UKHotViews
Friday 13 September 2019

Calling all startups and scaleups looking to revolutionise workplace learning!

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

Capita and the Future of Workplace Learning

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

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

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

Four great reasons to apply

If you are selected for the programme you will get:

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

Eligibility requirements

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

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

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

How to apply

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

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

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Friday 13 September 2019

One Team Logic secures £3.2m to extend safeguarding software

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

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

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

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: education   funding   startup   software   schools  

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Friday 13 September 2019

Unilever blows hot for Blow

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

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

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

Unfortunately, all these services are wasted on me.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   beautech  

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Friday 13 September 2019

Nivaura creates Santander blockchain bond

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: blockchain   CapitalMarkets   financialmarkets  

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Friday 13 September 2019

Uhive raises dosh for fantasy social network

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

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

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

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Friday 13 September 2019

Scottish banking startup selects Temenos

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

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

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

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: sme   banking  

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Friday 13 September 2019

An Evening of Relationships (Old and New)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Mastercard recruits R3 in pursuit of blockchain payments

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: payments   blockchain   CrossBorder  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Living Map locates new source of funding

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: funding   data   geospatial   mapping  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Uninspiring Q120 at Oracle

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   cloud   software  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Salvino replaces Lawrie as CEO at DXC Technology

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: appointments  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Job Teaser ramps up UK focus

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

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

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

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: saas   funding   recruitment   platform  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Capita freshens up

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: brand   transformation   Capita  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Backers fit out Kitt’s managed office service

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

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

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

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

As I say, courageous!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   PropTech  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Why no 5G-ready Apple iPhone?

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Myriad reasons why Mirriad doesn’t belong

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

Anybody?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: results   adtech  

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Job opportunity in TechMarketView's Client Services team

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

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

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

·      Detail-orientated and IT literate with excellent organisational skills

·      Strong team players

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

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

·      Comfortable communicating with senior execs within client organisations

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

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

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

No agencies please.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

One day to go!

TMV Evening

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

Learning with Experts raises £800k after OION pitch

LWE logoOxford-based online vocational learning business Learning with Experts has raised £800k from angel investors including Rupert Pennant-Rea, former editor of The Economist and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and now Learning with Expert’s Chairman.

In 2011 CEO Elspeth Briscoe, alongside co-founder Duncan Heather (who is no longer with the business), launched MyGardenSchool, a virtual horticultural school. Shortly afterwards it went live with MyPhotoSchool and established the parent company MyOnlineSchool. The company announced £450k seed funding in 2015, including investment from Leaf Investments, Howzat Partners, Stephen Warshaw and a number of angel investors, and extended its proposition with MyAntiqueSchool in 2016. It changed its name to Learning with Experts in 2017.

The company now has 33k registered learners across 58 countries and 7.5k paying students. As well as gardening, antiques and photography, it now offers online courses in food and drink, floristry and jewellery.

The latest round of investment follows a showcase pitch to The Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION). The funds will be invested in recruiting development and marketing teams, hiring new tutors and developing the company’s B2B strategy. Learning with Experts already offers courses in partnership with BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, The Royal Horticultural Society and BBC Good Food.

The online learning sector is a competitive one, but Learning with Experts is clearly doing something right. It claims an impressive 80% course completion rate, which is much higher than most Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), many of which focus on participation rather than completion. It puts this success down to small virtual class sizes and its broadcast style curriculum content. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: education   funding   startup   mooc  

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

Anglian Water selects Appian low code platform

logoIn the Digital Enablement via Low Code Platforms report we emphasised how the low code development approach was making its way deeper into organisations and being used for more business critical tasks. The announcement that Anglian Water has selected the Appian low code platform to digitise and automate its capital projects is further indicator of this trend.

Water and water recycling company Anglian Water plans to invest in new water treatment and delivery capital projects over the next five years to meet growing demand for the environmentally-friendly production of clean and safe water. It will use the Appian low code platform to  develop and deploy its Totex Delivery Workflow (TDW), a digital, automated, mobile solution “to increase speed, efficiency, and risk mitigation in the management of these projects”. The aim is that TDW will provide a single and intuitive view of all relevant project data, no matter where it resides within underlying legacy systems, and will manage requests, decisions, and business processes across the lifetime of a capital project, using automation to handle complex workflows. The intent is to improve the employee experience, provide better visibility into project status and operational effectiveness, and support auditability requirements mandated by Ofwat.

The size of the contract was not disclosed but the TDW is intended to be the first of several developments over the course of the next five years. Significantly, the contract is a showcase for the use of low code development for the digital enablement of business critical tasks, chosen to accelerate projects and reduce total cost while meeting the need for better decision making. It is also a practical example of the evolution from simple to complex digital projects. This was a theme within the recently published 2019 editions of the UK SITS Market Trends and Forecasts and Enterprise Software Market Trends and Forecasts reports. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: contract   software   development   low-code  

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

Accenture acquires Spanish intelligence

LogoAccenture has acquired big data, AI and advanced analytics services specialist, Pragsis Bidoop. The Madrid-HQ’d company, which also has offices in Barcelona and the UK, will add over 200 personnel with deep machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data engineering experience to Accenture’s Applied Intelligence business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2004, Pragsis Bidoop has built-up a diversified client base comprising large Spanish businesses and multinationals with a presence in Mexico, Brazil and other Latin American markets. Last year the company launched a drive into the wider European theatre opening branches in London, Amsterdam and Berlin. Pragsis Bidoop’s portfolio of solutions include big data and AI solutions for digital twins, machine learning to optimise manufacturing processes, and advanced predictive models to reduce, for example, supply chain forecasting errors, lost sales and maintenance costs.

This latest acquisition by Accenture Applied Intelligence, which employs more than 20,000 staff world-wide, follows hot on the heels of the purchase last month of Australian big data and analytics consultancy, Analytics8. Earlier in the year Accenture also took a minority stake in its partner, Splice Machine, which has developed an operational artificial intelligence platform (see here).

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: acquisition   analytics   bigdata   AI  

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

Synk.io buoyed by US$70m funding

Synk.io buoyed by US$70m fundingOpen source software testing outfit Synk.io received a massive US$70m funding boost to bankroll its global go-to-market strategy, led by Accel, Boldstart Ventures and existing investors GV.

That takes total investment to US$102m since the firm was founded in 2015, having since developed a proprietary database that helps developers find and fix security vulnerabilities and license issues in open source software applications and container images.

Synk.io employs a huge amount of staff for a start-up (around 180!), operating primarily from four offices in Tel-Aviv, London, Boston and Ottawa. President and co-founder Guy Podjarny is resident in London, ably assisted by ex-Veeam chief executive Peter Mackay from the other side of the pond.

Securing data embedded in container images is a big imperative for organisations migrating increasing volumes of applications and workloads into public, private and hybrid cloud environments (see our Containers and security in the cloud report here), and Synk.io looks in prime position to exploit demand from open source software developers looking to harden their platforms.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: funding   open+source   containers   cybersecurity   Synk.io  

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

Peloton looks to double valuation

logoA new SEC filing about exercise bicycle startup Peloton’s IPO (see Peloton pedals towards an IPO) shows a plan to raise $1.334b at the maximum proposed offer price of $29 per share, valuing the company at some $8b, double the value at its last raise. If you read the post you’ll know our views.

logoBy the way, after I wrote about the proposed IPO I was contacted by Rich Baker, founding CEO of Nottingham-based exercise cycle company Wattbike and we’re looking to meet up soon.

Clearly the effect of the success – or otherwise – of Peloton’s IPO will ripple through the exercise cycle market. Let’s hope our ‘local hero’ keeps on pedalling!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: startup   ipo  

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

ECSC H1 stalls on cyber consultancy sales drop

ECSC H1 stalls on cyber consultancy sales dropAIM-listed ECSC Group stuttered in the first half of the year, with total H119 revenue flat at £2.6m following a strong FY18 when the company was one of the UK’s fastest growing cyber security suppliers. The Bradford-headquartered firm’s adjusted EBITDA loss shrank from £490k in H118 to £190k this time around while pre-tax losses too fell to £558k from £817k the year before.

The two sides of ECSC’s business exhibited very different levels of performance though. Turnover from managed security services (MSS) jumped 63% yoy to £1.2m while consultancy revenue declined 23% to be worth the same amount. Sales of third-party vendor security products halved to £87k as ECSC deliberately shifted its revenue mix in favour of MSS provision.

Chief executive Ian Mann cited “temporary uncertainty” in the UK market (where ECSC does 99% of its business) for the drop off as public and private sector organisations delayed consultancy projects. This was likely induced by the original 31st March Brexit deadline and subsequent postponements, combined with an inevitable drop off of GDPR-related advisory activity after the May 2018 compliance deadline.

Better fortunes are predicted in the second half of 2019 with ECSC revealing record levels of consulting bookings in Q3/Q4. July was certainly a good month with revenue jumping 42% yoy to be worth £620k.

In the current political climate only time will tell if UK businesses now feel sufficiently confident in the future to unlock further cyber security consultancy spend over the rest of the year. But TechMarketView has noted what looks like sufficiently sharp market growth in MSS to keep ECSC and other providers buoyant in the meantime (subscribers to TechMarketView can read our Cyber Security Supplier Ranking 2019 report here).

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: results   consulting   H1   ECSCGroup   managedsecurityservices   cybersecurity  

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

The Algorithm People find route to funding

logoLet’s set aside the bonkers name as every startup is an algorithm startup nowadays. Newcastle-based The Algorithm People is actually a fleet management software developer and, yes, its software uses algorithms for route planning. Founded in April this year, TAP has raised £500k from the North East Venture Fund, managed by Mercia.

If you’re going to launch yet another fleet management product into a well-served market you need a USP or at least a differentiator. Well as it happens, TAP may well have one as their product factors range-limited electric vehicles into the mix – smart! And the product when launched will be offered on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis to target smaller delivery firms too. Also smart.

It must also be said that TAP’s founders Colin and Sarah Ferguson have form. They founded a similar business, Route Monkey, which they sold to AIM-listed telematics and data provider Trakm8 for £9.1m back in December 2015 (see Fleet management becoming key for Trakm8). Route Monkey still trades under its own brand and, guess what, its home page has a splash on “Route Monkey for EV (electric vehicle) drivers”.

Anyway, I assume the Ferguson’s have the ‘non-compete’ stuff sorted!

Update: Just heard from them - they have a partnership with Trakm8 :)

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* UK Financial Services SITS Market Trends and Forecasts 2019

FSV MTF 2019Financial services is the UK’s largest commercial SITS vertical and was worth just under £12bn in 2018. Spend has shifted from “run the business” towards “change the business” and automation, customer engagement and new product development have become key strategic priorities. Transformation has accelerated and the insurance and the financial markets sectors are increasingly following the path set by retail banking.

UK Financial Services SITS Market Trends and Forecasts 2019 contains TechMarketView's latest analysis of software and IT services spend within UK financial services. Expenditure is forecast to grow over the next 3 years, but patterns of investment have changed markedly. Whilst the outlook for some segments remains favourable, there is the prospect of tougher times ahead and a “Bad Brexit” could potentially cost the industry close to £1bn by 2022.

For the first time in this report, we have included elements of our new Digital Evolution Model (DEM). TechMarketView’s DEM has been designed to highlight the shift in spending patterns from “Heritage” or legacy SITS, to spend on the “New” transformational technology components (digital, platform and cyber).

We recommend that this report is read alongside our UK Financial Services Supplier Prospects 2019 and our UK Financial Services SITS Supplier Ranking 2019.

If you are an existing FinancialServicesViews ​subscriber, you can read the report now. If you don't currently have access and would like to discuss extending your subscription, or you would like to subscribe to TechMarketView, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: financialservices   insurance   banking   financialmarkets  

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

Snap pivots to get wheels back on the road

logoWhen Thomas Ableman, founding CEO of low-cost coach booking startup Snap, called me back in June to say that he was ‘pausing’ operations due to a cashflow issue (see Snap stretched!), I honestly thought that he’d never get the wheels back on again.

But I am delighted to say that another call from Ableman yesterday revealed that he’s relaunching operations at the end of the month after pivoting the business model in order to raise new funding.

When Ableman launched Snap (then Sn-ap), he took the risk on the bookings, paying coach operators a fixed fee to run a journey no matter how many passengers had booked. This was great for Snap when a coach was near capacity but not so great when it wasn’t. The ‘pivot’ changed the business model to a more straightforward marketplace, in which Snap pays the coach operators a percentage of the ticket fees. However, Snap still sets the fares.

As a result, prime backer Accelerated Digital Ventures has tossed some more dosh into the kitty along with new and current angel investors. Ableman also intends to launch a crowdfunding round to give customers a chance to get a slice of the action.

With the pivot, Ableman has traded off margin upside for reduced risk. A sound decision given that the risk nearly wiped out the business.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

'Incredibly awesome and amazingly exciting' Apple Special Event...

...or not

iPhone11AppleAs I previewed earlier today - See New Apple iPhone could be sales success...whatever - I watched the Apple Launch Event tonight so you didn’t have to spend 104 minutes of your life doing it.

I lost count of the number of times ‘awesome’, ‘excited’, ‘amazing’ and ‘incredible’ were used. Then, as if this wasn’t enough, they started to say things like ‘amazingly awesome’ and ‘incredibly exciting’. Seriously, I’m not joking! Every announcement, however trivial, was met with whoops and wild applause from the audience in the Steve Jobs Theatre.

Apple launched Arcade - which is a gaming platform with 100s of games which costs £4.99 pm for a family (whoop) and will launch on 19th Sept (wild applause)

Apple launched Apple TV+ and showed more trailers. Apparently trailers - eg for The Morning Show - have been viewed over 100m times (multiple whoops). It launches on 1st Nov (whoopee) at £4.99pm for the whole family (wild applause). It was not lost on anyone that this is significantly less than Netflix whose shares slumped on the announcement. Apple Services is now second only to the iPhone in Apple’s revenue rankings. It aims for $50b services revenues in 2020.

Oh, and if you buy any new Apple product from today you’ll get a year's subscription ‘free’. (Even wilder applause)

There were a host of new features announced for Series 5 of the Apple Watch. I had to giggle when one of the major new features - ‘always on’ - meant that the watch now told the time 24/7. So you could sneak a view of the time surreptitiously at a meeting without moving your wrist. WOW! I had my first watch some 60+ years ago and ‘incredibly amazingly’ it was ‘always on’ and told the time 24/7 too. Even had a luminous dial so I could see it in the dark!

Apple has released the iPhone 11. Actually, I really liked it - particularly its 2nd camera lens - a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens - and new 'night mode'. Extra battery life (Apple has been listening...) and all for 'just' £749. The photos and video they showed taken by the iPhone 11 were pretty breath-taking (and, of course, greeted with even louder applause)

They also launched the iPhone 11 Pro. This has THREE camera lens and seems to be better than any camera I have ever owned in my life. It really is a ‘Professional’ bit of kit - as well it should be with its £1000+ price tag. But, to be fair, I’ve spent far more than that on my Pentax and a variety of lens in the past. And goodness knows how much I spent on film and developing.

My wife, who for some inexplicable reason was watching in the kitchen with me, asked if you could make phone calls on it. No mention was made of this feature so I really couldn’t answer her.

A new iPad (7th generation) was launched costing ‘just’ £329. iPad now gets its own OS.

So was it all really ‘incredibly awesome and amazingly exciting’?

Well, frankly NO!

Apple TV+ was the star billing mainly because of its pricing and effect on Netflix (and, perhaps, all the other new wannabe video streaming services) The hardware launches were professional but hardly lived up to any of the adjectives used. That said, as I will have to replace my iPhone6 soon as it won’t run IOS13, iPhone 11 would be a great replacement. Maybe I can finally ditch my standalone camera too.

Whoop Whoop. Wild applause.

I’m going to bed.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

HCL deepens chip expertise with Sankalp acquisition

HCLHCL Technologies has acquired Sankalp Semiconductor, a provider of semiconductor design services to customers spanning automotive, consumer electronics, Industrial IoT and medical electronics. Sankalp has a presence in the US, India, Canada and Germany, and provides services from concept to prototype for its customer base.

In addition to Software and IT services, HCL has a considerable Engineering and R&D Services capability. The Sankalp purchase should dovetail nicely with HCL's existing semiconductor portfolio, broadening its offering and enabling it to engage more deeply with customers in the analog and mixed signal space.

HCL does of course also have the very large IBM software assets acqusition ($1.8bn) to digest, which will occupy a considerable amount of management time and energy.

In August, HCL announced a good set of Q1 results, with the top line up 17% (constant currency) on last year to $2.36bn. Europe was up 11.3% on the comparable period last year. The firm's ability to improve the delivery of traditional services, combined with on-going investment in new offerings/acquisitions, should help to protect it from what continues to be very challenging market conditions.

Find out where HCL ranks in the TechMarketView UK SITS Supplier Rankings 2019.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition   chips   semiconductor  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

Another Government cloud services framework

NHS SBS Cloud Services Framework 24 suppliersThe UK Government’s G-Cloud framework, for the procurement of cloud-based services, is open to any public sector organisation. Which begs the question why has NHS Shared Business Services deemed it necessary to launch its own Cloud Solutions Framework? The Joint Venture between the Department of Health and Sopra Steria, providing finance, procurement, ICT, employment and other corporate services has just launched the framework, which will run until September 2021 with a two-year extension option. It is aimed at NHS, police, local authorities, educational establishments and other public sector organisations

The answer is that the framework seeks to do better than G-Cloud in a couple of ways. Firstly, the latest iteration of the G-Cloud framework (11) now has 4,200 suppliers (offering in excess of 30,000 services); in our view (one that we have expressed many times before), this makes it very difficult for public sector organisations to identify the best supplier for their needs. The new NHS SBS Cloud Solutions Framework, conversely, has gone through a rigorous procedure to select just 24 suppliers (see table) across four Lots (10-20 in each); the aim, according to Phil Davies, Procurement Director for NHS SBS, is to simplify a “crowded and complex market”. The selected few include both large and small suppliers, specialists and generalists. Public sector organisations should have more confidence they are selecting the best of the best. The framework is also designed so that suppliers are encouraged to invest in and launch innovative product and solutions over the life of the arrangement.

Secondly, the framework Lots are organised differently. While G-Cloud offers Lot 1 IaaS and PaaS; Lot 2 SaaS; and Lot 3 Specialist Cloud Services, NHS SBS’ framework has 4 Lots: Solution Design & Consultancy; IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS; Cloud Support Services; and End-to-End Cloud Solutions. By including the latter, the framework has made it easier for public sector organisations to tackle more complex digital transformation projects.

The framework’s launch coincides with the Government Digital Service’s lead technology advisor publishing a blog highlighting informal research it has carried out into the progress of the Government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy. The research has identified that public sector organisations are unsure whether to go ‘single supplier’ or ‘multi-supplier’ to meet their needs. It is clear that the Government has much to think about; one of the fears is that departments an agencies risk lock-in with their chosen cloud supplier.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: publicsector   nhs   cloud   procurement   government  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

Concentrix in firing line over Action Fraud contract

ConcentrixAppearing in front of yesterday’s Commons Public Administration Committee, John Manzoni, the chief executive of the civil service told MPs that customer management specialist Concentrix would not be awarded any more government work unless services improved.

AFConcentrix is getting flak for the way it delivers the ‘Action Fraud’ call centre, a Home Office contract overseen by City of London Police and designed to streamline the way fraud cases are handled. While most crimes are reported direct to the police, victims of fraud have to go via Action Fraud.

The Action Fraud service has been under the microscope for the last couple of months following an undercover investigation by The Times newspaper which has highlighted poor quality call handling and issues with the algorithm used to filter and prioritise cases.

As we covered a few weeks ago (see Musings on fraud), Fraud made up more than a third of crimes in England and Wales in 2018, rising to more than 40% when computer misuse is included, but has a miserable conviction rate. Last year 270,000 of the fraud cases in England and Wales were filed by Action Fraud as crime reports and 117,000 of these were reviewed by National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) staff. Just over 10,000 of the cases led to a suspect being caught, a rate of about 2% of all calls across the UK.

Whilst Concentrix clearly overseas only part of this process, The Times investigation makes for pretty horrible reading, and given that it lost its other high-profile public-sector contract with HMRC for tax credits back in 2016, may well help curtail ambitions as a public service provider.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: publicsector   contract   callcentres   customerexperience  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

Two days to go!

TMV Evening

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* Amazon Web Services: Public Sector Progress

AWS report coverAmazon Web Services (AWS) was officially launched in 2006 and started targeting public sector opportunities in earnest about ten years ago. The public sector now represents an important part of the business, with over 5,000 government organisations and 10,000 academic institutions worldwide using its technology.

Establishing its first London region in 2016 provided a significant boost to AWS’ public sector ambitions in the UK, helping it address concerns about data sovereignty and privacy. Its presence has grown substantially in recent years and TechMarketView estimates, based on 2018 revenue, AWS is now one of the top 20 public sector software and IT services suppliers to the UK public sector. 

In this paper we draw on information presented at the AWS Summit in London in May 2019 and the two-day AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington DC, which took place in June 2019, to review the progress AWS has made, the reasons for its success and the importance of partnerships in that story. We look at G-Cloud sales, its approach to hybrid and multi-cloud, the role of AI and machine learning in its proposition, and the importance of skills enablement.

Subscribers to the PublicSectorViews research stream can read AWS: Public Sector Progress now. If you don’t have a subscription and would like details about how you can access this report please contact Deb Seth

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: publicsector   cloud   research  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

Sage Pay up for strategic review

logoSage Group has responded to press reports that it is to dispose of the Sage Pay business with a short statement confirming it is evaluating strategic options, including a sale. 

Sage Pay processes payments on behalf of Sage’s small business customers but it is a small part of the overall business and not core to its Cloud plans so a sale would not a surprise. Sage had previously said it would review its portfolio, including simplifying it to focus on products that “are in, or have a pathway to, Sage Business Cloud” as part of its three point cloud acceleration plan. The company sold its US payments business in 2017 (and its US payroll business at the start of 2019). 

Shares dipped slightly on the news but the processing market is not an easy place to be as the service has become commoditized, driving consolidation to achieve the scale needed to deal with pressure on fees and eroding margins.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: software   disposal  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

Backers share funding in share sale platform PrimaryBid

logoThey have some work to do on their website as I assume that London-based discounted share issue marketplace PrimaryBid has raised more than £65 (sic) in its 48 deals so far, and that Cofounder & CEO Anand Sambasian doesn’t have a twin brother with the same name.

That aside, they do seem to have their fundraising in good order, having scooped a further £7m in a round led by Pentech and Outward VC with participation from Hambro Perks and other new and existing investors. PrimaryBid previously raised £2m last September in a funding round led by funds managed by Lombard Odier, family offices and a series of angel investors.

Founded in 2012, and in ‘beta’ since 2015, PrimaryBid is a platform for retail investors to get access to public company discounted share issues normally only available to institutional investors. The platform is free to use for investors (minimum investment £100), with PrimaryBid getting its take from the issuing company.

But just 48 deals in three years?

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

New Apple iPhone could be sales success whatever...

Apple InviteFor many years - decades even -an Apple launch event was a something I would get excited about and listen or watch in real time. I doubt I will sacrifice this evening to listening to Tim Cook. But whatever is announced tonight, a rush of new iPhone orders could result.

The last seminal iPhone launch was of the iPhone6 some 5 years ago in 2014. Indeed, Olde Holway was so impressed that he bought one. But with the release of IOS13 next month owners of iPhone 6 and 6 plus will have to remain on the existing IOS12. As owners of older Apple devices know to their cost, that means that Apps they have used everyday eventually don’t work anymore. I had this with the several newspaper Apps that I use as well as my stock valuation Apps.

The iPhone 6 sold 220m units - an all-time record. So owners of the most successful iPhone model ever will have real incentive to upgrade.

Rumours abound on the features for the new iPhone 11 (or whatever Apple calls it). A triple camera system is the most interesting feature with closeup and ultra wide-angle lens. Low light features will be enhanced. A new Apple HomePod, Watch and AirPods are also rumoured.

More tomorrow!

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

Sanderson joins AIM Dearly Departed

logopicToday marks the departure from AIM of stalwart ERP and SCM solutions specialist, Sanderson, following its £90m acquisition last month by US-based Aptean (see here).

Sanderson joined AIM in December 2004 and leaves with its head held high – indeed, 180% higher than when it joined.

A very satisfactory end to a 15-year journey.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: delisting  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

Mercia and mates pop more dosh into Voxpopme

logoBirmingham-based video survey startup Voxpopme seems to have become a bit more circumspect about its people-powered transcription engine room as this is no longer mentioned on its website. But that does not appear to be an inhibitor to growth or, in particular, to attracting further investment.

To which point, Voxpopme’s arch supporter Mercia Asset Management has popped another £2m into the kitty as part of a £7.5m syndicated funding round which included new backers Origin Ventures and NVM Private Equity.

Voxpopme is one of Mercia’s plc balance sheet-funded ‘rising star’ investments. They originally invested in 2017 (see Mercia pops a million+ into Birmingham’s Voxpopme) and followed on twice last year (see Mercia promotes Voxpopme with £1m investment and Mercia fills in more blanks in Voxpopme's funding). Mercia now holds 23.7% of Voxpopme’s equity.

There’s no hard numbers to go by, but the word is that Voxpopme doubled recurring revenues last year, but from what base I cannot tell. Nonetheless, a great vote of confidence by Mercia. As it happens, I am meeting Mercia CEO Mark Payton soon so maybe I will be able to bring you more then.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 10 September 2019

*NEW RESEARCH* OffshoreViews Q2 2019: Ups & Downs in Europe

chartEurope is proving to be a difficult market for some of the Indian pure-plays and a joy for others. The latest edition of OffshoreViews contrasts the performance of the Top Indian pure-plays in Europe vs the US.

As usual, there's our regular snapshots of the offshore services leaders as well as a round-up of the mid-tier players.

Subscribers to the TechMarketView Foundation Service can download OffshoreViews Q2 2019 review here.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: offshore  

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Monday 09 September 2019

Backers fulfil funding for logistics startup Huboo

logoIt’s a brave entrepreneur that takes on the ecommerce logistics outsourcing giants. Clearly Martin Bysh and Paul Dodd fall into that category having launched Huboo, which offers a ‘soup-to-nuts’ fulfilment service, including storage, packing and delivery for ecommerce retailers. Headquartered in Salisbury and launched in 2017, Huboo has just raised £1m in a seed funding round led by Episode 1, with a number of private investors also participating.

Huboo has its own warehouses and charges retailers a monthly subscription fee which starts at £8 p.m. for up to 30 units and a per parcel fee depending on size, weight, destination, storage period, etc. For example, Huboo charges 88p to deliver a Large Letter 100g vs 83p if you do it at a Post Office, but can also handle parcels up to 20kg for £7.07, which is a quarter of the cheapest price that Parcelforce charges. Huboo integrates with most of the popular ecommerce channels.

Logistics outsourcing is a phenomenally difficult business model to get right and to scale successfully. Others do it too, such as Crewe-based Core Fulfiment, the new brand for decade-old Internet Logistics and Nottingham-based Storeship (does what it says …) as of course does Amazon for products sold through its marketplace.

But when the USP appears to be ‘we do it cheaper and better’, you have to ask whether they can make a dollar on it too?

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   logistics   ecommerce  

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Monday 09 September 2019

* NEW RESEARCH * Cyber Secuity Supplier Ranking 2019

UK Cyber Secuity Supplier Ranking 2019Our latest Cyber Security Supplier Ranking 2019 report rates the performance of the Top 20 players by revenue, analysing the key differences in strategy and approach which determined why some suppliers expanded their business in 2018/2019 whilst others contracted.

Two new entrants this year illustrate the scale and focus of supplier investment in expanding their cyber security capabilities to meet rapidly changing market requirements and build new revenue streams, with M&A activity set to propel others into our Top 20 for the first time next year.

Coupled with a continuation of strong demand from public and private sector customers anxious to protect mission-critical data and applications hosted on- and off-premise systems and infrastructure from unauthorised access, theft and disruption, it's clear that the cyber security is still one of the fastest growing segments of the IT industry.

If you are interested in our Cyber Security Supplier Ranking 2019 report but are not a TechMarketView or SecureConnectViews subscriber, Deb Seth will be happy to help.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: suppliers   ranking   cybersecurity   2019  

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Monday 09 September 2019

Blackbird sees bluer skies ahead

LogoCloud video platform provider, Blackbird plc (formerly Forbidden Technologies) saw both its revenue and loss increase for the six-month period to the end of June. H119 turnover was up 27% yoy to £479k, while EBITDA headed further into negative territory dropping 5% over the same period last year to a loss of just over £1m during the first half of 2019.

There were, however, signs that the green shoots of recovery that began to show twelve months ago (see here) are taking root in media sector focused Blackbird. H1 sales in the North American market, the strategic priority for the company, were up 152% to £159K and now account for a third of all business activity. Furthermore, contracted orders and deferred revenue increased by 113% from the level at the end of FY18 to £1.2m. This was buoyed by a significant six-figure, multi-year deal signed with A+E Networks which started post-period end.

Blackbird has also been strengthening its executive team over the past few months. Joining from Comcast’s NBC Universal, Stephen White has taken on the newly created role of Chief Operating and Financial Officer. In addition, former Channel 5 Chairman and CEO, Dawn Airey has been brought in to assist with the execution of the company’s global growth strategy.

Looking ahead, Blackbird is confident about the prospects for the remainder of the year and expects to maintain the momentum created during the first half. There is still, however, a long way to go on the company’s march back to profitability.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   media   saas   cloud  

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Monday 09 September 2019

Join TechMarketView's Client Services team

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

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

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

·      Detail-orientated and IT literate with excellent organisational skills

·      Strong team players

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

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

·      Comfortable communicating with senior execs within client organisations

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

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

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

No agencies please.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Monday 09 September 2019

Cerillion rings up another major win

Cerillion

London based Cerillion, the AIM listed software provider to the telecoms industry, has announced another major new win for its billing and CRM solutions. The latest contract, worth £3.7m, is with a provider in Asia for the supply and implementation of Cerillion’s flagship, Enterprise BSS/OSS* Suite, to support mobile telecommunications. The initial phase is expected to be delivered in November, with potential for the contract to be extended thereafter to support fixed-wire services.

This latest contract, follows a number of major wins for Cerillion recenlty (see: Cerillion boosted by two major wins) and is the latest indication that the company is successfully capitalising on its strong pipeline. In August, LINK Mobility, Europe's leading provider of SMS and message delivery solutions, selected Cerillion to consolidate its operations onto a single platform. The company is delivering a number of Enterprise BSS/OSS modules and supporting the migration away from LINK’s legacy systems.

In May, Cerillion posted a disappointing set of interims results, reflecting a loss making period and weaker revenues. At the time, Cerillion’s management remained bullish and expressed confidence in the company’s prospects (see: Cerillion blames loss on timing issues). Cerillion’s confidence appears well founded, and the company’s strong order book augers well for the full year. In February the company signed one of its largest contracts to date, worth $8.3m. Despite its wobble in H1, the second half of 2019 is progressing well at Cerillion and management will no doubt be hoping to continue this positive momentum into the final quarter.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: contract   crm   telecoms   billing  

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Monday 09 September 2019

Equiniti adds IR consultancy bolt-on

EquinitiSpecialist BPS player Equiniti has announced another acquisition, adding RD:IR an Investor Relations (IR) consultancy to its ‘EQ Boardroom’ portfolio of brands. RD:IR helps boards, senior management and IR professionals manage their relationships with capital markets and other stakeholders. The financials of the deal have not been released.

RD IREquiniti views the acquisition of bolt-on capabilities that enhance its client offerings as a key part of its growth strategy. Last year it bought life and pensions technology provider Aquila, whilst 2017 saw Gateway2Finance, a Yorkshire-based loan brokerage firm, Marketing Source, a data analytics and cybersecurity based in Exeter, and loan management technology provider Nostrum all come on board. Crucially RD:IR compliments the Boudicca acquisition adding to its suite of services for corporate governance professionals, which already supports investor relations, company secretarial, environmental, social & governance (ESG), proxy analytics and solicitation.

RD:IR also brings with it IP with software that should broaden Equiniti's shareholder services capabilities. A quick look on the RD:IR website also reveals an impressive ‘A to Z ‘of UK PLC clients. On the face of it RD:IR looks like a sensible bolt-on to existing services.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: acquisition   equiniti  

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Monday 09 September 2019

Desana raises dosh to launch co-working venue app

logoI like the idea but I think their pricing and business model is way off beam. This is Edinburgh-based co-working space rental app Desana which has just raised £550k in a pre-launch funding round backed by Scotland and Northern Ireland seed capital VC, TechStart Ventures.

The idea is that freelance workers can book space in a co-working venue rather than work from home or at a coffee shop. But Desana wants to charge a £39 per month subscription fee for the pleasure for which you’d get around 12 hours access a month. You can boost this to 40 hours a month for £119 p.m. (£99 early access offer) or £349 p.m. (£299 early access offer) for 120 hours. You buy access via credits which last two months.

I used to belong to the Institute of Directors which charges (now) £415 p.a. to use their premises but I couldn’t justify the cost for the number of times I needed somewhere to perch between meetings when I was in town. But that price looks like a bargain compared to Desana’s.

On the other side of the deal, Desana pays co-working venues for the time the worker is on the premises “at a rate that’s fair from them and fair for you”. In other words, the time-based fee paid to the venue is not related to the fixed subscription fee paid by the worker. That’s a risky business model. I can’t find a list of co-working venues on Desana’s website but I assume all will be disclosed on its formal launch currently planned of the end of this month.

I do think there is potential demand for a service like this but I believe Desana will need rethink the business model if they are to attract freelancers used to ‘free’ access at coffee shops while paying a profitable fee to venues.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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