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Monday 06 July 2020

BooHoo shares crash 23%

BooHooFurther to my post yesterday on BooHoo and the sweatshirts of Leicester - See Big BOO to BooHoo - BooHoo’s shares crashed by a massive 23.4% today; knocking over £1.1b off their market value.

BooHoo is basically saying that they knew nothing of all this and the firm concerned was not one of its authorised suppliers. We, at TechMarketView, often have to sign T&Cs with large global companies which specifically refer not just to our practices but those of our suppliers too. Of course, it is difficult to police the further you go down the supply chain. But surely alarm bells would start to ring if you were being supplied T-shirts which you could then resell for £2 and STILL make a profit? Indeed, we as consumers, should surely understand that such a T-shirt must have been made by someone earning a pittance.

Interesting to see BooHoo’s shareholders paying the ultimate price.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Monday 06 July 2020

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Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Monday 06 July 2020

Gresham growth stunted by COVID-19

GreshamGresham Technologies, the provider of transaction control and data integrity solutions to the financial services industry, has issued a trading update highlighting the company’s faltering performance in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gresham’s half year results, for the period ended 30 June 2020, are expected to show that group revenue was down 2% to £12.2m. Meanwhile revenue from the company’s flagship Clareti software was down 11% to £7.4m. At the time of Gresham’s FY19 results, published just before lockdown commenced, the company had previously been enjoying strong performance. Group revenue at that point was up 30% to £25m and Clareti, up 31% (see: Gresham delivers excellent results).

Despite new business activity slowing in the face of COVID-19, Gresham’s leadership has expressed confidence in the demand for its offerings. The company has recently secured two significant Clareti licences, including a £1.7m contract with a major global bank. Meanwhile, Clareti renewals have remained strong and forward looking annualised recurring revenue (ARR) was 18% higher in H1 than at the same point last year.

The recent dip in fortunes for Gresham highlights the impact of COVID-19 on market prospects, even in the relatively resilient financial services space. Gresham is a well-managed company with a strong proposition, that had been thriving prior to the pandemic. The company is still working at full capacity, albeit remotely and has indicated that it plans to invest further in sales and distribution during H2 in an effort to boost its pipeline.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: results   covid-19  

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Monday 06 July 2020

BigDish pivots to SaaS

BigDishBigDish, the main market-listed food technology firm, is pivoting to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based model as it looks to adapt to a post-pandemic hospitality market. 

BigDish is a yield management platform designed to match restaurants with diners. It operates through a website and phone app looking to help restaurants fill capacity by offering customer discounts when bookings are slow. Restaurants then pay BigDish a fee per diner seated. The business has been expanding throughout the UK on a city-by-city roll out and has signed up some 650, mainly independent restaurants to date.

For technology providers to the hospitality industry, Covid represents both a significant financial challenge and a transformational opportunity, where reservation systems will be central to managing things like physical distancing and pre-booking requirements.

Prior to the pandemic, BigDish’s business model was the typical transactional model preferred by aggregators where it owned the customer relationship and the data. BigDish’s new big plan is to migrate to a SaaS-based model, charging restaurants a monthly fee but offering in return the ownership of the customer relationship and the data. The Company sites as rationale for the change the growing resistance from restaurants to transnational models where commissions can be as high as 35% in food delivery.

BigDish should be commended for its agility and moving to a SaaS-based model makes commercial sense at a time when transactional volumes are likely to be lower, given social distancing and consumers’ reluctance to eat out. The challenge lay with persuading cash strapped restaurants to part with monthly subscription revenues, at a time when the sector remains on financial life support. 

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: saas   foodtech  

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Monday 06 July 2020

Lifted secures new funds to enhance home care

Lifted logoTech enhanced home care business Lifted (Better Home Care Services Ltd) has raised £1.6m in a seed round led by Fuel Ventures. The round included additional participation from Vitry Enfants and Marc Cohen of 1818 Venture Capital. The latest investment follows a seed round in September 2019 and takes total funding to £3.1m.

The London-based business was founded by Rachael Crook and Sam Cohen in 2018. It provides personal, live-in, dementia, respite and companionship care services. It is seeking to use technology to transformation the quality of care and keep families better informed of care provision.

With the new funding Lifted intends to scale its business and expand its technology services, including creating tools to provide greater personalised care,  advice for families, enhancing the skills of care workers, and expanding it AI capabilities to provide coaching and assisted decision making.

As we have commented before, we expect social care tech to become an increasingly active space for start-ups and investors over the next few years. In recent months we have seen Cera expand further, Alcove experiencing increasing demand during the COVID-19 crisis, and Service Robotics close an overfunded crowdfunding campaign. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: funding   startup   socialcare   care  

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Sunday 05 July 2020

Big BOO to BooHoo

BooHooOn the 18th June 20, I wrote an article entitled YooHoo for BooHoo where I celebrated the success of a UK company epitomising the COVID-19 period. I spoke highly of their ‘local/UK supply chain’ which meant they could switch quickly and easily to provide the cheap leisure clothes people wanted during lockdown.

I was not aware that much of BooHoo’s clothes were made in sweatshops in Leicester where workers were paid rather less than the minimum wage. All this came to light in a Sunday Times expose today. See Fashion giant faces ‘slavery’ investigation.

We have old friends who live in Leicester and they told us months ago how the garment-producing factories there were paying little heed to lockdown and continuing to operate when they should not have done. Looks like, even when they were allowed to open again, they paid little attention to social distancing and all the other COVID-19 measures that more law-abiding factories have brought in. We now all know the consequences with Leicester having to go into local lockdown again.

It will be interesting to see how BooHoo reacts to this major dent to their brand. Also, whether the Great British buying public will ‘give a damn’. Usually the ‘slave labour’ slur is attached to global brands using sweatshops in the Far East. But it is often the case that the public prefer to continue to buy a £2 T-shirt over the conditions of the workers that make it

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Friday 03 July 2020

ECS continues growth drive with senior appointments

ecsECS has made two senior appointments to support its growth strategy across the business. James Jarvis joins as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, and Marc Turner comes on board as Customer Experience Sales Director, to support the acceleration of large-scale projects for blue-chip customers tackling digital transformation. ECS has offices in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Singapore, and an offshore capability in Pune, and is focused around three main business segments: Digital Engineering, Customer Experience and Data & Analytics.

The firm has built a track record as an Amazon Web Services partner and is a certified Advanced Consulting Partner, Managed Services Partner, and one of only three EMEA Amazon Connect Service Delivery Partners. It is also one of only 12 UK-headquartered businesses to be awarded the DevOps competency partner status by AWS.

It’s been a busy period under CEO, Mark Farrington, who joined in January 2019 and who has worked on bringing greater focus around the three business segments. Amongst other things, last November we saw ECS appoint former RBS CX lead, John Ing, to help accelerate a push into the contact centre market. And 12 months ago, ECS divested of its cyber security division to bring focus to its other capabilities. The firm now has estimated revenue of c£75m, with an ever-improving revenue mix.

The new appointments follow action taken over the past year to boost the sales team across the board. The enterprise experience of Jarvis and Turner should prove very useful as ECS looks to expand its client base beyond where it has traditionally been strong – i.e. banking – into other burgeoning sectors including utilities and insurance. During the pandemic, we understand ECS has played a critical role for various clients (e.g. in grocery retail and banking) enabling their urgent responses to the lockdown.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: people   analytics   customerexperience   appointments   CX  

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Friday 03 July 2020

Lemonade investors celebrate first day fizz

LemonadeLemonade, one of the pioneers of insurtech innovation, has enjoyed a very successful stock market debut following its initial public listing yesterday. The company launched its shares (LMND) on the NYSE and watched them climb from an initial price of $29 to nearly $70. The stock closed the day on $69.41. The increase of nearly 140% reflected a value of $3bn and meant that Lemonade’s first day as a publicly traded company was the most successful stock launch of 2020.

Lemonade announced its intentions to list in June, having previously deferred its original stock market launch (see: Insurtech pioneer announces plans for IPO). The company shelved plans for its IPO in 2019, in light of the disappointing experience of two other Softbank backed startups, Uber and WeWork. Yesterday’s successful launch contrasts sharply with the experience of its stablemates and will no doubt have been a relief to its backers.

Despite the first day froth, profitability at Lemonade remains elusive and the company is still making heavy losses. The insurer’s revenues tripled in 2019, reaching $64m, whilst net losses doubled to $109m. However, the insurtech is of course investing in the future and Lemonade been very successful in attracting younger customers, mostly aged under 35.

Lemonade has been a driving force in the transformation of the insurance industry and has paved the way for others (see: Insurtech innovation “New Kids on the Block”). Following its rapid expansion, and with a significant number of new investors to please, the company will increasingly need to turn its attentions to delivering profits to its shareholders.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: insurTech  

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Friday 03 July 2020

Fujitsu adds threat response to cyber security services

Fujitsu adds threat response to UK security serviceThe UK will be the first recipient of Fujitsu’s new Threat Response service ahead of a broader European rollout, with a particular focus on giving small to medium enterprise (SME) customers 24/7 access to Fujitsu cyber security experts and consultants based in its Warrington security operations centre (SOC).

Managed security services (MSS) and consultancy are the twin pillars of Fujitsu’s cyber security proposition, of which Threat Response is now another component (see our Cyber Security Supplier Prospects 2020 and Beyond report here). The premium Threat Ready package is designed to quickly answer and resolve queries from IT departments dealing with cyber attacks to minimise the chance of mission critical systems and data being compromised, curtail operational disruption and aid GDPR reporting compliance.

By delivering threat intelligence and response services previously reserved for larger corporates to smaller businesses, Fujitsu and other cyber security suppliers are democratising cyber security provision to a certain extent (see our Cyber Security Market Trends and Forecasts to 2022 report here). That is especially relevant for those organisations moving more applications and services into multi-cloud environments, but perhaps more importantly opens up a much larger pool of potential clients for Fujitsu and other UK managed security service providers (MSSPs) in the process.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: MSSP   cybersecurity   threatresponse  

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Friday 03 July 2020

Atos uses blockchain to ease the burden of MIFID II

AtosFrench-owned business process specialist, Atos, has been selected by UK investment industry body, TISA, to develop a new digital utility for the asset management industry, in response to the demands of MIFID II. Atos was chosen for the project following a competitive tender process that involved a total of 13 firms submitting proposals to TISA.

TISA, the Investing and Saving Alliance, is an investment industry association with more than 200 members. Its mission is to improve financial wellbeing, promote collective engagement, deliver solutions and champion innovation. Reflecting its commitment to open standards, TISA, is these days increasingly focused on digital infrastructure initiatives.

Atos will partner with TISA in delivering “TURN” (the TISA Universal Reporting Network). A blockchain based platform, which is being created to ease the burden on savings and investment firms of the reporting requirements around MiFID II. The technology will be available across Europe and is scheduled for launch in the final quarter of 2020.

TURN will enable asset managers, financial advisers, and other industry participants to capture and share MIFID II data via a standardised template. All relevant stakeholders will have access to the information in real-time. The system will replace the current approach via which information is inconsistent and sometimes challenging to access.

The success of Atos in this competitive tender is a further validation of its strong technical expertise and breadth of capabilities. The company is one of a number of SITS providers that have successfully built on their reputation for delivery excellence in the financial services space, to increasingly move into initiatives focused on innovation and transformation.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: blockchain  

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Friday 03 July 2020

VMware buys Datrium for hybrid cloud DR

VMware buys Datrium for hybrid cloud backupVMware’s proposed acquisition of disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) specialist Datrium may help organisations cut the cost of business continuity by giving them on demand access to cloud-hosted backup infrastructure and storage management tools.

The deal looks like the natural evolution of an already close relationship: Datrium was founded by ex-employees of VMware and duplication specialist Data Domain (acquired by VMware “parent” EMC in 2009) and the company already offers an end to end DR service hosted on the VMware Cloud on AWS platform.

Privately held Datrium has grown to employ around 170 staff in the US and UK since 2012, and has attracted a reported US$170m of funding to date. Its client base grew by an estimated 450% in the first half of 2019. That includes large corporates like Siemens, which in 2018 said using Datrium’s DVX and CloudShift DRaaS tools helped it shave up to 75% off IT spend over time and recover from failure ten times faster by shifting storage management and backup to public clouds.

We think that organisational disaster recovery and business continuity strategies have been brought into sharper focus by the Coronavirus pandemic, and many IT departments suddenly supporting larger numbers of remote workers will demand a fresh approach to the backup of mission critical data assets. With budgets likely to be squeezed this year and next, cost and flexibility will become even more critical, and Datrium’s cloud-native platform appears to meet both requirements.

Posted by: Martin Courtney

Tags: acquisition   storage   businesscontinuity   DisasterRecovery   backup   hybridcloud   DRaaS  

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Friday 03 July 2020

*NEW RESEARCH* Mastering the Art of Practical Innovation

Report imageThe innovation lifecycle blends pain points and purpose, with a splash of serendipity, and the incentive to produce something that is both different and makes a positive difference to business and consumers. The challenge is building a framework to support ongoing innovation - from ideation through implementation to tangible business value - without stifling it. “Mastering the Art of Practical Innovation” explores how Atos approaches the task.

Across the tech sector, providers have assembled skills, capabilities and components to support customers’ innovation ambitions as they digitally transform their businesses. Investment is being directed towards services, products and IP around technologies such as IoT and edge computing, 3D printing and quantum computing, and new business model enablers such as industry data platforms. But there’s a difference between check-listing and melding capabilities together in a way that has a direct effect on the organisation implementing them and their consumers, whose experience is the ultimate arbiter of success. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: itservices   innovation   digital  

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Friday 03 July 2020

Have you got your copy of this year’s TechMarketView rankings report?

UK SITS Rankings Contents Have you got your copy of this year’s TechMarketView rankings report? Don’t miss out on finding out who ranks where in our top 60 and delving into the supplier profiles of the top 30. The rankings reflect the changes in the market, and in particular how the long-standing suppliers are managing the swing from heritage Software and IT/Business Process Services to new propositions. 

Top 20 ranking tables are also provided for key horizontal market areas as defined by TechMarketView’s Digital Evolution Model (DEM): Enterprise Software, Consulting, Solutions, and Operations (across Business Process, Applications and Infrastructure) giving readers unparalleled depth and breadth of analysis.

The much anticipated, and highly comprehensive, Supplier Rankings report is available for our Foundation Service clients here: UK SITS Supplier Rankings 2020.

Or, if you are not a client of the Foundation Service, or indeed of TechMarketView, contact info@techmarketview.com today to find out how to get your copy.

Posted by: HotViews Editor

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Friday 03 July 2020

Ample room for improvement in police ICT

HMICFRS logoIn his annual report on the State of Policing, Sir Thomas Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, has raised concerns about the development and use  of technology by police forces in England and Wales.

He said that forces face the challenge of balancing short-term funding for frontline services with the longer-term investment needed to enhance technological capability. The report says there are examples of forces making significant investment in computer systems that aren’t providing the benefits they should, and, in a few cases, these poor systems—or difficulties in implementing new ones—have reduced forces’ effectiveness.

Sir Thomas said that progress has been made with forces working together to share systems, but too many are still procured separately and lack interoperability. He called on forces to be more open about their ICT investments and the benefits they are achieving. The introduction of the Single Online Home, which provides the public with a consistent way of accessing police services online, was highlighted as a positive development. But more generally, he said there was "ample room for improvement" in police ICT arrangements.

Despite the concerns, the report does say there is now greater recognition of the important role that data and technology, particularly machine learning, have to play. The report highlights the advances made by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, West Midlands Police, South Yorkshire Police and Greater Manchester Police in developing data-driven services.

The police are struggling to adapt to the challenges associated with the scale and complexity of modern criminality as criminals increasingly exploit technology. The reports says that even the most basic investigations require specialist expertise for examining digital devices, which often leads to delays.

The report calls on forces to make collective decisions about systems to prompt closer alignment and commonality in the use of ICT. It says that policing in England and Wales needs leaders who will exploit the capabilities of technology. Concerns about the 43 forces operating independently are nothing new, but as forces face an increasing threat from borderless crime, closer integration of ICT systems and decision making will be required to ensure the ongoing effectiveness and efficiency of policing.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: police   transformation   interoperability   bluelight  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

Envestors finds investors to back investment platform

logoIt took me a little while to get my head around this one, as the PR described Envestors as ‘a digfital marketplace to connect UK startups and investors’.

Founded in 2004, Envestors is in fact an FCA-registered corporate finance broker, and they run a private investor network for sophisticated investors such as HNW individuals and Family Offices. Envestors has developed a proprietary investment platform, Envestry, to run the network, which they also white label to other investor networks.

Envestors has raised £2m through the SidebySide EIS fund to further develop and extend the Envestry platform.

As best as I understand it, Envestors charge companies seeking investment 6% of the funds they introduce along with a fixed £3k fee to complete the IM. Networks using the Envestry platform are charged an additional 3% of funds transacted through the platform.

One of Envestors’ great successes was the sale of parking management business Parking Eye to UK business services market leader Capita for £50m back in 2014, making a 77x return! Capita subsequently sold Parking Eye to a vehicle owned by Macquarie et al for £235m (see Capita offloads ParkingEye for £235m), also not a shabby return.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

Bristol’s OurPeople gets more dosh to communicate with your people

logoKeeping in touch with a dispersed workforce is challenge enough in the best of times, let alone now. There are many messaging apps and enterprise collaboration platforms that can be used for enterprise-wide communications with mobile workers. In recent times we have also seen the emergence of start-ups specifically designed for this purpose.

One such is Bristol-based OurPeople, which has raised $2m in a Series A funding round led by New York-based VC, Alpine Meridian. Also investing, in what appears to be a quasi-management buy-in, is US-based entrepreneur Robert Neveu, who joined OurPeople as managing partner in February, which I therefore assume was when the funding actually completed.

OurPeople was founded in 2016 by fitness industry entrepreneur, Ross McCaw, who remains CEO. Its client list includes marquee brands such as Virgin Active, Serco Leisure and West Ham United.

OurPeople appears to target the same market as Leicestershire-based workplace communications startup StaffCircle, one of the first tranche of UK tech SMEs selected to participate in our TechMarketView Innovation Partner Programme (see here). StaffCircle itself raised further funding just a couple of months ago (see Remote-working innovator StaffCircle secures further funding).

Undoubtedly there is room in this market for more than one start-up. As ever, success will depend as much on focus as on function.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

Totalmobile does the double on acquisitions

tmTotalmobile has announced today that it has closed two acquisitions. The field service/mobile workforce management provider has purchased Lone Worker Solutions (LWS) and Software Enterprises (known as Global Rostering System - GRS). The move adds further capability and scale to Totalmobile’s suite of SaaS-based Field Service Management software.

LWS provides access to safety alerts, status updates and locational information to support staff who are operating in high risk environments or undertaking sensitive activities. Its diverse customer base includes Network Rail, Mitie and Centrica. GRS enables organisations to build efficient staff rosters, that ensure the right staff are assigned to the required locations and shifts. Its solutions are currently being used to roster over 100,000 emergency services field-workers in the UK.

The acquisitions are to support Totalmobile’s aim to become the “preeminent Field Service Management provider within the UK’s Public Services, Housing, Property and Facilities Management, Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics sectors”. And certainly, these bolt-on acquisitions look to be a very sensible move in that regard.

The transactions follow what was a transformational year for the company in 2019 (again, on the back of acquisitions), which saw it grow the top line by 70% and EBITDA by 295%. The firms says the acquisitions of LWS and GRS will create 25% in additional revenue growth.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition   fieldservice  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

*UKHotViewsExtra* Accenture to cut up to 900 UK staff

Accenture logoAccenture is to cut between 700 and 900 UK jobs, equating to between 6% and 8% of its 11,000 employees in its offices across London, Aberdeen, and Cambridge. The news was picked up by the Guardian, which saw an internal note to staff. Accenture have since responded.

The internal note highlights that the company already had an overcapacity when the pandemic hit. And over the last period, additional strain has been felt due to lower demand and reduced natural attrition. The company has also identified that “structural costs need to be addressed”.

Accenture is keen to highlight that it has already taken actions to cut costs by decreasing travel (wouldn’t have been hard!), reducing contractor numbers, and pausing recruitment, but it has not been enough. As a result, redundancy talks will commence in the middle of this month, with all levels affected, including MDs (Accenture’s equivalent of ‘Partner’).

UKHotViews Premium logoAccenture’s statement reads: “We remain confident in our business in the UK for the long term. We are taking steps now to be able to continue investing in our workforce and our business, ensuring we have the right people with the right skills to best serve our clients and are well positioned for the future. We have notified our UK people that it is necessary to go into collective employee consultation for a proposed redundancy programme.”

TechMarketView subscribers, including those signed up to UKHotViewsPremium should read UKHotViewsExtra  -Accenture to make up to 900 UK staff redundant for our opinion on the news. If you are not yet a subscriber, please contact Deb Seth to find out how to access this and much more.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole

Tags: restructure   covid-19  

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Thursday 02 July 2020

Tesla - Now the most valuable carmaker in the world!

TeslaPretty amazing to read today (See FT) that Tesla’s value at $205b is now higher than Toyota and is now the most valuable carmaker in the world. Also pretty amazing to realise that Tesla’s share price is up five-fold in the last year. Indeed, as I wrote in my Share Indices Review for June, Tesla is up 158% in 2020 YTD.

Elon Musk believed the Tesla share price was too high at $755 in May. It is now $1100!

The problem is that I (and most others) have thought the Tesla share price too high at most times over the last couple of years! Of course, we have proved to be wrong every time. Fortunately, as a long term Tesla shareholder, I have ignored my instincts.

But, putting the share price to one side, there is little doubt that Tesla has really shaken up the automotive industry. Tesla has dragged a reluctant industry into the electric age. I’ve also make the point - See Elon, The Battery Boy - that, in my view, Tesla’s future  is more about batteries for the storage of renewable energy than cars.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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