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Thursday 12 December 2019

Cyclr raises £500k for digital integration

Cyclr fundingUK-based SaaS start-up Cyclr got a £500k funding boost which it will use to expand its operations and software connector library.

The round was led by Juno Capital, with additional finance coming from SyndicateRoom and existing shareholders.

Cyclr’s embedded integration toolkit uses an application programming interface (API) connectors to help software companies control their data, automations and workflows without developer assistance.

The company has customers in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: funding  

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Thursday 12 December 2019

NTT partners Microsoft to host cloud services

NTT partners Microsoft to host cloud security servicesNTT’s alliance with Microsoft will marry the Japanese telco’s optical and wireless network infrastructure with Azure Cloud to host a range of artificial intelligence (AI) powered data analytics, threat intelligence, and hybrid-IT management services for enterprise customers.

That looks like a big deal for Microsoft, which by default becomes NTT’s preferred public cloud partner for all of its customer migration projects as they shift to hybrid clouds and hosted security services.

The Global Digital Fabric tie up also pulls Microsoft into the Innovation Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) forum, a joint initiative with Intel and Sony. The IOWN concept is a fuzzy one, ostensibly designed to combine an all photonics network and digital twin computing into an infrastructure that provides “a more natural interaction between people, nature and technology”.

That looks like a plan to digitise society through greater use of AI and huge Internet of Things (IoT) networks that link autonomous cars, manufacturing equipment, and medical devices for example which can be used to simulate high accuracy prediction models around things like climatic conditions, resource consumption, population trends and gross domestic product (GDP).

Lofty ambitions indeed, but in the meantime we see the alliance as another example of a large global telco partnering a super scale cloud provider, recognising (like many others – see Vodafone and IBM: the benefits of an enduring partnership) that it doesn’t have the capacity, reach or reputation to host customer workloads itself.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: iot   threatintelligence   telecommunications   networkinfrastructure  

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Thursday 12 December 2019

Retiring from #ATT

ATTAtt GpAs previously announced, I step down from my directorship at Allianz Technology Trust #ATT at the end of the month after 13 years on the board. Last night #ATT held a superb retirement dinner for me in a private room at the Sky Garden on the 37th floor of the CheeseGrater.

I was recruited in Jan 2007 by the then Chairman David Quysner who stepped down in 2014 replaced by current Chairman Robert Jeens. #ATT has also been blessed by its Audit Committee Chairs - starting with John Cornish and now Humphrey van der Klught. Their attention to detail is legendary. Every board needs a John or Humphrey!

ATT ChsAudit#ATT has also had a superb team from Allianz but, undoubtedly, the greatest contribution towards the success of the fund has been the San Francisco-based Fund Manager Walter Price who flew in specially to attend last night’s dinner. One of my first jobs on the board was to help select a new fund manager with Walter appointed on 1st May 2007. Since then #ATT has grown from a small £50m fund to one now valued at >£550m. The share price is up c630% in that period. Now over 80% of #ATT shares are held by retail investors. I know that some of these are avid HotViews readers...

As a shareholder myself, I shall be watching #ATT closely for many years to come!

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Thursday 12 December 2019

Serco in a good place; UK business back to organic growth too

logoThere were plenty of positives within Serco’s 2019 end of year update, continuing the confident tone of  H1. The latest update also showed the UK business returning to organic growth as of H2, the first time since 2013.

At group level the company had a string of big contract wins during 2019, among them UK asylum accommodation and support services (worth £1.9bn); defence healthcare provision in Australia (worth £0.6bn); and in H2 the Prisoner Escort and Custody Services (PECS) contract covering London and the whole of the southern region (£0.8bn); and the extension of the Australian immigration services contract (£0.4bn). These were major factors in expected full year growth of 14%, to take revenue to £3.2bn (7% organic, 5% from acquisitions, 2% positive currency effect). What was particularly encouraging was the level of new business and record order intake of over £5bn - 150% of revenue. Meanwhile, underlying trading profit saw 30% growth to £120m.

It’s worth noting that Serco strengthened as the year progressed: H2 is expected to show around 20% revenue growth (10% organic growth, 8% from five months contribution from the Naval Systems Business Unit acquisition). The outlook for 2020 is modest by comparison - 7%-8% growth to £3.4bn-£3.5b of which 4% is expected to be organic - but still confident and expected to generate a c.20% uplift in underlying trading profit to £145m. 

Given where Serco was just a couple of years ago and the current state of the UK Public Services market, Serco is in a good place. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: publicsector   bps   services   tradingupdate  

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Thursday 12 December 2019

TechMarketView is out to (Xmas) lunch!

Today’s the one day in the year that the entire TechMarketView team are in the same place at the same time, so that must mean it’s Xmas Lunch day!

So please forgive us if we don’t reply to your emails and calls. Normal service resumes tomorrow.

And who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Thursday 12 December 2019

Backers support Kindred’s charitable spirit

logoI suspect the scant press reports on UK-based social media influencer platform Kindred may be confusing it with one of the many other (US) startups with the same name as I can’t see how a business launched in 2019 which has just raised £2.25m in seed funding (as reported on FINSMES) can have a valuation of £35m and employ 50 people globally!

This Kindred’s USP is that it pays a share of its commission on sales driven by influencers to charity, Its website claims to have 2,500 brands signed up and links to 50,000 charities, which I just can’t readily reconcile with a startup less than 12 months old.

Whatever.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

More Sopra Steria ‘Chemistry’ candidates strut their stuff

logologoWe were delighted to meet the final cohort of UK tech companies shortlisted by Sopra Steria for their Chemistry accelerator programme in partnership with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme.

picFounders and CEOs from five exciting companies presented their public sector-focused propositions to a panel of Sopra Steria management along with TMV Chief Analyst, Georgina O’Toole (L) and TMV Managing Director, Tola Sargeant (R) (pictured flanking Sopra Steria UK Public Sector Growth Director, Tom McCann and Government Sales Head, Ray Baker).

The companies were:

  • Canalix
  • iProov
  • Paytek
  • Qualification Check
  • Wallet Services

Many congratulations to all of them.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: tipp  

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Current Health raises £9m to scale healthcare ambitions

Current Health logoEdinburgh-based healthcare start-up Current Health has raised $11.5m (c.£9m) in a Series A round led by MMC Ventures, with additional participation from new investor, Legal & General, and previous investors, Par Equity and the Scottish Investment Bank. The latest investment follows an $8m seed round in 2018 and takes total funding to date to c.$23m.

The company was founded by Christopher McCann and Stewart Whiting in 2015; previously known as snap40, it rebranded as Current Health earlier this year. It uses wearable and wireless vital signs monitoring, clinical indicators and symptoms collected via patient engagement tools, to track patient health trends. The platform uses machine learning to analyse this data to detect illness, alert healthcare providers and facilitate earlier interventions.

It’s been a pivotal year for the business. As well as rebranding, Current Health secured US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearances for in-hospital and home use of its platform; it won a deal with Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust Hospital for monitoring patients remotely after discharge (resulting in a 22% reduction in home visits); and secured a number of partnership deals, including with pharmaceutical companies and other wearable solution providers.

With the new funding, Current Health plans to scale the business by expanding its team, particularly in the sales, clinical operations and marketing functions, and opening a US headquarters in New York City.

We expect to see interest in wearables increase rapidly as healthcare organisations seek to reduce the pressure on resources by treating more patients at home and as the need for more effective prevention of ill health and disability intensifies.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   funding   startup   wearable   AI   healthcare  

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Sopheon recovers ground in second half

SopheonYear-end trading update from AIM-listed enterprise innovation management provider Sopheon points to a stronger finish to the year making up some of the ground lost in H1.

Sopheon had pinned its hopes on a strong recovery in the second half delivering on a significantly expanded sales pipeline containing a higher than expected proportion of SaaS deals. Indeed, the company entered its traditionally busy final quarter hoping to close $30m in opportunities this year.

Some of these deals have now slipped into the new year citing a range of factors contributing to extended buying cycles, translating into current revenue visibility for the year standing at $28m with $9.9m still expected to close in 2019. Of this, up to $2.7m represents perpetual license fees which, if signed, would contribute to recognised revenue in the current year. An additional $4.8m represents potential orders for multi-year SaaS and the balance associated consulting services.

The total forward pipeline for the balance of 2019 and 2020 looks healthy around 60% higher than at the end of last year with around a third SaaS related.

Given progress made it now looks like H1’s disappointment may well have been a “bump in the road” on the growth journey but we will report more when we get a further update in January.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: software   tradingupdate  

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

FinTechOS pockets £10.7m as it looks to transform transformation

FinTechOSLondon based startup, FinTechOS, has successfully raised £10.7m as it looks to enhance its offering and grow its presence within financial services. The Series A funding round was led by Earlybird’s Digital East fund and OTB Ventures and supported by Gapminder and Launchub Ventures.

FinTechOS was founded in 2017, by Teodor Blidarus and Sergiu Negut. The company began life in Romania but subsequently moved to the UK, to be closer to its target market of major financial services institutions embracing digital transformation.

Under the banner of Technology as a Service (TaaS), FinTechOS provides a variety of low cost, pre-built apps and services for banks and insurers, which are available via its platform and app marketplace. These include data utilisation, AI-enabled pricing and risk analytics, plus open-source apps for customer onboarding, loans, savings, insurance, pensions, and wealth management.

FinTechOS is an interesting proposition and could be one to watch. The company’s versatile, low-cost, plug and play technology, offers banks and insurers the opportunity to behave more like the startups that they are competing with. FinTechOS certainly already appears to have experienced some early success and the company's revenues grew by 450% during 2019. FinTechOs has partnered with Deloitte and already has more that 40 global clients already onboard, including the likes of Societe Generale, Uniqa, Raffeisen, Erste and Scotiabank

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding   FinTech  

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Expleo highlights positive impact of automation technologies

ExpleoQuality assurance cum digital transformation specialist, Expleo, has published a new report exploring how technology innovation is supporting businesses growth in Ireland. The company, which has operations in Dublin and Belfast, as well as numerous sites in the UK, indicated that increased automation is not only enhancing revenues, but also leading to increased levels of employment in the country.

Expleo’s Business Transformation Index research, compiled in association with Irish IT magazine, TechPro, incorporated the opinions of 143 Irish decision makers. The research found that automation helped to boost revenue for at least 60% of companies, whilst 78% of businesses that had embraced automation found that employment levels had either remained stable or grown as a result.

The research also found that 32% of businesses have so far utilised AI and machine learning (ML), whilst 45% have plans to implement these technologies within the next 3 years. Around 68% are contending with a lack of in-house skills, whilst budgetary constraints (54%) and a lack of innovative thinking (37%) were also seen as inhibitors of transformation. Meanwhile, the cost of getting IT provision “Brexit ready” was on average €436k for the companies surveyed.

Expleo was created in February, from German quality assurance provider SQS; London-based management consulting firm, Moorhouse; and Bristol-based control systems technology and engineering consultancy Stirling Dynamics (see: Expleo builds on its heritage). On this side of the Irish Sea, the company is working with several, global financial services institutions, to help facilitate their own business transformation.

Earlier this year Expleo was awarded the Core Systems Assurance contract for Ofgem’s Switching Programme (see: Expleo secures Ofgem Switching Programme deal). In addition to its work with larger institutions, Expleo has also been actively carving a niche for itself, supporting the FinTech community around governance, compliance and quality. 

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: ireland   brexit  

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Final cohort shortlisted for Sopra Steria ‘Chemistry’ accelerator programme

logologoWe are delighted to announce the names of the final cohort of UK tech companies shortlisted by Sopra Steria, for their Chemistry accelerator programme in partnership with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme.

They are:

  • Canalix
  • iProov
  • Paytek
  • Qualification Check
  • Wallet Services

The founders will be pitching today to a team from Sopra Steria and TechMarketView to discuss their business plans and aspirations in order to assess their suitability as potential partners for Sopra Steria.

Many congratulations to all of them.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: tipp  

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Planning your marketing campaigns for 2020?

TechMarketView advertising offer

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

Computacenter motoring as 2019 closes

cccComputacenter has issued a short but very sweet (and “unscheduled”) trading update explaining that both profitability and earnings per share will be “well ahead of current market expectations”. Shares were up more than 6% at time of writing.

In October, third quarter results indicated that there was momentum in the performance – indeed, the signs were there in Q1.

Computacenter reports that both revenue and profitability are well ahead of the comparable 11 months in 2018, with the positive impact of acquisitions set to bring an additional boost.

The pleasing performance stems from both Computacenter's established businesses, but also the business it acquired in the US. The latter had a tricky start to the year but is now “performing in line” with the company’s expectations.

As the firm races through its final (and arguably most important) month of the year, it’s hard to see that it will lose significant momentum at this point.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: infrastructureservices   product  

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

**NEW** Taming Digital Chaos: Top Ten Predictions for 2020

In 2020, TechMarketView’s research theme will examine how organisations can attempt to tame the Digital Chaos many of them now face (see Launching TechMarketView 2020 Research Theme: Digital Chaos).

The race to digitally transform has often been characterised by fast-paced anarchy. The upshot has been a proliferation of digital point solutions with limited integration – with most organisations falling way short of being able to fulfill the real potential offered by genuine complex digital transformation.

So what does “good” look like? TechMarketView is of the opinion that the ultimate digital entity must be able to operate in real-time, and must be connected, event/outcome-driven, interactive, insightful and trusted. But getting to this point requires a fundamental re-evaluation of organisational objectives, existing tech investments, and partner ecosystems.

pred

As we start 2020, TechMarketView believes more organisations will start to take the first major step towards taming Digital Chaos. However, 2020 will still be a year characterised by challenge as leaders seek to unlock the power of data (while increasing its protection), tackle ever-more complex security issues, and create a far more superior digital experience for a range of stakeholders.

This year, TechMarketView has taken a different approach to our Predictions, focusing in on the ten key points where we expect to see challenges and opportunities in equal measure. Our Top Ten Predictions for 2020 span our research coverage areas, but in particular play to the themes that we believe define the ultimate digital entity:

  1. Outcome measures and “gain share” come of age

  2. Heritage revisionism gathers momentum

  3. Organisations will work harder to win trust and data protection compliance

  4. Strategic investments will drive omnipresent digital experiences

  5. AI/ML starts to explain itself

  6. Self-serve frameworks start to provide a necessary antidote to complexity

  7. IoT, edge and mobile create their own security chaos

  8. Continuous co-creativity becomes the hallmark of an effective ecosystem

  9. Automation gets “back to basics”

  10. Data Fabric will surface as the information architecture of our time


TechMarketView clients can download our Top Ten Predictions in full, here: TechMarketView Top Ten Predictions 2020.

Please contact Deb Seth for more information on becoming a TechMarketView client.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: cloud   automation   AI   data  

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

New funding to drive next stage growth for Cyan Forensics

Cyan Forensics logoCybersecurity start-up Cyan Forensics has secured £1.3m funding from a consortium of investors, including Triple Point Investment Management, Mercia, SIS Ventures, the Scottish Investment Bank and private investors.

This round of investment follows seed rounds in 2016 and 2017, and £900,000 from Mercia with Scottish Investment Bank last year (see Cyan Forensics secures new funds). It takes total funding to date to £2.8m. The latest funding will drive Cyan Forensics’ expansion plans and allow it to target new markets in Northern Europe.

The business developed through the digital forensics research of Bruce Ramsay (now CTO) at Edinburgh Napier University. Ramsay, who previously worked as a forensic analyst for Lothian and Borders Police, was joined by CEO Ian Stevenson during the commercial phase of the project. The business spun out of the university in 2016.

Cyan Forensics’ platform helps law enforcement, social media companies, and cloud providers to find and block harmful content such as indecent images or terrorist activity. It is designed to improve the efficiency of forensic analysts and allow the police to make decisions more rapidly.

It has been a busy year for the business. It won a place on the national DPS framework agreement for Digital Tools, Equipment and Developments (DiTED), led by Northamptonshire Police and EMSCU, in April; it was announced in July that it had secured a contract with the Home Office that will see its technology improve the capability of the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID) and will be rolled out to police forces nationally; in August it secured its first partnership in the USA with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children;  and it also won the PitchGovTech competition at the GovTech Summit in Paris in November.

As we discussed in UK Public Sector Market Trends & Forecasts 2019-22, the introduction of new technologies such as 5G, AI and IoT will change the cybersecurity landscape and facilitate new cybercrime threats. Tools such as those provided by Cyan Forensics will form a vital component for law enforcement as it fights against the evolving threat.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: funding   startup   police   cybersecurity  

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

Access Intelligence updates on year of progress

Access IntelligenceFull-year trading update from reputation management software provider Access Intelligence, continues to show good progress, with the bedding in of acquisitions and previous restructuring all starting to pay off. 

Access Intelligence continues to build on the progress made last year that saw the company move towards a single brand and platform. The acquisition of ResponseSource has broadened the offer and customer base and revenue has grown out of the integration with its Vuelio platform. We already knew that the firm had got off to a decent start (see - Access Intelligence sees H1 jump) and it looks like momentum has carried through into the second half. 

Management expects the total Vuelio and ResponseSource revenue for year to be in order of £12.7m (£8.9m FY 18). Excluding its Pulsar acquisition, adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in the order of £1.1m, in line with market expectations. Sales in the second half have also been buoyant adding new contracts with the likes of Allen & Overy, Everton FC, ING Bank, Met Office, Scottish Widows and UEFA.

The focus now shifts to integrating the Pulsar acquisition which will expand the firm’s social media analysis, audience segmentation and marketing evaluation capabilities. 

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: cloud   communications   tradingupdate  

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

Angels trickle funding into Edinburgh’s Trickle

logoMost businesses of any decent size have long since realised that an annual employee opinion survey is no longer sufficient to effectively gauge workforce sentiment. Today it’s all about ‘employee engagement’ in real time, and such functionality is now commonplace in popular HR platforms.

There are also ‘point’ solutions addressing employee engagement, and one such is Edinburgh-based startup, Trickle, which has raised £1m in a seed funding round backed by angel investors including Techstart Ventures. Founded in 2018, Trickle is basically a employee continuous feedback platform which lets management monitor (and, I assume, act upon) concerns and suggestions from the workforce. Trickle’s clients include The Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and Disclosure Scotland as well as boiler manufacturer Vaillant and Scottish Power.

There are many variations on the employee engagement theme, from direct competitors including Clear Review (see Mercia appraises Clear Review with £0.5m funding) and Peakon (see Peakon engages with Balderton for $22m funding round), through to more extensive functionality such as provided by TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme candidate StaffCircle (see Innovator StaffCircle squares up with £250k funding round). The challenge for Trickle will be to find a large enough niche in a crowded HR market for its very focused proposition to flourish.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

BAE Systems protects RSA against insurance fraud

BAEBAE Systems Applied Intelligence has successfully extended its relationship with leading property and casualty insurer, RSA. The insurer has agreed a 3-year deal for BAE System’s, NetReveal offering, to help protect its Irish operations from insurance fraud. The deal sees Ireland become the third RSA region to adopt the technology as the company seeks to reduce fraud and false claims.

Fraud is estimated to cost the Irish insurance industry around €200m each year. Whilst the majority of claims are genuine, insurance fraud is one of those things that impacts everyone as a result of higher insurance premiums. NetReveal utilises advanced analytics to help financial services providers to detect, investigate and prevent fraud, whilst reducing false positives.

This area of financial services is a highly competitive one and is occupied by a variety of specialist providers and larger IT vendors. In particular, Netherlands based, FRISS, has been making excellent progress recently and growing rapidly within Europe's insurance industry. Meanwhile, BAE Systems been making some headway of its own. The company’s work with nation states and governments has enabled it to lean on its reputation as a provider of military grade protection against fraud and cybercrime in a connected world.

A recent report by BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, in association with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, highlighted the increasing volume of online attacks on financial services providers (see: Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2022). The scale of the problem continues to grow whilst the methods being used are constantly evolving, meaning that both providers and end users must continually update their responses.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: insurance   fraud  

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

Sopra Steria ‘Chemistry’ candidates strut their stuff

logologoWe were delighted to meet the first cohort of UK tech companies shortlisted by Sopra Steria, for their Chemistry accelerator programme in partnership with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme.

picFounders and CEOs from six exciting companies presented their cybersecurity propositions to a panel of Sopra Steria management along with TechMarketView Managing Partner, Anthony Miller and Principal Analyst, Martin Courtney (pictured flanking Sopra Steria UK Head of Cyber, Drew Gibson) with a view to a potential partnership.

The six companies are:

  • Censornet
  • oneclick Platform
  • Orpheus Cyber
  • Quorum Cyber Security
  • SECOTI
  • Uleska

Many congratulations to all of them.

We will be announcing the names of the final cohort tomorrow.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: tipp  

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Monday 09 December 2019

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Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Monday 09 December 2019

The Panoply: Strong indicators

The Panoply logoThe Panoply, which has been built up via acquisition (see UKHotViews archive) and describes itself as a “digitally native technology services company” has reported a strong set of results for the six months to end September 2019 (H120). H1 revenues were up by 33% to £13.4m (we believe three out of four acquired businesses grew over the period). While organic growth is not spelled out, the biggest non-organic contributor would have been FutureGov (acquired on 12th June this year); since coming on board, it has brought in revenues of £2.3m.

Meanwhile the company reported a small profit; adjusted EBITDA stood at £0.9m, while profit after tax went from a loss of £0.7m in H119 to a profit of £0.3m. The cash position increased from £0.3m to £4.3m (with the net cash position at £0.7m).

However, it is the strong indicators of future performance that are the most comforting. Being a ‘time & materials’ business, they are good to see. The £25m sales backlog, includes £12.8m due in the period to 31st March 2020 (i.e. before the year-end) and £12.2m beyond. Moreover, 78% of customers billed in H1 were also billed in 2019 and 2018, demonstrating long-standing customer relationships. And the business is more balanced, with the Top 10 clients representing 42% of revenue vs. 54% a year earlier (and the largest client representing 14% of revenues, vs. 24% a year previously).

It is also pleasing to see increased collaboration between the Group companies; clients where two or more entities were involved in an engagement totalled £2m (or 15% of revenues). When we spoke to Neil Ghandi, CEO, a couple of months ago, he pointed to eight instances of collaboration, including two clients where four companies were involved. The Panoply continues to seek out new acquisitions so getting this right is crucial; the internal M&A origination team has a pipeline of 30 companies with combined annual revenue of £150m.

The vertical picture is worth a mention. And is something to keep an eye on. Public Services revenues increased from £4.6m to £7.9m over the period, and now represents 59% of Group revenue. New clients were added across most public sector subsectors, with a handful of clients also taking advantage of The Panoply’s investments in RPA and conversational AI. But that also indicates that the commercial sector business was static. The Panoply’s business appears increasingly aligned to the public sector, with particularly strong pockets in certain areas such as housing; more verticalization of offerings seems likely (particularly considering the appointment of Future Gov CEO, Dominic Campbell to lead Public Sector). Moreover, the business’ culture is also set around ‘people, planet and communities’, emphasising social value (increasingly important in Government). Meanwhile in commercial, there is not a natural lean towards any particular private sector industry. As The Panoply overlays a brand and vertical market approach over its entrepreneurial units, it will be interesting to watch the commercial sector direction of travel.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: results   publicsector   digital  

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Monday 09 December 2019

Trakm8 nudges in the right direction during H1

logoAt the H1 point of the current year, performance edged in the right direction for Trakm8 following a truly horrible previous year. 

On publication of the year ago H1 results, the share value of the telematics and data insight company collapsed 60%. This time around the share price bounced around during early trading, rising 11% at one point before dropping back to a c2% gain at the time this post was written.

The company made strides in arresting the revenue decline, which only fell 0.3% to £8.9m for the six months to 30 September 2019 but included a 5% decline in precious recurring revenue too. Operating losses were reduced, coming in at a nimproved £2m loss compared to the year ago £2.8m loss.

New orders, better margins and reduced overheads contributed to improved performance. Deployments of contracts with new clients By Miles, Altrad, and a number of other Fleet and Vehicle Leasing clients started in H1 and continued into H2, setting the scene for a stronger second half which the company says is already looking better, two months in. The installed base within the Fleet business continued to grow but was offset by Insurance reductions. 

Overall the situation is looking better for Trakm8 and with its focus on telematics and data insight it should be in a good position. But some facets that are outside its control look like they will cause continued pain, such as the ongoing trend towards lower service fees per installed device for the same functionality within Insurance; while Insurance is only part of the business, higher service fees are part of Trakm8's forward strategy. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   software  

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Monday 09 December 2019

Launching TechMarketView 2020 Research Theme: Digital Chaos

Digital Chaos theme 2020 logoDigital Chaos’ is TechMarketView’s research theme for 2020. To be clear, we are not advocating digital chaos. It is a term we are using to characterise the current state of affairs in a large number of public and private sector organisations. The message for ICT suppliers is this: in the year ahead, and beyond, you need to make sure you are positioned to help your clients and prospects tame the chaos.

In the race to digitally transform, anarchy has often been encouraged, resulting in unruly digital development far-and-wide across organisations. With this behaviour lasting many years, we have witnessed a proliferation of digital point solutions, benefiting from limited integration. And a frustration that this digital approach has failed to achieve the full potential offered by deep complex digital transformation. 

Now, organisations are faced with the prospect of dealing with the emergent complexity.  It’s ironic that in the early phase of digital development that we refer to as ‘simple digital’, the result has been an often-disorganised ICT estate that requires a degree of order to be restored. The struggle to know where to start in moving beyond the early stages of digital is evidenced by a loss of momentum and a slow-growing UK software and IT services market.

Across the UK’s industry sectors, there are varying degrees of Digital Chaos evident. Indeed, there are huge variations across organisations within those subsectors. But across all sectors, we will witness organisations investing time and money trying to create some stability within the chaos – a necessity before they can contemplate a move to ‘complex digital’.

End user organisations will spend the next year attempting to get a grip on some of the more challenging aspects required for truly revolutionary digital progress, such as deep transformation of business processes, the elimination organisational silos, and cross-boundary data sharing.  With one eye on a digital nirvana that would bring the biggest value to organisations, the aim will be to avoid simply adding another level of complexity.

For suppliers, one of the clearest symptoms of this market shift has been the increasing requirement for expert advice as organisations grapple with their next move. Demand for front-end based consultancy services is fast-growing as organisations accept the scale of their change management challenges; we see this trend continuing into 2020.

The most successful suppliers will see Digital Chaos as an opportunity and will ensure they have the skills and capabilities in place to support clients (and prospects) looking to turn chaos into order.

We foresee the larger SITS companies grasping the nettle and promoting their deep knowledge of legacy or ‘heritage’ systems, years of experience of complex integration, and ability to support complex business transformation. But they will also seek to differentiate from their peers by adding expertise in target verticals (to demonstrate narrow and deep understanding), in operational technology and engineering (to demonstrate an ability to support transformation beyond traditional system silos), and in accelerative IP (to demonstrate speed and agility). Small and medium-sized companies, that may have previously focused on isolated digital development projects, with clear boundaries, will seek to take their offerings to the next level by investing in more advanced development capability; partnerships will also take on a new importance.

Only those that enable their clients to trust them and give their clients confidence in their ability to support major strategic programmes with minimal business disruption will take market share.

Over the next couple of weeks, TechMarketView analysts will be sharing their thoughts on their Predictions for the coming year. Tomorrow we launch our Top Ten Predictions for 2020 in UKHotViews; what will be the most significant trends to impact both the market and suppliers? Next week, our experts in Public Sector and Financial Services will present their Predictions for how Digital Chaos will impact these sectors - we will of course know the result of the General Election by then. TechMarketView subscribers will be able to download the Predictions in full once live (please contact Deb Seth to find out more).

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: predictions   digitalchaos  

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Monday 09 December 2019

Northgate Public Services exceed expectations

NPS logoPublic sector software and services specialist Northgate Public Services (NPS) exceeded expectations in its first full year of ownership by NEC Corporation, with growth across all core markets: government, housing, healthcare and public safety.

Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2019 was up 4.0% to £164.3m (2018: £158.0m). This includes a £2.3m contribution from i2N (aquired August 2018) and £1.6m from APD Communications (acquired January 2019). Once these acquisitions and discontinued business are stripped out, revenue from continuing business was up 2.5% to £158.4m (2018: £154.6m). Recurring and SaaS revenue was up 9.6% year-on-year to £110.9m (2018: £102.1m), representing 70% of continuing operations (2018: 66%). Underlying EBITDA was up 21% to £47.2m (2018: £38.9m).

NPS invested £13.6m in product development during the year (2018: £11.5m), which has helped the company win new deals and had a positive impact on customer retention. During the year it secured a major contract with Revenue Scotland to deliver a tax administration and management solution and added a new NPS Housing customer in South Dublin County Council. In healthcare it signed its first software deal in India winning a contract with the Indian Society for Hip and Knee Surgeons to provide a national joint registry solution; this was followed by a health screening software deal with Max Hospital Group, a private health provider with hospitals across India; and a contract with EUROSPINE to deliver an international spinal registry. Following its landmark contract with the Metropolitan Police Service in its previous financial year, NPS secured a deal with Northumbria Police for CONNECT in March 2019, the sixteenth police force to contract for the platform.

The outlook for the business looks positive too, with £174m new business in the order book. NPS will continue to invest in product development during 2020, including £1m in its Environment and Planning platform, as well as exploring further synergies with NEC, such as its facial recognition solution, NeoFace Watch (see UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts 2019-22 for more detail on facial recognition in the UK). After year-end NPS acquired the eye screening businesses of EMIS Group and service design agency Snook, which should further enhance and extend its market proposition. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: results   publicsector   saas   software  

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Monday 09 December 2019

First cohort shortlisted for Sopra Steria ‘Chemistry’ accelerator programme

logologoWe are delighted to announce the names of the first cohort of UK tech companies shortlisted by Sopra Steria, for their Chemistry accelerator programme in partnership with the TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme.

They are:

  • Censornet
  • oneclick Platform
  • Orpheus Cyber
  • Quorum Cyber Security
  • SECOTI
  • Uleska

The founders will be pitching today to a team from Sopra Steria and TechMarketView to discuss their business plans and aspirations in order to assess their suitability as potential partners for Sopra Steria.

Many congratulations to all of them.

We will be announcing the names of the second cohort on Wednesday.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: tipp  

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Friday 06 December 2019

Dream of a contract for Netcall

logoWhen Netcall reported FY results we talked about the progress it was making behind the scenes, which included integrating the existing Liberty product with its low code capabilities. A contract with Dreams provides a nice proof point. 

The bed retailer has selected Netcall’s Liberty customer experience platform with the aim of delivering a seamless experience to its customers across service channels, enabling changes to be put place quickly and improving agent performance by weaving all channels into a single customer conversation. In switching to the integrated platform Dreams is consolidating and replacing current multiple systems. The Liberty Create low-code solution, will replace Zendesk and the contact centre solutions Converse and Connect will replace AvayaIMImobile and LivePerson.

What is also notable about Dreams is that it is investing to remove silos within its business to create a holistic information management capability. This is a baseline requirement for end user organisations looking to link and scale their digital transformation initiatives. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: contract   software   low-code  

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Friday 06 December 2019

CGI opens second UK cybersecurity centre

CGI opens second UK cybersecurity centreCanadian IT services provider CGI looks set to considerably strengthen its managed security service (MSS) capabilities with the opening of its second UK cyber security centre in Bridgend.

Operating in tandem wtih CGI's existing facility in Reading, the new centre will eventually employ around 100 cyber security analysts delivering round the clock threat monitoring, intelligence and incident response and forensics to CGI’s UK customers.

MSS is one of the fastest growing sectors of the cyber security market, set to see double digit growth over the next four years according to TechMarketView estimates (see our report Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2022 here). There is a real possibility that the ongoing shortage of skilled cyber security professionals could stymie individual MSSP's growth however, and CGI may have to work harder to populate its Bridgend cyber centre than it did to open it.

The company already claims one of the UK’s largest cyber security teams, employing 250 people across the UK and additionally providing IT security product evaluation and testing, secure solution development and consulting services alongside MSS.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: MSSP   SOC   cybersecurity  

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Friday 06 December 2019

Adtech Ogury Raises $50m

OguryThe advent of regulations like GDPR have negatively impacted the digital marketing space with a number of companies struggling to comply. As a consequence funding into the adtech space has been affected.

London-based Ogury is a clear exception raising $50m in funding from various banks and Idinvest Partners. Ogury's USP is that its marketing engine is driven by choice, allowing users to make transparent, informed, and fair decisions around how, when, and why their data is collected. Compliance of data protection and privacy laws, such as GDPR and the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) suddenly become a differentiator from others in the market.

This has seen Ogury reach $100m in annual revenue since it was launched in Islington back in 2014 – all very impressive stuff. CCPA and other US state equivalents will offer the firm huge potential across the pond and the $50m raised will no doubt support growth there. 

Whilst regulations of the likes of GDPR get many of us moaning, it does demonstrate that the UK/EU are often ahead of the curve when it comes to dealing with some of the issues of “digital chaos”, a by-product of which is first mover advantage for some of UK tech, should they wish to use it.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: funding   marketing   adtech  

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Friday 06 December 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* Bigger VC funding deals for UK and Irish Tech

chartA number of very large deals, combined with a slightly lower volume of transactions, have lifted the average size of UK and Irish tech VC funding deals to just over £10m for the first time, according to the latest data from corporate finance firm, Ascendant. A total of £2.54b was invested in 254 companies in the sector by 331 investors during Q3 2019 with 72% of the deals involving more than one investor.

The latest edition of IndustryViews Venture Capital has more detail, along with nearly 40 pages of UK tech venture funding deals.

TechMarketView Foundation Service and UKHotViews Premium subscription clients can click on this link to download the report.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: funding   startup  

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Friday 06 December 2019

Bayer megadeal brings Christmas early to Capgemini

LogoCapgemini has landed a global transformational outsourcing deal with Leverkusen-HQ’d multinational pharmaceuticals and life sciences giant Bayer AG. The six-year contract, which is due to commence at the start of the New Year, is worth in excess of €1b. The agreement will involve the transfer of several hundred Bayer staff to Capgemini.

Won through a competitive tendering process, the objective of the deal is to accelerate the digitalization of the Bayer organization. As part of the new agreement, Capgemini will deliver a wide range of services, including IT infrastructure Cloud transformation; run Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Business Intelligence/Analytics domains management and transformation, as well as the Service Integration of Bayer’s entire new supplier eco-system.  

Bayer has been a key account for Capgemini since they signed a major application and infrastructure outsourcing agreement in 2012. That seven years on the curse of the incumbent has been avoided points to a sustained investment into the deepening of their relationship. Billion-dollar deals are rare beast these days as are six-year contracts. This big win adds a significant cause for celebration at Capgemini during the holiday season.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: outsourcing   digital   transformation   megadeal  

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Friday 06 December 2019

Capita Scaling Partner helps Dragonfly soar!

picI was very proud to represent TechMarketView at the official coming-out party for London-headquartered visual analytics startup, Dragonfly AI (Pic: Yours Truly with cofounders Mark Bainbridge on my left and David Mitchell).

Dragonfly was a participant in the second TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme we ran for Capita Scaling Partner, the corporate venture unit of UK business services leader, Capita plc, back in December 2018 (see Outstanding contenders in TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme). After several months of exploratory discussions, we were delighted to announce a formal partnership between Capita Scaling Partner and Dragonfly (see Capita to scale up Dragonfly), and the startup hasn’t looked back!

At last evening’s event, some of Dragonfly’s clients (The Marketing Store; Hachette; NBC Universal) talked about how they are using Dragonfly’s innovative technology. Dragonfly is also building an international client base in South Africa, Dubai and Singapore.

With the backing of Capita Scaling Partner, I would say the sky’s the limit for Dragonfly. Innovative, differentiated British technology deservedly going global.

For more on Dragonfly/Capita Scaling Partner see Scaling innovation through partnering – Q&A with Dragonfly and Capita.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

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Friday 06 December 2019

Banks must act to protect public from IT failures

fcaThe Bank of England’s, Prudential Regulation Authority, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have issued new guidance for Britain’s financial services providers, aimed at protecting customers from the effects of major service outages. In their latest missive, the regulators have made it clear that technology investments must be prioritised based on the potential impacts on the public. 

BoEThe new guidance calls on financial services institutions to identify vital business services that could cause harm if disrupted and to assess the maximum level of disruption that could be tolerated. Furthermore, firms are instructed to explore scenarios that could lead to service disruption and ensure that plans and resources are in place to effectively mitigate against these.

The latest communication from the regulators follows the findings of an independent report into the 2018 service outage at TSB (see: Report lays bare TSB migration failings) and a Treasury Committee report in October that concluded “prolonged IT failures should not be tolerated” (see: MPs criticise banks for IT failings). Whilst the lengthy loss of banking services experienced by TSB customers was the most high-profile case, there have been many other service outages impacting customers of late. In 2018, the number of IT incidents reported to the FCA increased by 187%, with 65% of these occurring in the retail banking sector. 

The prolonged difficulties experienced by TSB customers in 2018 were ultimately caused by some fairly basic failings and poor decision making around back up and disaster recovery. As history has taught us, regulatory oversight appears to be one of the only effective ways to change behaviours within financial services. Whilst I have genuine sympathy for the banks, in light of the scale and complexity of the IT challenges that many of them are currently wrestling with, as the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: banking   regulation  

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Friday 06 December 2019

No stifled conversation at Stifel gathering!

picA big thank you to our good friend, Stifel’s irrepressible George O’Connor, for inviting me to lunch (and I use the term very loosely), with some truly excellent wine and very stimulating conversation with notables from the UK tech scene (L to R: Yours truly; Hellen Bowey (CEO, Alcove); Caroline de La Soujeole (Analyst, Stifel); The Man Himself; Matthew Trimming (Advisor at Large); Stephen Kelly (needs little introduction – with  exceptionally fine taste in shirts); Neal Gandhi (CEO, Panoply); Serge Taborin (CDO, Capita); Ed Lascelles (Partner, AlbionVC and Wandering Minstrel).

All under Chatham House rules, I’m afraid, but some of this is sure to creep into George’s excellent research!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

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Thursday 05 December 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2022

Out now is our Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2022 report, containing revenue estimates and trend analysis for companies delivering security hardware, software and services to the UK enterprise market over the next four years.

Fundamental changes in the way that organisations prefer to source and pay for ongoing cyber security protection have forced suppliers to adopt a more flexible approach, and subsequent innovation in product and service portfolios is rebalancing the market in favour of cloud hosted and managed service solutions.*NEW RESEARCH* Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2022

Spending on cyber security software and services accounted for just over 3% of the total UK enterprise software and IT services (SITS) market in 2018. Yet with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% forecast between now and 2022 it is one of the fastest growing segments of the entire industry.

Intense competition for customers between technology infrastructure and IT services giants, dedicated cyber security specialists, consultancies, start-ups and systems integrators is helping fuel that momentum, but most suppliers know they cannot protect mission critical data and systems alone. Establishing trusted relationships with end user organisations, each other, cloud service providers, law enforcement agencies and government departments to share and implement threat intelligence and bolster the thin ranks of security professionals is essential if they are to minimise UK organisations’ exposure to damaging cyber attacks and data loss.

This anchor report – one of three key components within our SecureConnectViews research stream – includes revenue forecast and segmentation data for the UK enterprise cyber security market to 2022 combined with detailed analysis of the trends that impacted suppliers and end users over the last 12 months and their implications for the future.

SecureConnectViews clients can read the research here: Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2022. If you are not yet a SecureConnectViews subscriber but would like to learn more about getting access, please contact Deb Seth to find out more.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: markettrends   forecasts   revenue   cybersecurity  

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Thursday 05 December 2019

Starling founder to lead Gemini's European push for Winklevoss twins

GeminiJulian Sawyer, the co-founder of leading financial services challenger, Starling Bank, has joined cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini, as it prepares for expansion within Europe. Sawyer was instrumental in establishing and growing Starling Bank and as COO was actively involved in its day to day operations, prior to his departure in July (see: Growing pains at Starling as Sawyer departs).

Gemini is a secure, rules-based marketplace for digital currencies that enables customers to exchange digital assets in a regulated environment. The company was established in 2014, by the Winklevoss twins, of Facebook fame. The brothers are both significant crypto investors and claim to hold bitcoin assets worth in excess of $1bn.

Gemini currently operates predominantly in North America and Asia, and competes with the likes of Coinbase and Kraken. The company is now plotting a European push and Sawyer has been appointed as MD for UK and Europe. Sawyer will be based in London and will be responsible for shaping the company’s regional strategy, developing products and building a team.

This is an interesting move and looks like an exciting new challenge for Sawyer. His expertise, knowledge and record of success in creating a successful FinTech operation, are likely to be extremely valuable to Gemini, as it looks to grow its business in the region. This is still a fledgling space and exchanges such as Gemini are helping to bring greater confidence and security to the trading of crypto assets. The segment has significant potential for growth and I suspect that Europe is likely to prove fruitful for the company with Sawyer at the helm.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: cryptocurrency  

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Thursday 05 December 2019

OCTO snaps up vehicle data specialist Nebula Systems

Nebula Systems logoBuckingham-based vehicle data business Nebula Systems has been acquired by OCTO Telematics for an undisclosed fee.

Based in Rome, Italy, OCTO provides telematics and data analytics solutions for the automotive insurance industry. It claims to have 6m connected users and to hold the largest global database of telematics data, with more than 248bn miles of driving data collected and over 464,000 crashes and insurance events analysed.

OCTO logoIn 2016, RAC Group acquired 51% of the issued share capital of Nebula for £4m, included a put and call option to acquire the remaining 49%. However, in line with the RAC's strategic focus, the Group sold its stake back to Nebula at the start of 2018 for a cash consideration of £300k.

OCTO started working with Nebula on specialist projects in early 2018. This work highlighted the synergies between the businesses and lead to a strategic partnership and OCTO announcing a minority investment in Nebula in August 2018.

Following the acquisition, Nebula’s cloud-based vehicle diagnostics and data platform will be integrated into OCTO’s Intelligent Mobility solution. This should enable vehicle health, status and operations to be monitored, analysed, diagnosed and maintained, more effectively and reduce mobility management costs for fleet managers. 

This is another example of a promising UK tech business being acquired by an overseas company (see Topping the global rankings for 'inward investment' is not such a 'good thing'), but it does look to be a great opportunity for the business. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: cloud   telematics   data   automotive   insurTech   vehicles  

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Thursday 05 December 2019

Black Dragon Capital snaps up Maginus

MaginusFavourable exchange rates continue to attract US investment into the UK tech sector. Miami-based private equity firm Black Dragon Capital (BDC) has acquired Manchester-based e-commerce provider Maginus. Financials were not disclosed.

Black Dragon CapitalMaginus principally serves the retail and distribution sectors with UX, design, build and implementation services and has a list of well-known clients including SmegFarrow & Ball and The Wine Society. BDC plans to combine Maginus with another portfolio company, Digital Goodie a Finnish digital commerce provider, with a view to developing market share in the Order Management System (OMS) sector principally serving retailers.

Earlier this week figures out from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that the value of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UK outstripped British investment abroad for only the second time on record last year, as Americans piled into the country and Europeans withdrew. Very little FDI goes into creating new businesses (greenfield investment). Instead, it is spent acquiring existing assets such as companies and property, all made more attractive by a weak Pound. Given where the Pound remains relative to the Dollar, expect to see more of this.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: acquisition   retail   ecommerce  

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Thursday 05 December 2019

Business model-free Otta recruits backers to improve candidate experience

logoI greatly admire the chutzpah of young entrepreneurs setting out to try to ‘disrupt’ the recruitment market. But I really do wonder why they bother. Especially if there’s no business model to speak of.

But it’s all good entrepreneurial experience if you can find backers to feed and water you on the journey. Such is the case for London-based Otta, which has just raised £850k in its first funding round, backed by LocalGlobe and various angels.

Founded in June this year by three ex-employees of online estate agent Nested, and launched in August, Otta’s USP is that it only allows a ‘curated’ set of employing organisations on the platform, whom candidates apply to directly. Otta doesn’t charge companies to post jobs, neither does it charge candidates to apply. In an interview with TechCrunch, the founders said they are not currently monetising the platform, adding “We have committed to only making money in a way that improves the experience for candidates”.

Awesome.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Thursday 05 December 2019

‘Ethical’ survey platform Prolific gets funding boost

logoBack in April 2017, I started my commentary about survey startups with the words, “If you believe that what the world needs now is more surveys, then I have jolly good news for you. There’s another technology platform vying to help corporates do their market research.” (see Investors ‘Attest’ the need for a better survey engine). Well, here’s another one.

Prolific was founded in 2014 by two Ph.D. students initially for university research surveys. According to an interview with the founders in TechCrunch, the most widely used tool for academic research is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, but this is apparently heavily US and India-centric, so they set about building their own platform. Prolific has since grown beyond academe, with over 3,000 customers and a network of more than 70,000 research participants.

Prolific has just raised a further $1.2m in a seed funding round co-led by Silicon Valley-based Pioneer Fund, and Altair Capital, with support from various angel investors.

Prolific’s USP is claimed to be its “ethical and trustworthy” research, in so far as research participants are paid a minimum of $6.50 per hour. Research sponsors only pay per data point collected, but the fee is not disclosed on its website. Prolific also claims to verify and monitor participants: “You only pay for data you approve”.

Like all well-served markets, especially ones with dominant players such as SurveyMonkey as well as Mechanical Turk, there’s usually space for focused, differentiated entrants. Indeed, besides consumer research focused Attest mentioned above,  we have also commented on Mercia-backed video survey startup Voxpopme (see Mercia and mates pop more dosh into Voxpopme).

But as ever, it all comes down to whether they can make any money from the business. In that regard, I am not sure how the numbers in Prolific’s business model stack up.

By the way, for an “ethical” research outfit, it would be nice if they gave you the option to chose which cookies to enable on their website rather than just show a boilerplate GDPR disclaimer.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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