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Friday 21 June 2024

Hackers publish 400GB of stolen blood test data

logoFollowing on from our coverage yesterday of the breach at pathology supplier Synnovis, See - Hackers demand $50m to restore London hospital systems, it would seem that Synnovis has indeed declined to pay the ransom as suspected, with the cybercriminal group Quilin publishing almost 400GB of the private information on their darknet site and Telegram channel.

The data includes patient names, dates of birth, NHS numbers and descriptions of blood tests. It is not known if test results are also in the data. There are also business account spreadsheets detailing financial arrangements between hospitals and GP services and Synnovis. The NHS could not confirm if the data was real, but it seems highly likely it is.

It is a difficult decision for many organisations on whether to pay ransoms or not. The general advice is to not pay, as it only further fuels these groups to undertake more attacks, with no guarantees stolen data would be deleted or systems unlocked. But with sensitive data on the line, the daily cost of organisations being out of business, and real world consequences for hundreds or thousands of people, many organisations do pay. For example, the United Health Group reportedly paid a $22m (£17.3m) ransom earlier this year.

Of course, the best approach is to invest more in cybersecurity upfront to prevent these types of breaches from happening. These attacks are normally only successful because basic security practises have not been followed, and despite the constant attacks we see daily many organisations still take the ‘it won’t be us’ approach to cyber defense, they are often proven wrong.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:40

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Friday 21 June 2024

PQShield raises £29m for post-quantum security solution

logoOxford based cybersecurity start-up PQShield has raised £29m in Series B funding for its post-quantum cryptography security solution. The funding was led by Addition, with participation from new investors Chevron Technology Ventures, Legal & General and Braavos Capital, together with existing backers, Oxford Science Enterprises. 

PQShield was founded in 2018 by CEO and founder Ali El Kaafarani, and is building cryptographic solutions (both hardware and software) which are ‘quantum safe, helping organisations facilitate the transition to quantum security throughout the global technology supply chain. The solution can for example be used in the secure boot and update of devices, in the Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) that secure most financial transactions, in connected vehicles, and in military grade communications systems

PQShield also advises businesses and government bodies on the transition to quantum security. The firm has worked with the White House, the European Parliament, the World Economic Forum and the UK National Cyber Security Council. Customers also include AMD, Microchip Technologies, Collins Aerospace, Lattice Semiconductor, Sumitomo Electric, NTT Data, and many others. 

Quantum security is a topic that will increasingly be on the technology roadmap for organisations over the next few years. Quantum computers continue to develop rapidly, and somewhat under the radar following the explosion of interest in AI. It is still unclear when quantum computers will be able to break current cryptography methods, but many organisations which must hold sensitive data for long periods of time are already preparing for when they do.  

In our recent report Quantum acceleration is on the horizon we explored the latest developments in the field of quantum computing, the growing supplier landscape and practical examples of getting value from quantum solutions. While Quantum computers are not required to secure against quantum threats, it’s well worth being up to date on the latest developments in the field. The report is available to all TechSectorViews subscribers.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:14

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Friday 21 June 2024

Atos fixes its short-term financing

AtosLess than two weeks ago, we heard that Atos was to opt for the financial restructuring proposal from the Onepoint consortium after a lengthy battle and a period of serious upheaval (see Atos opts for Onepoint consortium). To recap - the consortium consists of Onepoint, Butler Industries and Econocom, and some of the company’s financial creditors.

This morning, the IT Services giant issued another market update, this time concerning its short-term financing position, key to helping the business get the financial restructuring agreement with the consortium over the line. Atos has agreed €800m in short-term financing in two parts – firstly, the €450m short-term interim financing previously committed that includes up of €100m from bond holders (fully drawn), a €50m loan from the French State (fully drawn) and an additional €225m facility (itself split €125m from banks and €100m from bondholders).

Secondly, agreement has also been reached on an additional tranche of €350m split between the banks and bondholders, that should see the company through the financial restructuring process. The company is still looking to reach a definitive financial restructuring agreement with the consortium and financial creditors by the end of next month.

Next steps are now for Atos to reach an in-principle financial restructuring agreement with the Onepoint Consortium and financial creditors, anticipated to happen next week with a definitive agreement in place from the week starting July 22nd. The company also stressed what the financial restructuring plan means for existing shareholders, who will experience a massive dilution of their holding and will go onto hold less than 0.1% of the share capital.

Atos is entering a crucial stage of negotiations and now with clarity over short-term financing in place the firm will be keen to get the Onepoint agreement over the line, and secure its long term future. We will of course keep you updated as the saga continues.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 08:27

Tags: investment   restructure  

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Friday 21 June 2024

Accenture returns to growth…just

LogoHaving seen growth stall in the previous quarter (see here), Accenture achieved a modest top line improvement in Q324. Revenue for the three months ended 31st May increased by 1.4% yoy at constant currency to $16.46bn. From a line of business perspective, sales of the firm’s Strategy, Consulting and Technology services dipped in the third quarter by 1% yoy to $8.46bn. Accenture’s Managed Services revenues, conversely, increased by 4% to $8.01bn. Adjusted operating margin for the period of 16.4% was a scooch up on the same period in the prior year.

Across the company’s target industry groups, Health & Public Service was the only vertical to show any material resilience in the most recently completed quarter. Turnover in this sector was up 9% yoy to $3.5bn. Sales in Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology and Financial Services sectors, together accounting for over a third of firm-wide revenue, were down by 1% and 5% respectively.

For the second quarter in a row, Accenture EMEA took the honour of the weakest performing region. Turnover in this geography was down 2% yoy in Q3 to place it in negative growth territory for the first nine months of the current fiscal. Year to date, only the firm’s aptly name Growth Markets region is ahead of the corresponding FY23 revenue position.

There was better news to be found on the business winning front. New bookings hit $21.1bn in Q3, a yoy increase of 26%. Generative AI engagements were reported as having accounted for over 4% of the order intake. 

The third quarter successes of Accenture’s sales machine, which in the UK included £450m of contract awards from HMRC, did not, however, change the outlook for FY24 as a whole. Midpoint revenue growth guidance for the year remained unchanged at 2%. Given that firm’s current financial year is being played out against the backdrop of a challenging twelve-month period for the tech services market, the anticipated result is perhaps not surprising.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:00

Tags: results   IT+services   genAI  

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Thursday 20 June 2024

*UKHotViewsExtra* SNP and Plaid Cymru manifestos: tech implications

Manifesto coversPart 3 of TechMarketView's General Election 2024 UKHotViewsExtra manifesto coverage looks at the pledges of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru. 

The SNP and Plaid Cymru manifestos have many similarities, including the desire for independence, fairer funding, increased investment in public services, a more progressive tax system, and changes to the benefits system. There is an acceptance that without independence or further devolution, many of these ambitions will be restricted to demands on the UK Government. There is also a focus on the green economy and its role in supporting the transition from heavy industries. 

Where the two manifestos differ is in their focus on digital technology. The SNP manifesto contains little discussion of the topic, apart from a brief mention of AI; however, Plaid Cymru places a far greater focus on the role of digital technology, particularly connectivity improvements.

UKHVX premium logoTechMarketView subscribers, including UKHotViews Premium subscribers, can read more about the tech policies of the SNP and Plaid Cymru in our expanded UKHotViewsExtra article here.

You can read Part 1, which covered the Labour and Conservative manifestos here, and Part 2, which covered Reform UK, Liberal Democrats and Green Party, here.

If you aren't a subscriber—or aren't sure if your organisation has a corporate subscription—please contact Deb Seth to find out more.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 10:16

Tags: policy   scotland   government   Wales   general+election  

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Thursday 20 June 2024

Hackers demand $50m to restore London hospital systems

logoThe cyber attack on NHS hospitals vis pathology supplier Synnovis (See - London hospitals hit by ransomware attack) has caused major disruption, as well as real world consequences for people requiring critical care. In the first week, doctors canceled roughly 800 planned operations and 700 outpatient appointments, postponed blood tests and resorted to handwritten records, according to the NHS. At least one hospital has asked workers for blood donations to address supply shortages, while some patients needing critical care have been diverted to other facilities. Cancer treatments and C-section births were also rescheduled.

It has now come to light that the group responsible for the attacks, known as Qilin, is demanding $50m to end the ransomware attack. If not paid the group is also threatening to post data stolen during the attack online. Qilin claim the attack was justified because it was in retaliation for the British government’s involvement in unspecified wars, with the group strongly believe to have Russian ties, but such statements are rarely truthful. The double-extortion tactic used by Qilin is an attack method we have covered before, though many cyber threat actors have increasingly focused more on stealing data and eliciting payment to delete it, than actually using ransomware to lock out systems.

Elsewhere, chip manufacturer AMD is investigating whether it suffered a cyberattack after a threat actor dubbed IntelBroker shared some screenshots of the data it allegedly swiped from the company, including employee and customer information, financial documents, source code and other confidential information. Retail technology and software provider CDK Global, which provides software to car dealerships across the US, is also investigating a cyber incident after it was forced to proactively shut down all its systems yesterday, leaving 15,000 auto retailers offline.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:29

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Thursday 20 June 2024

Zilch raises £100m amid focus on profitability

ZilchUK startup, Zilch, has raised another $100m in securitised debt for its app-based finance proposition. The buy now pay later (BNPL) provider’s latest cash injection was provided via a debt financing deal arranged by Deutsche Bank (DB).

Launched in 2019, Zilch, is a FCA authorised credit provider. Customers can access short term loans when making a purchase from a variety of retail partners (including Amazon and ebay). In 2021 Zilch expanded its operations into North America with the acquisition of US fintech, Neptune Financial Inc (NepFin) following $110m a Series B funding round.

Zilch, which serves around 4m customers and is currently valued at around $2bn is understood to be considering a public listing in 2025. The startup hopes that the new financing arrangement will help it to triple is sales and accelerate the rollout of new features as it works towards an IPO.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Zilch had contacted its US customers to notify them that it was closing all accounts as of 29 February 2024. It was subsequently revealed that the startup was “pausing” its operations in the US in order to focus on trying to achieve profitability in the UK. Having raised around $500m in funding to date, a focus on turning a profit will no doubt come as welcome news to some of the fintech’s backers.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 08:29

Tags: funding  

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Thursday 20 June 2024

NTT DATA appoints new CEO

NTT DATAThere is a new man at the helm of NTT DATA with former McKinsey consultant Abhijit Dubey (pictured) taking over as CEO of the business outside of Japan. Japanese-headquartered technology corporation NTT and IT services and consulting player, NTT DATA, officially merged their respective IT services operations outside of Japan, back in October 2022 creating a new joint operating company NTT DATA, Inc. Dubey takes over from industry veteran Kazuhiro "Kaz" Nishihata who has been in charge since the merger.

Abhijit DubeyDubey joined NTT in 2021 from global advisory firm McKinsey & Co where he spent more than 20 years and was responsible for leading the firm’s cloud computing efforts. The potential of the NTT/NTT DATA merger is clear in bringing together the Group’s combined IT services capabilities alongside the networking and R&D investments of NTT. The challenge for Dubey will be turning these foundation technologies and services into tangible client value over the long term (you can read more on the rationale, potential and challenges of the merger here NTT and NTT DATA – moving forward together).

Kazuhiro Nishihata, Dubey’s predecessor commented: “NTT DATA has built the world’s broadest and most comprehensive set of capabilities and industry expertise, alongside unparalleled geographic reach and a world leading team - positioning the company perfectly to help clients as they embark on transformational technology projects. I am confident that Abhijit is the right person to lead NTT DATA through its next phase and accelerate its growth globally, while continuing to foster an environment of innovation and ongoing success. I wish him all the very best for the future.”

Lots of changes at NTT DATA as the merger beds in – we are meeting up with the UK management team in early July when we will report more on what this all means for the UK&I business.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 08:18

Tags: appointment   IT+services  

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Wednesday 19 June 2024

Darktrace shareholders approve Thoma Bravo offer

Darktrace logoDarktrace shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the $5.3bn offer from US private equity group Thoma Bravo yesterday, confirming that, subject to regulatory approval, Darktrace will be taken private by the end of 2024.

Over 99% of Darktrace shareholders backed the offer at its general meeting marking a significant milestone for the Cambridge-based cybersecurity firm. The deal is priced in US dollars with shareholders set to get $7.75/share - at current exchange rates that’s c£6.09 whilst shares are trading at 578p, up from the 517p closing price before the deal was announced in April.

Even with the offer representing a c20% premium on Darktrace’s share price at the time, it feels like a good deal for Thoma Bravo. But it is a healthy return for investors that bought in when the business listed in 2021 at 250p and Thoma Bravo will be a good partner for Darktrace, with its deep sector experience and track record in helping scale and mature software businesses. Darktrace will join Thoma Bravo’s already impressive Cybersecurity portfolio which includes the likes of Sophos, Proofpoint, Sailpoint, Sonicwall and McAfee.

Subject to clearing the final regulatory hurdle, the deal is likely to be finalised in the ‘third or fourth quarter of 2024’, meaning Darktrace – considered the only really exciting UK deep tech company listed on the London Stock Exchange at the moment - will be de-listed a matter of months, if not weeks, after returning to the FTSE 100 on June 24.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant at 09:40

Tags: acquisition   M&A   delisting  

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Wednesday 19 June 2024

Mastek announced as headline sponsor for “An Evening with TechMarketView”

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Mastek, the global digital and cloud transformation specialist, has been named as the headline sponsor for our prestigious "An Evening with TechMarketView" networking event.

Mastek provides digital transformation services for customers across 40 countries, including the UK. The firm’s sponsorship of our event underscores its view that industry peers need to engage in open discussion about how AI is impacting organisations and how it can be most effectively implemented.

"Our event is a fantastic opportunity to meet key decision-makers and listen to influential voices," said Deb Seth, Partner at TechMarketView. "Our guests will be coming along to make new contacts and catch up with old friends for some meaningful conversation in a very elegant setting."

Held at Mall Galleries in London on 26th September, the event brings together industry leaders to hear from TechMarketView's respected analyst team and our special guests. Attendees will also have exclusive access to a private viewing of the Royal Society of Marine Artists annual exhibition.

Join us for an unforgettable evening of networking, insights, and artistic appreciation. Mingle with leaders in tech, hear vital market perspectives from our analysts and special guests, all while enjoying the renowned Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition.

Don't miss this premier annual gathering for the UK tech community. Book your tickets today to reserve your place at “An Evening with TechMarketView” on 26th September from 6:30pm - 9:30pm at Mall Galleries.

Are you also interested in sponsoring the event?

View the full details on all sponsorship options here or contact Deb Seth for an exploratory discussion.

TMV Evening Image

Posted by: Deborah Seth at 09:00

Tags: event  

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Wednesday 19 June 2024

Devoteam’s buy boosts British bulk

LogoFrench digital services firm, Devoteam has acquired London-HQ’d cloud business Ubertas Consulting. The move increases both the buyer’s UKLogo presence and its AWS capabilities. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Based just outside Paris and founded in 1995, Devoteam specialises in cloud platforms, cybersecurity, data, and sustainability. The firm turned over some €1.1bn last year. It employs more than 12,000 personnel across the EMEA region which comprises operations in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. The latter generates annual revenue of more than £20m from its 120+ staff. An AWS Premier Consulting Partner since 2013, Devoteam has built a 450-person strong team of specialists in the hyperscaler’s technologies.

Established in 2007, Ubertas focuses on applications migration and modernisation services. An AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, the firm’s headcount averaged 22 people in 2023. The company’s clients include e-commerce platform provider Mercado, investment manager Aspect Capital and the Department of Work & Pensions.

AWS is the dominant Software and IT Services supplier in the UK and continues to grow at a rapid pace (see here). The consulting opportunities this creates are substantial and the attraction to Devoteam of expanding further in this market segment is obvious. For Ubertas, the decision to sell should also offer the benefits of both access to a broader service portfolio and an extended global reach. Competition in this segment is, however, intense. A strengthening of Devoteam’s brand profile in this country would seem to be in order if this increased investment in the UK is to prove to be the “significant milestone” in its growth trajectory that the company expects.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison at 08:56

Tags: acquisition   cloud   AWS  

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Wednesday 19 June 2024

McDonalds to ditch IBM drive-thru AI

logoOn Monday, McDonald’s confirmed that it will end a global partnership with IBM for the use of AI at its drive thrus in the US. The fast-food chain has been testing artificial intelligence technology at select drive-thrus since late 2021.

The initial agreement in 2021 saw McDonalds seek to accelerate the development and deployment of its Automated Order Taking (AOT) technology. As part of the deal IBM acquired McD Tech Labs, which was created to advance employee and customer facing innovations following McDonald’s 2019 acquisition of Apprente (a voice-based, conversational technology start-up).

However, the solution has not proved reliable, resulting in a number of viral videos of misinterpreted orders, ranging from bacon-topped ice cream, to one customer trying to order caramel ice cream, only for the system to add multiple stacks of butter to her order. The technology has had difficulty interpreting different accents and dialects, among other challenges affecting order accuracy. It will now be removed from the 100 US restaurants that have been using it.

McDonalds does not seem to have given up on its plans to use AI, but this is certainly a big blow and not a good look for IBM who has been vocal in promoting its AI credentials. The company said it still saw voice order solutions as a part of its future and would continue evaluations this year. McDonalds are not the only company to be trialing out the use of AI for drive thru’s, in the U.S. Wendy’s partnered with Google Cloud to develop the “Wendy’s FreshAI” chatbot. Popeyes U.K. also launched its first AI-powered drive-thru last month, after the company said a pilot program reported 97% accuracy.

In the past 18 months we have seen rapid advances in AI LLM models, these have brought with them much better natural language recognition and ability to converse. It is not clear what AI models IBM was using or whether it ever sought to incorporate the latest GenAI models into the solution. But what the case at McDonalds demonstrates is a stark reminder that AI is not always easy to implement, and getting it wrong can mean a significant hit to customer perceptions, and potentially make further internal buy in more difficult. AI deployments need to be flexible to reflect the pace in advancement we are seeing, this means co-creation, a re-evaluation of SLA’s and the use of other metrics such as customer and employee experience, as well as innovation throughout the life of the contract.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 08:22

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Wednesday 19 June 2024

*UKHotViewsExtra* DXC leverages its banking heritage for BPS success

DXCAs the banking sector continues to evolve, customer advocacy and competitive threats remain high on the agenda, alongside technology modernisation and business process change. Despite recent high interest rates having led to healthy net margins for many banks, for the most part the sector remains cautious about its prospects and there is a widespread focus on efficiency and cost control. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence [AI] is seemingly taking the world by storm and many banks are still at something of a loss as to how to best capitalise on the wealth of data they hold.

With this in mind, I caught up recently with Ross Hignett, Global Client Partner for Banking and Capital Markets at DXC Technology. Ross and I were joined by Paul Sweetingham, DXC’s General Manager for Global Banking BPS for our discussion around the evolving needs of the global banking sector and, against this backdrop, the company’s flexible approach to serving its customers.

Whereas the focus of DXC (and its antecedent CSC before it) was once predominantly concentrated around major systems implementations, more recently, the company’s strategy and approach has matured in line with the changing appetite and needs of the market. Hignett explained that today, the provision of HVPBusiness Process Services (BPS) to banks and financial institutions is a major play for DXC in the global banking space. DXC’s proposition is structured around four main offering areas the most important of which is what Hignett describes as “Intelligent Banking Operations”.

TechMarketView readers can learn more by downloading DXC leverages its banking heritage for BPS success. This HotViewsExtra is available to all our subscription clients, including HotViews Premium subscribers. If you do not currently have access to this material but would like to learn more, please contact Deb Seth for more information.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 06:00

Tags: banking  

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Wednesday 19 June 2024

Finbourne secures £55m for financial markets push

FinbourneUK-based fintech, Finbourne Technology, has secured a cash injection of £55m for its specialist asset management and data proposition. The Series B funding round was led by Highland Europe and AXA Venture Partners.

Founded in 2016 by quantitative investment specialist Thomas McHugh, CEO, Finbourne’s solutions are based around its SaaS data management platform, LUSID. The company’s functionality supports a variety of investment processes including portfolio management, fund accounting, order management and compliance.

Finbourne’s current client roster includes, Fidelity International, London Stock Exchange Group, Baillie Gifford and Northern Trust. The latest investment will no doubt be a welcome vote of confidence by its backers following what has been a tough 18 months for many within the investment sector. Finbourne is planning to use the latest funds to help it expand its global go-to-market capabilities encompassing the UK, Ireland, US, Singapore and Australia. 

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 06:00

Tags: FinTech   financialmarkets  

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Tuesday 18 June 2024

CuspAI raises $30m seed funding for AI-driven material design

CuspAICambridge-based CuspAI has raised $30m in seed funding in a round led by Hoxton Ventures, with participation from Basis Set Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, LocalGlobe, Northzone, Touring Capital, Giant Ventures, FJ Labs, Tiferes Ventures, Zero Prime Ventures, and DeepMind’s Mehdi Ghissassi and Dorothy Chou.

The company uses GenAI, deep learning, and molecular simulation to streamline material design processes; its platform “functioning like a search engine for materials”, allowing users to request specific properties for new materials on demand (enabling the rapid generation and evaluation of a vast number of novel structures).

CuspAI is focusing its efforts in particular (in the near term) on carbon capture and storage – using AI to generate and evaluate potential molecules and materials (not just existing materials) with properties such as the ability to selectively binds CO2 under specified conditions. Through process optimisation and lab testing, the company can then ensure candidate materials are synthesisable, stable, and ultimately useful in production. However, beyond carbon capture, CuspAI is also looking to apply its platform to other sustainability-related use cases as well – such as energy storage, water and gas purification, etc.

The company isn’t the only AI venture looking to apply the technology to industrial design processes (we covered PhysicsX’s $32m Series A funding last November, for example); but whereas PhysicsX is concerned with complex physics and engineering simulations generally (though with an eye on the materials production sector – amongst others), CuspAI is specifically focused on the development of potentially new materials (which may not yet exist) to a design brief… something that will play an increasingly important role in new ClimateTech scenarios.

Posted by: Craig Wentworth at 10:06

Tags: funding   design   materials  

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Tuesday 18 June 2024

*UKHotViewsExtra* Reform, Lib Deb and Green manifestos: tech implications

Manifesto coversPart 2 of TechMarketView's General Election 2024 manifesto coverage. In today’s HotViewExtra article we are looking at the pledges of Reform UK, Liberal Democrats and Green Party. 

The manifesto promises of these three parties span a wide range of approaches to taxation, spending and policy focus. Despite the differences, there are some common themes relating to the role of technology. The Liberal Democrats and Green Party both emphasise the importance of ethical and inclusive technology, particularly in relation to AI, and propose introducing a Digital Bill of Rights. They all discuss the importance of green energy technology, but there are clearly huge differences in approach between Reform and the other two parties, particularly regarding Net Zero targets. All three parties mention the potential for technology to improve public services, such as healthcare and policing, but provide very limited details on implementation.  

UKHV Premium logoTechMarketView subscribers, including UKHotViews Premium subscribers, can read more about the tech policies of Reform UK, Liberal Democrats and Green Party in our expanded UKHotViewsExtra article here.

You can read Part 1, which covered the Labour and Conservative manifestos here. Coverage of the technology-related pledges in the Plaid Cymru and Scottish National Party manifestos will be available later this week.

If you aren't a subscriber—or aren't sure if your organisation has a corporate subscription—please contact Deb Seth to find out more.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 09:57

Tags: policy   government   general+election  

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Tuesday 18 June 2024

Synectics gets boost from casino deal

Synectics logoWe don’t normally cover AIM-listed security and surveillance system specialist Synectics but it caught our attention this morning with an 11% increase in its share price to a five-year high of 195p. The rise comes on the back of a $10m contract with a major gaming resort in South-East Asia - a significant contract Synectics, which reported revenues of £49m in FY23, some 25% up on the prior year.

Synectics specialises in providing solutions for markets where security and surveillance are critical to operations, such as gaming, oil and gas, and critical infrastructure, and derives 65% of its revenue from the systems division.

The contract announced today is a complex project that will see the customer expand and upgrade its use of Synergy, Synectics’ control room software platform, and is expected to complete within the firm’s FY25.

Whilst the deal will clearly boost Synectics’ growth over the next couple of years, it also bodes well more generally for the UK SME, suggesting a significant market opportunity in the casino and leisure sector in Asia.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant at 09:38

Tags: contract   software  

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Tuesday 18 June 2024

Exceptional year for identity security supplier Intercede

logoDigital identity security provider Intercede has reported record revenue for FY24 of £20m, up 65%, with Net Profit up 361%. This ‘exceptional’ revenue increase was driven by a major new contract with a large US Federal agency worth c.$6.6m. This is the Group's largest single order to date and deemed 'one-off' due to the substantial number of perpetual licenses purchased. The business also singed a new $1m deal with a US Intelligence organisation.

Further highlights for the year include the successful delivery of over 30 projects to a variety of customers and partners across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. These include wins with a large defence agency in the US, a defence customer in the UK, a global aluminium manufacturer, a major trust of the UK health agency and long-standing customers in federal, defence, telecoms, and finance.

Intercede has also been investing in its own internal IT infrastructure, moving the majority of back-end support systems from on premise into the Azure Cloud, as well as strengthening its delivery teams and product development.

The Intercede business is over 20 years old and has specialised in securing digital identities, helping organisations to protect against one of the most common reasons for data breaches, compromised user credentials. Its solutions encompass Secure Registration and ID Verification to Password Security Management, One-Time Passwords, FIDO and public key infrastructure (PKI). In 2022, it acquired Authologics which significantly extended its product portfolio to cover the entire range of authentication options. Further M&A remains a key part of the groups strategy, as it seeks to add further proven IP and expand into new geographies and areas of the market.

Posted by: Simon Baxter at 09:25

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Tuesday 18 June 2024

King’s Birthday Honours

I’m sure there are lots of other awards given to other notable people associated with the tech world. But three piqued my interest as I’ve met and known them all – mainly in the 90s and 2000s.

Jon Moulton made a CBE “for charitable services
I’ve known Jon since I started Richard Holway Ltd in the 80s when he headed Schroder Ventures. Indeed, they were clients. Jon then formed Alchemy which invested in many of the SITS companies I researched. For example, they took Sanderson private in 1999, split it into three – Civica, Talentra, and Sanderson – before IPOing two of them in 2004. Alchemy also backed Cedar, which became COA headed by Fiona Timothy. COA was acquired by Advanced Computer Software (headed by Vin Murria) in 2010 for £100m.

After a bit of a fall out, Moulton left Alchemy in 2009 saying that he would do it all again “but better” – forming Better Capital where he made a number of high profile acquisitions including CityLink, Readers Digest, Everest, and Jaeger.

Moulton was one of the most outspoken ‘City-types’ I’ve known and, for that reason, was an in demand guest on Radio and TV. I shared several platforms with him, including the Regent Conference. Indeed, he heavily criticised how private equity carried interest was taxed – as I do. The reversal of which is now part of Labour’s manifesto.

But Mouton got his CBE for the Jon Mouton Charitable Trust – funding clinical trials into a number of areas. He was particularly keen on the potential for stem cell research.

Claire Enders made CBE “for services to media
Claire founded Enders Analysis in 1997. Soon after I found myself on the same debating platform or media article where I was the ‘IT guru’ against Claire ‘the media guru’.

Enders Analysis has since become the out-and-out leader when it comes to research and analysis of the media sector – from telecoms to television, streaming services, radio, and newspapers.

Rory Cellan-Jones made an OBE “for services to journalism
Rory started at the BBC in the 1980s and served as their Technology Correspondent from 2007 to 2021. Again, I have sat on panels with Rory several times. Rory now has Parkinson’s and is a contributor to the “Movers and Shakers” podcast. Latterly, many have been following his progress with a very nervous rescue dog called Sophie.

Footnote: If you do notice others from the tech sector in the Honours List, please let me know.

Posted by: Richard Holway at 08:32

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Tuesday 18 June 2024

Thought Machine expands Mastercard partnership

TMCloud-native core banking specialist, Thought Machine, has expanded its partnership with US payments giant, Mastercard. The new alliance will see the UK vendor working with Mastercard to deliver core banking and payments capabilities to financial institutions looking to modernise their technology.

Thought Machine began its relationship with Mastercard in 2020 when the UK vendor participated in the Mastercard Start Path startup engagement program. Subsequently, in 2022 the two companies partnered on the development and promotion of Vault Payments, a payments processing solution, designed to cater for both card and non-card use cases.

The newly expanded partnership is targeting those financial services providers that are aiming to utilise technology to develop more personalised, customer-centric experiences whilst also improving overall efficiency. The collaboration also offers banks access to modern pay-now solutions, via the digitisation of debit cards.

Founded in 2014 by CEO, Paul Taylor, Thought Machine provides a modern transactional core system, architected to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud. The vendor’s flagship offering, Vault, is designed to help banks transform their back office systems and processes in order to improve efficiency and enhance customer engagement via accelerated product development and improved service provision.

Since its creation, Thought Machine has successfully established itself of one of the leading newcomers in the core banking space. Along with the likes of market leaders Temenos and FIS, cloud-native core offerings such as Vault have found increasing traction among new and established financial services providers. 

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 07:41

Tags: financialservices   banking  

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