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Tuesday 02 March 2021

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Posted by: HotViews Editor at 00:00

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Monday 01 March 2021

Trustpilot chooses London for its IPO

Trustpilot

For decades I have been bemoaning the shortage of tech IPOs on the London Stock Exchange. But lately the tide really does appear to be turning.

Last month Moonpig was given an excellent reception. See London gives rapturous reception to Moonpig. We expect Deliveroo, Darktrace, Transferwise and Music Magpie to IPO in London the coming weeks and months.

London got another boost today when Trustpilot choose London for its IPO. This is even more significant as Trustpilot is HQed in Copenhagen. An IPO in Amsterdam or New York might have been expected.  Trustpilot is another company that has had ‘A good C-19’ as consumers turn to online recommendations and reviews for products and services.

Revenues rose 25% last year to $102m. A valuation in excess of £1b is anticipated.  

Posted by: Richard Holway at 22:41

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Monday 01 March 2021

Zoom continues to Zoom

ZoomIt’s not often that we report on a company that boosts sales by 369% to $882.5m in Q4. Oh, and EPS rose 9x yoy. For the year revenues were up 326% at $2.6b and profits grew from $21.7m in 2019 to $671.5m in 2020. Revenues of around $3.8b are expected in 2021.

Probably the only company that could do that was Zoom – perhaps THE company that has epitomised the C-19 lockdown. Indeed, a rare company that has become a verb. We all Google. Now we all Zoom! Zoom is not just a business application. It is used widely by consumers and by schools too. Indeed by Government departments and Prime Ministers as well.

It’s got a good business mode. Free for individuals. But if you want to use it for many people or for long periods of time or its really useful add-on features, it becomes a paid-for service. And, as the results showed, paying customers grew by 470% to 467,100 in the quarter. There are still concerns that, with the vaccine rollout and a return to office work, Zoom will lose its popularity. I suspect not. Although this peak growth may not be repeated, I think that ‘zooming’ is here to stay. Why spend hours travelling for a 30 minute meeting when you can cram in many more in a day from the comfort of your own home?

Zoom shares, already up 350% in the last year, were up nearly 10% in trading today and rose another 8.4% after-hours as the results were announced.

Posted by: Richard Holway at 22:26

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Monday 01 March 2021

Backers team up to help Wurkr beat Teams

logoIf you can imagine trying to explain Microsoft Teams to a CBeebies audience you’d probably end up with something that resembles the promo videos for London-based ‘office in the cloud’ start-up, Wurkr.

I’ve had a quick squizz at their website and I can’t easily see what it offers that’s better than Teams (et al). When I checked the pricing page, they have four plans all at £0 per month (until further notice) and I was be bemused to learn that their second-level Standard plan (up to 49 people) is their most popular. The PR says that Wurkr has 88k subscribers in 2,400 organisations across the UK and India.

Founded in 2017 and launched the following year, Wurkr has raised £1m in seed money, comprising a £700k investment from Hindustan Media Ventures, £100k from an angel, funds from a convertible loan note, and a £150k crowdfunding raise on Seedrs which valued the company at £8.5m.

Cheap at half the price, I’d say (until further notice, that is).

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 19:37

Tags: funding   startup  

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Monday 01 March 2021

MindTrace tackles AI/ML model challenges

Mind Trace logoManchester startup MindTrace  has come a fair way since we last wrote about the company in 2017.  Back then, it had raised £1.3m seed funding to build a prototype collision avoidance system for cars. Fast forward to 2021 and Skylake Capital has led a £2.1m funding round with participation from Bloc Ventures and existing investor Mercia Asset Management.

MindTrace’s focus has changed – it now identifies smart devices, manufacturing defect detection and infrastructure inspection as market opportunities – but the technology base remains, Brain-Sense. The AI/ML Brain-Sense product is positioned to make  deployment faster and more accessible, and with support for “continuous AI learning” also addresses the problem of keeping models up to date post deployment. To achieve these goals it uses unlabelled data to carry out initial model training, supplemented with a small amount of labelled data to improve the output – thereby tackling one of the more time consuming aspects of AI/ML model creation. It also brings federated learning across multiple platforms and compatibility with other AI/ML systems, along with the ability to rebuild models on a continuous basis through which it also tackles the problem of ongoing model relevance.

It sounds like an ambitious but appealing offering, although it is not clear how much market traction is has as yet. However, the funding will be used to accelerate the product roadmap and bolster go-to-market capabilities, including strategic partnerships.

Posted by: Angela Eager at 17:00

Tags: funding   startup   software   AI   ML  

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Monday 01 March 2021

The Panoply 'Keep(s) IT Simple' with its biggest acquisition

Until now, the Panoply logofocus of The Panoply has been on user research, design, prototyping, and development (discovery, alpha, beta). However, today, the Group announced an acquisition – its largest to date – which adds capability in IT support managed services, as well as transformation services and service integration and management (SIAM). Like The Panoply, Keep IT Simple (KITS) provides its services to the public sector; existing clients include the Rural Payments Agency and DEFRA.

The Panoply is paying solo shareholder Grant Harris a total consideration of £26m (plus £4.9m in respect of excess cash) for the company, in a mix of cash and shares. Unaudited results show that KITS delivered revenues of £9.7m in the year to 31st December 2020 and adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net PBT of £2.7m. It also boasts a contract backlog of £30.3m to be recognised between 2021 and 2024.

KITS will be integrated into The Panoply’s Foundry4 business, the “deep tech, engineering-focused” division of the Group, which focuses on CTOs/CIOs looking to enable digital transformation through the adoption of new and emerging technologies. Grant Harris, CEO of KITS will become MD of the newly formed Managed Services’ division within Foundry4. The Panoply will benefit as it will be able to offer an end-to-end offering to clients. This will result it in bidding for multi-year projects with a value “several multiples higher” than those it can currently pursue. We can, therefore, expect to see The Panoply extend its average length of client relationship and boost the proportion of recurring revenues. This will be a different type of pursuit by the company and will require a different approach. More than any acquisition made to date, it will require the different parts of Foundry4 to work together effectively to present to clients a seamless picture.

The Panoply is now confident of its ability to be able to reach its target of £100m revenue run rate by 31st March 2023. With the addition of KITS, The Panoply expects revenue and adjusted EBITDA in its current financial year to be “not less than” £48.5m and £6.6m, respectively. Along with predicted organic growth, further acquisitions will contribute. To fund the acquisition of KITS, the Group has extended its revolving credit facility with HSBC; within the new facility, £7m will be available for further acquisitions.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 10:00

Tags: acquisition   M&A   SIAM   service management   managedITservices   public+sector  

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Monday 01 March 2021

SCC EMEA achieves AWS Advanced Partner status

sccSCC EMEA has been awarded Advanced Partner status with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its combined capabilities in the UK and France. It has taken the firm just under 12 months to reach this level and demonstrates what is achievable when it combines its expertise and capabilities across countries.

In the UK, SCC’s Cloud Practice, OWORX, was central to helping the firm reach Advanced Partner status. I caught up with the team behind the practice when it launched just last year as a separate brand see: SCC’s Oworx brand is clever cloud pivot. Of note is that Oworx supports Public Cloud only and does not deliver services around SCC’s own private clouds or other service areas. Wider services opportunities are handled by SCC consultants asow part of a single account/service delivery team supported by a common ticketing system, with Oworx feeding into that wider team. 

The AWS Advanced Consulting Partner tier recognises consulting partners that have excelled in providing successful solutions on AWS. This includes providing extensive training to teams, having a very thorough knowledge of AWS to manage projects effectively, and taking clients to market with innovative, revenue-generating solutions. SCC is a Public Sector Partner, Solution Provider, and Advanced Consulting Partner to AWS, with this latest recognition evidence that the resale-heritage firm is continuing to evolve in the cloud market.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:50

Tags: cloud   AWS   PublicCloud  

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Monday 01 March 2021

*UKHotViewsExtra* Kalifa Review outlines support for UK fintechs

KalifaA major independent report, examining the future of the UK fintech sector, “The Kalifa Review” has now been published, revealing a forward-looking strategy to support technology innovators in financial services. Commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, the review was conducted by Bank of England non-executive director, Ron Kalifa OBE.

The report contains a variety of recommendations, divided into 5 main areas. Together these proposals set out a comprehensive vision for the future of financial services innovation, designed to help the UK to compete more successfully on the world stage, HVPin the wake of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

TechMarketView clients, including UKHotViewsPremium subscribers can learn more by downloading the UKHotViewsExtra Kalifa Review outlines support for UK fintechs.

If you are not currently a subscriber but would like to learn more, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:50

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Monday 01 March 2021

Teleperformance sees revenue grow but profits decline

TPDespite the impact of COVID customer management outsourcer Teleperformance saw its strongest like for like revenue growth to date, up 11.6% to €5.73bn (FY19 €5.36bn) in 2020. However, profitability was down 0.9% with EBITDA of €1,13bn (FY19 €1,14m) impacted by a near shut down of certain operations in the first half of last year.

Despite being exposed to a wide variety of clients operating in challenged verticals – hotels, travel, transport etc. Teleperformance has managed to grow significantly above the wider contact centre market – a good benchmark given how all were impacted by the pendemic. Crucially, it appears to have been making strides in digitising if offer with significant investment made in digital channels and automation technologies. All vital stuff if the sector is to overcome an increasingly commoditised offer.

Unfortunately, TP doesn’t split out the UK results but did go onto to say that its business here had seen significant growth in Q4 driven in part to the Government’s response to COVID and momentum in e-tailing.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:49

Tags: results   customerexperience  

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Monday 01 March 2021

VR Education Engages with VR for education and enterprises

VR Education logoAs the name suggests, VR Education is in the business of providing VR technology to the education sector but as the core capability is a virtual communications platform it is just as relevant for commercial organisations. In business since 2014 and AIM listed since 2018, management describes 2020 as a “formative” year as the COVID-19 situation accelerated demand for its core Engage platform, to support remote working, online learning and virtual events.

The company, headquartered in Ireland, has just released FY20 results (to 31 December 2020) that show substantial customer expansion across the year: 60 commercial deals  were signed during 2020, including many blue chip names, compared to three in the prior year. Consequently, revenue increased 38% to €1.4m, although as would be expected at this stage of development losses deepened, with an EBITDA loss of €2.1m compared to the €1.4m of 2019. At the end of the year it had cash of €2.0m and no debt.

VR is still an early stage market but as need and VR developments align, there are a growing number of specialist VR providers benefitting from COVID lockdowns and movement restrictions, while software and services providers like Civica are moving to identify and release the value from immersive technologies. VR Education has moved fast to meet changing needs. For example, before 2020 it only ran on PC based VR devices which was a barrier to growth, but launched ENGAGE Mobile on Android phones and tablets in July 2020 and the iOS version for iPhones and iPads in December 2020.  These releases mean virtual events can be hosted without a VR headset or device, which expands the addressable user base as it enables increased use of ENGAGE by large corporations to host virtual events. There are some neat features too, such as spatial audio that means individuals can talk privately to other attendees, going some way towards emulating the freeform networking of face-to-face conferences. 

VR Education does not  have a significant footprint in the UK as yet but the management team is anticipating growth from pent up demand. It is progressing in Asia-Pac via partnership with HTC. Other partners include Sky Ireland, Tokyo Global Gateway and Victory XR in the US. As 2021 progresses, the focus is on building the sales organisation and partnerships. Sales have started well: Engage revenue in the first seven weeks of 2021 represented 50% of total 2020 Engage revenue. 

Posted by: Angela Eager at 09:49

Tags: results   software   VR   immersivetechnologies  

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Monday 01 March 2021

Craneware confident on outlook as returns to growth

Craneware logoCraneware - the AIM-listed, Edinburgh-based provider of financial and operational optimisation software and analytics to the US healthcare industry - has returned to revenue growth after a flat FY20 despite the impact of Covid-19. Interim results for the six months to 31 Dec, reveal a 6% increase in revenue to $38m and 5% growth in adjusted EBITDA to $13.3m.

Key indicators bode well for future performance too. New Sales, for example, are more than 30% ahead of the same period last year; more than 500 hospitals – almost a third of its customers - are now using Craneware’s cloud-based Trisus platform; and total visible revenues for the three-years to June 2023 are 9% higher than a year ago at $206.4m.  In addition, the board reports a strong sales pipeline for the current FY and beyond and remains confident of the outlook for the full year as a result.

For healthcare providers to the US market, the need for greater insight into the cost of care, associated margins and the value being derived is as high as ever, and Craneware is well-positioned to support them with its next-gen Trisus platform. We can therefore expect its growth strategy to remain focused around three fundamental pillars for the time being: transitioning customers to cloud-based versions of its on-premise solutions as a gateway to the Trisus platform; continued enhancements to the platform through both internal R&D and M&A; and expanding its customer footprint.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant at 09:40

Tags: results   software   healthcare  

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Monday 01 March 2021

CentralNic scaling rapidly

CentralNicFull year results from internet domain name and web services provider CentralNic, show the impact of its acquisition-led growth strategy, increasing revenue by 121% in 2020 to $241.2m (FY19 $109.2m). Profitability also grew significantly with adjusted EBITDA up by 71% to $30.6m (FY19 $17.9m). Organic growth was also decent and shows how resilient the “Internet Business” has been to COVID, with revenue increasing by 9% and adjusted EBITDA by 4%.

Since its IPO CentralNic has grown aggressively through a series of international acquisitions to become very much a “house of brands” in the domain services space (see herehere and here). The firm has consolidated a number of businesses in a highly fragmented market and now has more than 45m domains using at least one of its platforms (c.13% of domains worldwide). The trick is then to monetise these domains by layering on a diverse range of monetisation services, again bought in via acquisition, such as online marketing tools, advertising or brand protection. The revenue split now between domain name sales and domain name monetisation is roughly 50/50, almost all (99%) recurring.

Whilst success requires a healthy pipeline of suitable acquisitions that can be consolidated quickly and at low cost, it also needs the identification of an ever-greater range of services that clients want to buy. CentralNic has identified future revenue streams in areas such as hosting, social marketing, cybersecurity and brand protection and has already started the new year with a couple of significant deals. Here SafeBrands adds online brand protection to the portfolio whist Wando offers expertise in the fields of social marketing, display advertising and search engine marketing (SEM). Given its track record we can expect more deals of this nature in the pipeline.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:23

Tags: results   domainservices  

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Monday 01 March 2021

Thinking about offering cybersecurity managed services? Come and meet Assuria!

logologoTechMarketView is organising a series of 30-minute, one-on-one sessions during week beginning 22nd March on behalf of Reading-based cybersecurity software specialist, Assuria, for companies interested in offering cybersecurity managed services to their clients.

Assuria’s cybersecurity monitoring software is being used by over 1,400 commercial organisations, government institutions and Security Operations Centres worldwide, from SMEs to large enterprises, in almost every business sector. Assuria’s platform is also accredited on the UK Government Digital Marketplace.

Assuria can help you set yourself up as a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) with your own Security Operations Centre (SOC) so you can offer industrial strength threat monitoring, detection and response services to your clients under your own brand, at your own service levels and at your own price points.

SOC-in-a-Box!

Using their ‘SOC-in-a Box’ multi-tenant platform, Assuria will help you get up and running and generating revenue in as little as a few weeks. Assuria provides the complete security monitoring solution and a full SOC platform, which can run on-premise or in the Cloud, along with extensive business management tools, training and ongoing support.

Assuria’s SOC-in-a-Box technology and business package offers a tried-and-tested route for you to add a cybersecurity managed services revenue stream to your business. You can start small, serving just a handful of clients, and scale up with the same platform to serve hundreds of customers.

Whether you are already providing security solutions or services, or thinking of moving into the cybersecurity space for the first time, Assuria can get you there quickly and cost effectively. And they will work with you for the long term to help ensure the success of your MSSP operation.

Register now to meet Assuria

You can find out how in a personal, 30-minute online meeting with Assuria Founder and CEO Terry Pudwell. Just click on this link to book your slot at a date and time that suits you best.

There’s more information about Assuria on their website assuria.com/tipp or contact Anthony Miller (amiller@techmarketview.com).

Posted by: HotViews Editor at 00:01

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Monday 01 March 2021

Enhance your strategic decision making with a TechMarketView webinar

Enhance your strategic decision making with a TechMarketView webinar

Posted by: HotViews Editor at 00:00

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Sunday 28 February 2021

Share performance in Feb 21

A quick glance at the Share Indices for Feb 21 might lead you to believe that nothing much happened in the month. Afterall a mere 0.7% rise in the NASDAQ is nothing special. Same applies to all the other indices we follow.

SharesBut the real ‘excitement’ all took place in the last few days. Indeed NASDAQ slumped 4.8% in the last week of Feb. Don’t be too despondent. NASDAQ is still up 3.1% YTD and up an astonishing 85% since its low in Mar 20.

With the vaccine roll out going great guns (I’ve had mine and my ‘young’ wife gets hers next week) there ought to be Reasons to the Cheerful aplenty. Indeed many predict the Roaring Twenties once lockdown is lifted which now looks increasingly likely by the summer or autumn.

But the main recipients of this are likely to be the very companies so hard hit by C-19 to-date. Tech (big and small) might well have to stand in the wings for now. But every part of the economy has seen digital transformation at a pace never witnessed before. I just can’t see that being undone. It’s just that the peak growth has probably passed HVPand over exuberant expectations for the coming year or so might be just that – over exuberant!

All the detail in our Review of Share Performance in Feb 21 on HotViews Extra available to all subscribers including HotViews Premium. Why not join them for just £395pa? 

For more details CLICK HERE.

Posted by: Richard Holway at 16:59

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Friday 26 February 2021

All going well for Workday: FY/Q4 subs rise and losses fall

Workday logoOnce again Workday delivered solid growth on the back of its HR and financial management software, demonstrating demand and resiliency against the very challenging market environment. FY revenue (to 31 January 2021) expanded 19% to $4.32bn, while Q4 revenue saw a 15.9% increase to $1.13bn. 

Net losses also moved in the right direction with the Q4 loss shrinking from $127m to $71m, and from $480m to $282m across the full year. 

Subscriptions growth underpins Workday’s performance (up 19.8% in Q4 to $1.01bn and 22.4% over the full year to $3.79bn) so this is where future efforts are being focused; FY22 subscription revenue is expected to come in at $4.38bn-$4.40bn, a 16% increase. Workday will focus on driving accelerated bookings growth to generate a faster pace of future subscription revenue growth. It also expects to invest $270m in Q122 in strategic expansion priorities, including its corporate IT infrastructure and customer data centers, which will impact margins in FY22. 

The company continues to expand the product portfolio – the Peakon acquisition will bring employee engagement for example, complementing Workday’s transactional HR capabilities and adding a new dimension through its employee-centric approach. But it is also gaining customers with its existing products. The financial management pipeline is strengthening while add-on sales across the portfolio grew a rewarding 40% in Q4 as customers expanded their footprint and invested in applications such as Workforce Planning, Prism Analytics, Learning, and Strategic Sourcing. In terms of verticals, financial services is delivering, as is healthcare, and government behind that. Workday is also starting to move into the retail sector, opening  up another market. Overall, demand for Workday is apparent and it has several growth areas to build on.

Posted by: Angela Eager at 10:08

Tags: results   saas   software  

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Friday 26 February 2021

VMware FY21 revenue up 9%

VMware revenue up 9%A strong FY21 performance from VMware saw revenue climb 9% year on year to US$11.8bn for the twelve month period ending January 2021, with fourth quarter turnover rising 7% yoy to US$3.3bn (and 6% sequentially).

Annual GAAP net income dopped sharply to US$2.1bn, down from US%6.4bn in FY20 when it was skewed by a hefty US$4.9bn tax benefit. A more accurate indication comes from the analysis of VMware’s operating income, which expanded 66% yoy to US$2.4bn as the company profited from early collections and advanced payments from partners and customers and lower than expected operational expenditures.

As we’ve said before, a large slice VMware’s FY21 growth has been driven by the sizeable acquisitions of Pivotal (US$2.7bn) and Carbon Black (US$2.1bn) completed at the back end of 2019. Those deals helped the company rapidly scale up its SaaS and subscription business which grew 11% yoy over the course of the full financial year to be worth US$2.6bn. That still represents just 22% of VMware’s total revenue however, most of which is anchored in software license sales (down 5% yoy US$3.bn in FY21 as customers shift to SaaS equivalents) and associated support and maintenance services (up 7% to US$6.1bn).

The pipeline looks good though, with VMware signing 35 deals worth north of US$10m in Q421. Management pointed to new and extended contracts with customers in aerospace, telecommunications (NTT DOCOMO and Telia), retail and financial services (HSBC and Wells Fargo) as evidence that VMware’s mix of application and multi-cloud infrastructure, networking and digital workspace solutions is hitting the mark.

Some parts of the portfolio are undoubtedly doing better than others. The Carbon Black security proposition saw high double digit growth in Q4 for example, while core SDDC product sales were up 12%. But sales of NSX and vSAN products saw single digit yoy declines.

The company must continue to sucessfully offset those fluctuating fortunes and keep cannibalisation of the licensed software business in particular down to a manageable rate. It’s immediate concern is probably to find a new chief executive following the return of Pat Gelsinger to Intel. Given its optimistic outlook for the current financial year, that shouldn’t be a problem – guidance suggests revenue will grow 8% to US$12.7bn.

Posted by: Martin Courtney at 09:57

Tags: results   applications   cybersecurity   multicloud   FY21  

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Friday 26 February 2021

Neil Martin to take the reins at RM

RM plc logoRM plc has announced the appointment of Neil Martin as CEO. Neil, who is currently the company's CFO, will succeed David Brooks with effect from 01 March 2021.

David informed the Board that he wanted to seek a career change and tendered his resignation last year; the search for a successor was announced in September (see RM starts hunt for new CEO).

Neil joined RM as CFO in 2015 after previously serving as CFO at Adecco Group, Spring Group and Barkers. It will be Neil's first CEO position, but he has played a key role in the evolution of the business over the last few years (see RM plc: History, Performance and Prospects in Education Technology). His appointment should ensure there is continuity of vision and strategy. The company had a challenging 2020, but is well positioned to capitalise on longer term trends in the education sector that have accelerated during the pandemic e.g. the digitisation of education and the move towards computer-based assessment (see Shorter term pain could lead to longer term gain at RM).

Pending the appointment of a permanent successor, Mark Berry, will join RM as interim CFO in early March. Mark was CFO at Foxtons and prior to that spent 15 years at Hays.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 09:32

Tags: education   schools   edtech   appoinments  

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