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Wednesday 27 September 2023

Concentrix closes Webhelp deal

ConcentrixEarlier this week, US-headquartered customer services giant Concentrix signed the deal to buy French-headquartered rival Webhelp, in an acquisition first announced back in March (see Concentrix agrees to buy Webhelp for $4.8bn). The combined business is likely in due to course to get a new name and identity and is expected to have c.$9.8bn in revenue for FY 2023 on a pro forma basis. The new combined operation is to be led by current Concentrix CEO Chris Caldwell.

Concentrix has had a busy couple of years since it spun-off from previous owner, US IT distribution giant Synnex in December 2021 (see Concentrix completes spin-off from Synnex), making acquisitions and growing revenue double-digit (see here). However, the customer services market has become increasingly commoditised alongside the requirements to digitise delivery and offer genuine global scale. Webhelp will add over 25 new countries to Concentrix and the combined company will now have a footprint across more than 70 countries.

WebhelpWebhelp specialises in sales, marketing and payment services across Europe, Latin America, and Africa, and will bring about 1,000 new clients to Concentrix. It last changed hands in 2019 (see here) for €2.4bn. The company has significant operations in the UK market (as does Concentrix) with clients including the likes of Dixons Carphone, the Post Office, The Very Group and Yodel.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 15:07

Tags: acquisition   bps   CX   CXM  

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

Are Generative AI valuations getting out of hand?

OpenAIAccording to media reports, OpenAI is in discussions to possibly sell shares in a move that would boost the company’s valuation from $29bn to somewhere between $80-90bn. Employees would be allowed to sell their existing shares rather than the company issuing new ones.

Open AI has already raised over $11bn in funding (according to CrunchBase) with the majority of that coming from Microsoft who has invested over $10bn. VC firms including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive and K2 Global also invested just over $300m at a valuation of $27-29bn back in April. The business is apparently on track to generate revenue of around $1bn over the next 12 months, having previously projected $200m in revenue for this year. Even if it does hit its target $1bn, such a high valuation represents quite a multiple.

Investment is flowing into Generative AI at a rapid pace, with Amazon investing $4bn yesterday in Anthropic (at an unknown valuation) – See Amazon to invest up to $4bn in Anthropic. We also saw Data and AI platform Databricks raise another $500m, valuing it at $43bn in September – See Databricks raises another $500m. A number of companies have also announced substantial investments as they seek to capitalise on the AI opportunity, including Accenture ($3bn), EY ($1.4bn) and Wipro ($1bn). Nvidia stock is also up over 180% YTD, driven by its critical role in providing the infrastructure powering the Gen AI boom, and now valued at over $1trn, a price to sales multiple of over 30, and in stark contract to many tech stocks who are still well below the highs we saw in 2021.

Clearly AI is going to be transformative to all organisations, but how quickly can the opportunity be realised and are valuations getting somewhat out of hand? The technology that underpins these AI models is rapidly improving but implementing Generative AI is rarely transformative on its own, rather a combination of digital initiatives utilsing data, analytics, automation and changes to the customer experience are all required to drive higher productivity and position companies for growth.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:44

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

Fujitsu launches new tech to protect conversational AI

fujFujitsu has been working with Ben Gurion University as part of an initiative to embed its own researchers into tech incubators at universities around the world to conduct joint projects.

Yesterday, we heard of one such project between Fujitsu and the Israeli Uni, which has led to the joint launch of two new AI trust technologies. The purpose of the tech is to improve the reliability of the responses from conversational AI models. More specifically, this includes a technique to detect “hallucinations” – a phenomenon whereby generative AI creates incorrect or unrelated outputs.

Professor Yuval Elovici of Ben Gurion University said that “hallucination detection technology …. is pivotal for establishing trustworthy conversational AI systems”. These new technologies will be provided through Fujitsu’s AI Platform, codenamed “Fujitsu Kozuchi”. The platform includes a wide range of AI and ML tech.

Partnering with academia and driving forward leading edge tech has always been a strength for Fujitsu. However, the speed with which this gets into the hands of customers will be crucial. With so much focus/investment in AI across the entire supplier community, there is no shortage of high quality competition.

Separately, and rather interestingly, Fujitsu has said it will be moving out of its Tokyo headquarters. The move will see Corporate and tech dev functions move from Shiodome City Center offices (close to central Tokyo) to be integrated into its Kawasaki Plant. The move is in part prompted by the need to support more flexible working styles (staff will not have to commute to the Kawasaki office) and reflects the actions of other Tokyo-based firms.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:30

Tags: AI   ecosystem   ArtificalIntelligence   academia  

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

Feed the Index! – Tell us about your sustainability technology activities

Sustainability Technology Activity Index TechMarketView’s inaugural Sustainability Technology Activity Index report is out now – analysing how emerging and enabling technologies are being used across a variety of environmental sustainability use case areas.

The Index captures data about project milestones and product launches across a wide range of initiatives (spanning ESG reporting, nature monitoring, supply chain innovations, the circular economy, smart buildings, micromobility, energy grids, and carbon removal – to name a few) and includes analysis of which technologies (such as AI, IoT, cloud, blockchain, 5G, etc.) are in play, what suppliers and end user organisations are involved, and where and when activities takes place.

We track where activities (projects, products, initiatives, etc.) which have “changed state” – for example: launched a pilot, added a major partner to a consortium, transitioned from pilot into (more widely-available) production service, scaled-up an existing service and/or added a significant public reference customers, etc. In each case, the occasion connotes some degree of momentum and ramping-up of the activity as it moves closer to mainstream adoption (or widens its existing appeal).

Our research shows Amazon Web Services (AWS) and SAP taking top spots across UK&I and EMEA/Worldwide respectively (in terms of the number of environmental sustainability activities each supplier was involved in) during the Q4 2022 timeframe of this report; but that’s just part of what the data is telling us about trends in the sustainability technology space!

Do you have any activities you think we should know about for future iterations of the Index? You can find more information about our taxonomy of use case types and the technologies we’re monitoring here, which includes a link to a web form where you can provide details on your own activities… we’d love to know more!

You can also download a 'preview' version of the report now: Sustainability Technology Activity Index preview. Please contact Deb Seth for more information, and for details of tailored SME pricing.

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:29

Tags: use cases  

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

NCC continues to progress Next Chapter strategy

NCC GROUPCybersecurity supplier NCC group has experienced a difficult 12 months, with  FY23 revenue flat at constant currency, largely driven by declining global professional services revenue.

As covered back in June – See NCC Group has tough H2, a double digit decline in H2 offset growth in the first half of the year, driven predominantly by reduction in spend by North American technology clients and to a lesser extent by Global Professional Services in the UK. Cybersecurity (Assurance) revenue for FY23 was £271m, up 5% at actual rates, and flat in constant current. Global Professional Services saw a full year decline of -3% (constant currency), whilst Managed services performed well, up 12%. The UK & APAC Cyber Security business grew on a constant currency basis by 3.9%.

The Board expects FY24 to be a period of considerable change for the Group and expect low single digit revenue growth arising from stronger performance in high value Managed Services, including XDR (with global XDR orders up 72% yoy).  This will offset the annualisation of the sales declines in North American and UK Professional Services experienced during H2 FY23. Management said that cost efficiencies across Cyber Security and corporate functions are already being realised, and that Global Professional Services sales orders have stabilised, with no material clients lost.

NCC also continues to progress with its Next Chapter strategy, with its global delivery and operations centre in Manila opening in September. Cost cutting by customers (especially in the US) has driven a need to deliver more cost-effective services, including remote delivery, with management noting that NCC delivery has been too local and rigid in the past. The business is also building out its consulting team and enhancing Managed Services offering as it seeks to create more consultative and collaborative relationships with clients.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:05

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

Renew Risks raises £1.7m for better risk modelling of renewable energy projects

Renew RiskUK-based clean-energy risk analytics startup Renew Risk has raised £1.7m in a seed funding round led by Insurtech Gateway with participation from One Planet Capital, the University of Surrey, and angel investors.

Renew Risk provides risk modelling and analytics on a SaaS platform, tailored to the renewable energy market, that allows (re-)insurers, insurance brokers and offshore wind farm developers to better assess the risk to assets being constructed regions of the world prone to natural disasters, or in other naturally high-risk environments (such as deep-sea cabling to offshore sites).

The company’s aim is to provide data and insight that accelerates transition to renewable energy by helping to build underwriting capacity in the area, thus also reducing barriers to investment.

Our research into environmental sustainability use cases for the Sustainability Technology Activity Index has highlighted how emerging and enabling technologies have an important role to play, not just in directly supporting niche engineering ClimateTech endeavours themselves, but also in facilitating the investment environment they need in order to flourish. Carbon removal platforms (like CUR8 – see CUR8 carbon removal platform gets pre-seed funding) that channel funding to innovative solutions are one such example; InsureTech platforms, like RenewRisk, that make it easier to get renewable energy projects off the ground are another. And both are vital to growth.

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:03

Tags: InsureTech   renewables  

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

DSP gets new backing

LogoUK-based Oracle cloud and database specialist, DSP has received what is described as a “significant investment” from PE firm and Lloyds Banking Group subsidiary, LDC. The transaction marks an exit for YFM Equity Partners following a five-year partnership with the IT services provider which began with the support of a management buy-out at DSP in 2018. The new funds will be used to pursue the firm’s international growth ambitions.

Founded in 1999, DSP focuses on the management of high-performance databases and IT infrastructures and has built-up considerable expertise and capabilities in Oracle, SQL Server and Multi-Cloud technologies. Operating across a wide range of sectors, including financial and professional services, transport, healthcare, education and the public sector, DSP has grown its annual revenues to £30m and today employs some 200 people in the UK and Ireland. The company’s client base of over 500 organisations includes LV, Ocado, LNER, Coventry Council and Brita. Last year, the business made its fifth acquisition – Newcastle upon Tyne-based Oracle Applications Partner Claremont (see here).

With LDC’s backing, DSP intends to expand its customer offering, enhance its product and services capability and execute an acquisitive strategy targeting expansion into North America and Europe.  The new investment is expected to be in place by early next month.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:59

Tags: cloud   funding   Oracle   database   managed+services   application+services  

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

*UKHotViewsExtra* Why Meta's property move may resonate with UK tech leaders

MetaGlobal technology giant Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has paid around £150m to buy itself out of the lease of one of its flagship London offices, in a move that reflects one of the unresolved challenges of the post-pandemic world.

In 2021, Meta signed an eighteen-year lease on 1 Triton Square, a brand new state of the art office complex near Regent's Park, London, however the firm has never occupied the building. The amount paid to exit the contract is understood to be equivalent to around seven year’s rent, meaning that Meta was willing to fork out this large amount to avoid having to pay for the subsequent eleven years.

Meta has been looking to reduce its costs of late and the firm recently announced job cuts affecting around 11k of its 80k staff in response to the challenging economic environment (see: Thousands of job cuts planned). Meta’s latest move is however indicative of more than just straitened times and is something likely to resonate with the leadership of many other organisations in the UK.

HVXTechMarketView clients, including UKHotViews Premium subscribers,can learn more more here. If you do not currently have access to this material but would like to read this UKHotViewsExtra "Why Meta's property move may resonate with UK tech leaders" please contact Deb Seth for more information. 

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:47

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

Continuum Industries raises $10m for faster “sustainable infrastructure” development

Continuum IndustriesEdinburgh-based infrastructure development start-up Continuum industries has raised $10m in a Series A funding round led by Singular, with participation from previous investors Credo, Playfair, Techstart Ventures, and angel investors – bringing total funding to date to $15.5m.

When Anthony Miller covered Continuum Industries’ seed funding round for TechMarketVew, back in 2020 (see Backers help Continuum Industries find shortest route to funding), its AI-powered Optioneer platform – which optimises the most efficient and economical design for ‘linear’ infrastructure project, such as railways, roads, pipelines and power lines – was being touted for major civil construction and engineering undertakings in general.

Now, however, the company has very firmly put itself in the “sustainable infrastructure” camp – with efforts much focused on services for renewable energy cable projects, hydrogen networks, water networks, etc… (plus a trial, announced in June, to apply Optioneer in Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) scenarios – designed to ensure wildlife habitats are improved as land is developed, in anticipation of an uptick in interest as the Government’s BNG reporting requirements come on-stream from November this year).

Continuum Industries’ application of AI both to accelerate renewable infrastructure projects and improve biodiversity management helps it to straddle two major use case areas for sustainability technology (energy supply and nature monitoring & management – as covered in TechMarketView’s Sustainability Technology Activity Index), and the company is planning to use the new funds to double headcount, develop new functionality, and expand geographically over the next 12 months (it already boasts customers in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and the US).

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:54

Tags: nature monitoring   sustainable infrastructure   biodiversity   energy supply  

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

Cylera extends Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust partnership

Cylera logoDartford and Gravesham NHS Trust (DGT) has signed a three-year agreement with Cylera as part of its cybersecurity investment strategy.

New York headquartered Cylera was founded in 2017 to help solve the technological and operational challenges associated with securing and managing connected medical devices and IoT. It opened its UK offices at Hub8, the regional cyber tech community in Cheltenham, in 2021.

DGT is one of the largest hospital trusts in North Kent, providing acute and community services across four hospitals (Darent Valley, Queen Mary’s, Erith & District, and Gravesham Community), and serves a population of over 500,000 people. A cyberattack was one of four strategic risks identified on the Board Assurance Framework (BAF) at the end of 2022-23. Last year, the DGT Board undertook cyber security training to help it understand the NHS specific cyber landscape and foster a positive cyber and information security culture.

The Trust first started working with Cylera, in partnership with The AbedGraham Group, in 2021. Over the last few years, DGT has more than doubled its connected devices and currently utilises over 11,000 connected medical and IoT devices and other equipment used for patient care and building management operations.

The new partnership will see Cylera provide DGT with full visibility into connected devices and IoT infrastructure across the organisation in real-time. The solution should enable the Trust to assess risks and ensure any vulnerabilities are mitigated rapidly.

As the number of connected devices in healthcare continues to proliferate, dedicated services such as those provided by Cylera and Cynerio will play a greater role in the NHS. At the start of the year, the UK Government placed virtual wards and remote monitoring at the heart of NHS recovery plans. This will see a greater number of patients get the care they need at home, increasing demand for connected devices (see Virtual wards at the heart of NHS recovery plans), but also expand the potential attack surface significantly.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 09:52

Tags: nhs   contract   iot   cybersecurity   healthcare   healthtech  

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

PCI-Pal declares victory in patent case with Sycurio

PCI-PALAIM-listed payment security and customer engagement specialist, PCI-Pal, has successfully defeated the High Court legal action brought against it by its US competitor, Sycurio (formerly Semafone). PCI-Pal has always strongly refuted the patent claim describing the legal case against it as “unfounded”.

PCI-Pal had been accused of patent infringement relating to “signal detection and blocking for voice processing equipment". The dispute relates to DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency) masking technology which provides a secure method for processing cardholder payments by telephone in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

The lawsuit alleged that PCI-Pal's "Agent Assist" secure card payment technology infringed UK and US Patents. Sycurio has been seeking damages and an injunction to prevent any further sales and marketing of the Agent Assist product. Whilst the full details of the judgment are still to be released, Mrs Justice Bacon presiding held that Sycurio’s patent was invalid due to obviousness from two sources of prior art. Furthermore, it was decided that even if the patent had been valid, PCI-Pal’s Agent Assist solution did not infringe the patent.

PCI-Pal's leadership and staff will no doubt be celebrating their success, having been vindicated in the High Court. The company plans to provide more information in the coming days, including an update on the expected timing of the FY23 accounts. The financials have been delayed due to their scheduled release being so close to the date of the UK High Court’s ruling. In September 2022, PCI-Pal's accounts included an £800k provision relating to the company’s legal wrangle with Sycurio (see: Public cloud boosts revenue and margins at PCI-Pal).

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:25

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

Amazon to invest up to $4bn in Anthropic

AWSAmazon has announced it will invest up to $4bn into Anthropic — the AI startup best known for its Claude chatbot and founded by former OpenAI execs Dario and Daniela Amodei. Amazon will initially invest $1.25bn for a minority stake in the business.

AnthropicAn AWS customer since 2021, Anthropic has grown quickly into one of the world’s leading foundation model providers. Their foundation model, Claude, excels at a wide range of tasks, from sophisticated dialogue and creative content generation, to complex reasoning and detailed instruction. Anthropic is seeking to set itself apart from OpenAI by being a more responsible and ethical alternative – See Anthropic launches Claude 2 Chatbot.

As part of the agreement, AWS will also become Anthropic’s primary cloud provider for mission critical workloads, including safety research and foundation model development. Anthropic plans to run the majority of its workloads on AWS and will use AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips to build, train, and deploy its future foundation models. Anthropic also has an existing partnership with Google who previously invested $300m in the business, and offer Anthropic’s AI models through its Vertex AI platform. It is believed Anthropic will continue working with Google as well as AWS.

AWS (like both Google and Microsoft) are focused on providing customers with access to a broad selection of foundation models from multiple providers, which customers can then customise and fine tune. For AWS this is offered through its managed service, Amazon Bedrock. Organisations like travel provider Lonely Planet are already working with Anthropic and AWS, using generative AI to help customers plan trips and create personalised travel itineraries. The company say’s it has reduced itinerary generation costs by nearly 80% when it created a scalable AI platform that organises book content in minutes.

This was a step that Amazon needed to make as it was falling behind in the AI race to Microsoft and Google. For organisations looking to leverage Generative AI they now have numerous providers and existing models available to accelerate development. Of course, this also adds complexity on where to start, and where to scale, and it is here that IT service providers have a key role to play.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:03

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

StudentCrowd raises funds to enhance platform

StudentCrowd Logo - red rectangular with white writingHaving just had a son disappear to Fresher’s Week (and come out the other side with the infamous Freshers’ Flu. In his words, “so it turns out it’s an actual thing”), I was already well aware of StudentCrowd. For those who aren’t yet feeling the effects of an ever-emptier nest, and might not have heard of them, they are a provider of “in-depth information on universities, courses, and accommodation”. When doing a Google search on any aspect of a university, they tend to pop up.

Founded in 2014 and based in Wolverhampton, StudentCrowd employs over 35 staff and has plans to create 15 new jobs as a result of its latest funding round. Indeed, it appears to have grown rapidly in the last year, having had just 13 employees on average in its FYE to 31st December 2022. It has raised £2.5m to enhance its platform and expand it to other student services. Backers include MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia Ventures and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), Mercia’s EIS Funds and existing private investors.

As a student (or indeed a parent of a student), I’d be reluctant to rely too much on league tables (same has always been true when looking at schools). The tables are based on analysis of reviews from existing students but the ‘ratings’ have been created by StudentCrowd and, I’d suggest, must be subject to some subjectivity. However, the independent reviews prove interesting when investigating certain aspects of university life, like accommodation or other facilities. Students want to learn from other students; indeed, talking to current students was probably the most useful aspect of the university visits we did.

What surprised me when looking at their site and trying to work out how they generate revenue was the lack of advertising. To me, that would be a no-brainer. Looking to see what university accommodation is like at your favourite university? Doesn’t look great? Oh, here’s an advert for some privately-run student accommodation.

Perhaps that is on the cards. However, for now, it looks like the revenue generating part of the business is in the provision of data and insights to organisations operating in the education sector, including PwC, Knight Frank, CBRE, and JLL, as well as the education providers themselves. In other words, data-led consultancy and advice. This aspect will become more appealing as it enhances the platform and, hence, the available data.  

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 09:01

Tags: education   funding   investment   public+sector   higher+education  

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

LTG H1 results flat as GP Strategies acquisition continues to embed

LTGLearning Technologies Group (LTG) has announced its financial results for the first half of 2023 (ended 30th June 2023). Citing how the continuing “challenging macroeconomic backdrop” has been impacting both its transactional and project-based work, the company reported revenues of £284.6m (flat, on an organic constant currency basis, compared with H1 2022) and Adjusted EBIT down 1% to £43.1m. The proportion of revenue attributed to SaaS and “long-term contracts” grew slightly from 71% in H1 2022, to 72% this time around.

LTG has seen operation focus in H1 2023 continue to be dominated by its transformation of GP Strategies, acquired in 2021 (see LTG to acquire GP Strategies in £284m deal), with one-off issues – such as integrating LEO Learning (created by LTG in 2014, with the merger of Epic and LINE) with GP Strategies content division to form “GPLX” reportedly resolved in July.

Revenue from LTG’s Content & Services division (representing 74% of H1 2023 revenue, and home to the GP Strategies business) grew 1.8%, while Software & Platforms (26% of revenue) shrunk by 4.7% – the latter driven by a 10.8% drop in revenue at PeopleFluent (acquired by LTG in 2018).

LTG continues to expect FY23 performance to be in line with analyst expectations of £560.2m in revenue, and an Adjusted EBIT of £98m on the back of improved EBIT margin (c. 17%) from GP Strategies (FY22 managed 16.9%, up from c. 5% pre-acquisition – see LTG revenues more than double in FY22 on the back of acquisition success).

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 08:51

Tags: results  

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

Single-minded Boku continues to prosper

BokuAIM-listed mobile payments specialist, Boku, has published interim results reflecting healthy revenue growth during the first half of the fiscal. Total revenue for the six months ended 30 June 2023 was up 26% to $38.2m, driven by increased transaction volumes from major global merchants. Group profit after tax was $2.3m, compared to $28.0m during the same period last fiscal (which included a $25m one-off profit on a disposal).

Boku is now solely focused on mobile payments, having sold its identity and authentication division to US-based customer engagement platform, Twilio in 2022. Boku operates the global “M1ST” network, supporting subscriptions and contactless checkout transactions. M1ST accepts regulated payments in around 50 countries with the service providing a single global settlement that eliminates much of the complexity of operating in multiple territories (see: Boku sees its future through the M1ST).

Boku has enjoyed continued growth in its payments business, helped by the widespread move to online commerce (accelerated by the pandemic). As consumers increasingly utilise devices to complete payment transactions, M1ST reflects the wider growth of mobile-first payments, in direct competition with the card networks.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:33

Tags: payments  

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

KPMG shaves UK consultant numbers

LogoHot on the heels of last week’s news that Deloitte is to trim 3% of its UK headcount (see here), word has emerged that KPMG has launched a redundancy exercise which will see 125 or 2.3% of the client-facing consulting practice staff in this country exit the company. The firm is also reported to be moving some employees to more in-demand areas within the business here.

This latest story is further evidence of more straitened times for the Big Four. All have already announced staff cuts in their US operations. EY last month also warned of 150 job losses in in its UK financial services consulting division and PwC has said that it is reducing pay increases and bonuses for some of its UK employees.

More broadly, the bull market run that has seen the UK IT consulting expenditure jump by more than a third over the past two years is set to slow markedly during 2023. TMV estimates that the pace of growth in this services sector will more than halve yoy in 2023 and remain more subdued for the foreseeable future (see our recent UK SITS Consulting Market: Suppliers, Trends and Forecasts report for more details). It will not be surprising if we hear of other players in this arena deciding to tighten their belts in the months to come.

The news was first reported by The Financial Times.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:25

Tags: consulting   big+4   jobcuts  

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Monday 25 September 2023

Curve adds £58m to Series C fundraise

CurveUK fintech, Curve, has secured additional investment of £58m, as it looks to enhance its customer experience and further expand its range offerings. The funding was provided via an extension of Curve’s Series C round, bringing the total added via that raise to more than £133m. The latest cash injection came from a variety of new and existing investors, including, Britannia, IDC Ventures, and Outward VC.

Founded in 2015, by CEO, Shachar Bialick, Curve was initially launched as a payments aggregator but has since expanded its offerings to provide a consolidated range of banking and financial services via its card and app. To date, the fintech has raised more than £208m in equity investment and has struck a number of partnerships with global brands such as Mastercard, Huawei, Samsung and Swatch (see: Curve looks to turn a corner). Curve’s leadership has indicated that it is currently on target to achieve profitability early in 2024.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:57

Tags: funding  

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Monday 25 September 2023

Aurrigo revenue up 35% in H1 2023

AurrigoCoventry-based self-driving and autonomous vehicle provider Aurrigo has posted its interim results for the six months ended 30th June 2023. Revenue grew 35% to £3.1m, whilst gross profit remained flat at £700k and adjusted EBITDA rose from $300k in H1 2022 to £1.6m this year (which the company attributed to costs resulting from “scaling-up of the autonomous and aviation division”).

In news since H1 2023 closed, Aurrigo announced this month that it had received a grant of €275k from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology for a project to deploy its ten-seater, road-legal autonomous EV passenger vehicle Auto-Shuttle in Prague. (My colleague Simon Baxter covered Aurrigo’s self-driving vehicle pilot in Northumberland last year – see Self-driving tech making progress in UK).

Such vehicles can provide cost-effective public transport in under-served parts of a network, and with Auto-Shuttle’s “road-legal” credentials (noting though, that some jurisdictions still require a competent driver to be on-hand to take control if need be), there’s the potential for such vehicles to form part of a sustainable, integrated mobility solution. To this end, Aurrigo is planning to deliver three Auto-Shuttles to Sunderland City Council during Q1 2024 as part of the Sunderland Advanced Mobility Shuttle (SAMS) project, following a grant awarded in February this year.

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 09:34

Tags: mobility   EV   autonomous vehicles  

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Monday 25 September 2023

Alphawave benefits from growing demand for data

AlphawaveLondon-listed, Canadian infrastructure connectivity specialist, Alphawave IP Group PLC (trading as Alphawave Semi) has released interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2023. Revenue for the period leapt 228% to $187m (CAN). The large uplift was thanks in part to the 2022 acquisitions of US chip makers, OpenFive (for $210m) and Banis Labs (for $240m). Alphawave reported a $13.4m (CAN) loss in H1 23, compared to a profit of CAN$16.3m (CAN) during the same period last fiscal.

In May 2023, Alphawave was forced to temporarily suspend its shares on the LSE because its auditors (KPMG) needed additional time to sign-off the group’s accounts. The delay was caused by the challenge of properly auditing the significantly enlarged organisation following Alphawave’s recent acquisitions. The group’s share price initially dropped around 20% on the news but has since recovered strongly, with the stock reaching a recent peak of £1.65 in July 2023.

Founded in 2017, Alphawave moved its head office to Cambridge (UK) in 2021. The group has enjoyed strong growth off the back of the significant global demand for critical data infrastructure, fuelled by technologies such as AI and automation. Alphawave originally chose to list in London due to what is perceives as the excellent technology ecosystem that exists here (see: Alphawave IP opts for London listing).

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:19

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Monday 25 September 2023

Fibre and grid modernisation power growth for IQGeo

IQGeoIt’s been a while since we last covered Energy & Utility focused, geospatial productivity and collaboration software provider IQGeo, but the company posted impressive growth in its H1 2023 results this morning, as high levels of investment in fibre broadband rollouts and utility grid modernisation have helped to push revenue higher.

Total group revenue grew by 124% to £20.5m, 83% of which was organic and the remainder from the Comsof acquisition in August 2022 – a Belgium HQ’ed utility focused software automation company. The group posted recurring revenue growth of 61%, up to £7.2m, and a loss before tax for the period of £0.2m (H1 2022: £0.5m loss)

The business has seen strong adoption of its network management software, with customers apparently responding well to its strategy of developing a single fibre network and electric grid management platform. The revenue mix comprises both new deals with large and small companies, and expansion projects with existing customers, with 23 new customer logos added during the first six months of the year.

Geographically, the USA market makes up over 65% of revenue, but the business has continued to grow market share for its network management software in the UK, where it turned over £1.2m in H1 and up over 300% yoy. In Europe, the business also grew very strongly, up over 700% (including in-organic growth) to £2m, and saw 87% growth in Japan.

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Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:10

Tags: energy   utility   networks  

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