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Friday 05 June 2020

ZOOM confusion...

ZoomInfoYesterday, ZoomInfo IPOed (Ticker #ZI) and the shares soared over 90% in the first day. ZoomInfo is a business database provider which helps Sales & Marketing folk identify new customers. Its 200,000 users generated Q1 revenues of $102m and a loss of $5.9m. This, of course, justifies its $13b valuation.

ZoomThe problem is that many investors might well have confused ZoomInfo with Zoom Video Communications. That’s the Zoom 300m people now use to chat to multiple friends. They have the Ticker #ZM and are valued at c$60b. See Zoom users, revenues profits and value..zooms even higher

Zoom TechZoom TelephonicsA few months ago there was much confusion as investors who wanted to invest in #ZM actually bought shares in Zoom Telephonics (Ticker #ZMTP) - sending their shares ever upwards on a totally false premise. Before that the SEC had suspended trading in Zoom Technologies because of the confusion. Not surprising as they had the Ticker #ZOOM. They now use the Ticker #ZTNO. BTW - There is now no company trading under the Ticker #ZOOM.

So, maybe the way to riches is to change our name to ZOOMMarketView and IPO?

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Friday 05 June 2020

Slack and AWS binding challenges Teams

Slack logoAWS logoAmazon Web Services and Slack have expanded their existing relationship in a move that addresses the ever growing strategic importance of collaborative applications and will also see them take on the growing might of Microsoft Teams. 

The multi-year, multi-part agreement is wide ranging and includes storage, compute, database, security, analytics, machine learning, and future collaboration features. It will see AWS use Slack, which could make it AWS one of Slacks’ largest customers. With a 350,000 rollout, IBM is believed to be Slack’s largest customer to date. For its part, Slack will migrate its voice and video calling features to Amazon’s Chime platform, adopt a range of other AWS services and integrate with services such as AWS Key Management Service, AWS Chatbot and Amazon AppFlow.

This is a tight binding between the two, which effectively rules out Slack working with Google Cloud – and Microsoft. As well as directly going up against Microsoft Teams, improving Slack’s enterprise credentials and reach, and adding an valuable name to the AWS partner list, it is also a move to attract the influential developer community that Microsoft is concertedly wooing. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: cloud   collaboration   partnership  

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Friday 05 June 2020

DWP celebrates application modernisation milestone

DWP logoAdvanced logoAs avid UKHotViews readers will know, we like to celebrate tech successes here at TechMarketView so we were pleased to hear the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently reached a major milestone in the migration of its core legacy applications.  Working with Advanced, it has re-platformed the Job Seeker’s Allowance Payment System just in time to support the increase in Job Seeker’s Allowance claims as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The scale of the legacy challenge facing the DWP is significant and the Job Seeker’s Allowance Payment System (JSAPS) is the largest and most complex service of the DWP’s application legacy modernisation programme. The original JSAPS service was introduced in the late 1990s using IT code that had been designed in the 1960s. In 2008, the Employment Seekers Allowance was also introduced and added to the system; and there have been many more policy changes and business enhancements over the last two decades. The final data migration into the new live system included converting, loading and verification of 54 databases containing 6.3 billion records from the original database/s to a modern relational database management system in just under 24 hours. 

It is little wonder that the Department has seen huge improvements from the re-platformed application. Batch processing time has been reduced by 50% - the first full ‘working’ day activities were completed in two hours and 11 minutes as opposed to five hours. As a result, the DWP could issue over 200,000 individual payments with a value of over £53m. According to Mark Bell, VME-R Deputy Director at theDWP, as well as being faster and more responsive, the re-platformed system also provides improved resilience and scalability.

Now that the JSAPS re-platforming is complete, the DWP will focus on completing the re-platforming of the last three remaining legacy applications – the State Pension Services, Disability Living Allowance and Income Support, which combined will benefit over 18 million citizens.  

For many organisations, the current crisis has thrown a spotlight on the challenge of having core services supported by mission critical legacy mainframe applications written in older programming languages. TechMarketView’s Digital Chaos research theme could not be more appropriate as they struggle to adapt and flex with myriad legacy applications. We anticipate the pandemic being a catalyst for accelerated digital transformation, particularly in the public sector, benefiting suppliers such as Advanced which have a track record in application modernisation.

For more insight, PublicSectorViews subscribers can read our recent report: COVID-19: The impact on UK public sector software and IT services.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: publicsector   centralgovernment   applications  

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Friday 05 June 2020

Flurry of data migration activity at WANdisco

TWANdisco logohere has been a flurry of activity at data infrastructure provider WANdisco over the last week: the announcement of the much vaunted LiveData Platform for Microsoft Azure, a contract with a large US airline and its first agreement with a GSI. 

The size of the contract was not released but relates to migrating analytical data to Microsoft Azure. Coming at a time when airlines are facing exceptionally difficult circumstances due to COVID-19, investment in the LiveData Migrator cloud service underlines the business value of at scale cloud-resident analytical data. The LiveData Platform for Azure plays to a similar theme. There is no revenue as yet - and the service is only available as a limited preview – but the move is significant because it is the first time an ISV has been integrated as a service within Azure and positions WANdisco for business expansion. 

Similarly, the GSI agreement should also expand WANdisco’s prospects and marks its first agreement with a GSI. The name hasn’t been disclosed but the GSI has 240,000 employees and is described as “a leader in digital services and consulting”. Notably, it will use the WANdisco portfolio to build its own data migration practice for moving data to the public cloud at scale. All public cloud providers are targeted and WANdisco already has partnerships with Microsoft, AWSGoogle Cloud and Oracle and relationships with IBM and Alibaba. The GSI agreement is expected to have a material impact of revenue over the year.

When WANdisco reported H119 results (to June 2019) it was banking on significant business during H219 to bridge the gap between H1 revenue of $6m and FY19 guidance of $24m. Strategic partners were also a major part of the plan. FY results are due later this month. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: contract   partnerships   software  

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Friday 05 June 2020

Capita signs payments deal with Westward Housing

CapitaCapita’s secure phone and e-commerce payment system Pay360 has become one of its flagship digital products handling something like £11bn in transactions every year. In light of COVID-19 Capita recently waived the normal licence and implementation charges to help firms further adapt to remote working and allow employees to take payments from home. 

Pay360One of Pay360’s core markets is housing associations where it is used to collect rent and maintenance charges by local authorities already using the system for council tax transactions. Here Capita continues to add market share signing up the Westward Housing Group in a five year £500k deal to deliver multi-channel payments to tenants.

Westward is a large housing association based in the South West that offers a range of different payment channels to tenants include a 24/7 automated payment line, scheduled payments, online payments links, as well as other online payment options with ‘shopping baskets’ and ‘digital wallets’, such as Visa Checkout.

Capita has historically had a strong presence in the housing market through its housing management system (OPEN Housing) which already covers things like rent accounting, repairs and asset management. The integration of Pay360 into OPEN Housing looks like a sensible proposition and should only strengthen Capita’s foothold in the housing sector.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: payments   housing  

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Friday 05 June 2020

*UKHotViewsExtra* Accelerating NHS digital transformation during the pandemic

LNWH logoLondon North West University Hospital Trust (LNWH) was amongst the first in the UK to treat COVID-19 patients and one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. It tripled the number of critical care beds across its Northwick Park, Ealing and Central Middlesex hospitals, and at its peak was caring for hundreds of COVID-19 positive patients. TechMarketView spoke to Glenys Lawson, Digital Matron at LNWH, about the role technology has played in helping the Trust respond to the crisis.

Glenys said that one of the issues that became apparent very quickly during the pandemic was how challenging it became for patients, their families and clinicians to communicate effectively. On 14 April 2020, Sonia Patel (until the end of May 2020 joint CIO at LNWH and now CIO at NHSX) put out a call on Twitter challenging SMEs to create an alpha version of a tool within 24-48 hours that could help alleviate the situation. Public sector digital specialists Made Tech responded to the challenge and a 48-hour team hackathon later, and with some service design help from Difrent, had built a digital service that enabled hospital staff to book virtual visits for the families of patients via video call. Read more...

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   digital   transformation   healthcare   EndUserInsights  

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Friday 05 June 2020

Cash is no longer king as payments technology thrives in lockdown

UKFinanceThe latest statistics from industry association, UK Finance, reveal that cash usage in Britain has fallen to an all-time low. Developments in payments technology and the growing popularity of alternative methods have meant that less than a quarter of all transactions last year involved physical cash.

Cash payments were down by 15% during 2019 to 9.3bn transactions. This total represented just 23% of all payments made in the UK. The main cause of the decline has been the increasing use of contactless payment methods.

In recent weeks, the impact of COVID-19 has seen the use of physical cash plummet further, with many retailers only accepting card or contactless payment methods, in order to control the spread of the virus. In April it was revealed that cash withdrawals via ATMs were down 60%. In May, a group of MPs wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, asking for urgent support for the UK's cash payments infrastructure in the wake of the coronavirus (see: Has COVID-19 dealt a fatal blow to physical cash?)

Payments innovation has significantly reduced our reliance on physical money and the latest figures are further evidence of that inexorable trend. This pattern is good news for payments technology firms, with the sector reporting that the coronavirus is also having a positive impact on business volumes and future prospects. Whilst cards are currently the most popular payment method, in turn these physical artefacts will no doubt go the same way as notes and coins, as payments become fully integrated with other technologies and devices.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: payments  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

Northstar constructs more funding for Proptech Clixifix

logoProblem resolution and management is as much a challenge for the property construction industry as any other, arguably more so because of the many different parties involved. This prompted Barry Smith and James Farrell, who worked together in Smith’s property construction business, to develop a software solution to address the problem. The rest, as they say, is history, with Smith and Farrell spinning out Clixifx.

Headquartered in Houghton le Spring, near Durham, Clixfix raised seed funding in 2016 of which £260k came from the Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund, managed by Northstar Ventures. This also saw industry veteran and all-round good egg, Kelvin Harrison, join the Clixifix board as chairman. Clixfix has now raised a further £300k from the North East Innovation Fund, also managed by Northstar Ventures.

Clixifix seems to cover the full gamut of problem management, issuing and tracking defect tickets through to resolution with the various involved parties. The platform is in use with over 60,000 users in housebuilders, landlords and property managers across residential, commercial and social applications throughout the UK and abroad. Good on them!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   PropTech  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

Google Cloud signs MoU with UK Government

Google cloud logoThe UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Google Cloud.

Microsoft signed a similar agreement in April for Microsoft Azure but to limited fanfare, in stark contrast to the excitement around this Google Cloud announcement. That’s because Google has only had limited penetration in the UK public sector market to date. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and to a lesser extent, UKCloud, have dominated the market for public cloud services in the sector.

Google has been working for a while to make a mark for itself, having focused investment in cloud services and solutions primed and tailored for the public sector. We have also watched as it has attracted talent with experience in the vertical. For example, Mark Palmer joined at the end of 2018 as Head of Public Sector EMEA, Google Cloud; he was previously at Intersystems, and prior to that spent 19 years in leadership positions for IBM Public Sector across the UK and EMEA. Then at the beginning of this year, Tom Morrison-Bell jumped from Microsoft where he was their Government Affairs Manager, taking the same position up with Google. Last year, Google engaged with UK Government to help define the One Government Cloud Strategy, which aims to open the public sector cloud services market to more suppliers.

The understanding between CCS and Google is predominantly about making it easier and more affordable for all public sector organisations  - in central government and the wider public sector - to buy the full range of Google Cloud services; it offers a discount for qualifying public sector bodies based on aggregate cloud service demand and expected spend. Some public sector organisations will also see it as a seal of approval to embrace Google Cloud. What’s interesting is the focus on Google Cloud services that extend beyond commoditised compute and storage capabilities. Innovation is clearly on the agenda; for Google a benefit will be that the MoU gives increased visibility to the innovation it offers for digital transformation – from infrastructure, to analytics, to AI, to app modernisation and development, and to collaboration solutions. Anthos, Google Cloud’s hybrid and multi-cloud solution is also put in the spotlight, acknowledging the need for the public sector to deal the complexities of a hybrid IT and cloud environment.

As well as attracting the interest of potential public sector customers, Google partners will also be excited by the news. We have watched as the depth of Google partnerships has improved of late, with more investing in accreditation. Notably, Atos, which has a large UK public sector footprint, pinned its colours to Google Cloud’s mast some time ago and has just been named Google Cloud Services Partner of the Year for EMEA. However, the CCS MoU also makes clear that it wants Google to also provide support to UK SME partners working with public sector agencies.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   cloud  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

Tictrac raises £6m to expand health engagement tools

Tictrac logoLondon-based health engagement business, Tictrac, has raised £6m in a venture round led by Puma Private Equity. The latest investment follows a £4m Series A round led by Exponential Partners in 2016 and earlier seed rounds. Total funding to date now stands at £13.5m.

Founded in 2010, the company provides digital tools to help users build healthy behaviours through personalised content, lifestyle campaigns and challenges. Its Enterprise Platform is targeted at insurance companies and healthcare providers to help them better engage and understand their customers. The company also provides a SaaS-based employee wellbeing platform to help companies tackle stress and other health problems in the workplace. The latest investment will enable Tictrac to expand and scale its products and services.

There are many health and wellbeing and employee engagement products on the market and its easy to see the attraction. Keeping employees well should result in a more productive business and incentivising healthy behaviour helps to reduce insurance payouts. However, there are clearly significant privacy and ethical concerns that need to be considered with this technology to ensure it doesn’t limit the potential of employees on medical grounds or lead to a two-tier insurance system. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: funding   startup   insurance   data   healthcare  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

Advanced brings Chuka Umunna on board to support growth

Advanced logoUK software and services firm Advanced has stepped up strategic momentum with the appointment of Chuka Umunna, former Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, as a non-executive director to its board. Chuka will be working with the team to develop Advanced’s plans as it looks ahead to further acquisitions and organic growth across the business. 

Advanced has accelerated growth plans post COVID-19 with the aim of becoming a £600m revenue business within the next five years. The ambitious PE-backed business acquired Tikit from BT Group in April (see Just the Tikit for Advanced) and has more acquisitions in the pipeline, for which Chuka will act as a key advisor.

A solicitor by profession, Chuka served as MP for Streatham between 2010 and 2019, including as Shadow Business Secretary for several years and in other senior posts, leading on economic, business, trade and foreign policy issues on the Opposition benches. He has experience of more political parties that most, having quit the Labour party to form the Independent Group in February 2019, before standing unsuccessfully for the Liberal Democrats in the December 2019 election.

Prior to going into politics, Chuka was a corporate employment lawyer for an international City law firm, working with businesses, large and small, international and domestic. He is also a NED at Digital Identity Net UK, a UK-based company that provides consumers with a single gateway to the validated identity data held about them by their banks and other trusted custodians of transactional and behavioural data.

According to CEO Gordon Wilson, Advanced has successfully navigated its way through the COVID-19 outbreak, and now wants to ensure its recovery is focused on strategic growth. This is therefore the time to bring an external advisor to the board and Chuka’s experience and attributes are a good fit with the business and its strategic initiatives.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: publicsector   software   appointment   NED  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

Progress hits the buffers as Monzo cuts staff

MonzoAccording to the Reuter’s news agency, digital “challenger” bank, Monzo, is to make more than 100 of its staff redundant as it seeks to control costs. The report follows the leaking of an internal memo outlining the cuts and comes as the bank continues its efforts to raise additional funding from investors (see: Monzo finalises plans for £80m cash call).

In May, Monzo’s founder, Tom Blomfield, stepped down from his role as CEO, to be replaced by experienced industry executive and head of the bank’s US operations, TS Anil (see: Monzo’s founder makes way…). Since its launch in 2015, Blomfield helped develop Monzo into one of the UK’s leading digital bank brands, with around 4m customers and 1,500 staff.

The job losses will mainly impact staff working at Monzo’s head office in London and represent around 8% of the bank’s total workforce. Despite the backdrop of the coronavirus, the fact that the cuts are in addition to furloughed employees would appear to indicate the move is not solely related to the impact of COVID-19.

Whilst the pandemic may not have helped Monzo's situation, progress appears to have hit the buffers of late, with the bank having so far raised close to £325m in funding. There have been indications for some time that the loss-making bank has been struggling to juggle the dual ambitions of customer acquisition and profitability, whilst simultaneously maintaining control of its cost base.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: banking   challengerbank  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

TCS gets bold on its vision for the “future of work”

TCSI spent yesterday and Tuesday afternoons attending TCS’s first virtual analyst conference. Historically, these events have been face-to-face in some posh hotel but in many ways work even better in an online environment (although my coffee and biscuits were not as good) – not to mention all the time and money saved in travel and accommodation etc.

TCS’s event covered a wide range of themes but majored on the firm’s vision for the” future of work” and what it terms its Secure Borderless Workspaces (SBWS). Indeed, of all the IT Service providers I think that TCS has probably been the boldest to date in stating that its approach to the “New Normal” will see employees spending only 25% of their time in an office by 2025.

TCS was an early pioneer of Global service delivery although for the last few years had already been moving towards location independent agile delivery before recent events accelerated things somewhat. SBWS is much more than simply shifting staff physically to work from home but ensuring that the entire infrastructure from security to connectivity to quality procedures to staff touch points, all remain consistent. 

I wanted to highlight just one aspect of SBWS and remote working more generally, and that is the management and measurement of staff productivity. Historically, organisations have focused on measuring and rewarding input – time spent in the office, hours worked, calls handled, tasks undertaken etc. etc…. This will become much more difficult in a remote environment and will encourage employers to shift their productivity focus onto measuring output and ultimately outcomes. Done well this should benefit service providers, their employees and most importantly their customers.

Whilst TCS does not yet claim to have all the answers in this regard, they do at least recognise the ultimate value in making the change and have made real progress in a short space of time to shifting a tactical necessity of having to work from home into something much more strategic and a real potential differentiator within the market.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: tcs   hr   outcomes  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

Six million for ambitious Amdaris

LogoFast-growing digital software developer Amdaris has received backing to the tune £6m from investment house BGF. The funds will be used to support the Bristol-based company’s organic and acquisitive expansion plans.

Founded in 2016, Amdaris has been quick to build momentum. Averaging 40% pa growth over the past three years, the company both generated revenues of £7.2m over the last twelve months and now employs more than 200 personnel world-wide. The firm’s key sectors of operation are real estate, recruitment, education, financial services and energy. The company’s counts the likes of health insurer WPA and learning company Pearson among its clients.

Investment company BGF focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises in the United Kingdom and Ireland to which it provides long term capital and support. No stranger to the pages of Hot Views, the firm’s many tech sector investments include GoustoAND Digital, Olive Communications and Invenio Business Solutions As part of the arrangement with Amdaris, Paul Brennan has been appointed as Non-Executive Chairman. An ex-IBMer, he brings both more than 20 years’ experience working with PE-backed businesses and significant M&A expertise to the senior management team.

Amdaris operates a near-shore delivery model which leverages centres in Romania, Moldova and Dubai. This approach is very similar to the one which has served digital SI Endava extremely well these past two decades.  I’m sure that all involved with Amdaris will be delighted if it goes on to emulate the UK IT success story and NYSE unicorn in many other ways too.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: funding   systemsintegration   digital  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

RM secures new multi-academy trust partnership

RM Education logoRM Education has secured a strategic partnership deal with The Brooke Weston Trust. The contract, which initially runs until August 2023, will see the education technology division of RM plc provide managed IT services across the whole of the multi-academy trust. The value of the contract has not been disclosed.

Brooke Weston Trust is responsible for five primary and five secondary schools across Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire and collectively educates more than 7,000 pupils. It was seeking a partner that could help them design and deliver an effective and value for money IT programme.

The procurement process began prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has clearly highlighted the importance of digital technologies in education settings (see COVID-19 accelerating online learning). The trust commented that the selection process was difficult; however, it recognised that robust, reliable and future-proofed technology was critical to its mission to transform educational performance and improve student achievement, and it was impressed by the approach RM set out.

Abingdon-based RM will bring a wealth of experience to Brooke Weston Trust. It has been providing managed IT services to schools for many years and secured a partnership with Academies Enterprise Trust (AET)—the largest multi-academy trust in England—in January last year. Managed services represent the largest part of the RM Education business—in the fiscal year ended 30 November 2019 it achieved managed services revenues of £44.7m, which represented 62% of the division’s turnover (see Technology divisions lead the way at RM).

Managed services is also a very sticky part of RM’s business, enjoying retention rates of c.90%. For example, RM was selected to provide managed IT services to schools in Salford as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme in 2009; this contract was extended in 2014; renewed in 2016; and earlier this year it secured a further two-year extension (worth £3.2m) taking it to 2022.

Outside of the rush to provide online learning resources, COVID-19 has created significant challenges for edtech suppliers (see COVID-19: The impact on UK public sector SITS). RM expects the pandemic to have a material impact on financial performance, but it has a robust financial position and will be pleased to have secured another strategic partnership.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: contract   education   partnerships   managedservices   schools   edtech  

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Thursday 04 June 2020

On-demand digital skills player Distributed raises £2.5m

DistributedAt then end of April we covered a new partnership between Capita’s scale-up development unit Capita Scaling Partner and “future of work” player Distributed (see here).

Distributed is a London-headquartered start-up that offers a distributed workforce of qualified and vetted freelance coders and developers for organisations to deploy on their digital projects and has now gone onto raise £2.5m in growth funding.

The lockdown and the inability of companies to co-locate development teams clearly plays to Distributed’s strength of deploying remote teams. However, Distributed’s model predates COVID and addresses a pressing need within the digital skills market. Pretty much every business now is to a greater or lesser extent a “tech business”, all competing for the same relatively small pool of digital talent. This lack of skills has driven up salaries and time to hire and on the whole, driven down quality as talent gets increasingly spread thin and wide. As a consequence, many clients are unable to deliver digital projects to quality and cost.

Co-founder and CEO Callum Adamson experienced this first-hand working at a number of start-ups early on in his career. Having seen the success with which infrastructure was taken into the cloud he was interested to see if the same could be done with development teams and associated talent. He noticed a growing cohort of developers and coders who craved a more flexible way of working and the ability to control their own careers; these individuals wanted to ensure that they could choose who they worked with, when they worked and where they were based.

Timing is of course everything and whilst on-demand skills looked like a good place to be anyway, the current circumstances clearly offer the business a great opportunity to scale and a £2.5m “shot in the arm” should certainly help.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: funding   skills  

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Wednesday 03 June 2020

IFS provides manufacturing sectors with MindFuel

IFS logoAs organisations consider how to move forward in the COVID-19 world, it is clear landscapes will differ significantly across industry sectors but the need to learn and engage with peers will be a common thread.

Against this background IFS has launched MindFuel, a free digital meeting place to share opinions and advice, and access industry-specific online sessions. mindfuel.ifs.com caters specifically for the Construction; Defence; Energy, Utilities & Telecoms; Field Service; and Manufacturing industries.

Competition doesn't disappear but when it comes to exploring how to do things differently - which COVID-19 is a catalyst for - there is value in cross-organisation collaboration and exploration. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: software   digital  

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Wednesday 03 June 2020

Instem healthy despite write-down

LogoCambridge-based Life Sciences solutions provider Instem plc built on the momentum created H119 (see here) to deliver an encouraging set of full year results. Revenue for the twelve months ending 31st December was up 13% yoy to £25.7m and adjusted EBITDA rose by nearly 20% over the prior period to £4.9m. A £3.2m impairment provision related to Instem’s struggling early phase clinical data collection business, however, drove the AIM-listed company into the red by generating a loss of £0.9m for FY19 (£1.7m profit FY18).

The bigger picture for Instem nevertheless remains positive. Levels of recurring revenue increased by a further 9% last year to £14.9m. This was underpinned by both a material growth in SaaS sales, which rose by over 16% to £6.4m, and continued expansion of the company’s SEND family of non-clinical data review centric technology enabled outsourced services. Furthermore, the good organic top line improvement in FY19 was augmented by the earnings enhancing acquisition in November of drug discovery and development advanced informatics and prediction technology specialist Leadscope.

The company is also well positioned to navigate successfully through the fall out from the cornavirus pandemic The majority of Instem’s revenue comes from clients whose laboratories are regarded as "essential businesses" and therefore remain active, with many working on COVID-19 related vaccines and therapies. The company reports to be both very busy and as having good visibility over a strong H120 performance.

Instem’s senior management is cautiously optimistic that this momentum will continue through the remainder of the year and would appear to have some good reasons so to be. Alongside the publication of its FY19 results, the company also announced that it had just closed a deal with Biotoxtech in South Korea. The contract is worth approximately $1 million, the majority of which will be recognised as revenue in 2020.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   saas   AI   machinelearning   data  

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Wednesday 03 June 2020

Service Robotics secures regional investment funds

Service Robotics logoBristol-based care tech provider, Service Robotics, has raised £600k in its latest funding round. The company, which was shortlisted for last year’s TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme (TIPP) in association with Civica Innovation Partners, secured £300k equity investment from the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF) and investment from Britbots and the Enterprise 100 Angel Investment Club. Additional funding came via an overfunded campaign on the Crowdcube crowdfunding platform, which attracted over 300 investors. It follows an earlier Crowdcube campaign that ended in January 2019, which raised £160k.

Service Robotics’ proposition is based around its GenieConnect companion robot service, which uses a voice enabled robot to offer connectivity and support to older adults. It is designed to enable extended independence through information, connectivity and loneliness alleviation. The solution is delivered via a monthly subscription plan and includes one-to-one video or audio chats with the company’s health and wellbeing support team.

The latest funding will be used to further develop the business, expand its pilot program and establish a Cornwall project office in Bude.

Last year, Service Robotics started working with Torfean County Borough Council after the local authority secured £1.25m from the GovTech Catalyst Fund. The funding for the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition is intended to help develop data and digital technology to deliver better adult social care in Torfean. Service Robotics was one of five suppliers to be awarded a contract through the competition in November 2019, after the council whittled down from 86 supplier applications. Phase 1 of the competition is now complete and the council is working with the Cabinet Office to assess which suppliers have the potential to progress to Phase 2, which could be worth up to £500k each.

The importance of staying connected to family and friends has been clearly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for many of those in later life, loneliness has had a significant impact on health and wellbeing long before the outbreak occurred. Technology will have an increasingly important role in helping vulnerable adults live independently and will attract significant interest from investors over the coming years.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: funding   startup   socialcare   robotics  

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