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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Civica bolsters healthcare offering with InfoFlex acquisition

Civica logoCivica has strengthened its position in the healthcare market with the acquisition of UK-based healthcare software specialist InfoFlex, whose cloud-enabled software is used to by more than 130 NHS Trusts to manage clinical workflow and patient pathway or treatment processes.

The acquisition is described as a ‘significant strategic investment’ by Civica in a key vertical market, advancing its strategy in the health sector and extending its capability in the NHS. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we know that InfoFlex (or more specifically Chameleon Information Management Services Ltd whose subsidiary traded as InfoFlex) reported turnover of £5.2m in FY19 (to 31 March), up 17% on the year before, and was profitable with a PBT of £438k in the same period. 

InfoFlex’s 50-strong team, which is based in Rickmansworth, will join Civica’s Health & Care division alongside previous cloud software acquisitions including Warwick International and Trac Systems. The addition looks to be a good fit for Civica, which  is looking to establish a stronger integrated care capability and has recently launched newly built products Cito, a cloud-based clinical information management solution, and Civica Prescribing. InfoFlex’s software supports trust-wide and cross-organisation capabilities and its software integrates with existing hospital systems, including Cito, across 65 clinical specialities enabling real-time access to all clinical information.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: acquisition   software   healthcare  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Unisys feels the impact of COVID-19 in Q2

Unisys logoQ2 results for Unisys reveal the impact of COVID-19 on the performance of the Pennsylvania headquartered business. Revenue for the three months ended 30 June 2020 was down 23% to $438.8m (Q2 2019: $569.4m) and it recorded a loss before tax of $66.8m (Q2 2019: profit of $7.9m).

Non-GAAP adjusted revenue was $438.8m (Q2 2019: $562.9m) with Non-GAAP operating profit falling to $0.8m (Q2 2019: $55.3m) and adjusted EBITDA at $50.2m (Q2 2019: $94.5m).

Unisys’ Public Sector business grew during the period, up 7.2% to $164.3m, but Commercial was down 33.0% to $151.0m and Financial fell 32.9% to $123.5m. Revenue was down across all regions, with EMEA suffering the steepest decline (down 27.5% to $143.6m). North American was the best performing region but it still suffered a 16.4% decline to $180.9m.

Approximately half of the revenue decline during the quarter was due to COVID-19-related impacts to Unisys’ Services business. The other half was due to shifts in timing of ClearPath Forward renewals and expected declines at iPSL, its UK-based cheque processing joint-venture.

Services revenue, which accounted for approximately 90% of total revenue during the quarter, was down 17.7% to $396.0m (Q2 2019: $481.0m), with COVID-19 taking its toll on field services, travel and transportation, and volume-based BPO contracts. Largely as a result of the aforementioned ClearPath Forward renewal timings, second-quarter revenue in Unisys’ Technology business was down 51.6% to $42.8m (Q2 2019: $88.4m).

Despite the downturn in Q2, management remain optimistic about the outlook for the second half of the year. It expects revenue to improve during the third and fourth quarters, driven by improvements in field services and BPO volumes as lockdown measures ease, and a more favourable ClearPath Forward renewal schedule. Full-year revenue expectations remain unchanged relative to Q1 (see Unisys Q1 decline following US Federal sale) at 10% decline year-on-year.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: results   bpo   financialservices   security   covid-19  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

TechHub goes to the wall as COVID-19 bites

THTechHub, the London-based supporter of technology startups has gone into administration, as COVID-19 and lockdown have crippled many activities in the capital. Despite an apparently thriving pre-lockdown business model, efforts to implement an acceptable rescue plan appear to have failed.

Launched in 2010 by Elizabeth Varley (CEO) and Mike Butcher, TechHub started life in the heart of London’s “Silicon Roundabout” cluster of technology companies. With Google and Pearson as founding sponsors, the company’s aim was to provide developers and budding tech entrepreneurs with an affordable, creative working environment.

TechHub subsequently grew into a global community with centres in the US, Spain, Romania, Latvia, Poland and Wales. Over the years the company has provided valuable support to hundreds of startups, helping fledgling businesses to find their feet and scale their operations. TechHub has been associated with a number of notable successes including fintech unicorn, Plaid (see: Visa earns its open banking stripes), Divide (acquired by Google) and Aiden.AI (acquired by Twitter).

COVID-19 and lockdown has caused a dramatic reduction in physical activity in major cities around the world. Since March, TechHub’s London facility lost close to 75% of its revenue. The company brought in administrator, Begbies Traynor, to facilitate a rescue plan, however negotiations with TechHub’s landlord and major creditor have apparently proved unsuccessful.

The startup community has been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus (see: New Research: COVID Correction for Tech VC Deals) and it’s a real shame to see the effect that this has had on TechHub. In part, the company’s collapse reflects the forced necessity of remote working and, regardless of the Prime Minister’s efforts to the contrary, perhaps hints at a future trend for many companies and organisations.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

HealthHero launches with big ambitions in digital health provision

HealthHero logoThere is a new name in digital health provision in the UK. PE-backed HealthHero launched this week with the ambition of becoming Europe’s largest holistic digital health provider. Built on the foundations of existing telemedicine companies, HealthHero will operate in the UK, Germany and Republic of Ireland at launch and already covers over 4 million lives.

HealthHero is the brainchild of digital entrepreneur and investor Ranjan Singh, who takes the CEO role, with backing from London-based pan-European investment house MARCOL. The new business combines UK-based SME Medical Solutions, which has over 20 years’ experience in connecting patients and doctors remotely for insurance and corporate clients, with latest acquisition, a Berlin-based telemedicine platform established in 2017 to provide online consultations in Germany.

HealthHero already provides a full spectrum of primary care services 24/7 delivered through ‘a suite of digital tools’ – video calls, online chats and the phone – and is the preferred supplier for over 300 businesses. It also has plans to launch a consumer offering in the UK shortly.

You get a sense of HealthHero’s ambition from the tone of its website and there can be little doubt that it’s in the ‘right place at the right time’, with Covid-19 driving acceptance and usage of digital health provision. Since the onset of Covid-19 its seen demand for its services in UK & Ireland increase by over 300%. Research from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) confirms the significant acceleration of digital tool adoption during the pandemic. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, 70% of GP consultations were carried out face-to-face, within weeks that figure was just 23%. Both the RCGP and Health Foundation are calling for greater investment in digital primary care services as a result.

Of course, there are other established names vying for a share of the market – not least BabylonPush Doctor and GP Access (askmyGP) – and HealthHero will have to differentiate its offering if it’s to fulfill its ambition. A focus on the corporate/insurance market combined with the holistic approach – it can provide consultations from your sofa with a multidisciplinary team including specialists, mental health and musculoskeletal practitioners as well as GPs – is a good place to start, especially given the increase in remote working.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: digital   scaleup   healthcare  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Mid-tier Mindtree scoops Top Tier exec for UK-based global post

logoBangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm Mindtree has boosted its top management team with the appointment of Venu Lambu as President of Global Markets. Based in London, Lambu will be responsible for Mindtree’s strategic direction across all industry segments.  

picLambu transferred across from Mindtree’s parent company Larsen & Toubro, who hired him in January from Cognizant where he was Senior Vice President & Global Markets Head, Technology Services. Lambu joined Cognizant in December 2013 as Global Head for Infrastructure & Cloud Services after an eight-year stint at HCL where he was Vice President & Head, Continental Europe.

This is a significant appointment for Mindtree in terms of experience, role and location. Mindtree has been without a leader in Europe since March and has struggled for growth in the region (see Mindtree’s European miseries mount). Lambu’s deep knowledge of the territory (he was based in London at both Cognizant and HCL) should help Mindtree pinpoint new market opportunities.

TechMarketView hopes to catch up with Lambu soon.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: offshore   management  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Everyone for tennis?

LogoThe Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the national governing body of tennis in Great Britain, has engaged Deloitte with the aims of both growing participation in the sport and attracting a new generation of tennis fans. The organisations will work together to devise new digital initiatives to support the LTA’s vision of ‘Tennis Opened Up’, encouraging anyone of any age, background or level of fitness to pick-up a racket.

Deloitte will help to develop and improve the LTA’s digital platforms to ensure that tennis players, coaches, volunteers and fans are easily able to access personalised information on the facilities available, as well as the governing body’s latest content and upcoming events. The organisations will also collaborate to devise new methods of audience engagement during live tennis events, exploring the potential for emerging technologies such as virtual reality to enhance the experience of fans during live tournaments.

Tennis participation numbers in the UK have long suffered both from a too narrow demographic appeal and as a result of how difficult it can be to find a court, a coach or just someone to play with. Deloitte will be working with the LTA to launch new digital tools which not only drive inclusivity, but also aim to make booking a tennis court as simple as ordering a takeaway.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: contract   consulting   digital   big+4  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Kainos and DfT collaborate to ease congestion

LogoTwo new digital services built by Kainos Group in close collaboration with the Department for Transport (DfT) have just hit the streets. The initiatives are aimed at both minimising disruption caused by the approximately 2.5 million road works carried out in England every year and improving journeys for all road users in this country.

The two-year, £10m project involved Kainos putting together a 40-strong team to work with over 500 local authorities including, Highways England, TfL, Transport authorities, utility companies and their contractors. The goal was to develop Street Manager, enabling better planning and management of roadworks, and an Open Data service, which gives registered users near real-time notifications on live street and roadworks. This latter community includes journey planners, sat-nav companies, universities and researchers. The new services also allow users to obtain permission to carry out works and identify opportunities for collaboration, helping to reduce the number of street and roadworks across England.

Elsewhere Whitehall, Kainos has just secured an £8m contract with HM Land Registry. The deal will see the company partner with the client on a range of digital and technical transformation programmes.

Kainos has been trading ahead of forecasts for FY21 for both revenue and profit (see here). Indeed, so strong has been its recent performance that the company is returning to the Government all the furlough money that it had drawn down since lockdown. Kainos puts the resilience in its UK business down in part to its long-term customer relationships within Public Sector. Here the company continues to lead the way on the Government’s Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework through its work with Defra, HMCTS and HM Land Registry.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: publicsector   contract   digital   transformation   traffic  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Atos wins HPC contract with Oxford University

Atos logoAtos continues to build its high-performance computing (HPC) presence in the UK. It has signed a new four-year, £5m, contract with the University of Oxford. Under the contract, Atos will “deliver a new, state of the art, deep learning supercomputer built on the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD ™ architecture”. Supported by Atos expertise, the supercomputer, which is the largest AI supercomputer in the UK, will enable UK academics and industry to drive forward scientific discoveries and innovation in machine learning and artificial intelligence, as part of the JADE2 project.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the aim of JADE2 is to build on the success of the current JADE (Joint Academic Data Science Endeavour) facility, a national resource providing advanced GPU computing facilities to world-leading AI and machine learning experts from a consortium of eight UK universities and the Alan Turing Institute.

The JADE2 supercomputer will offer more than triple the capacity of the original JADE machine and provide increased computing capabilities to a wider consortium of over twenty universities and the Turing Institute, helping to meet the level of demand for AI-focused facilities created as a result of the success of the JADE resource. The system will be hosted at the STFC Hartree Centre in Daresbury, near Warrington.

We have commented on the strength in Atos’ HPC capabilities in the past – see Market Readiness index: Atos profile. It has positioned to answer the requirement for massive computer power and complex data security solutions, with HPC part of that picture. Its investment has paid off. Alongside its involvement with University of Oxford and the Hartree Centre it can also point to the use of its supercomputer power at organisations such as Supercomputing Wales (see here), the Atomic Weapons Authority (see here) and the Wellcome Genome Campus (see here). One of the other companies making strides in HPC/supercomputing is HPE; at the end of last month, we announced its win with the Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF) for HPC and AI technologies – see here.  

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: education   AI   university   data   HPC   supercomputing  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Rackspace back on the NASDAQ

RXTAfter four years as a privately-held company, multi-cloud services provider, Rackspace Technology, has returned to the NASDAQ and – as a sign of the times – will ring a virtual bell later today. The company first went public back in 2008.

Yesterday, Rackspace announced the pricing of its initial public offering (IPO) of 33,500,000 shares of common stock at a price of $21.00 per share. This is at the lower end of the target range of $21-$24 per share. Shares will later today begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "RXT".

Rumours of a return to public trading had been circulating for some time before the firm confirmed in July it would indeed be back in the ‘limelight’. Rackspace expects to receive gross proceeds of c$703.5m and will use the funds to pay off $600m in debt and for general corporate purposes.

Rackspace has been repositioning itself as a multi-cloud services provider focused on cloud optimisation, security, cloud native enablement, and data modernisation. In EMEA, we have seen a concerted effort to deepen leadership capability and raise ambitions. Earlier this year, it appointed an industry veteran as its new UK General Manager - find out who it was, here.

The firm has traditionally played in the mid-market but wants to shift further up to take on the large Global System Integrators in big enterprise accounts. We’ve already seen some progress in this regard, particularly in the Financial Services sector.

See where Rackspace places in our 2020 Supplier Ranking report.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: cloud   multicloud  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

TaxScouts gets funding to cut the ‘Costa’ for Spanish taxpayers

logoI’m not in the least bit surprised that London-based tax return service TaxScouts has raised its pricing as I just couldn’t see how the business model would work on a £99 flat fee basis. Mind you, I have much the same concern on its new £119 flat fee to handle your self-assessment tax return “No matter how complicated it gets”.

Basically, TaxScouts is an accountancy marketplace which pays a fixed fee (not stated but I’d guess it’s £119 less 20% for their cut) to its partner accountancy network to process punters’ self-assessment tax returns within 48 hours of receipt.

Launched in 2018 and having raised some £1.5m so far (see TaxScouts gets £1.2m more to make tax less taxing and predecessor), TaxScouts has announced a £5m Series A funding round led by Octopus Ventures, with previous investors SpeedInvest, Seedcamp and Finch Capital, also participating, along with Clocktower Technology Ventures, TaxScout’s first US investor.

TaxScouts has now set its sights on Continental Europe, first stop Spain. TaxScouts has already installed a country manager in Madrid and will use part of the funding to build the team there. I assume that TaxScouts have a deep an understanding of the Spanish tax system and culture else this move could be fraught with risk.

I can see the attraction for accountants in finding new clients at what is probably a ‘loss-leader’ fee, in the hope that the client will go direct next time (accountants do not pay to use the platform). If so, this is surely a risk to TaxScouts’ business model as it reduces the likelihood of them getting repeat business; the accountant could still charge the client the same fee next time, but wouldn’t have to pay a cut to TaxScouts.

I’m just not clear how to ‘square the circle’ on this start-up!

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Gaming and Streaming both having 'A Good COVID-19'

As I have previously noted, COVID-19 is seeing ‘A Tale of Two Economies’. To add to the online retailers, Cloud providers, those equipping the nation to WFH etc, we can add two other areas having ‘ A Good COVID-19’


Sony’s Gaming & Networking division - responsible for the PlayStation - saw revenue increase 32% in the quarter to end June - ie the ‘Lockdown Quarter’. Sony also is invested in Epic Games (think Fortnite)

Streaming Video

OfcomThe annual OFCOM report reports a surge of 33% in the time spent viewing content on screen in April. Subscription services like Netflix were the main beneficiaries - even the ‘Silver Surfers’ have got the streaming bug now. Time spent watching streaming services were up a massive71% yoy. Disney+ was only launched in March but has already become the 3rd most used subscription service - overtaking the free BBC iPlayer in homes with kids. But iPlayer was a big hit in lockdown with a 72% rise yoy. Normal People and Killing Eve (both programmes popular with a younger age group) were the major hits. An Ofcom poll showed that the vast majority of users intended to continue their subscriptions post C-19 (whenever that might be...). Looks like the glory days for ‘live TV’, of the kind we have been used to on the BBC and ITV,  really are over.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Tuesday 04 August 2020

*NEW RESEARCH* COVID correction for Tech VC deals

chartVenture capital investment in UK and Irish technology companies was down 22% by value and 17% by volume in Q2 compared with Q1, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Ascendant, but this is seen as an understandable virus-induced correction rather than an existential crisis.

During Q2, a total of £1.91b was invested in 231 companies in the sector by 447 investors. During the first half of 2020, £4.3b (£3.9b in H1 2019) has been invested in 510 deals (554 in H1 2019).

The latest edition of IndustryViews Venture Capital has more detail, along with 50 pages of succinct commentary on UK tech venture funding deals.

TechMarketView Foundation Service and UKHotViews Premium subscription clients can click here to download the report.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

Tags: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 04 August 2020

K3 squared up to H120 challenges

K3 logoAfter the release of delayed FY19 results last month that laid bare the struggles K3 Business Technology faced (see Delayed K3 FY19 results shed unflattering light), H120 was also a challenging period as COVID-19 hit and the company put the loss making UK Dynamics subsidiary into administration in April.

Without the drag from UK Dynamics, revenue from continuing operations for the six months to 31 May was only marginally down however, from £27.9m to £27.2m which is a reasonable result given the circumstances. And with 75.8% of revenue now recurring, there is a better visibility. Adjusted EBITDA was harder hit, declining from £3.6m to £2.6m, with loss before tax of £0.8m (vs. £0.5m in the year ago period). 

The business is rather different compared to the end of 2019. As CEO Adalsteinn Valdimarsson says it is tighter, more manageable and the risk profile has changed due to the higher level of recurring revenue, less exposure to the UK market (63% of business is outside the UK now) and rising opportunity from global accounts. A better balance across the business is evident, with retail now 31% of revenue, manufacturing 25%, distribution 13% and services 20% and this diversity will be an important factor as sectors and regions emerge from lockdown conditions and assess their IT spend. 

The shift towards its own IP has been a consistent strategy. Four years ago the stated aim was that revenue from K3’s own IP would be as substantial as other parts of the business and the good news is that it is getting there (£9.7m revenue in H1) – and it now also represents half of gross profit. With Fashion, Pebblestone, POS, Dataswitch and particularly the Imagine product forming a solid IP base, K3 has is building good foundations. The business still looks a little cumbersome with Managed Services where revenue was down 4% in H1 and third party products (Sage, Syspro) where revenue fell 25%, so it will be important to continue developing the Imagine cloud platform while leveraging the third party business as a route to market. We expect the shape of the K3 business to continue to change.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   software  

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Tuesday 04 August 2020

What would Microsoft gain from TikTok?

Microsoft logoTikTok logoTikTok’s prospective buyer is in place – Microsoft. The date is determined - 15 September. The price is being negotiated, including what percentage will go to the Trump administration. What Microsoft will gain from acquiring the TikTok business in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is the question.

Data lies at the heart, the very thing that ostensibly the Trump administration is worried about - TikTok’s potential (and denied) ties to the Chinese government and the risk that US data might be misused. With sections of TikTok within its portfolio Microsoft would have  access to a wealth of data that could bolster is own operations. The huge dataset – and TikTok's AI/ML algorithms - could feed into Microsoft’s own extensive AI/ML research and product developments to drive its portfolio forward. It could benefit from access to additional engineers too.

While TikTok's  swarm of teenage users are not Microsoft’s core market – indeed it has been moving away from the consumer sector – they could provide a direct line into their preferences and actions, insight Microsoft could use to improve its gaming products and chatbots. Gaming is a persistent part of the Microsoft portfolio so there is a growth opportunity along with indirect and longer term gains by engaging more effectively with the younger demographic who will become the business buyers of the future. 

The richest revenue opportunity must surely be advertising, with a platform to rival FacebookAmazon and Google/You Tube. Microsoft’s Bing, Search and LinkedIn advertising revenue is miniscule by comparison but TikTok and its data could turbo charge that. And with such a limited footprint currently, there are no competitive considerations – a sensitive topic at the moment given that Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple are deep in US Congressional anti-trust hearings.

Microsoft/TikTok is not a done deal. And the strategic and practical implications of this complicated proposal are only starting to be explored – but it would be a significant move. Microsoft will only be buying part of TikTok, so the question of what happens with the rest remains. We do know that TikTok parent ByteDance’s bid to relocate to the UK has been approved by the UK government. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: acquisition   software  

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Tuesday 04 August 2020

SCC Services strong in FY20

sccSCC’s results for the year to end March 2020 show robust growth of 5.5% (to £2.3bn) across the business, which spans EMEA. EBIT growth was even stronger at 8.8% (to £30.7m). In Services specifically, growth was 11% across the Group.  

Of course, this period only captures the very start of the lockdown, and SCC like others saw its Professional Services business take a big hit initially. James Rigby, SCC EMEA CEO, told us this has since recovered but is still notably lower than last year. Data Centre services have held out while cloud platforms have continued to show strong growth.  

In the UK, the top line in FY20 was all but flat (+0.2% to £723.4m) but operating profit increased 5% (to £15.4m). In Services, growth was a healthy 9% (to £226.5m – and up from 5% last year) with annuity-based services accounting for £162m (also up 9%). Wins including Imperial Brands, RAC, Brakes Group, and Countrywide reflect success across its whole portfolio of services, and both its direct and indirect (i.e. via SI partners) approach. SCC also received a moving “thank you” from the NHS for an AWS-powered website it built at the height of the pandemic.   

The firm’s approach is to cover all aspects of the hybrid world: on-prem data centre services, private and public cloud. Its own cloud platforms, Sentinel (fully certified OFFICIAL/OFFICIAL SENSITIVE) and Cloud+, are both seeing “great demand”. In June, SCC launched Oworks – a separate brand focused on helping organisations scale in the Public Cloud. It’s early days for the business, but we believe its proposition (migration and managed services across AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform) will be well received amongst its mid-market clients.  

SCC might be very much a British brand, but worthy of note are its established global delivery centres in Romania and Vietnam, which have over 1,100 staff in total. As a privately held company, SCC has been able to drive investment without having to worry about pressure from shareholders. Sustained growth in Services, and ongoing demand for its own cloud platforms, show this approach continues to pay off. The firm is resilient and as well placed as anyone to ride out the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: results   cloud   hybrid  

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Tuesday 04 August 2020

Wejo taps into coronavirus fund

LogoChester-based connected car data fledgling Wejo has raised £10m from HMGovt’s Future Fund and other investors. The latter include US giant General Motors, which took a 35% stake last year that valued start-up at more than £200m. The round was led by DIP Capital LLP and the monies will both help shore up the company’s liquidity and support some of the contracts that Wejo has won during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Future Fund was launched in late April to support UK start-ups and scale-ups that are either pre-revenue of loss making through the pandemic. The investment in Wejo, which both comes as a convertible loan that turns into shares over time and must be backed £ for £ by private equity, is one of the bigger sums secured so far through this scheme.

Founded in 2014, the company is focused on creating the largest single source of connected car data. There are now 15 million cars on its platform generating billions of data points. These are standardised, enhanced and licensed to mobility businesses from traffic analysts to parking app developers, smart city planners to governments.

Last week the company unveiled a tie-up with Hyundai. This latest deal follows agreements with General Motors and Mercedes owner Daimler. In recent months Wejo has also been working with authorities in the US to track car movements during lockdown, providing data to eight US states.

A pandemic driven drying up of available funding, together with falling demand form car makers cutting back on expenditure during the crisis created a difficult situation for Wejo. It has been forced to cut headcount. The company believes, however, that this latest raise will give it the clear water it needs to trade through the challenging months ahead.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: funding   startup   data   connectedcar  

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Tuesday 04 August 2020

ARM’s founder supports UK listing

ARMHauserYesterday I made clear my views about rumours that Nvidia was posed to buy ARM. I said that ARM was the best tech company to come out of the UK in the last half dozen decades. I was 'disappointed' when they were acquired by Softbank in 2016. HMGovt should have stepped in then to prevent it. How many other countries would have allowed their Crown Jewels to have have been sold in that way?

I had hoped that ARM might now be IPOed again on the LSE and become a true UK tech company again.

I was therefore interested to read the views of ARM’s founder - Sir Hermann Hauser - on the BBC website saying the ARM sale to Nvidia would be a disaster. He repeated that ‘It is one of the fundamental assumptions of the ARM business model that it can sell to everybody. If it becomes part of Nvidia, most of ARM’s licensees are competitors of Nvidia and will, of course, then look for an alternative to ARM. All decisions will be made in America not Cambridge’.

Hauser thinks the HMGovt should support ARM being listed in London and the US.

‘If ever there was a big strategic prize to be had, it would be to take the crown away from Intel as the #1 microprocessor company in the world and make it part of the UK’.


Posted by: Richard Holway

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Tuesday 04 August 2020

More dosh for ‘legaltech’ Clarilis

logoAnother useful funding boost for Birmingham-based ‘legaltech’ start-up, Clarilis, which has raised £6m in a Series B round from existing investor the Northern Venture Capital Trust Funds (VCTs) which are managed by Mercia (£2.5m), and Gresham House Ventures (£3.5m), investing on behalf of the Baronsmead VCTs.

Launched in 2015 by brothers James Quinn and Kevin Quinn, Clarilis previously raised dosh two years ago (see Legaltech Clarilis secures £3.1m to fuel expansion). The Clarilis platform ‘automates complex suites of precedents, such as Share Purchase and Facility Agreement suites with many ancillaries, many parties and complex underlying deal structures’. Now you know.

There was a flurry of funding activity in legaltech start-ups around the same time (e.g. see Legaletch Lexoo leaps up a funding level or Juro contracts for $2m funding round or 'Legaltech' Apperio raises $10m to track legal costs) but the heat seems to have gone out of that market since then. Maybe people have stopped suing each other perhaps?

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   legal  

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Tuesday 04 August 2020

Move towards satellite offices could reinvigorate the High Street

FarnhamIn my posts Towards the New Normal and  Shape of the High Street, I forecast  that C-19 would change working practices permanently. Commuting into City centres to work would be a thing of the past. Most people would shun public transport. However, a new hybrid model will evolve. WFH would become the norm for those that could but people would still need to physically meet team-mates and clients. New joiners would still need to be trained f2f. I predicted that High Streets in regional locations would not return to their retail-oriented glory days. This was changing BC anyway. Internet shopping is now the default setting. High Streets would be hubs for services (hairdressers, nail bars, key cutting, dry cleaning drop-offs etc), hospitality (bars, restaurants etc) and entertainment (cinemas, bowling alleys, clubs, gyms etc)

Crucially, I see High Street hubs housing regional office centres for use in the new hybrid model. People would do their ‘work’ from home but visit a local hub (which they would drive to) once or twice a week for meetings, training etc. I saw retail outlets being converted into these flexible office spaces for hire by the hour, day or week. Also they could be used by those that didn’t have suitable space (importantly the young) to WFH. I saw this as revitalising local High Streets bringing greater footfall for bars, restaurants etc.

Yesterday was the first day when we were encouraged to go back to the office. But footfall in London was just 2% higher than the previous Monday. London offices are like ghost ships. But IWG (who own Regus offices) today reported a surge in demand for regional offices. ‘More companies will have distributed workforces with more satellite offices, more employees working closer to home or continuing to WFH’. Regus operates in over 1,100 towns and cities in the UK. So could really benefit from this change.

Last week I made the point thatHowever much the PM might plead, the WFH genie just won’t go back in the bottle’. I know the transition might be painful for some. But if local High Streets are revitalised in the process, then that change will be for the good.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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