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Qlearsite: organisational science for HR
26 May 2017
CryptoPing comes bearing an ICO
26 May 2017
DXC Technology (or rather CSC) reports FY17
26 May 2017
DevMate paddles in Paddle’s canoe
26 May 2017
Eagle Eye seeking funds for expansion
26 May 2017
Mogees strikes the right notes with £1m funding
26 May 2017
Mphasis pedals hard to stand still
26 May 2017
HP Inc sees stronger growth in Q2
25 May 2017
Steady start for Parity under new chairman
25 May 2017
Intuit's Q3: a tale of the self-employed
25 May 2017
Capita: bringing automation to Revs and Benefits
25 May 2017
Kimble Ranked Best Professional Services Automation Software in G2 Crowd’s Spring 2017 Grid℠
25 May 2017
StaffConnect engages $1m funding to get more emotional
25 May 2017
Nokia 3310 goes on sale
25 May 2017
H1: another strong period for Sanderson
24 May 2017
Actual Experience hard hit by channel shift
24 May 2017
#ATT opens at record high of 1000p
24 May 2017
Martin Hellawell to step down as Softcat CEO
24 May 2017
Lombard Risk show progress in full-year results
24 May 2017
Quiqup vs Jinn – battle of the ‘netgophers’
24 May 2017
IPO + IVO proceeds apace
24 May 2017
Frew exits InterQuest board as MBO bid struggles
24 May 2017
Driving Change in the Public Sector with guest speaker The Rt Hon Lord Maude of Horsham
24 May 2017
Cherubs bless Shipamax with seed funding
23 May 2017
Demis Hassibis on Desert Island Discs
23 May 2017
Feast It hits the street with seed funding
23 May 2017
Aveva: refreshed strategy helping it weather the storm
23 May 2017
*NEW RESEARCH* Is DXC Technology a powerhouse for UK Financial Services IT?
23 May 2017
1Spatial hoping to map a better course
23 May 2017
Florismart blooms with growth funding
23 May 2017
IP Group + Touchstone = sterling investor ‘unicorn’?
23 May 2017
*NEW RESEARCH* What are the opportunities for Artificial Intelligence in BPS?
23 May 2017
They must not win
23 May 2017
Last Chance to Register: Regulatory Compliance Seminar – London 30.05.2017
23 May 2017
Leonardo points the way forward for SAP
22 May 2017
Forbidden Technologies takes first step into eSports
22 May 2017
All seems set fair as StatPro chairman hands over
22 May 2017
Book your place for an Evening with TechMarketView
22 May 2017
Cognizant adds Dexia to its growing FS client list
22 May 2017
From Data to Decisions: The Annual Analytics Summit June 15 2017
22 May 2017

UKHotViews©

 

Friday 26 May 2017

Qlearsite: organisational science for HR

logoHR is an ideal target for the use of machine intelligence because it is data rich, with complexities around people and data relationships. That’s what UK start up Qlearsite, who describes itself as 'organisational scientists', is hooking into. It provides machine learning enabled ‘People Analytics” software that carries out statistical analysis on employee data. It has captured the attention of Summa Digital, established by Summa Equity, to the tune of $7.7m.

The funding will be used to move the product forward and accelerate recruitment. However, Qlearsite will also work with Summa Digital to build links with big data analytics companies. As the value of broad and mixed (but relevant) data sets gains recognition, suppliers who can facilitate relationships among data owners and customers will be in an advantageous position.

Posted by Angela Eager at '10:11' - Tagged: funding   startup   analytics   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Friday 26 May 2017

CryptoPing comes bearing an ICO

logoThe fast and furious cryptocurrency market is not just producing more cryptocurrency variants alongside Bitcoin, it is also introducing a new type of investment – an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Styled along the same lines as an IPO, it is a funding raising tool based on cryptocoins – raising future cryptocoins in exchange for cryptocurrencies that have immediate value.

We’re still getting our heads around the ICO concept and attendant risks - ICO’s are unregulated - but the movement is gathering pace. This week saw Civic (digital id platform) and Storj Labs (cloud storage) ICO, along with CryptoPing.

There is a growing market for trading coins and that is what CryptoPing targets – it provides an AI enabled bot that constantly monitors alternative coin markets, sending data to traders to help them make profitable trades. It does not make trades itself. The service went into public beta in March. AI is well suited to this type of task. As for CryptoPing, it seems the creators want to remain anonymous and we looked for company information and contact details on its website in vain.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:34' - Tagged: funding   startup   software   AI   machineintelligence  

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Friday 26 May 2017

DXC Technology (or rather CSC) reports FY17

dxcDXC Technology has reported its financial year to the end of March 2017. DXC is the new brand launched on the NYSE in April, which combines CSC and HPE Enterprise Services. The results released overnight, however, relate solely to CSC.

Revenue for FY17 was up 10.2% to $7.6bn, which included the impact of the UXC and Xchanging acquisitions. Adjusted EBIT margin moved upwards from 7.1% to 8.2%, while adjusted free cash flow increased 90% to $610m.

The impact of the acquisitions was reflected in the company’s Global Business Services segment, which saw revenue increase 18% year-over-year. The adjusted operating margin was 12% versus 9% in the Global Infrastructure Services segment, which grew revenue by 2%. The company says revenue growth in “next-gen” offerings was 75%.

DXC faces the not insignificant challenge of merging two businesses with two very different cultures. Indeed, the EDS culture is still strong within HPE ES all these years after it was acquired. Certainly the merger has given DXC scale and plenty of opportunity to cross-sell due to lack of account overlap; its task is to convince customers that it is the go-to destination for strategic digital transformation. 

CEO, Mike Lawrie, says the company has “….positioned DXC Technology to deliver margin expansion in fiscal 2018”. From Q1 in its new year, DXC will report on a consolidated basis representing the combined operations of CSC and HPE ES and their respective subsidiaries.

TechMarketView has been conducting research to understand the size and shape of the new DXC entity, and subscribers will be able to see how it is placed in the UK market versus its peers in our forthcoming Supplier Rankings report (read our recently published analysis on its position in FS, here: Is DXC Technology a powerhouse for UK Financial Services IT?).

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:19' - Tagged: results   outsourcing   digitaltransformation  

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Friday 26 May 2017

DevMate paddles in Paddle’s canoe

logoThis sounds like a very sensible acquisition indeed, though no financial details have been disclosed. Basically, DevMate, a set of application development tools for commercial software developers, has been acquired by Essex-based software ecommerce sales platform, Paddle. DevMate is one of the products in California-based MacPaw’s software suite primarily designed for Apple computers. Founded in 2012, Paddle secured $3.2m in a Series A funding round last September, led by BGF Ventures, along with Spring Partners, so it sounds like the funds are already being put to good use.

As best as I understand it from a quick squizz at the detail, the DevMate tool set is all about developing, maintaining and distributing software products, whereas the Paddle platform is all about selling them (online of course). A marriage made in heaven (well, Essex, anyway).

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:47' - Tagged: acquisition   startup  

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Friday 26 May 2017

Eagle Eye seeking funds for expansion

logoEagle Eye is looking to a share placing to raise c.£6m to support operational and marketing activities as it pushes further into the US and Canada on the back of its Loblaws relationship, and Europe via its TCC Global partnership.

Although it has had some blips, Eagle Eye is a rising star with its SaaS model and software that validates and redeems digital promotions in real-time for the grocery, retail and hospitality industries, which helps organisations with digital market initiatives. John Lewis was the latest UK brand to hook into Eagle Eye (see here), but the company has many big names within its customer portfolio such as Asda. In the six months to the end of December 2016 it saw 72% revenue growth to £5.1m with a reduction in adjusted EBITDA loss from £1.3m to £0.9m. The funds will primarily be invested over the current and next two financial years, ending June 2019.  

An update on trading indicates EagleEye it will end its year (to June 30 2017) slightly ahead of management's revenue expectations, as a result of “small exploratory investments in key areas which have started to deliver early returns”. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:36' - Tagged: software   placing   fundraising  

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Friday 26 May 2017

Mogees strikes the right notes with £1m funding

logoWho remembers the Theremin? You probably do if you were a Beach Boys fan, as their seminal hit ‘Good Vibrations’ used a similar instrument to amazing effect to provide the almost eerie back theme on that song. The device was patented (according to Wikipedia, I must add) in 1928 by Leon Theremin but didn’t ‘gain traction’ until my hero, the Blessed Robert Moog (he of synthesiser fame), began building Theremins in the 1950’s You can still buy a Moog ‘Theremini’ today for £289.

picWhy do I tell you this? Because reading about Shoreditch-based startup Mogees brought it all flooding back. Unlike the Theremin, which involves much waving of hands around a metallic aerial to create sounds (see pic on right from 1930), Mogees has developed a touch sensor which, when attached to any object (and I do mean any object) turns it into a musical instrument via an app on your mobile device. AI is involved!

Developed by music technology researcher Bruno Zamborlin, Mogees was founded in 2013 and, according to EU-Startups, raised almost £200k through Kickstarter campaigns in 2014 and 2015. Mogees has now raised a further £1m in a seed funding round backed by ex-EMI CEO, Elio Leoni Sceti, ex-HMV chairman Eric Nicoli and other high profile angels, along with A.I. Music Group (does what it says on the tin). Mogees exit strategy, according to investment platform AngelsDen, is ‘to reach £9m+ revenues and £3m+ EBITDA by 2021. Exit for angel investors through strategic partner or VC.’

The applications for Mogees’ technology could go way beyond music, but as a failed keyboard player myself (I have four synths gathering dust in my loft to prove it) this looks like something even I could create music with!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:07' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 26 May 2017

Mphasis pedals hard to stand still

logoIt was back to trend in its final quarter for equity-controlled mid-tier offshore services firm, Mphasis, with revenues from ex-parent HP(E) – or we should now say DXC – in decline, though it would be reasonable to assume that DXC had its mind on other priorities in the lead up to its grand unveiling (see Official launch day for DXC Technology).

Having said that, growth in Mphasis’ ‘direct’ business over the year to 31st March 2017 was just enough (less a bit) to keep the top line steady, finishing at Rs60.76b, though this translated into a 2.3% decline in USD terms to $905m. Better news was that Mphasis got more bang for the buck, with FY operating margins up nearly two points to 14.6%, which is there or thereabouts for mid-tier Indian pure-plays.

New CEO, Nitin Rakesh, is hopeful that companies in owner Blackstone’s portfolio will provide ‘additional tailwinds to accelerate growth’, though it will be interesting to see whether Mphasis is any more successful generating business from its new parent than it was with its old!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:21' - Tagged: offshore   resullts  

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Thursday 25 May 2017

HP Inc sees stronger growth in Q2

hpHP Inc turned in growth above expectations with PC revenue up almost 10% (constant currency) to $7.6bn. The other part of HP Inc is of course its Printer business, which grew 2% (cc) to $4.7bn. This is the first time both PCs and Printers have grown in the same quarter since 2010.

Notebooks turned in the best performance with growth up 17%; desktops dipped 1%. However, the trend line for operating margin in personal systems has actually been moving downwards over the past few quarters.

HP Inc had been in decline since Q2 2015, but returned to growth mode in Q4 of FY16. In total the business registered growth of 7.2% in Q2, up from 4.9% in the previous quarter. The company puts this down to taking share through “strong execution” and innovation in its products.

Lenovo has also just released results (fourth quarter and full year). In Q4 to end March, the company said its 5% growth in revenue (to $9.6bn) was “fueled in part by a good performance in the PC/smart devices and mobile businesses”.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '10:07' - Tagged: results   PCs  

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Thursday 25 May 2017

Steady start for Parity under new chairman

logoIn his first AGM statement as non-exec chairman of UK IT recruitment and project services firm, Parity Group, John Conoley (ex-Psion CEO and current exec chairman at AIM-listed mobile fintech supplier eServGlobal) signalled a ‘satisfactory’ start to the year, subject to the usual swings and roundabouts.

After a much more pleasing (i.e. profitable!) set of results in 2016 (see Parity to divest and acquire), Parity’s revitalised consulting business appears to be growing. However, this is being balanced by ‘the usual seasonal drop in contractor volumes’ in the core recruitment business, which generates over 80% pf Parity’s revenues and 75% of the profit. IR35 didn’t help either!

No word yet about the mooted acquisitions – but let’s hope these would stick to Parity’s established knitting pattern!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:57' - Tagged: trading   recruitment   management  

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Thursday 25 May 2017

Intuit's Q3: a tale of the self-employed

logoPresident Donald Trump’s assertion that he will simplify the tax system could have a negative impact on Intuit but for the moment performance is motoring ahead as evidenced by Q3 results that were ahead of expectations and its decision to raise its full year forecast to 9%-10% annual revenue growth.

Q3 (to April 30 2017) revenue was up 10% to $2.5bn although net income dropped 6% to $994m, however both were ahead of expectations. Shares rose c8% on the back of the strong results taking them to an all-time high.

The key takeaway from our perspective was the source of much of Intuit’s growth which was the self-employed contingent of workers, a growing group that is being boosted by the gig economy. Intuit has made a determined effort to cultivate this market, through marketing and activities such as bundling QuickBooks with TurboTax specifically for the self-employed, and it is delivering results. QuickBooks Self Employed subscriptions doubled in Q3 taking them to 360,000, helping drive overall QuickBooks subscriptions to 2.2bn, a 59% increase.

Intuit has been cultivating its ecosystem. It has partnerships with gig economy enablers Uber, Lyft and TaskRabbit for example, which will be raising its awareness across their large networks of self-employed workers. It also has relationships with providers such as Mint to provide credit scores for TurboTax customers, while ProConnect customers can serve Consumer Tax customers through SmartLook. Elsewhere it has data sharing API agreements with Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase (see here).

With these types of relationships, it is stepping outside the conventional world of accountancy, to good effect. Attending its QuickBooks Connect London event earlier this year, there was a real sense of momentum within the business overall and in the UK. However, it still has a way to go to match rival Sage in the UK, including the benefits Sage reaps from its relationship with the UK government.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:46' - Tagged: results   software  

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Thursday 25 May 2017

Capita: bringing automation to Revs and Benefits

logoCapita is to debut an automation component for its Advantage Revenues and Benefits offering to directly tackle the ongoing pressures councils are facing to reduce costs through increased productivity.

The company says the automation function will take claim processing times down to under 2 minutes, 20 times quicker than manual processing. It also stressed the role it should play enabling those claiming benefits to get access to assessments and funds quicker than before.

One of the challenges with automation is understanding precisely where to apply it, something the new offering does away with due to its clear Revenue and Benefits focus, while also retaining the flexibility to adjust to authorities’ specific needs due to its rules based engine. Anthony Singleton, managing director of Capita’s Advantage suite of software, expects significant take up when it is released towards the end of the year – the function was built because of demand in the market - and we understand Capita is in conversation with several authorities.

The automation promise - cost reduction, faster processing, quicker outputs - aligns with the needs of local government so we can see interest levels being high, and it has a ready market because it can slot in with the rest of Capita's Advantage suite. There is no AI or machine learning aspect as yet, the idea being to start simple and expand as need be. As we are already hearing of failed deployments of machine learning enabled solutions from the wider market, starting with simple automation tasks and working up is a safe strategy. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:53' - Tagged: businessprocessmanagement   businessprocessautomation  

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Thursday 25 May 2017

StaffConnect engages $1m funding to get more emotional

logoIt’s an intranet by any other name, and in that respect, London-headquartered startup StaffConnect rather does what it says on the tin! Its angle is to build an ‘emotionally connected organisation’ which I assume will especially appeal to today’s social media-wed workforce.

Anyway, StaffConnect has raised $1m+ in seed funding from Camberley-based not-for-profit Community Interest Company Finance South East and various angel investors. StaffConnect has also appointed London-based boutique VC Elixir Ventures Managing Partner, Justin Barnes, as chairman.

There are just so many collaboration platforms out there – StaffConnect will surely need more than emotional appeal to get its voice heard in the crowd.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:42' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Thursday 25 May 2017

Nokia 3310 goes on sale

NokiaWhen the retro Nokia 3310 was announced back in Feb 17, I wrote Please stop laughing at me now! I’ve kept a dumb Nokia in my briefcase/glovebox for over a decade now. Its long battery life has ‘saved my life’ on many occasions as my iPhone never seems to outlast a long working day.

Yesterday the Nokia 3310 went on sale for £49.99 at places like Dixons Carphone and many outlets have already sold out. I was flicking through the reviews in today’s papers and was somewhat perplexed with the one or two star ratings. Basically, the reviewers said it wasn’t a smartphone and users would miss many features. The reviews seemed to miss the point. Nobody was ever suggesting the Nokia 3310 as an alternative to an iPhone or Samsung. Its advantages only work as a backup phone. Frankly I would never give mine up - but I carry a network connected iPhone and iPad too!

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:22' - 1 comment

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

H1: another strong period for Sanderson

logoAs previewed earlier this month (Strong growth at Sanderson in H1), Sanderson has confirmed its strong performance in the six months to March 31 2017 where revenue was up 10% to £10.9m driving operating profit up 5% to £1.55m. One particularly nice metric was that at £5.4m, pre-contracted recurring revenue is now a comfortable 50% of total revenue. It remains healthily cash generative too, with net cash of £4.51m vs. £3.39m.

Growth has been organic but management says they are looking at potential acquisitions and have some opportunities in development. Given Sanderson’s goal of reaching £30m annual revenue under its three-year plan and current annual revenue standing at c£20m, acquisitions could help narrow the gap. As importantly, they could boost Sanderson’s IP assets and provide more rapid access to key technologies. Sanderson is investing in IP – targeting mobile and ecommerce in Retail, and mobile across all markets, plus logistics, fulfillment and supply chain capabilities in Wholesale Distribution. Accelerating progress via acquisitions is an option.

The order book stood at £3.8m at the end of the period vs. £3.2m but is described as being better balanced and more manageable now, illustrating the cautious – but sensible - approach Sanderson takes to business. The Retail division is still growing strongly – revenue up 20% to £3.5m although operating profit was smidgeon down due to investment activity. The Enterprise Software division that serves the manufacturing and wholesale distribution sectors saw slower growth of c6% but a nudge up in operating profit and also has a better business balance according to management. Food and Drinks processing is one of the sub sectors tagged for development, aided by specific capability development.

The only criticism is that new customers only make up just 10% of Sanderson’s revenue breakdown, the rest coming from recurring revenue (50%) and incremental sales (40%).  Nevertheless, H1 was a good period for Sanderson and its development plans should further boost the appeal of its offerings.  

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:46' - Tagged: results   software  

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Actual Experience hard hit by channel shift

logoA major shift in its operating model from direct to channel sales hit Analytics-as-a-Service provider Actual Experience hard in H1, slashing through revenue that was already ultra-thin.

For the six months to March 31 2017, revenue more than halved from £484K to £193K as it moved away from direct sales and also felt the negative impact of one-off partner development projects. Given this top line, it’s no surprise the operating loss deepened to £3.8m vs. £2.6m. It is also running through its cash reserves so held a placing in February that raised £17.5m (before expenses) and will be used to support the shift to the channel model.

The change in operating model is clearly being disruptive for the business. However, we see it a good move because of the broader potential and in some cases implementation capability and the company has made progress, with four channel partners onboard so far –  Accenture, VerizonVodafone and Cisco, plus a significant white-labelling contract with a Fortune 100 global technology company. Accenture could be a particularly valuable partner as we explained in Actual Experience signs three-year partnership with Accenture.

With its focus on the ‘digital voice of the customer’ delivered via technology that can monitor and provide performance metrics across the digital supply chain of business applications, third party providers, the internet, and the IT department, its offering is in a sweet spot. Businesses need to be able to identify problem areas for analysis and improvement. But as we said at the time of its FY results, (see here), Actual Experience needs to make real progress with its channel partners during 2017, pushing them beyond pilots to enterprise contracts. 2017 will be a pivotal year and one where it needs to start showing it can build stronger financial foundations.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:39' - Tagged: results   software   analytics  

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

#ATT opens at record high of 1000p

Really excited to report that Allianz Technology Trust (#ATT) opened this morning at 1000.00p - an all-time high.

I became a director 10 years back in Jan 2007 when I bought in at 221p. So, with the Subscripton Shares, that’s now a 5x gain. Up 22% since 1st Jan 17 too. Well done to Fund Manager Walter Price and his team.

Posted by Richard Holway at '09:02'

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Martin Hellawell to step down as Softcat CEO

softcatSoftcat CEO, Martin Hellawell, has said he intends to step down from his role once a successor is in place. Hellawell will then take on the role of Non-Executive Chairman. Having been at the helm for 11 years, Hellawell says now is the time for a new leader, “one with fresh energy and approaches to capitalise on the fantastic opportunities ahead of us”.

I went to visit Martin the other week at the Softcat offices in Marlow. The company employs many people in their twenties and thirties, and the place has a real energy; he is clearly a very popular CEO.

Services accounts for 15% of Softcat's revenue, which was £379m in H1, an increase of 29% - all of which was organic growth (see Softcat flourishing in the mid-market). As well as doing well from its position as a provider to mid-sized organisations, the company is also benefiting from the transformation agenda as buyers modernise their infrastructure to support digital change. For example, connectivity infrastructure to support the Internet of Things – see Internet of Things: Time for IT services providers to accelerate their strategies?

The company also issued and 'short and sweet' Q3 trading update today, which said the performance during the three months was in line with management's expectations. Demand for IT infrastructure has “remained strong” and the Board has seen “no particular evidence of change to market dynamics, whether due to the beginning of the Brexit process or the upcoming General Election”.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '08:55' - Tagged: tradingupdate   growth   CEO   boardchanges  

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Lombard Risk show progress in full-year results

lrmAfter signalling a record year in an April update, Lombard Risk, the provider of integrated collateral management and regulatory reporting solutions, duly delivered with a step-change in revenue, up 45% to £34.3m and EBITDA up 20%. Losses for the year were reduced, coming in at £1.6m against £2.2m in the previous year. Net cash at the year-end was £7m, the company having raised £7.9m during the year.

While management can be pleased with the figures and the underlying changes in the business which have driven recurring revenue up 21% and doubled revenue from new licences and renewals, they are looking for further substantial progress in the current year. Lots of opportunity beckons as new regulations in Australia and Singapore boost demand in Asia where the company has got its act together. The North American operation also looks set for good growth. Lombard has re-located its development centre, preferring Birmingham to Shanghai and looking for better workflow and access to key talent. Partnerships will play a greater role in driving growth, with the more collaborative relationships with Oracle and Atos increasing in importance. Renewal of installed systems to the cloud-based AgileREPORTER and AgileCOLLATERAL offers additional growth in recurring income, and lower TCO for customers. Brokers are forecasting a breakeven at the pre-tax level for the year.

The management team of Lombard Risk has set out to build a more effective vehicle to support a global customer base as it strives to keep pace with financial markets regulation. This should largely be complete at the end of the current financial year.  Given the likely success of its platform and cloud-driven approach, we would expect management to look to partner (or acquire) to address a broader range of regulations – and a greater share of wallet.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:51' - Tagged: cloud   software   regulation  

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Quiqup vs Jinn – battle of the ‘netgophers’

logoBarely days after we noted London-based ‘on demand, within the hour’ delivery startup, Jinn’s fund raising (see Another $10m tonic for Jinn), local archrival startup, Quikup, has gone on to raise a further £20m in a Series B funding round led by New York-based Jobi Capital. Existing investors also participated, along with new backer, Lebanon(!)-based ‘full service distributor’, Transmed. Quikup raised an undisclosed sum in a Series A round in September 2015 (see Netgopher Quiqup picks up funding). Gopherit!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:06' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

IPO + IVO proceeds apace

logologoThe bid by LSE Main Market-listed IP Group (LSE Code: IPO) to absorb AIM-listed Touchstone (nee Imperial) Innovations (LSE Code: IVO) seems to make sense to Touchstone’s investors too (see IP Group + Touchstone = sterling investor ‘unicorn’?), as IP Group has now garnered commitments for over 74% of Touchstone’s shares.

Although Touchstone’s directors had originally rejected IPO’s overtures over ‘terms and governance’, IVO CEO, Russ Cummins accepted that ‘the proposal has certain merits’. In other words, “let’s haggle”.

At current course and speed, this one looks like a ‘done deal’, and that would be a good outcome.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:50' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Frew exits InterQuest board as MBO bid struggles

logoPaul Frew, managing partner at Elderstreet Capital Partners, and one of the two dissenting non-exec directors on the board of AIM-listed IT recruitment firm InterQuest, was relieved of his duties at the company’s AGM yesterday, leaving David Higgins, ex-CEO at recruiter Harvey Nash, the remaining NED rejecting the MBO bid led by InterQuest founder Gary Ashworth (see InterQuest NEDs rebuff founder's MBO bid).

In which respect, Ashworth’s MBO vehicle, Chisbridge, has crept up to a 43.5% committed shareholding, which suggests that investors are not exactly rushing to join the party (see InterQuest MBO: 42% down, 58% to go!).

As I said before, this bid may not be over quickly. In fact, perhaps it won’t be over at all.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '07:24' - Tagged: recruitment   mbo  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

Cherubs bless Shipamax with seed funding

logoI think what we’re talking about here is basically EDI (electronic data interchange) for the bulk shipping industry, and, if so, about time too! Of course, nowadays we don’t call it EDI, we call it ‘data driven communication’ and dress it up with prose about how ‘Bulk shipping powers the world economy – the grains we eat, the steel we build with and the fuels we consume …’ to add some sizzle.

But if London-based startup, Shipamax, has indeed cracked EDI for the bulk shipping industry, then we can excuse the ‘marketing overlay’, and applaud the fact that they have raised $2.5m in a seed funding round led by Cherubic Ventures, along with AME Cloud and FF Angel. Sail on!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '22:51' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

Demis Hassibis on Desert Island Discs

DemisRare I do this, but I really do urge you to listen to Demis Hassabis - the founder of Deepmind - on Desert Island Discs. You can ‘Listen Again’ CLICK HERE.

Some of you will have heard Hassabis at the Prince’s Trust Leadership Dinner earlier this year. I had the privilege of having a long conversation with him at that event. He is a quite incredible young man. Indeed he is a credit to his parents and, indeed, to our country.

If you have children who are addicted to computer games, then listen to this. Maybe then ‘Listen Again’ with your kids and say ‘You know, that could be you’.

Posted by Richard Holway at '17:27' - 1 comment

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

Feast It hits the street with seed funding

logoIt’s a variation on the online catering B2B/B2C marketplace theme with a focus on ‘gourmet street food’. This is London-based startup, Feast It, which has just raised £340k in seed funding.

Whether you consider Feast It partner Dirty Burger in the gourmet class is a matter of taste, though it must be said I have not tried their newly opened burger bar in Ealing Broadway yet. But Feast It has other commercial partners too (apparently ‘over 200 of London’s leading street food vendors’ according to TechCrunch) and claim the likes of Amazon and Samsung among its corporate clients.

On the other hand, there’s Rocket Internet-backed Caterwings (now London-based but originally Berlin-founded) which raised €6m in June 2016 and boasts Accenture and HSBC as corporate clients.

Or you can order lots of takeaway from Just Eat, Deliveroo, …

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:42' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

Aveva: refreshed strategy helping it weather the storm

logoAveva is working hard to weather the long running storm caused by the “challenging conditions” in its core Oil & Gas and Marine end markets, leading CEO James Kidd to describe its full year performance as “resilient”.  

That translates to a 7% uplift in revenue to £215.8m, however as reported revenue benefitted from currency exchange rates this dropped to a 3.8% decline on a constant currency (cc) basis. PBT ballooned 60% to £46.9m largely due to strict cost control; on an adjusted basis PBT grew 7.4% to £55m.

Aveva’s prospects are reliant on its reworked strategy (see here), devised to enable it to work around its problem markets, particularly oil and gas, and following the failure of the Schneider Electric software acquisition plan. And there are bright points. MT3D sales were up just over 2% cc over the year to March 31 2017 as the company focused on selling additional engineering tools beyond its core 3D design platforms (where most of its revenue is generated) and using Aveva NET from the information management area to expand its addressable market. There was also progress on Owner Operator market development where revenue was up 5.4% cc, with progress in North America in particular. The power market is also heating up - up 11.4% cc - as Aveva secured contracts such as KEPCO E&C, Southern Company and TerraPower. There were also advances in the emerging sector of steel fabrication, which delivered a 10% cc revenue uplift.

Given the circumstances, performance was reasonable, with the most promising aspect being the early signs of momentum and market expansion on the back of its refreshed strategy.

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:34' - Tagged: results   software  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

*NEW RESEARCH* Is DXC Technology a powerhouse for UK Financial Services IT?

logoreportThe creation of DXC Technology will have significant implications for the supply of Software and IT Services into the UK Financial Services sector. The bold move to combine the operations of HPES and CSC, complemented by the recently acquired Xchanging operation, has created a business which (on TechMarketView estimates) will deliver over £1bn of annual sales into the UK sector.

This means that DXC Technology will be the largest supplier in our Financial Services sector rankings.

The two sector-facing divisions, Insurance, and Banking and Finance, will together generate around one-third of the new group’s UK revenues.

Our report looks at the complementary fit of the three operations which have combined within DXC Technology, identifies the areas where they will have a leading position and discusses the avenues for further growth for this company which is changing the SITS supply landscape in this dynamic sector.

The report is available to subscribers of FinancialServicesViews and our Foundation Service, here. If you or your company don’t yet subscribe, please contact Deb Seth, our Sales and Marketing Director.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:17' - Tagged: cloud   financialservices   merger   insurance   banking  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

1Spatial hoping to map a better course

lShares in geospatial software firm 1Spatial took another hit this morning (down over 10%), after releasing its full year results (see 1Spatial maps the wrong course, shares tumble). It’s the direction of travel that shows the level of risk.

Operating losses ballooned to -£15.5m vs. -£0.7m last time, despite revenue increasing 21% to £22.1m. Revenues were boosted by a full year’s inclusion of Enables IT acquired in July 2015 and 1Spatial Inc in February 2016. Net funds meanwhile look precariously low at £600k vs. £5m last year.

Following the recent management overhaul, non-exec chair Andy Roberts has now taken on the role of exec chairman, with former CFO Claire Milverton acting CEO.

Roberts has a good track record turning around ailing IT businesses – he did a great job at The Innovation Group (TIG), which he eventually sold to Carlyle Group for £500m (see here). However, 1Spatial could be an altogether bigger challenge. Nonetheless, Roberts is confident, the business is now well-placed to become a ‘substantial, profitable and cash-generative business out into the future’.

Posted by John O'Brien at '09:12' - Tagged: results   software  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

Florismart blooms with growth funding

logoAppropriately, it’s Chelsea Flower Show week, though I don’t know how many of the exhibitors are yet using Florismart, the Battersea-based online B2B marketplace for professional florists.

Incorporated in July 2014 and launched the following year, Florismart has raised £1.3m in a growth funding round led by Beaubridge, alongside CEO Steve France and Chairman Abraham Wijnperle. Florismart intends to raise a further £1m in the next few months.

In principle, this is another proverbial ‘great idea’, especially if you are a professional florist and are not able to make the trip to London’s New Covent Garden market to buy your flowers. But Florismart is not alone in cyberspace. A quick trawl on the internet brought up Woking-based Sunflora, the self-styled ‘leading UK suppliers of cut flowers and foliage’, and Ipswich-based Triangle Nursery.

I have no idea which one will truly blossom.

PS Unfortunately a Japanese company had long time snared the @florismart twitter handle so they appear to be 'sans tweets'

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:09' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

IP Group + Touchstone = sterling investor ‘unicorn’?

logologoIf you add together the fair value of LSE Main Market-listed IP Group’s investee company portfolio (£614m) with that of AIM-listed Touchstone’s (nee Imperial) Innovations (£383m), you get a total of one billion pounds bar the pence (as assessed around the end of last year).

Perhaps it is this that helped prompt an unsolicited all-share offer made by IP Group for Touchstone, which values Touchstone at the equivalent of 307p per share, a small premium to its 295p last close. Touchstone has rejected the offer.

IP Group also announced an intent to raise £200m through a placing and open offer at 140p per share, a small discount to its 143p last close.

Both IP Group and Touchstone invest heavily in IP developed at UK universities, mostly, but not exclusively, unquoted companies. IP Group has a stronger suit in quoted software companies, such as Actual Experience and Tracsis (both AIM-listed), and is also the home to (unlisted) Little British Battler Ultrahaptics. Touchstone is a key investor in Little British Battlers Featurespace and Concirrus, as well as visual search star-in-waiting Cortexica, all unlisted. Touchstone has signalled its intent to double its portfolio of software companies over the next couple of years (see Touchstone touching more IT).

On the face of it, a merger between IP Group and Touchstone could well make sense.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:27' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

*NEW RESEARCH* What are the opportunities for Artificial Intelligence in BPS?

lWe continue to research the disruptive impact of Intelligent Automation on the business process services (BPS) market. 

We recently examined end user impacts of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) on the retail banking and energy sectors (see RPA end user insight in energy and retail banking). In the adjacent, emerging area of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI), we are hearing a huge amount of noise from BPS providers keen to jump on this latest hot topic. 

Earlier this year, IBM announced that its AI/cognitive platform Watson is to be used by Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance (FMLI), to automate the activities of claims adjusters (see here). This was the first time we’ve heard of AI being used by a major institution to automate higher value mid-office roles. The big question it poses is whether this could be the watershed for AI in the BPS market. 

We do believe some of the really big wins are to be gained from the application of AI in BPS, in terms of cost reduction, productivity improvements and new machine-led intelligence. However, pinning down what exactly AI is in a BPS context, and determining the reality from the hype, is critical to get a good understanding of the potential today, and application in the future.

Subscribers to TechMarketView's BusinessProcessViews research stream can read our detailed analysis in our report What are the opportunities for Artificial Intelligence in Business Process Services?

Posted by John O'Brien at '08:05' - Tagged: bps   artificialintelligence   RPA  

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Tuesday 23 May 2017

They must not win

Last night at around 10.30pm, my wife and I, together with many thousands of other happy people, were streaming out of the Royal Albert Hall, passing all the merchandising stalls in the foyer, after a wonderful concert by Eric Clapton. Nothing happened to spoil our mood. We drove home to Farnham and went to bed with old Slowhand still ringing in our ears.

At exactly the same time, thousands of mainly teenage girls were streaming out of the Manchester Arena, passing all the merchandising stalls in the foyer, after what I am sure was an equally wonderful concert by Ariana Grande. Then a bomb went off. At least 22 were killed - many more injured.  Few got to go home as planned. Many parents are still searching for their daughters. Some will never be united. I cannot imagine how they must feel.

In everyway it was the most dastardly of acts as the victims were so young, so very innocent. I hoped and prayed that we would never again witness an act like this. But, I guess, it was only a matter of time. As was said back in the days of the IRA, we have to be ‘lucky’ all the time. The terrorists only have to be ‘lucky’ once.

I guess the only reaction is to continue to go about our business in the same way. Today I’ll still get on that train to London. I’ll still fight my way through the throngs on Waterloo Station and take the packed ‘Drain’ to Bank.  I would suspect all of you will do something similar.

They must not win.

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:00'

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Monday 22 May 2017

Leonardo points the way forward for SAP

logoLeonardo was all the rage at SAP Sapphire 2017 last week. We’re still digesting the totality of the event but it was abundantly clear that Leonardo is its latest big push, indeed CEO Bill McDermott described it as "the biggest move our company has made since HANA.”

What is Leonardo? Well it started out as the SAP IoT platform – the place to build smart IoT applications - but the concept and the technology has broadened significantly. Today it encompasses machine learning, analytics, IoT and even blockchain. At this point in time it is a set of tools to build these capabilities into applications rather than a packaged product. This is underlined by its services component whereby it appears that Leonardo also includes a consulting engagement. This is to help customers identify use cases and where its capabilities can be used to extend enterprise systems. SAP will also be helping enable and accelerate use case exploration through the planned creation of vertical application templates.

Selecting use cases that are small enough to execute rapidly but important enough to make a difference to businesses is one of the biggest challenges where machine learning enabled applications are concerned - we are already hearing of failures across the market in general which raises the dangerous spectre of early stage disillusionment. This highlights the opportunity/need for a consulting led go to market strategy for services providers and it something that SAP is embracing to help make sure Leonardo is a success.

As a tool/services combo, Leonardo addresses the shift towards intelligent data driven applications (subscribers can read our report on Intelligent Applications here). Importantly, it looks beyond itself, the SAP environment and transactional applications (like ERP) while providing the scope to extend and update existing enterprise application landscapes. There is already a lot of technology in play, the imperative for SAP is fleshing Leonardo out, particularly around its market positioning. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:43' - Tagged: software   machinelearning   machineintelligence  

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Monday 22 May 2017

Forbidden Technologies takes first step into eSports

logoIn March, we reported on the transitional year for cloud video platform provider Forbidden Technologies. It looks as if the transition is continuing apace with news that the company has signed with Gfinity to improve their interaction with the fans of eSports.

For the uninitiated, eSports is the umbrella term for tournaments for digital games such as “Call of Duty”, “FIFA” and “Counterstrike: Global Offensive”. The events can have tens of thousands of live viewers and many more viewing over the Internet. Global revenues from eSports could total US$700m in 2017 (Source: Newzoo).

Forbidden’s Forscene cloud video platform will accelerate the live clipping of events onto social media and allow better access to archive material for the growing fan base.

This is a new opportunity adding to the potential in more “conventional” sports where Forbidden is focusing a lot of effort. Interesting times.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:33' - Tagged: cloud   gaming   video  

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Monday 22 May 2017

All seems set fair as StatPro chairman hands over

logoJust a brief word about StatPro, the provider of increasingly cloud-based portfolio management and analysis systems as their founding Chairman, Carl Bacon stands down at today’s AGM.

TechMarketView subscribers can catch up on the last eight years of Carl’s 18-year tenure at StatPro by scanning the UKHotViews Archive. It’s been an interesting time, giving a salutary lesson into the hard work necessary to transform a business. StatPro made the decision to move to cloud all of ten years ago and there still remains a lot to do. Indeed, the company is only now setting out to migrate the customer base of its biggest seller to a cloud-based version.

If a company’s progress is measured solely by its share price, then you’d have to say that things have not gone that well. The current price is still (just) below the level of March 2010. Nevertheless, the price has picked up recently, due in part to the increased momentum of the cloud transition, but also due to the company’s recent purchase of UBS’s Delta risk management operation which adds to scale (but also to the management’s already hefty workload, see here).

However, the new Chairman, Rory Curran, may well have a better time of it as the cloud migration rolls on and as operating and development efficiencies roll out. Also, by taking the bold decision to move to cloud and by persevering through years of hard work, StatPro now seems to be in an excellent position. The company can be expected to capture significant market position and additional profits as investment management and trading companies renew their systems to improve performance, meet regulatory obligations and reduce costs. As a result, the outgoing chairman can probably feel well pleased.

Posted by Peter Roe at '09:14' - Tagged: saas   cloud  

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Monday 22 May 2017

Book your place for an Evening with TechMarketView

Tickets for TechMarketView’s fifth annual Presentation and Dinner are now on sale! Early bird tickets are available for tables booked before June 1 2017 so don’t delay – book your place now via the registration form here.

This year’s Evening with TechMarketView will take place of Thursday 5 October 2017 at the magnificent Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in Portland Place, London.

The enjoyable evening provides a mix of valuable insight from TechMarketView’s leading analyst team with quality networking over drinks and a three-course dinner. It is TechMarketView’s flagship event and a fixture in the calendars of leading figures across the UK software, IT services and business process services sectors (SITS).

TMVE imageUnlocking the Intelligence

Join us on October 5 to rub shoulders with some 250 of UK tech’s ‘great & good’ and to hear TechMarketView’s analysts share their views on the latest developments across the sector under the banner of TechMarketView’s 2017 research theme, Unlocking the Intelligence.

The guestlist for the evening – which has been a sellout for the last four years - typically includes CXOs from a broad range of SITS companies large and small, CIOs from public and private sector organisations, and a cross section of others with a keen interest in how the sector is evolving, including decision makers from the VC and private equity community. 

Early Bird Pricing for tables booked before June 1

If previous years are anything to go by, tickets are likely to sell quickly so we’d recommend booking early. Discounted early bird tickets are now available for tables booked before 1 June 2017. And, as in previous years, TechMarketView research subscription clients are also eligible for a 20% discount on standard ticket prices both on Early Bird tables and on tickets booked individually or after 1 June. For full details and to book your place visit tx2Events here.

Sponsorship opportunities

We also have a number of sponsorship opportunities related to the event. These provide a fantastic opportunity for our partners to raise brand awareness with prospective clients and partners and to get their message out to a high-profile audience from the world of UK tech. For more details on the available sponsorship packages and to express your interest in being considered as a sponsor please contact TechMarketView Managing Director Tola Sargeant (tsargeant@techmarketview.com or 01798 865231).

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:42' - Tagged: event  

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Monday 22 May 2017

Cognizant adds Dexia to its growing FS client list

logodexiaCognizant has featured regularly in recent UKHotViews as it has built its client list in the Financial Services sector, with strategic deals being announced with ABN AMRO, the FCA and the FSCS. Last week the company announced that they are working up another strategic customer relationship, this time with Dexia, the European banking group.

This prospective deal is another illustration of Cognizant’s enthusiastic and unorthodox approach to building its customer base in the sector. Belgian-French Dexia is 94.4% state-owned after being a major casualty of the 2008 Financial Crash and is now directly supervised by the European Central Bank. Cognizant will support Dexia as it manages the run-off of its operations.

Cognizant aims to reduce the operational risk of Dexia’s legacy IT infrastructure, drive cost savings and provide an efficient transformation to “digital” Cognizant will also build a new platform to run the bank’s credit operations.

Not only does this deal bring additional revenue, it should also strengthen Cognizant’s overall market position. Working with Dexia will generate further scale economies in its business process operation, add to Cognizant’s already significant domain expertise and provide additional experienced personnel as Dexia employees are migrated across to Cognizant. It will also become another shop window for Cognizant’s approach to “doing digital at scale” as discussed at its recent analyst event.

After having built strong positions in the UK Financial Services sector, several Indian Pure Plays identified Continental Europe as a growth area and have invested in building operations there. In the case of Cognizant, this strategy is paying off.

Posted by Peter Roe at '08:26' - Tagged: platformbased+bps   legacy   banking   digital  

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