Infosys has picked up the pace in Q220. For the three months to 30th September, constant currency revenue was up an impressive 11.4% yoy to $3.21b. Operating margin for the period more than recovered the ground lost in Q120 to come in at a very healthy 21.7%.

Pleasingly for CEO Salil Parekh, the performance during the quarter was strong in almost every facet of the business. Sales of the “new” (digital, cloud and cyber related services) increased by nearly 40% yoy and 11% qoq to £1.23b. These now represent approaching two fifths of world-wide turnover. In terms of industry verticals, only Retail failed to clock up double-digit growth in Q220. Both the Communications and Energy & Utilities sectors grew their revenues by just shy of 20% yoy.

From a regional perspective, Europe led the charge. This region, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the company’s global activity, saw Q220 sales rise by almost 15% yoy. Given that the UK generates over 30% of the European revenues, it is reasonable to assume that top line growth here was of a similar order.

The only black spot on an otherwise admirable report scorecard was staff attrition. Although the annualised rate eased down a point or so from the prior quarter, at nearly 22% it remains worryingly high in comparison to company’s peers. There is obviously still a lot of work to be done if the Infosys is to become as attractive to its people as it is to its customers.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   offshore   systemsintegration  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Monday 14 October 2019

CALLING ALL STARTUPS AND SCALEUPS! Do you have the right Chemistry to partner with Sopra Steria?

logoChemistry – the new accelerator programme from Sopra Steria, a European leader in digital transformation – is working with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme to give start-ups and small businesses an opportunity to accelerate growth and open up new opportunities.

logoChemistry has been created to support businesses with innovative solutions that are near market ready or already established in the market and help them grow further and faster. The programme is industry-led and has been specifically designed to help companies get their products to market quickly, using a collaborative, supportive and a professional platform.

If you are an innovative company looking for accelerated access to key markets, Chemistry has been developed to help you get there.

What we’re looking for

TechMarketView is helping Sopra Steria find partners to address three Challenges of major concern to both the public and private sectors:

  • Challenge 1 – Innovating Cyber Security: Keeping enterprises safe in a world of developing threats.
  • Challenge 2 – Identity Validation and Verification: Ensuring that an individual applying for access to public services is exactly who they say they are.
  • Challenge 3 – Transforming the Inspections Process: Capturing and analysing evidence to radically improve the inspection regime for assurance regarding the fulfilment of fiduciary or statutory responsibilities.

There’s a full explanation of these Challenges here.

What Sopra Steria offers

  • Accelerated market access – Strong, and on-going business relationships with major Public and Private sector clients. We have mature existing client relationships and a reputation for business transformation and excellent service delivery.
  • European presence – You’ll have the opportunity to sell internationally with access to clients outside of the UK through our European presence.
  • Development and growth of your business and product – We will help you grow, mature, and help build your client base, while respecting that your IP is your IP.
  • Development of your people – By joining our programme, you’ll gain access to our masterclasses, expert contacts and a champion within Sopra Steria, all of which will ensure you get the experience and partnership your business needs.
  • Industry visibility – Along with a large Private sector presence, Sopra Steria is a Strategic Partner to Government and by working with us you’ll have the opportunity to raise your company’s profile and visibility across these sectors.
  • Access to Sopra Steria facilities – Sopra Steria have collaborative Digilab spaces country wide and will offer design sprints and workshops to help develop the proposition. There is also an opportunity to use office space and board rooms, if required, to grow your business.

Eligibility requirements

  • Innovative product – The product or service you have created should be on the forefront of the relevant industry.
  • Existing clients – You must have delivered services to at least one previous client, with at least a minimum viable product to help provide future clients with confidence in our services.
  • Potentially scalable solutions – Your product should have the potential to scale to be able to utilise Sopra Steria’s client network and support to deliver to a large range of customers as their requirements develop.
  • Business focused – You should have a product focused on the business benefit for the customer as well as the technical challenge.

How to apply

If you are the Founder or CEO/MD of a privately held innovative, high growth young business and feel you can meet at least one of the Challenges, please apply by completing this webform by Friday 1st November 2019. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session at Sopra Steria’s London offices week commencing 9th December 2019.

You can find more about the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme Chemistry event here. You can also download a flyer about the Sopra Steria Chemistry programme here. For any further information, please email tipp@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 11 October 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* Advanced: Developments and Differentiation

logoThe recent £2bn vote of confidence in Advanced by existing investor Vista Equity Partners and new investor BC Partners was the latest in a series of developments that have enabled the company to expand and grow its own confidence levels. 

image

Our latest research assesses the progress Advanced has made under CEO Gordon Wilson (who was recently named by The Telegraph as one of the UK's 50 most ambitious leaders) and his team, as they transform and grow this UK HQ’d company.

 “Advanced: Developments and Differentiation is available for TechMarketView subscribers to download.

The bigger picture is that the Advanced story provides a view into the priorities and types of changes suppliers need to undertake, particularly software providers serving the mid-market: from in-house development, acquisitions and industry depth, to cloud transition and partner ecosystems. While dealing with these multiple moving parts, suppliers also need to identify what they are really good at - and have the discipline to stick with it. 

If you’d like to find out more about our subscription services please reach out to Deb Seth.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: cloud   software   machinelearning  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 11 October 2019

*UKHotViewsExtra* Liberata – getting “match-fit for digital”

LiberataFollowing on from Liberata’s renewal of its key contract with the London Borough of Bromley announced just a few days ago we spent some time with Chief Exec, Charlie Bruin to get a more detailed sense of what has been happening “under the bonnet” at the BPS specialist.

It’s just over three years since Liberata was acquired by Japanese BPO outfit Outsourcing Inc (OSI), with the new owner willing to take a longer-term view than the previous Private Equity owners. The Liberata acquisition has always been part of a wider OSI strategy of diversify away from the cyclical nature of the Japanese economy. As a consequence, Liberata is being given the luxury of being able to invest to future-proof its business, whilst accepting a short-term impact with a view to delivering sustainable medium to long-term UKHotViews Premiumgrowth. 

Subscribers to TechMarketView’s in-depth research streams and UKHotViews Premium service can read a detailed account of how Liberata has been getting itself “match-fit for digital” - here

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: publicsector   localgovernment   digital  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 11 October 2019

InterSystems on FHIR in Birmingham

Intersystems LogoYesterday, TechMarketView joined healthcare and technology professionals at InterSystem’s Joined-Up Health & Care conference at The Vox in Birmingham. This is the sixth year the company has run the event that seeks to improve the delivery of integrated services across the NHS, social care and the wider public sector.

The event kicked off with organisational creativity expert (or IdeasDJ) Ramon Vullings talking about the importance of cross-industry innovation in solving some of the stickiest problems in the health sector. By stepping outside of our bubble, we can all learn from other industries, combine and adapt ideas, and create elegant solutions.

Liz Jones and David Smith discussed the progress Lincolnshire Sustainability Transformation Partnership (STP) has made in developing the Lincolnshire Care Portal, a platform, built on InterSystems’ technology that provides health and care staff with a view of data held in different health and care systems. The STP should be applauded for the progress it’s made, but that hasn’t been without challenges—they highlighted the lack of capacity to progress at pace, and, more disappointingly, that some suppliers have viewed the project as a threat.

We then heard from Charles Alessi, Chief Clinical Officer at HIMSS talk about the shift from volume to value in healthcare. He highlighted the need for better prevention strategies as clinicians face an increasing risk of burnout. Prevention was also the focus of Yossi Cohen, Physician Executive at InterSystems, who discussed the problems associated with addressing inequalities of care, highlighting OECD research that shows it takes a child of a poor family in the UK five generations to reach the average income.

Ian Townend, Lead Architect at NHSx, alongside David Hancock and Steve Mallam from InterSystems, spoke about the importance of FHIR in driving interoperability in healthcare (see InterSystems makes FHIR profiles available to customers). They discussed the need to move away from applications towards platforms, services and APIs, and the need to increase the liquidity of data. We also heard from InterSystems' Alex MacLeod about the introduction of QuickML, a tool the company has added to its platforms to simplify the process of building, testing, and deploying machine learning models.

The day concluded with an inspiring presentation from mountaineer Cathy O’Dowd talking the about the importance of planning, communication and learning from your mistakes. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: AI   interoperability   data   conference   healthcare  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 11 October 2019

SAP CEO steps down after nine year tenure

SAP CEO steps down after nine year tenureDespite the sudden unexpected announcement, the departure of SAP chief executive Bill McDermott has been planned for almost a year said the company with executive Board Members Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein appointed as co-chief executive officers with immediate effect.

The outgoing CEO told press his decision was entirely personal and he will stay on as an advisor in the short term while leaving SAP at “maximum strength” – the value of SAP shares rose 7% on the news.

McDermott was instrumental in starting the transition of SAP from a licensed on-premise software company to a major SaaS provider - no small feat and one auspiciously manifest in preliminary third quarter results that showed SAP cloud revenue up 33% year on year in constant currency.

At €1.8bn turnover from SaaS subscriptions represented 26% of the €6.8bn total in Q319 (up 10% cc), just as it did in Q318 when they netted €1.3bn. Cloud gross margin increased 5.9 percentage points to 69% demonstrating the more profitable nature of the business.

While SAP software licenses revenue declined 4% in constant currency to €930m, turnover from software support grew by 3% to €2.9bn. SAP also managed to increase its post-tax profits, up 15% yoy to €1.56bn in Q319 according to non-IFRS measures suggesting that recent consolidation could be having a positive impact despite restructure charges (see SAP restructures to protect cloud growth).

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: saas   cloud   software   CEO   resignation  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 11 October 2019

Metro Bank reveals SME focused partnerships

MetroMetro Bank has agreed 3 new technology backed partnerships, as it seeks to enhance its offering to SMEs. Going forward, small businesses customers of the UK challenger bank will be able to benefit from the third-party services of Funding Options, Conance and DueDil.

Funding Options provides users with access to an alternative lending marketplace and offers financing options from more than 70 providers. Conance is a longstanding provider of specialist trade finance and offers letters of credit, documentary collections and payments to suppliers. Meanwhile from next year, Metro Bank will be utilising DueDil’s KYC & AML backed onboarding services to ensure more efficient account opening.

Earlier this year Metro Bank was awarded £120m from the fund set up to promote innovation and diversification in the UK banking industry, following the £45bn bailout of RBS (see: challengers boosted by £280m BCR injection). The bank has pledged to draw on this funding to help support the UK’s small business community and these latest partnerships will in part help to fulfil that promise.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 11 October 2019

TCS continues its climb under new UK leadership

TCSTCS has been the star performer in the UK SITS markets of late, as seen in our most recent Supplier Rankings where last year (with the sole exception of Amazon Web Services) it banked the strongest growth in the Top 30.

Q1 results showed this to have continued with the UK and Europe continuing to be the engine rooms of the Group’s growth. Q2 now shows more of the same with headline numbers seeing Global revenue of $5.5bn (+5.8% YoY / +8.4% YoY in constant currency), with the UK (+13.3% YoY) and Europe (+16% YoY) the star performers yet again. TCS pivot to digital continues with revenue here now accounting for over 33% of the business, growing 28% YoY.

As we have covered extensively over the last couple of years, the UK business continues to benefit from the slew of mega deals landed, particularly in Banking and Financial Services where TCS continues to be busy having just expanded its relationship with Legal & General to transform its digital workspace. Other Q2 UK wins saw contracts with Jurassic Fibre, a UK-based telecoms provider to help build a new fibre optic broadband network, several wins in the UK utility market as well as being selected by an (unnamed) supermarket chain to modernise its retail applications. 

Having led the UK business so successfully over the last 8 years, TCS veteran Shankar Narayanan has taken up a new role as Global Head of the Group’s Retail, CPG, Travel & Hospitality business. Taking up the baton as UK and Ireland Head is Amit Kapur who has been running TCS’s Benelux business for the last 7 years. We wish Shankar well in his new role and look forward to catching up with Amit to hear about his plans for UK soon.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: results   tcs  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 11 October 2019

Another day, another SaaS EHSQ acquisition for Ideagen

Another day, another SaaS EHSQ acquisition for IdeagenIdeagen’s latest acquisition of Optima Diagnostics Ltd adds another software as a service (SaaS) based health and safety compliance solution to the information management company’s portfolio.

Around 80 customers in the aerospace and defence, aviation and energy sectors currently subscribe to Optima’s cloud-hosted OSHENS software, including Airbus, Sellafield, BAE Systems and Edinburgh Airport. The deal should also add around £900k of recurring revenue to Ideagen’s turnover, generating EBITDA of £100k said management.

By our calculations the acquisition is Ideagen’s 5th in the last 18 months reflecting the company’s voracious expansion strategy and the vitality of the market for environmental health safety and quality (EHSQ) software driven by the need to meet increasingly stringent regulations in the UK and elsewhere.

Previous purchases of audit management specialist Morgan Kai, quality inspection software supplier InspectionXpert and environmental health, safety and quality platform provider Scannell Solutions attest to Ideagen’s laser like SaaS EHSQ focus, and we expect the sum total of its acquisitions will continue to drive the revenue expansion which swelled its turnover 30% yoy to £47m in FY19 in the current financial year.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   saas   EHSQ  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Friday 11 October 2019

Advent of Lloyd's chairman boosts Cuvva

CuvvaUK InsurTech, Cuvva, has announced that another high-profile appointee is joining the company. The innovative startup has revealed that Bruce Carnegie-Brown, the current Chairman of Lloyd's of London is to replace Nick Parker in a similar role at the company. Carnegie-Brown is an influential figure within UK financial services and has over 30 years’ experience across insurance, banking and asset management. Carnegie-Brown will also retain his post at the 300 year old insurance marketplace.

Cuvva, is one of a growing band of InsurTechs such as Zego, Wrisk and Lemonade that are disrupting the traditional approach to P&C cover (see: Insurance disruptor Inshur fuels up). The company provides temporary personal lines, motor insurance via its app. Cuvva’s co-founder, James Billingham, was just 19 when he helped set up the company, having started coding and building websites whilst still in school. Since its launch in 2014, Cuvva has sold more than 1m insurance policies with terms varying from 1 to 28 days.

Cuvva’s latest appointment follows the recent advent of Serge Corel, previously CEO of Allianz Partners, as partnerships director and Svetlana Novikova, formerly of Zego and Revolut, as finance director. Carnegie-Brown’s industry expertise and sphere of influence should be a great asset to Cuvva as it seeks to scale its business. Having also served as chairman of MoneySuperMarket until recently, he will also bring with him valuable experience from a leading industry disruptor.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: appointments  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 10 October 2019

Sales multiples rise again for European tech M&A

chartDeal makers seemed reluctant to spend this month after a lavish summer, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Regent Assay. The aggregate deal value within the European TMT M&A landscape dropped by $10bn in September to reach $21.4bn, the lowest figure since May. However, the increasing number of deals (316, up by 18%) made up for the drop in total value and sustained a somewhat healthy market.

Valuation multiples diverged once again, with the aggregate P/EBITDA ratio losing ground at 9.1x, down from 9.8x, while the aggregate P/SALES ratio recorded its 4th month of consecutive growth, up from 1.5x to 1.8x.

In the UK, aggressively acquisitive portfolio technology group ClearCourse Partnership snapped up yet another deal, acquiring Lancashire-based specialist CRM SaaS provider BrightOffice, making it ClearCourse’s 14th acquisition in the past 12 months. Also not known for letting the grass grow under its feet, Hg-powered buy-and-build accountancy software provider Iris Software Group made two acquisitions in September (see here and here).

Going in the other direction, so to speak, Watchstone Group, born from the still-smouldering ashes of the late and unlamented Quindell, has disposed of its Canadian healthcare businesses as part of its ongoing restructuring programme.

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 series, IndustryViews Corporate Activity.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: acquisition  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 10 October 2019

Castleton H1 behind expectations

Castleton logoFollowing a storming year last year – see Castleton Technology cross-selling drives strong FY performance – FY20 has not got off to as good a start for the provider of software and managed services to the public and not-for-profit sectors. Castleton has warned that, in the six months to end September, performance has been “behind expectations”. The trading update states that revenue will be “not less than £11.6m” and adjusted EBITDA will be “not less than £2.9m”. Looking back (see Castleton: increasing cross-selling potential), that would translate into a c10% drop in revenues and a c3% drop in adjusted EBITDA. Better news is that cash generation – at 79% of EBITDA – will facilitate a continued reduction in the company’s net debt.

Castleton has not managed to replicate the strong performance in professional services that it managed in the comparable period last year; during that period the company achieved 44% growth in professional services revenues (to £2.65m), helping achieve a 20% overall growth in revenues. While in this trading update period, the company has continued to increase its recurring revenues (65% of the total), that has not been enough to offset the reduction in one-off revenues.

It is not entirely clear why Castleton believes last year was particularly good for its professional services business, or where it lays the blame this time around – Economic environment? Distraction due to other corporate activity? Increased focus on delivering larger software and managed services deals? However, the announcement does point to the fact that embedding its streamlined sales and delivery function has taken longer than anticipated. It’s also, though, not clear whether a reduction in professional services work will have a knock-on effect on lead generation for other business in the coming months. However, the company states it is confident that revenue, EBITDA and cash generation will show a material improvement in H2. And we continue to believe that the management team has done a good job merging the company’s software and managed services divisions to drive larger deals in the longer-term. The company’s H1 results are due 5th November – we hope to catch up with the management team to find out more of the story behind the numbers.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: trading   software   managedservices   housing  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 10 October 2019

Find what you're looking for...

Subscribe to UKHotViews Premium

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 10 October 2019

Sweepr sweeps up $9m funding

SweeprIrish start up Sweepr has raised $9m in series A funding, in a round led by London-headquartered, pan-European tech investor Draper Esprit

Draper EspritSweepr’s proposition is to provide a voice activated digital assistant for the connected home – Think an Alexa that helps you deal with issues you are having with connected devices. So, for example if Netflix is failing to load or the latest edition of Fortnite won’t download or your internet enabled kettle is failing to boil (if they even exist), instead of getting in a right tiz and screaming, you can calmly ask Sweepr to tell you what the issue is and how to fix it. 

Hopefully, the answer isn’t always “please reboot the broadband”. In all seriousness, this is a smart place to be investing as homes get ever more connected and more complex there is a whole swathe of people who need the sort of help and support that has been available at work for decades. It’s might not be practical to have IT support in a domestic environment in the same way but Sweepr offers a proposition that could go some way to bridging this obvious gap.

Indeed, anything that prevents me spending hours on the phone to some sort of customer support line has got to be a good thing.

The new investment builds on a €2.5m seed funding round last year led by Frontline.vc and will enable them to grow their footprint in Europe and North America, expanding to a team of 75.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: funding   connectivity  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 10 October 2019

Robo-advisor Rosecut boosted by cash injection

RosecutUK startup, Rosecut Technologies, has secured £5m in funding following its launch in July this year. The investment has been led by QVentures, which describes itself as a “private members club for investors” and will be used to support the wealth management specialist as it seeks to expand its operations and broaden its footprint.

London based, Rosecut, utilises AI to provide bespoke strategies and portfolio guidance to retail investors. Rosecut’s co-founders are Qiaojia Li and Gustavo Silva. CEO, Li, previously worked on the Asia desk at Coutts Bank, whilst CTO Silva is seasoned tech entrepreneur, having previously founded healthcare startups, Kimeo and Nutrisoft Brazil.

The company’s platform and robo-advisor technology are targeted at the affluent middle market, consisting of clients with liquid assets of between £100k and £3m. This group of investors is estimated to be worth in excess of £3tn, however, the rising cost of regulatory compliance has made it less attractive to some traditional wealth managers.

Rosecut’s technology backed approach to wealth management is the latest in a line of similar offerings, with robo-advisor technology increasingly becoming ubiquitous. Technology from providers such as Aixigo and Unblu is now widely established within European financial services and beyond (see: The new generation of FinTech providers is here).

In May this year Investec closed down its own robo-advisor service, Click and Invest, having lost in excess of £30m on the venture. It will be interesting to see whether Rosecut is able to differentiate itself at this difficult point in the economic cycle and succeed where others have failed. Afterall, to use the most oft-quoted phrase in relation to investing “timing is everything”! 

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   automation  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 10 October 2019

Infosys BPO acquires Gaelic charm

LogoOffshore major Infosys has acquired Waterford-HQ’d contact centre specialistsLogo Eishtec for an undisclosed sum. Through the deal, 1,400 employees will transfer to the Bangalore-based services company.

Founded in 2011, Eishtec has established a strong position in the fast-expanding Irish contact centre market. Targeting primarily the telco, tech and healthcare industry sectors, the firm’s clients include EE, T-Mobile and Orange. It has operations in Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary and Craigavon, Northern Ireland.

Successful though Eishtec demonstrably is, its purchase appeal to Infosys is somewhat less obvious. The two companies already service some common clients so there will be some potential for account position consolidation. There is also room for expansion in Irish BPO arena which has been enjoying double digit growth of late. This market, however, currently employs only around 8000 people and lacks the scale to be able to add significantly to Infosys’s $3b top line in Europe.

It is possible that Infosys sees opportunities to enhance its largely back office centric BPO offerings though leveraging Eishtec’s predominantly front-end focused capabilities. The level of impact that, absent material proprietary IP, less than fifteen hundred people in Ireland can have on their new employer, which has a worldwide contingent of 230K personnel, is likely to be somewhat limited. Hopefully we will be able to learn more in the coming weeks about both the rationale behind and aspirations for this acquisition.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: offshore   acquisition   contactcentre   BusinessProcessProviders  

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link
Thursday 10 October 2019

Streets of Tokyo

Last week I was in San Francisco where I was shocked by the number of homeless on the streets. See – Streets of San Francisco. Indeed, thankyou for the many readers who emailed with their comments. The article clearly ‘hit a nerve’.

This week I am in Tokyo, Japan and the contrast could not be more stark. I haven’t seen a single homeless person on the streets or beggars. On top of that there is no litter anywhere. Tokyo is said to be the safest city in the world. I can’t argue.

The statistics make the point. San Francisco has c8000 homeless, and RISING, out of a population of 900,000. One homeless person for every 112 of the population. Tokyo has 1697 homeless (and FALLING) out of a population of over 14 million. One homeless person for every 8250 of the population

Japanese culture places a high importance on self-reliance and there is great stigma in being homeless. Families are meant to support less fortunate members – particularly those with mental health problems. An Act in 2002 guaranteed Govt assistance to the homeless seeking employment with housing and access to health and medical facilities. Although health services are paid for by insurance, nobody, however poor, is denied access.

FujitsuBegging is illegal in Japan

On top of that Japan has some of the harshest drug laws in the developed world. Being in possession of cannabis for private use carries a 5 year jail sentence and over 99% of cases are followed through to prosecution.

The most over used drug in Japan is the stimulant methamphetamine (which was invented in Japan). Long hours are worked and hence both the use of stimulants and actually not having the time or opportunity to use any other drugs which might adversely affect your work performance.

There is also a huge anti drug culture. Those even suspected of drug use are banned from their companies, appearing on TV etc.

Of course, living in a highly regulated state is not to everyone’s taste. But neither is visiting a civilised city where people live - and defecate-  on the streets.

Footnote – I used a photo of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco in my previous article. This time I use a photo of the Fujitsu HQ in Tokyo. Fujitsu is TechMarketView’s ‘oldest’ long-standing client.

Posted by: Richard Holway

Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Email article link


© TechMarketView LLP 2007-2019: Unauthorised reproduction prohibited see full Terms and Conditions.