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Post integration Aveva benefits from H1 sector uptick and sales execution
20 Nov 2018
Fintech startup Genesis illuminated with funding
20 Nov 2018
Outsourcers to write 'living wills'
20 Nov 2018
Eckoh’s new business booms
20 Nov 2018
Cabling software developer Cimteq connects to funding
20 Nov 2018
Microsoft and Oracle acquisitions to improve cloud performance
20 Nov 2018
IMImobile delivers strong H1
20 Nov 2018
Online ecosystem working for Intuit in Q1
20 Nov 2018
Nakama turns a profit – and churns shareholders
20 Nov 2018
Gain exposure through our 'Sponsored Posts' and raise your company profile
20 Nov 2018
UKHotViewsPremium - A unique subscription service for individuals
19 Nov 2018
Imaginatik's H1 of change
19 Nov 2018
Insurtech Anorak warms up with AXA incubator funding
19 Nov 2018
[Independent Product Review] An MWD Advisors Report: ‘On The Radar’ - Featuring FlowForma
19 Nov 2018
Facebook must face its issues
17 Nov 2018
RenalytixAI raises £22m and lists on AIM
16 Nov 2018
Trakm8’s shares plunge on H1 results
16 Nov 2018
*HotViewsExtra* Boosts for UK AI Labs and Citizen Training
16 Nov 2018
Dell improves tracking stock offer
16 Nov 2018
Automation Anywhere raises an additional $300m
16 Nov 2018
Mercia funds Kumulos – it's a family affair!
16 Nov 2018
*UKHotViewsExtra* Vodafone shines spotlight on IoT
16 Nov 2018
European tech M&A recovers as overseas buyers pounce
16 Nov 2018
NHS Digital invests in social care innovation
16 Nov 2018
Mercaux raises dosh to turn shop assistants digital
15 Nov 2018
Civica Digital appoints Steve Thorn
15 Nov 2018
Hancock pledges to make UK leader in health tech
15 Nov 2018
Science Museum Group goes live with TechnologyOne
15 Nov 2018
Nationwide takes minority stake in Moneyhub
15 Nov 2018
Blue Prism Chairman to step down
15 Nov 2018
Strong Q1 heralds good year for Cisco
15 Nov 2018
Redstor deepens friendship with VMware
15 Nov 2018
Uipath closes $265m Series C funding
15 Nov 2018
Getronics goes public on private equity services
15 Nov 2018
Are you an SME looking to raise your profile? Advertise through TechMarketView
15 Nov 2018
Voice-activated devices are a hit with older users
15 Nov 2018
Fluidly raises £5m to help SMEs with their cashflow
14 Nov 2018
Cyber acquisitions drive growth at Falanx
14 Nov 2018
Mporium raises £2.3m to target ‘micro-moments’
14 Nov 2018
Great British Scaleups: The Fifth Generation – Day 2
14 Nov 2018
Happy Birthday Sir. Prince Charles joins the 70s Club
14 Nov 2018
Amazon reinvents the light switch
13 Nov 2018
Experian H1: growth driven by B2B proposition
13 Nov 2018
Great British Scaleups: The Fifth Generation – Day 1
13 Nov 2018
Kofax spends US$400m on Nuance for RPA
13 Nov 2018
Little first half cheer for Vodafone
13 Nov 2018
Hold on to your hats
13 Nov 2018
AXA helps Birdie take flight
13 Nov 2018
Cyan Forensics secures new funds
13 Nov 2018
SERVICES READY 2019: Challenges and Innovation for Professional Services in Tech
13 Nov 2018

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Post integration Aveva benefits from H1 sector uptick and sales execution

logoPerformance during H1, the first full trading period since the completion of the Aveva/ Schneider Electric Software (SES) reverse acquisition, was “solid” which is a reasonable achievement given the troubled acquisition path.

As far as the numbers were concerned (for the six months to 30 September 2018), that translated to revenue up 10.9% on a pro forma basis to £343m, with adjusted PBT up 54.3% to £60.5m. Recurring revenue increased 18.7% and is now nearly 52% of total revenue, against a goal of 60%.

There was measured confidence as the company reconfirmed full year expectations on the grounds that sales execution was strong and integration is on-track. CEO Craig Hayman, is confident that the company is making progress towards its medium term targets of delivering revenue growth at least in-line with the industrial software market, increasing recurring revenue as a percentage of overall revenue and improving the adjusted EBIT margin to 30%.

It is early in the integration process so it is difficult to determine how much of the improvement is due to the Aveva/Schneider combination vs. an uptick in the market. The markets seem to have worked in Aveva’s favour, particularly Oil & Gas and parts of the Marine sector but the broader portfolio may be raising confidence levels in the company. Growth in heritage Aveva products appears to have been stronger than the mid-single digit grow of the SES portfolio. H1 results follow the respectable start made by the newly combined business when it reported full year pro forma results shortly after the acquisition closed.

EMEA delivered the strongest growth (21.9% to £132m) on the back of Oil & Gas contracts, a large Marine contract and a multi-year Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract. The America’s delivered 6.3% growth to £125m, and Asia-Pacific just 3% to £86.5m.

Aveva has an opportunity to capitalise on the digitalisation process within its markets, particularly the Digital Twin concept, but there is a lot of integration work to be completed. It also has to take advantage of its broader simulation-to-operations portfolio and be proactive, educating the market about digital business change outcomes and benefits. 

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

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Fintech startup Genesis illuminated with funding

logoIf I understand this correctly, London-based fintech startup Genesis Global develops microservices code which it incorporates into custom-built products for the capital markets industry. Founded in 2015 by ex-bankers, Genesis recently closed a Series A financing round, securing a total of $3m from UK capital markets VC Illuminate Financial, and New York based venture group Tribeca Angels.

Genesis seems to be basically a bespoke software development house using 'repeatable' underlying code. It's not clear how it charges clients, but I would imagine it's a combination of 'time and materials' billing for the implementation, and some sort of licence and support fee for the underlying code. But who knows?

I suspect Genesis' growth will be probably determined more by its implementation capacity than by its microservices code R&D as it appears that every client gets a unique solution. How scalable that business model will turn out to be will be interesting to see.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:43' - Tagged: funding   startup   FinTech  

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Outsourcers to write 'living wills'

Cabinet OfficeThe collapse of Carillion at the beginning of the year has ultimately been bad news for all Public Sector outsourcers giving critics an even bigger stick with which to beat the sector.

Yesterday we heard some positive news from the Cabinet Office about how some of the key players in this space are progressing measures to help mitigate the risks. Capita, Serco and Sopra Steria have volunteered to draw up contingency plans after the Cabinet Office said it lacked “key organisational information” that would have helped in the aftermath of the Carillion collapse.‘Living wills’ would give the government time to transfer services to a new supplier or take them in-house in the event of a company's failure.

Large-scale Public-Sector outsourcing has gone through a torrid time of late and measures like this can only be a positive step towards a sensible and constructive approach by both government and service providers to share risk and reward and dare I say it offer genuine partnership delivery. Hopefully in coming weeks we will see other service providers follow suit.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:32' - Tagged: publicsector   bps  

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Eckoh’s new business booms

LogoAIM-listed provider of contact centre and secure payment solutions Eckoh plc has had an encouraging start to the current financial year. New business contracted - i.e. excluding renewals with existing customers - in H119 (the six months to 30th September) leapt by over 60% to £14.2m. Year to date this figure now exceeds the FY18 total of £15.3m, fuelled in part by the closure in the US last month of the company’s largest ever secure payments deal (see here).

First half revenue was, however, down 1.4% yoy to £13.1m on a constant currency basis, while adjusted EBITDA fell by 15% to £1.6m against H118. The top line decline was principally due to the unexpected reduction in scope and value of a large support contract with a US telco. The overall reported financial performance was also impacted by IFRS 15 which changes the timing of revenue recognition (see here). This has, conversely, both strengthened Eckoh’s recurring revenue position and increased substantially the company’s levels of deferred revenue. Taken together with the jump in new contracted business, the improved level of revenue visibility points to faster rates of top line growth during the second half of the year.

H119 has also seen a welcome return to growth in the UK following the successful restructuring of the sales function. Revenue in the region was up 5% yoy buoyed by an improved performance of the partner account channel. The Capita relationship, which delivered no new contracts last year, returned to more normal levels of activity. The rejuvenation of the long-standing BT partnership, moreover, delivered more new deals this period than for some years.

Looking forward, Eckoh’s management is confident regarding the prospects for the Group. Based on the business momentum built over the last six months, it would appear to be optimism well founded.

Posted by Duncan Aitchison at '09:14' - Tagged: contactcentre   payments   results.  

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Cabling software developer Cimteq connects to funding

logoWith all the investment going into startups developing the next big thing in AI, machine learning and whatever, we risk losing sight of well-established UK tech SMEs developing software to support our 'nuts and bolts' industries. Or, in this case, the wire and cable manufacturing industry.

Such is Wrexham, North Wales-based Cimteq, which recently raised £2.5m in a funding round backed by Foresight Group. This is the first external funding for Cimteq, which was founded in 1998 and currently employs 22 people. Foresight is installing ex-Fujitsu Computers MD, Bryan Taylor, as Cimteq's non-exec chairman.

Where would we be without wires and cabling? No, seriously.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '09:11' - Tagged: funding  

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Microsoft and Oracle acquisitions to improve cloud performance

Microsoft and Oracle acquisitions to improve cloud performanceTwo giants of the IT industry – Microsoft and Oracle – recently made very different acquisitions, both of which are destined to improve the performance of the cloud-hosted applications and services which their customers access over IP networks.

Microsoft acquired FSLogix, a start-up that specialises in software that streamlines virtual desktop environments, with Oracle snapping up software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) supplier Talari Networks.Microsoft and Oracle acquisitions to improve cloud performance

Neither buyer revealed the terms of their acquisition, but the parallels pretty much stop there. FSLogix is small scale, having raised about US$7.5m in funding to date and employs a handful of staff. Its technology is destined to be a container for Office365 workloads, providing faster load times for user profiles and simplifying provisioning, management and support for the Windows Virtual Desktop service announced earlier this year.

In contrast, Talari Networks is 11 years old and already has around 500 customers globally. It has roughly 110 staff and generated revenue of around US$16m in 2017. Its Failsafe platform is expected to complement Oracle’s Session Border Controller (SBC) and network management infrastructure by extending application performance guarantees into SaaS-hosted workloads accessed by fixed or mobile IP networks.

How long the necessary integration will take in either case is anyone’s guess. That is particularly true where Talari’s broader product portfolio - which includes SD-WAN hardware appliances, network controllers and a management platform - is concerned (read our SD-WAN Builds New Service Models for Network Providers report here).

But we think that the two acquisitions are significant in that they illustrate two (of many) companies which have already nailed their colours to the cloud now looking to differentiate their services by improving application provisioning and performance.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:06' - Tagged: Oracle   cloudmigration   SD-WAN   FSLogix   TalariNetworks  

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

IMImobile delivers strong H1

IMImobileInterim results today from cloud communications software and solutions provider IMImobile has the group growing in all the areas that matter. Revenue for H1 was up 26% to £67.2m (H1 2017: £53.1m) (15% organic) whilst adjusted EBITDA was up 35% to £7.7m (H1 2017: £5.7m).

Acquisitions have clearly played their part and we have seen further moves here (IMImobile extends portfolio and geographically with Impact Mobile) with July’s agreement to purchase Impact Mobile, a provider of end-to-end mobile engagement solutions from Canadian consumer finance company Dealnet Capital Corp for an initial C$25m (£14.4m) cash, plus a deferred cash consideration of C$2.5m (£1.4m). The company has also subsequently added Express Pigeon, a US-based email marketing platform provider. Both acquisitions will help strengthen the IMImobile’s presence in the North American market.

Geographically the UK remains a fruitful hunting ground for the company citing a “Strong period of new client wins in the UK” with clients added in the banking, utilities, retail and logistics sectors.

IMImobile’s strapline is to get organisations to communicate with their customers as easily as people communicate with each other and the drivers of growth here remain consistent - B2C organisations typically communicate with their customers in silos and are looking to consolidate in order to provide a consistent customer experience. IMIMobile offers a way for these organisations to deploy a consistent communications strategy across their various channels and comms platforms. 

Technology, consumer expectations and business pressures are clearly aligning for IMImobile at the moment with FY 2019 trading remaining in line with management expectations.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:04' - Tagged: results   communications  

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Online ecosystem working for Intuit in Q1

logoIntuit opened the financial year in good form, beating analyst expectations and reversing the pre-Q1 results release stock price slide once the numbers were out and being digested.

Revenue for the three months to 31 October 2018 expanded a solid 12% to $1bn, largely on the back of online services – QuickBooks Online where the number of subscriptions grew 41% to 3.6m, while online ecosystem revenue saw 42% growth. Its international push is delivering results with international subscriptions up 61% to 880,000. While continuing to compete with Sage, it is also facing up to fast growing challenger Xero who closed H1 (to 30 September 2018) with 1.6m subscribers worldwide, a 32% yoy increase (see H1 results reflect Xero’s expansion activities) and is also pushing hard to build its international business. Sage, who had a disappointing H1 but showed an improvement in Q3, is due to report full year results this week so we’ll be looking out for its subscription metrics. What is clear is the enthusiasm for online accounting across the SMB market.

Intuit also reduced its losses from $35m to $10m. It is starting the year in good form, highlighting that its best quarters are yet to come. Q2 guidance is for 10%-11% revenue growth to $1.47bn to $1.49bn.

Posted by Angela Eager at '08:31' - Tagged: results   software  

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Nakama turns a profit – and churns shareholders

logoFar more interesting than the fact that troubled 'recruiter of two halves' Nakama Group has finally turned a tiny interim profit are the significant changes in shareholdings that have been effected since the group announced its dismal FY results in September (see Recruiter Nakama to 'embark on a journey').

The shareholder 'journey' started back in June 2017 when 'substantial' shareholder Mark Dixon sold nearly half his holding in Nakama, leaving him with 11.5m shares representing just under 10% of the issued share capital. At the same time, rival executive search firm Sheffield Haworth took a 24.1% stake in the company (see Nakama sinks even deeper as swaps Sheffields) with its exec chairman, Tim Sheffield, joining Nakama's board as a non-exec director, while Nakama's CEO Rob Sheffield (no relation) resigned.

Then in October this year, Nakama announced that, in August, Mark Dixon had gifted his entire shareholding (now representing just over 10%) to his wife Diana. This was followed by the announcement on 6th November that rival recruiter First Point Group had taken just over a 24% stake in Nakama, which I presume it acquired from Sheffield Haworth. A couple of days later it was announced that another Nakama shareholder, Paul Goodship, no longer held a notifiable shareholding.

On 12th November it was then announced that former CEO Rob Sheffield also no longer had a notifiable shareholding in Nakama, and on 16th November it was revealed that Diana Dixon had sold about half her shareholding, leaving her with 6m shares, just over 5% of the total.

Nakama's shares were trading at under 2p in June 2017 and descended towards 0.65p in April this year. They have since 'recovered' to 1.15p.

I can't wait to see what happens next!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:30' - Tagged: results   recruitment  

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Gain exposure through our 'Sponsored Posts' and raise your company profile

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Monday 19 November 2018

UKHotViewsPremium - A unique subscription service for individuals

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Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:40'

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Monday 19 November 2018

Imaginatik's H1 of change

Imaginatik logo“Troubled” was the word we used to describe innovation software platform provider Imaginatik last month – see Troubled Imaginatik raises funds, back to trading. Indeed, its troubles go back some time. Though actually the most recent news was something of a relief as the company raised some much-needed funds.

Today’s H1 results show that following the strategic review, kicked off in mid-2018, there remains work to be done. Imaginatik states that the reduction in recognised revenues – of 18% to £1.42m – is a reflection of prospective customers cautiously waiting the results of the review. Investment talks breaking down, the loss of the company’s nominated provider, and suspension of trading on AIM in September (at the end of this reporting period), will have done little to boost confidence levels, despite those issues now being resolved. However, new CEO, Angus Forrest, appointed in July, has made changes across the organisation, including to the sales & marketing approach. And the qualified sales leads (standing at 72) and new customer wins (3 in the period) have increased threefold compared to the previous six-month period.

Imaginatik also continues to align costs to revenues. The operating loss (before foreign exchange) for H1 stood at £0.45m (compared to £0.59m). With annualised cost savings of £1.2m (net saving of £0.89m) achieved in the six months, there is hope that the company can move into the black.

Our fear is that, for many companies, “achieving breakthrough and continuous innovation at scale”, will be about far more than just putting applications in place to support the process; it will require fundamental changes in culture and behaviours. For this reason, it is good news that Forrest seems to be putting more emphasis on Imaginatik’s consultancy credentials. However, in consulting Imaginatik will be competing with a large pool of suppliers offering similar skills. It must find a way for the combination of its product and consultancy offerings to set it apart. Perhaps easier said than done.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:36' - Tagged: results   software   innovation  

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Monday 19 November 2018

Insurtech Anorak warms up with AXA incubator funding

logoIt's a tough call to make a life insurance comparison website look cool to consumers and enticing to potential commercial partners. I'm not sure that London-based startup Anorak Technologies has quite achieved that objective but at least it doesn't rely on small furry animals or faux opera singers to get its message across.

Having raised £4m in seed funding at the beginning of this year (see Insurtech Anorak zips up £4m), Anorak recently closed a £5m Series A funding round backed by existing investor Kamet Ventures, the insurtech incubator set up by French insurance giant AXA in which Anorak co-founder David Vanek is a partner. One would like to think that Anorak's 'independent advice' recommendation engine treats AXA's own life insurance products on equal footing with the rest of the market.

Anorak also promotes its API to financial services suppliers and retailers to use on their own websites and has already struck such an arrangement with UK challenger banks Yolt (born of Netherlands-based ING Bank) and Starling (see Starling progresses and opens door into RBS).

I feel that Anorak has a long road to hoe if it is to make a dent in the 'mindshare' captured by the established price comparison websites, whose scope goes well beyond insurance products. Success is more likely to be determined by how many channel partners it can sign up. Two is of course not enough.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:00' - Tagged: funding   startup   insurtech  

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Saturday 17 November 2018

Facebook must face its issues

FBLong term and regular readers will know that my reports on Facebook go back to 2006 (you can still see them from 2007 onwards on the Archive). I have been a user since the start. I had been a fan for most of that time. I had been a shareholder - but sold out earlier this year. It was a financially shrewd decision as Facebook shares are down 35% since their peak. Part of this is because we’ve reached ‘Peak Facebook’ as my Oct 30th 18 report -  Facebook growth slows - explained.

But my report also made the point that Facebook didn’t seem a very ‘nice’ company anymore. Initially Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg seemed the epitome of the new young people leading our digital revolution. Zuckerberg was touted as a possible 2020 Presidential Candidate. Sandberg got a wave of support when her husband died and her book Lean in got so much publicity.

But in the last year or so, both of their stars have waned. Crisis after crisis has hit Facebook and the way the pair have handled those has left much to be desired. The corporate governance at Facebook stinks. Just like at Tesla. Zuckerberg has assumed all the powers of a dictator - nobody seems capable of either questioning him critically (he banned Facebook employees from using iPhones when Tim Cook made some disparaging remarks) or removing him (the shareholder agreement basically guarantees him control even if he sells off his shares)

Of all the FANMAGs, Facebook is the most vulnerable. I really do believe not only that we have reached ‘Peak Facebook’ but ‘Peak social media’ too. That would be bad enough for the stock in itself. But the management and governance issues just magnify the problems. Facebook needs an independent Chair person and a strong and independent board. Perhaps then the crises will be taken seriously and the real problems facing Facebook’s future addressed.

Posted by Richard Holway at '09:53'

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Friday 16 November 2018

RenalytixAI raises £22m and lists on AIM

RenalytixAI logoCardiff-based RenalytixAI, a developer of artificial intelligence enabled clinical decision support tools for improving risk assessment and clinical care in kidney disease, has raised £22.25m through a placing and subscription to EKF Diagnostics shareholders.

EKF Diagnostics, a manufacturer of point-of-care devices and medical testing equipment, started exploring funding options for its RenalytixAI subsidiary earlier this year. The spin-out has now been completed and the business started trading on AIM earlier this month. EKF Diagnostics now owns a 34% stake in the newly-listed company, which had a market cap on admission of £65.1m.

In May, EKF announced that RenalytixAI had signed an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in New York. Mount Sinai became a shareholder in RenalytixAI as part of the deal.

Working in collaboration with Mount Sinai, RenalytixAI is expecting to launch its first products in 2019. KidneyIntelX uses AI to analyse kidney patient data from disparate sources, including blood-based biomarkers, genetic factors and electronic health records to help predict outcomes. It is also developing FractalDx, a product aimed at assessing the type and amount of immunosuppression drugs needed by patients who have undergone kidney transplant surgery.

Kidney disease is one of the largest chronic medical conditions globally, so the potential for this technology is clear. The business has good partnerships in place and expects to start generating revenue next year, with ISMMS expecting to purchase up to $6m of KidneyIntelX test in 2019. For more on AI in healthcare see UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts 2018

Posted by Dale Peters at '10:11' - Tagged: funding   healthcare   AI  

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Friday 16 November 2018

Trakm8’s shares plunge on H1 results

Trakm8Dashcam and fleet management software provider Trakm8’s full year results signalled that the company expected a tough few months ahead. The extent of which was revealed today with an interim operating loss of £2.8m, a drop of 1,508% from a £200k profit a year ago, while revenues fell by 38% to £8.8m. 

At the time of writing shares in the group were down over 60% on this morning’s trading.

Management blamed a number of factors for the results including lower than expected Fleet and Optimisation (FO) revenues due to lower pipeline conversion rates and an exit from Contract Electronics Manufacturing. Additional factors included the working down of launch stocks by one of the Group’s largest customers and attrition from a large insurance customer.            

It also looks as if H2 will be tough going for the business. An improved performance in the second half had been forecast in September’s trading update but is now not expected to materialise citing the loss of a multi-million pound contract in Iran due to US sanctions, a move to rental models in automotive and delays in customer decisions in its FO business.

As a result, management said it now expected revenues for the current year would be 20%-25% lower than last year.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:44'

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Friday 16 November 2018

*HotViewsExtra* Boosts for UK AI Labs and Citizen Training

logoAI labs are almost de rigueur for suppliers looking to showcase their credentials – and to help determine how to use these techniques within their products and identify the business use cases they should be applied to. The other side of the coin is training programmes to broaden AI/machine learning knowledge levels both within the data scientist domain and perhaps more significantly, worker/citizen communities. logo

Boosts for UK AI Labs and Citizen Training’ rounds up the latest investments and directions , including those from Oracle and Microsoft, and is available to TechMarketView and UKHotViews Premium subscribers. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:40' - Tagged: software   machinelearning  

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Friday 16 November 2018

Dell improves tracking stock offer

Dell Tech logoDell Technologies has announced an improvement to its offer to buy back Dell Technologies Class V tracking stock, known as DVMT.

When Dell acquired EMC in 2016 it inherited 81% of VMware. It created the Class V tracking stock, which tracks the performance of VMware, to help it fund the acquisition. In July, Dell announced that DVMT stockholders would be given the option to exchange each share for 1.3665 shares in Dell Technologies itself (Class C common stock) or for $109 in cash, as long as the aggregate amount of cash does not exceed $9bn (see Dell to go public again).

After concerns from investors that the offer undervalued the stock, Dell reconsidered its options (see Is Dell revisiting the IPO option?). It has now returned with an improved offer of $120 cash per share, subject to an increased aggregate cash cap of $14bn, or 1.5 to 1.8 Class C shares. This implies a total market capitalization of $23.9bn for the tracking stock.

Approximately 59% of the consideration, equivalent to c.$70 per DVMT share, will be payable in cash if all tracking stock holders make cash elections. The improved cash offer will add to Dell’s debt burden—it has already received commitments from Barclays, Bank of America, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, RBC and UBS to provide up to $5bn of debt financing.

Canyon Partners, Dodge & Cox, Elliott Management, and Mason Capital Management have all agreed to support the enhanced offer; collectively they hold c.17% of the DVMT shares. Five years after it completed its go-private transaction it now seems extremely likely that Dell will be making a return to the public market. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:25' - Tagged: listing   infrastructure   hardware  

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Friday 16 November 2018

Automation Anywhere raises an additional $300m

Automation AnywhereHot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that UiPath had closed $265m Series C fundingAutomation Anywhere has raised an additional $300 million from the SoftBank Vision Fund.

The funding gives Automation Anywhere a valuation of $2.6bn and is an extension to the Series A funding the company announced earlier this year which then valued the business at $1.8bn. It brings the total size of the round to $550 million.

The current RPA ‘Gold-rush’ is seeing a small group of vendors raise increasingly large amount of cash on ever growing valuations in a race to grab market leadership. Selling primarily through extensive partnering networks has allowed RPA vendors to scale their customer bases rapidly and has seen Automation Anywhere sign up 1,400 organisations as customers to date. By comparison UiPath now has 2,100 customers (with revenue of $150m) whilst Blue Prism has in excess of 1,000.

The levels of funding achieved by UiPath and Automation Anywhere puts these organisations firmly on the front foot as they look to expand their global footprint and raise the level of intelligence of their offerings. We now wait to see how the other RPA players and the likes of Blue Prism, Pega and NICE respond.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:01' - Tagged: funding   RPA  

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Friday 16 November 2018

Mercia funds Kumulos – it's a family affair!

logoWell, sort of. Dundee-based mobile app management startup Kumulos is led by Mark Petrie and Bob Lawson, who were previously part of the management team at GFI MAX, a software platform business that was sold to a major US infrastructure software company. GFI MAX was led by their former colleague Dr. Alistair Forbes, who is now Head of Software & the Internet at Mercia and led the investment into Kumulos. Get it? Got it. Good!

Founded in 2015 as a spinout from Waracle, one of the UK’s largest mobile app development agencies, Kumulos recently completed a £750,000 funding round backed by said Mercia Fund Managers, along with the Scottish Investment Bank and angel investors. This follows some £500k of earlier funding from private investors.

Kumulos is aimed at app agencies and large enterprise mobile app developers and charges by the feature for each app it is used on. The product is already used in 23 countries and the new funding will help with its international expansion.

There are many startups and established players in the mobile app performance management market. I haven't quite gleaned from its PR what is Kumulos' 'secret sauce', but Mercia clearly thinks it's tasty, so good luck to them all!

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:34' - Tagged: funding   startup  

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Friday 16 November 2018

*UKHotViewsExtra* Vodafone shines spotlight on IoT

UKHotViewsExtra: Vodafone shines spotlight on IoTVodafone’s analyst summit earlier this month saw new CEO Nick Read and other executives put the emphasis firmly on the mobile operator’s fastest growing business segment – the Internet of Things (IoT).

That may be because the performance of the rest of the company’s portfolio has been less than impressive recently – its latest annual results were decidedly mixed, particularly for the UK. Turnover from Vodafone’s core fixed and mobile voice and data services have been negatively impacted by plummeting prices due to intense competition and regulatory pressure on the telecommunications market, while large scale investment in network infrastructure expansion has weighed heavily on its profits.UKHotViewsExtra: Vodafone shines spotlight on IoT

No surprise then that Vodafone was happier to demonstrate that it is successfully building on its machine to machine (M2M) connectivity customer base and broadening its IoT capabilities, while also using IoT as a segue to additional service upselling around cloud hosting and analytics. Read more ...

Not a TechMarketView subscription research client? Then why not subscribe to our low-cost UKHotvViews Premium service to access all of our UKHotViews and UKHotView Extra posts? Click the flag for more information.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '07:59' - Tagged: strategy   mobileinternet   broadband   Vodafone   networkinfrastructure   5G   UKHotViewsExtra  

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Friday 16 November 2018

European tech M&A recovers as overseas buyers pounce

chartEuropean TMT M&A activity continued to recover from the summer lull in terms of both the number of deals and their aggregate value, according to latest data from corporate finance firm Regent Partners. Valuation multiples were slightly lower with the aggregate Price/Sales ratio down from 1.9x in September to 1.7x in October and the Price/EBITDA ratio down from 9.8x in September to 9.4x in October.

In Europe, the M&A focus was on semiconductor technology, with China’s Wingtech Technology, the world’s largest smartphone contract manufacturer, planning to acquire control of Dutch semiconductor firm Nexperia (formerly NXP Semiconductors) from a consortium of Chinese investors for about $3.6bn. Meanwhile, UK-based, Dialog Semiconductor, announced an agreement with Apple to license certain of its power management technologies and transfer certain of its assets and over 300 employees to Apple to support chip research and development. Apple will pay $300m in cash for the transaction and prepay $300m for Dialog products to be delivered over the next three years (see Dialog secures future with Apple). Will Europe have a 'semis' industry left at this rate?

And it looks like the UK's vibrant RPA (robotic process automation) sector is coming to the attention of foreign buyers with the news that US-based Sykes Enterprises is to buy four year-old UK RPA firm Symphony for £52m, twice Symphony’s anticipated 2019 revenues (see Symphony hands baton to Sykes in £52m deal). Too soon, too cheap!

Also crossing the pond is UK-based communications services provider Communisis, which has recommended a £154m cash offer from New Jersey-based outsourced billing, communications and payments provider OSG (see OSG sees the value in £154m Communisis bid).

All of our UKHotViews commentary on the UK tech M&A scene is available to TechMarketView Foundation Service clients and to entrepreneurs and tech professionals subscribing to our UKHotViews Premium service by searching on the keyword 'acquisition' in the UKHotViews archive.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '07:53' - Tagged: acquisition  

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Friday 16 November 2018

NHS Digital invests in social care innovation

NHS Digital logoNHS Digital has awarded funding to a number of organisations to help improve the delivery of social care in England.

The Care Provider Alliance (CPA), which comprises ten national associations that represent independent and voluntary adult social care providers, has been awarded £784,000. The funding will be used to help deliver a new sector-led service that will offer digital support for social care providers. Between now and March 2021, CPA members will work to understand current levels of digital maturity in the sector and encourage uptake of digital resources to support integrated care. This will include the development of a core set of requirements for care providers to use when procuring new IT systems, as well as best practice for managing IT suppliers.

It has also been announced that nine councils have been awarded extra funding to support social care digitisation projects as part of the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme (SDIP). The programme, which was formerly known as the Local Investment Programme, was commissioned by NHS Digital and is managed by the Local Government Association (LGA). It encourages councils to create digital pilots that will help improve frontline practice and systems, and enable better integration across adult social care.

Twelve councils were chosen by NHS Digital and the LGA in July 2018, with each receiving £20,000 for the first ‘discovery’ phase of funding. Nine of those councils have now been chosen to design and implement their solution. A total of £700,000 is available for this year’s SDIP projects.

The successful councils were: Bracknell Forest; Havering; Isle of Wight; Lincolnshire; Nottingham City; Shropshire; Stockport; Sunderland City; and Wirral. Projects covered a wide range of technology, including biometric devices; assistive technologies; data visualisation tools; exoskeleton devices; apps and portals—you can find out more here.

Although the amount of funding is small given the scale of the social care challenge the country is facing, it is hoped that the sector-led approach will lead to better use of technology across social care in England. As with similar innovation programmes, the challenge will be maintaining progress once pilot funding is exhausted.

Posted by Dale Peters at '07:30' - Tagged: socialcare   innovation   local+government  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Mercaux raises dosh to turn shop assistants digital

logoHigh street shopping is not dead yet but needs to look more like a digital experience if it is to survive and prosper. That's the basic proposition behind London-based startup Mercaux, whose SaaS platform aims to help in-store sales assistants become more productive and, well, sell more stuff!

Mercaux has raised £3.5m in a Series A funding round led by Nauta Capital. The startup had previously undertaken a number of seed funding rounds since its launch in 2013 raising a total of some $5.3m to date (Source: CrunchBase).

Mercaux's modular platform includes mobile apps for the sales assistant to do things like inventory checks and pull up customer sales history, as well as take payments, and comes with various back-office analytics tools. Mercaux claims that its platform can be easily integrated into store ecommerce and CRM systems and be up and running in under three months. Mercaux already has some impressive brands on its client list, including Benetton, French Connection and Karen Millen.

I can't see any reference to Mercaux's business model, but I would imagine the platform is offered on the usual SaaS 'pay as you go' basis with fees depending on the number of stores and/or sales assistants.

Mercaux is playing in a crowded market but its proposition of bolting 'digital bits' on top of retailers' existing systems may look more attractive and cost-effective (at least in the short term) than trying to undertake a complete digital makeover.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '10:12' - Tagged: funding   ecommerce   startup  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Civica Digital appoints Steve Thorn

Civica logoMany of our readers will know Steve Thorn (pictured). His departure from CGI in January this year, where he had held the role of UK President for 18 months, came as a bit of a shock at the time – see CGI moves quickly: instates new UK President. He had been at CGI (via Logica) for 25 years. Having had almost a year off to contemplate ‘what next?’ – during which time Steve tells us he enjoyed renovating a period house from roof to cellar! – he has returned for a new challenge. He has been announced as the new Executive Director leading Civica’s Digital business; the position was previously held by Chris Doutney.

Steve Thorn photoCivica has built its Digital business over several years via numerous acquisitions, most recently that of master data management (MDM) specialist, VisionWare (see Civica acquires MDM specialist VisionWare) in the summer. The establishment of Civica Digital means the Group is able to draw on a combination of business-critical software and digital services capability as it continues to grow in its core public sector stomping ground. They key to accelerating growth will be to leverage that position.

Steve knows the public sector market well having been CGI UK’s SVP Public Sector before taking on the UK top job. In addition, amongst other objectives, he was tasked with CGI UK achieving growth in the UK's IP-related turnover to support the corporate IP30 strategy (i.e. aiming for 30% IP-related turnover). The development of IP to support services growth (and vice versa) is not always a smooth path, but Steve has plenty of relevant learnings to draw on.  

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:50' - Tagged: appointment  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Hancock pledges to make UK leader in health tech

Matt Hancock speechThe fact that MP Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, rushed from the Cabinet’s Brexit meeting yesterday to deliver his keynote speech at techUK’s annual Health and Social Care Industry dinner speaks volumes of his commitment to technology as an enabler of better health and care provision in the UK. 

A self-proclaimed ‘big fan of health tech’, Hancock said he was determined to make it to the dinner because he cares deeply about the creation of a vibrant health tech ecosystem in the UK. He spoke passionately about wanting to make the UK global leaders in health tech, just as we are in fintech, and promised to do everything he can to make that happen.

Whilst his enthusiasm for health tech is infectious, it’s reassuring that he understands the need to get the basics right first. As he said yesterday, it’s no use talking about the power of AI and genomics to transform healthcare unless it takes less than 15 minutes to log on to an NHS computer!

It’s clear that, unlike many ministers, Hancock understands technology and tech businesses, having run one before he entered politics. And since he was appointed Secretary of State in July he’s immersed himself in the health and care system, even doing nightshifts alongside the nurses in a busy A&E. These experiences have helped to hone the vision for health technology launched last month (see Hancock launches vision for health technology). 

As you would expect, Hancock returned to key themes from this vision in his speech last night, highlighting the importance of interoperability, standards and making it easier for innovators, including SMEs, to access the NHS market. He also announced that the new NHS Digital standards are to be published before Christmas and their use mandated. 

There are areas where we’d like to see greater emphasis, for example on social care – healthcare seemed to dominate last night – and engagement with clinicians at a strategic level. And, of course, delivering on the vision will be fraught with challenges. But, as we've said before, it’s encouraging to see that the Secretary of State understands the issues and has such passion for health tech. Assuming he stays in post long enough to make a difference, this bodes well for NHS IT suppliers. 

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '09:49' - Tagged: policy  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Science Museum Group goes live with TechnologyOne

TechnologyOne logoScience Museum Group (SMG) selected Brisbane headquartered TechnologyOne to help it modernise its financial business systems earlier this year. The system, which was secured via a £180k G Cloud deal in January, has now gone live.

SMG is a collection of museums, comprising Science Museum, London; National Science & Media Museum, Bradford; Science & Industry Museum, Manchester; National Railway Museum, York; and Locomotion, Shildon. It is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. The Group attracted 5.3m visitors in 2017-18.

There is an increasing requirement for SMG to generate income and make more efficient use of resources. In 2017-18 it had an income of £87.5m, with 52% of that coming from government through Grant in Aid. SMG decided that its previous finance system required too many workarounds and no longer met its requirements.

The selection of TechnologyOne’s SaaS delivered finance solution forms part of a programme of wider digital transformation at SMG, including the roll-out of Office 365.

TechnologyOne was founded in 1987 and generated revenues of AU$273m in 2017, 88% of which came from its Australian business. It has been operating in the UK for over a decade and generated £6m through its Maidenhead-based operation in 2017. TechnologyOne has put more focus on the UK of late and we expect to see it becoming increasingly active in 2019.  

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:49' - Tagged: public+sector   erp   contract   Finance  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Nationwide takes minority stake in Moneyhub

nationNationwide has invested in Bristol-based Moneyhub, which provides a financial management platform to consolidate accounts, including those from different providers, into one place. It means the Society will take a minority stake in the business.

Moneyhub’s platform applies Artificial Intelligence and behavioural science to improve money management across savings, investments, mortgages, credit cards, loans, pensions and current accounts. It then provides ‘nudges’ that encourage users to take actions that can make their money work harder for them.

This is the third such deal Nationwide has undertaken as part of its £50m Venturing Fund, which has the objective of creating partnerships with start-ups in order to create innovative products and services for its customers.

The Venturing Fund plays a key role in supporting Nationwide’s tech investment strategy (read the report here: “Redefining service for a digital world”), which will see it put in £4.1bn (up £1.5bn on the previously planned level) over five years.

As we have previously said (see Nationwide talking big on digital), Nationwide looks to have a better starting point and a cleaner organisational structure than many other banks. In turn this could lead to faster deployment of innovation.

Posted by Kate Hanaghan at '09:47' - Tagged: funding   financialservices   startups  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Blue Prism Chairman to step down

blue prismChanges afoot at the top of Blue Prism with Chairman Jason Kingdon announcing his intention to step down after 10 years in post to focus on his other start-ups.

jason kingdonKingdon has played an important role in the Group's growth story having joined as Exec Chair in 2008 when Blue Prism was very much a start-up. His role shifted to Non-exec chair after the company’s 2016 IPO and subsequent scale-up. Blue Prism has started the process of looking for a new Chair and Kingdon will remain in post until a successor is in place.

As with other RPA vendors Blue Prism is gearing itself up for the next phase of growth having announced earlier this week the addition of K2, Loop AI Labs, re:Infer and Rossum to its Technology Alliance Program as it looks to further expand the capabilities of its software beyond rules based processing.

It’s likely that any new appointee will have a different skill set, moving away from building and developing start-ups / scale-ups towards establishing global enterprise software leadership. 

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:23' - Tagged: leadershipchanges   RPA   blueprism  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Strong Q1 heralds good year for Cisco

Revenue and profits increase for CiscoIf Cisco is the bellwether for the tech industry that many analysts believe, the segment looks in rude health after the company saw strong first quarter growth in both revenue and profit.

Q119 turnover was up 7.9% yoy to US$13bn with tax cuts contributing to a 14% jump in net income (US$3.5bn). Gross margin increased by a single point to 63.8% and operating income was up 13% to US$4.2bn.

Interestingly, higher prices for its products after a rise in the value of the dollar and the introduction of retaliatory tariffs on US imports in certain countries do not (yet) appear to have had any negative impact on demand from either its service provider or large enterprise customers.

Cisco increased its revenue across all of its geographies (EMEA by 11%, APJC by 12% and Americas by 5%) and most of its product segments. Turnover from security grew 11% to US$651m, infrastructure platforms 9% to US$7.6bn, and applications 18% to US$1.4bn. The weak link was service revenue, up just 3% yoy to US$3.2bn.

Chief executive Chuck Robins cited Cisco’s own execution rather than macro economic trends as the primary driver behind the performance. Certainly the company has worked hard to build an integrated network infrastructure portfolio that stretches from the campus, through the edge and into the data centre, one that also delivers security, software defined networking (SDN) and automation and encompasses multi cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).

It took Cisco some time to get here after a period of transformation (see First revenue growth for Cisco in two years), but it now looks poised to enjoy a very good year.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:22' - Tagged: results   cyber   iot   Cisco   Q1   networkinfrastructure  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Redstor deepens friendship with VMware

logoThrough its cloud based data management platform Redstor commits itself to data protection, search, management and recovery. That takes it into all manner of areas - from restoration, data insight and search, to seamless access to archived data - as it works to simplify and speed up data management and access. We’ve seen the company adapt to market conditions previously, with the expansion of its existing relationship with VMware, it stands to add depth to its capabilities once again.

The UK based supplier has signed a Technology Alliance Partnership with VMware designed to accelerate development. Specifically, it aims to create tighter integration with VMware’s portfolio, enabling single step initiation of a Redstor restore action. That means Redstor will be able to back up a physical or virtual system and recover it directly into VMware even if it has been running in a different hypervisor, delivering more automation and helping with recovery time demands – an important consideration for increasingly data driven organisations.

The partnership is also another contributor to Redstor’s long-term strategy of trebling revenue by 2020. Aided by investment from Beech Tree Private Equity this time last year, the company has broadened its portfolio, built integrations with more platforms (including Office 365, and the release of Oracle backup) and built up its management team (Redstor beefs up management to support expansion plans). One of our Little British Battlers and Great British Scale Ups, Redstor has come a long way with its focus on the centralised view and management of distributed data and we’re sure there’s more to come. 

Posted by Angela Eager at '09:13' - Tagged: cloud   partnership   software  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Uipath closes $265m Series C funding

UiPathRPA software player UiPath has closed out its Series C funding round at $265m, $40m higher than it was aiming for when the round was announced back in September.

Transactions value the business at $3bn with new investors announced including IVP, Madrona Venture Group and Meritech Capital. The Series C is still led by CapitalG and Sequoia Capital as before.

The Competitive environment in RPA is hotting up, as a small band of software vendors all rushing to capitalise on the rapidly growing market. Expansion and investment in the product are key and this has seen UiPath, Blue Prism and  Automation Anywhere all raise significant sums this year whilst rival Kofax recently acquired a division of Nuance for $400m to expand its image processing business.

Whilst there is still plenty of growth and market potential to go around, the race is on to become the dominant player as the market enters into its next phase of maturity with automation becoming more intelligent and strategic. 

UiPath, with its installed base of customers now numbering over 2,000 and with such significant amounts of cash in the bank, finds itself well placed.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:59' - Tagged: funding   RPA  

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Getronics goes public on private equity services

logoIt was a pleasure to catch up again with Mark Cook, vice chairman of Getronics, at the launch of Investment Services Group (ISG), a new division of the global ICT services group established to target private equity firms.

ISG aims to be the proverbial 'one-stop shop' for ICT-led pre- and post-acquisition services to private equity firms, auditing target companies' IT landscape and business processes to assess their 'digitalisation' potential and supplying the services to effect the transformation. The objective is to generate ICT cost savings in the order of 25-30% in the acquired businesses.

Previously an Amsterdam-listed infrastructure support services supplier and subsequently acquired in 2007 by Dutch telco KPN, Getronics has rich experience in both M&A and the private equity industry, having undertaken many acquisitions itself and undergone multiple changes of ownership. Getronics was acquired by German private equity firm Aurelius in 2012 (see KPN sells non-Dutch bits of Getronics) and five years later sold to Bottega InvestCo, the private equity firm led by US/UK/Brazil-based entrepreneur Nana Baffour (see Getronics sold to Brazilian backers), who now serves as chairman and group CEO of Getronics.

The formation of ISG seems a natural expansion of Getronics' services portfolio. While under Aurelius' wing, Getronics undertook many ICT transformation projects at sibling portfolio companies so has 'been there, done that'! Although ISG does not formally open for business until January 2019, Getronics has already undertaken transformation projects for several high-profile private equity firms including Advent International, The Carlyle Group, Fidelity Investments and Terra Firma.

Of course, ISG will face competition from the 'usual suspect' corporate advisory firms at the high end of the buyout market, and boutique consultancies at the lower end. But Cook tells me that ISG is firmly focused on mid-size buyouts – and his track record suggests this may be a rich seam to mine.

Posted by Anthony Miller at '08:56'

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Are you an SME looking to raise your profile? Advertise through TechMarketView

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Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:00'

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Thursday 15 November 2018

Voice-activated devices are a hit with older users

AmazonInteresting findings from a report - The Future of Voice and the Implications for News - from the Reuters Institute at Oxford University. Use of voice activated speakers had doubled in the last year and about 10% of the UK population use them. Amazon Echo is the out-and-out leader with a 74% share in the UK followed by Google Home (14%).  Sonos One - which is powered by Alexa too - had a 5% share. So Amazon firmly in the lead. Apple - which could/should have owned this sector, is nowhere to be seen

What really interested me was that usage amongst the over 55s was higher than in the 18-24 age group. Older users love Alexa and find it much easier to navigate than touchscreens on smartphones/iPads or remotes on TVs. One example that applies to me is listening to podcasts. It is just so easy to say ‘Alexa - Play the Archers from BBC Radio 4’. Many other old people find that the very easiest way to access the radio or listen again.

The report found that voice-activated devices were also very popular with those with disabilities. I have heard of growing use in care homes and in keeping/monitoring old people in their own homes. Indeed a boom for the bedridden to summon help or, indeed, activate a whole range of things.

I’ve already written about the importance of voice-activation in cars. Voice activation is the ultimate ‘hands-free’.

Until we get thought-activated devices, I see voice-activation being THE interface of choice for the foreseeable future.  

Posted by Richard Holway at '07:22'

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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Fluidly raises £5m to help SMEs with their cashflow

FluidlyFluidly, a London-based fintech start-up delivering cashflow management for SMEs has raised £5m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Nyca Partners with participation from Octopus Ventures, Anthemis and tech angels Simon Murdoch and Charlie Songhurst.

Fluidly received £2m in seed funding led by Octopus Ventures back in October 2017 and has developed a SaaS-based platform aimed at smaller businesses to help them manage and predict cash flows using AI and modelling tools. 

The platform, which integrates with both cloud accounting packages and Open Banking APIs, is clearly gaining traction having been taken on by nine of the Top 20 UK accounting firms as well as numerous smaller accountants looking to reach SME end users.

Fluidly is led by founder and serial entrepreneur Caroline Plumb (formerly of research company Freshminds) and will look to use funds to expand its team of engineers and data scientists and ramp up sales and marketing capacity.

Fintech remains an incredibly competitive market with a huge amount going on. FinancialServicesViews subscribers can follow our take on the latest developments in the Fintech space with our recent publication FintechViews - The State of Global Fintech.

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '09:45' - Tagged: funding   FinTech  

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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Cyber acquisitions drive growth at Falanx

Falanx logoRevenue at AIM-listed cyber security and strategic intelligence business Falanx Group was up 51% in the six months ended 30 September 2018 to £2.2m (2017: £1.4m); lower than original internal expectations. Underlying EBITDA losses narrowed marginally to £0.71m (H1 2017: £0.85m loss), with loss before tax coming in at £0.97m (H1 2017: £1.0m loss).

Revenue improvement was driven by the two acquisitions completed during the year. First Base, a cyber security testing and consulting business, was acquired for £3.2m at the end of March. It was followed by SecureStorm, a cyber security consultancy and professional services business, for £0.1m in shares in July. In 2017, First Base reported full year revenues of £1.8m and SecureStorm reported c.£0.7m.

In Falanx’s Cyber division, where both of these acquisitions are located, revenue was up 198% to £1.4m (H1 2017: £0.47m). Post-acquisition integration absorbed resources during the period, which is blamed for a shortfall of c.£0.2m in professional services revenues. Integration has now been completed and the company says utilisation of staff has increased significantly in recent months. Adjusted EBITDA losses in this part of the business narrowed to £0.12m (H1 2017: £0.55m).

Revenue in the Intelligence side of the business, Falanx Assynt, was down 25% to £0.71m (H1 2017: £0.96m). Falanx is trying to shift its strategic intelligence business to higher margin recurring revenue through sales of its subscription-based Assynt Report, but clearly still has work to do. Adjusted EBITDA in this part of the business fell 96% to £0.01m (H1 2017: £0.18m).

The business has flagged the potential from its selection by US-based SolarWinds, to be its Threat Monitoring Service Provider in the UK and South Africa. Falanx aims to partner with the business to sell complementary cyber services to SolarWinds' end customers, of which it says there are c.100,000 in the UK. However, in order to do so it will need to ramp up its own resources to meet the expected increase in business. Much will depend on Falanx’s ability to do this without impacting existing operations. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '09:27' - Tagged: results   cybersecurity   H1   managedsecurityservices  

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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Mporium raises £2.3m to target ‘micro-moments’

MporiumAIM listed “Mobile-first” technology company Mporium Group plc has raised £2.3m from exiting investors for working capital to support its growth.

As the proportion of advertising spend devoted to digital channels continues to grow, retail brands are looking to ensure their advertising spend delivers best value. AIM-listed Mporium targets this spend by offering companies the ability to determine those “micro-moments” when a consumer will be most susceptible to advertising and most easily convinced to open his or her wallet.

Mporium will be looking to build on last year’s 20% revenue growth. Whilst the company was still loss making (£3.87m in 2017) the huge potential offered by digital media spend ($126bn in 2017) is the carrot to keep on investing.

Nelius De Groot, CEO of the Company, commented: "The Group continues to make strong progress. We are delighted that our shareholders share our strategic vision for the business and would like to thank our shareholders for their continued support."

Posted by Marc Hardwick at '08:10' - Tagged: funding   mobile   advertising  

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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Great British Scaleups: The Fifth Generation – Day 2

It's Day 2 of the fifth Great British Scaleup Event and the second 4 fast-growing UK tech SME companies will be participating at the event today in London.

GBS5 Day 2They are:

  • Assuria
  • Searchlight Consulting
  • Shift Left Group
  • Tisski

Top executives of these companies will be joining a team of TechMarketView research directors and ScaleUp Group advisors for individual, intensive 90-minute workshops to help them realise their scale-up potential. 

The companies will be rated using the ScaleUp Growth Index®, a proprietary scorecard which identifies areas of the business that might be an inhibitor to achieving management’s growth objectives. It gives an independent insight of the company’s scale-up potential relative to its peer group, and helps management feel better prepared to undertake the next stage of the scale-up journey and track progress.

logoWe will be telling you more about all these companies in future UKHotViews posts.

Many congratulations to all of these Great British Scaleups!

The TechMarketView Great British Scaleup programme is generously sponsored by ScaleUp Group and proudly supported by techUKFor more information, please contact us at gbs@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '08:00'

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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Happy Birthday Sir. Prince Charles joins the 70s Club

I’m sure there will be no shortage of comment today about HRH Prince Charles’ 70th Birthday.

HRHI first met Prince Charles in 2002 when I got involved with the Prince’s Trust and helped to found the Technology Leadership Group. I think the first real meeting was around a table for tea at Clarence House - the first of a number I attended. Each time it was my ‘event of the day/week/month…year’. Prince Charles was always ‘on the ball’ so you really had to know your stuff. I remember looking in the London Gazette on the following day after one such encounter. Prince Charles had had 13 other engagements on that same day! I was even more surprised at a Buckingham Palace Garden party this year to learn that, as well as the Prince’s Trust, Prince Charles was the President, Patron or whatever of over 400 other charities and activities.

Most believe - as I do - that the Prince’s Trust is his greatest achievement. Over 900,000 young, disadvantaged people helped over the last 40+ years. That I’ve played a tiny part is one of my greatest achievements too.

Many people ask me what he is really like. Of course, I haven’t got a clue as I can’t claim to know him at all. When I have spoken to him he is extremely passionate about the causes in which he believes. He works extremely hard. He brings people together and it is often hard to say ‘No’!

I’ve had the honour of introducing him to groups of tech people at various receptions. He has a quite unique ability to ‘work a room’. After each conversation, lasting just a minute or so, leaving each person with a broad smile on their face. Indeed, making people feel that he would have stayed talking to them for hours if only…

I look back on my 16 years of association with Prince Charles via the Prince’s Trust with great pride. If you visit my home you will see a wall of photos and framed copies of his letters to me complete with his famous ‘black spider’ additions. When I got my MBE from him in 2012 it was one of the proudest days of my life. Even my wife and daughters were ‘chuffed’!

In 2007, when I was Chair of the TLG, we had a dinner at Windsor Castle and my wife Elizabeth was seated next to Prince Charles. They chatted for an hour! In the car on the way home, Elizabeth said ‘He was the best person I have ever sat next to at dinner. Can we ask him to dinner at our house?’. We never did although I understand he has said ‘YES’ to stranger requests!

I think the world - and the UK - would be much the poorer without Prince Charles and I wish him a Very Happy 70th Birthday and Many Happy Returns.

Posted by Richard Holway at '00:06'

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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Amazon reinvents the light switch

EchoAmazon, having revolutionised shopping with its online store, is now moving into…on premise shopping with Amazon Go. So you can now get in your car, park, walk into a shop, examine what you want to buy, walk out with it, carry to your car and drive home. Surely that will never catch on?

So I was excited today to learn that Amazon was bringing new functionality to its recently introduced Echo Buttons. When they were launched it was to play party games with Alexa. Now Amazon has introduced new features. And WOW! listen to this innovation… Rather than wearing out your voice asking Alexa to switch on the lights, you can now press an Echo Button and it will do it for you!

Bit like a ‘light switch’ you might think…

Posted by Richard Holway at '11:18'

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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Experian H1: growth driven by B2B proposition

Experian logoGlobal information services provider Experian was a new entrant into our Enterprise Software Supplier Rankings this year, as it continues to building its marketing and decision analytics software business to extend its value proposition, particularly in the B2B space, and capitalise on its data assets.

Today’s H1 results (for the six months to end September 2018) show that it is continuing to successfully draw on its combination of technology and data assets, built up over several years of investment. At the headline, total revenue growth was 7% (to $2.4b), with 9% growth at constant currency and 8% organic. Meanwhile, the EBIT margin, at 27.5%, was up 20bp at ccy but down 10bp at actual exchange rates.

In the UK&I, an overall 3% organic revenue growth (to $396m) disguised diverse performances across the B2B and Consumer Services businesses. B2B revenues were up 5% to $313m, driven by 3% growth in data (to $184m) and 9% growth in decisioning (to $129m). But the Consumer Services business declines by 6%. Experian highlights a “further moderation” in the rate of decline in Consumer Services and predicts a return to positive organic growth in H2.

The UK growth in B2B was driven by “significant” multi-product wins in the banking and utilities sectors for Experian’s traditional credit services and decisioning software. New technologies also performed well. ‘Verdus’ – an open data platform simplifying the ability of users to ingest and combine data from multiple different sources – is highlighted as a positive influence on the UK results. Verdus is a good example of Experian combining third party tech (Runpath) with Experian Technology, as well as externally sourced data with its own credit data, to good effect; in this case it enables banking and price comparison clients to better match consumers to financial products.

The share price has responded positively to the morning’s announcement.

Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '09:54' - Tagged: software   bps   data  

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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Great British Scaleups: The Fifth Generation – Day 1

It's Day 1 of the fifth Great British Scaleup Event and the first 4 fast-growing UK tech SME companies will be participating at the event today in London.

GBS5 Day 1They are:

  • Accountagility
  • Emapsite
  • Worksmart
  • XCD

Top executives of these companies will be joining a team of TechMarketView research directors and ScaleUp Group advisors for individual, intensive 90-minute workshops to help them realise their scale-up potential. 

The companies will be rated using the ScaleUp Growth Index®, a proprietary scorecard which identifies areas of the business that might be an inhibitor to achieving management’s growth objectives. It gives an independent insight of the company’s scale-up potential relative to its peer group, and helps management feel better prepared to undertake the next stage of the scale-up journey and track progress.

logoWe will announce the second group of companies participating on Day 2 in tomorrow’s UKHotViews, and we will be telling you more about all these companies in future UKHotViews posts.

Many congratulations to all of these Great British Scaleups!

The TechMarketView Great British Scaleup programme is generously sponsored by ScaleUp Group and proudly supported by techUKFor more information, please contact us at gbs@techmarketview.com.

Posted by HotViews Editor at '09:40'

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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Kofax spends US$400m on Nuance for RPA

Kofax spends US$400m on NuanceA US$400m deal for Nuance Document Imaging (NDI) will expand business process automation specialist Kofax’s voice recognition capabilities as the company looks to add more artificial intelligence (AI) to its back-office platform.

Kofax highlighted cloud compatibility, document security and print management tools as other attractions as it looks to combine document capture and print capabilities in a single robotic process automation (RPA) platform for its enterprise customers.  

Acquired by printer manufacturer Lexmark in 2015, Kofax then found itself part of private equity firm (and Symantec suitor) Thoma Bravo after the latter paid US$1.5bn for Lexmark’s enterprise software business last year.

We think the market for RPA solutions is now maturing (see our Business Process Services Market Trends & Forecasts 2018 report), and Kofax is understandably keen to enhance its platform with the latest technology quickly to steal a march on its competitors.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:29' - Tagged: acquisition   RPA   Kofax   NDI   Nuance  

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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Little first half cheer for Vodafone

Little first half cheer for VodafoneVodafone’s poor start to the year continued in the second quarter, with reported revenue dropping 5.5% yoy to €21.8bn (£19bn) for the first half of FY19.

Multiple reasons were given for the eye watering €7.8bn (£6.8bn) loss posted during the period, driven by impairment charges in Spain and Romania, currency headwinds, the adoption of IFRS 15 rules and costs associated with the merger of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular and the disposal of its Qatar business.

UK turnover fell 5% organically to €3.4bn (£3bn) leading to an adjusted EBITDA loss of €14m (£12.2m), down 14% yoy. Management blamed marginal 1% growth in consumer mobile and fixed line service turnover which failed to offset a drag from new handset financing for the performance.

New Group Chief Executive Nick Read, who replaced Vittorio Colao last month after mixed FY18 results in May, will now have a much better idea of the uphill task facing him. Indeed, there was little to cheer for the MNO, with only revenue from its Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity business (up 7% yoy) and a return to growth for enterprise fixed service revenue (up 2%) showing signs of promise.

Massive investment in broadband network infrastructure via partnerships with CityFibre in the UK and the proposed €18bn acquisition of Liberty Global in Europe (as well as NB-IoT and imminent 5G cellular rollouts) should leave the operator well placed to grow those two service portfolios and customer base in the future.

The company has also improved its network net promotor scores, indicating past troubles with customer service are being eased, But any sustained pickup in Vodafone's performance will only come from better cross-selling of fixed, wireless and mobile voice, data and video services to businesses and consumers alike in the face of strong competition from rival providers.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '08:55' - Tagged: results   mobile   broadband   iot   Vodafone   H1  

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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Hold on to your hats

Another bad day for tech stocks

SharesAnother pretty awful day for tech. Yesterday’s 2.8% plunge in the NASDAQ index was lead by Apple’s 5% fall. This was occasioned by Lumentum, which supplies facial recognition systems at the heart of the Apple iPhoneX, saying that a major supplier was to ‘materially reduced’ its orders. Their shares plunged 33%. In turn, the UK’s IQE plunged by 29% as Lumentum is one of its biggest clients. As Apple’s recent results showed - See Apple warns of subdued times ahead - iPhone sales are flat BUT their unit price is rocketing. Good for Apple’s bottom (but not top) line. Probably very bad news for its suppliers. The fact that Apple will not give unit numbers in their quarterly results in future, merely fuelled the fears that Apple iPhone sales were on a downward trend - albeit at even higher prices.

The tech sell-off was across the board though with Amazon slumping 4.4%. So Apple and Amazon, the two largest tech companies by market value, have fallen by 16% and 20% respectively since their respective highs reached as recently as the last two months. That really hurts - particularly to newcomers to the tech sector.

Amongst the other FANMAGs, Netflix fell 3.1%, Alphabet/Google was off 2.6%, Microsoft off 2.5% and Facebook down 2.35%.

Most Asia tech shares - particularly those that do business with Apple eg Japan Display (down 7.6%), AAC Technologies (down 7.4%) and  Foxconn (down 5.7%) - fell overnight which doesn’t bode well for the UK and later the US exchanges today.

Hold onto your hats

Posted by Richard Holway at '08:08'

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Tuesday 13 November 2018

AXA helps Birdie take flight

Birdie logoCare technology startup Birdie has secured €7m in a Series A funding round led by AXA. The London-based business has now raised €9.5m since launching in 2017.  

Birdie provides technology aimed at the elderly care sector, including digital care notes for care providers; communication tools for sharing information between care professionals, families and other health practitioners; and 24/7 home monitoring and health alerts through remote sensors. It is also developing health analytics systems to help predict cases of worsening health.

The company is already working with a number of care agencies and has formed partnerships with Tunstall, Advanced and the UK Home Care Association. It intends to use the latest funds to develop its products further, recruit new staff and extend its partnerships with care agencies.

Technology will have an increasingly important role to play in the elderly care sector and we are seeing many start-ups focus on this area e.g. OnCare, CeraCare Sourcer, Oxehealth, and Hometouch. As we discussed in our UK Public Sector SITS Market Trends & Forecasts 2018 report, there is huge pressure on social care provision for older people in the UK, which is impacting local authorities, hospitals, GPs, care providers and families. Recent government funding is intended to reduce pressure on hospital beds by enabling more elderly patients to be treated at home, but will be insufficient to address the issue in the long-term. 

Posted by Dale Peters at '07:12' - Tagged: funding   startup   socialcare   healthcare  

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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Cyan Forensics secures new funds

Cyan Forensics logoEdinburgh-based digital forensics start-up Cyan Forensics has raised £900,000 in its latest investment round. The round was led by existing investor Mercia Fund Managers, who were joined by the Scottish Investment Bank (also an existing investor) and private investor Don Macleod. This round brings total funding to date to c.£1.5m.

The business started life as a digital forensics project at Edinburgh Napier University. Current CEO Ian Stevenson was brought in by the university as a ‘Commercial Champion’ in 2015 to help the research team explore the commercial potential in their work and build the business plan. Backed by Mercia Fund Managers and the Scottish Investment Bank, Cyan Forensics was founded in 2016 and research team member Bruce Ramsay joined the company as CTO.

The business has developed technology that can help police investigators find evidence on seized computers faster. It offers products aimed at forensic analysts and frontline staff to triage and screen for material such as indecent images or terrorist activity. It has run trials with both Police Scotland and the National Crime Agency, and its products are currently being used by a number of UK police forces.

The latest investment will be used by the company to develop opportunities in the UK and start exploring markets internationally. It also intends to look at applications for its technology in cybersecurity.

Digital evidence is now collected at virtually every crime scene and this is putting increasing pressure on forensic teams. The amount of data stored on devices is often high and can take a long time to screen. Technology such as that being developed by Cyan Forensics will be vital to ensure efficient, accurate and comprehensive processing of digital evidence.

Posted by Dale Peters at '07:02' - Tagged: funding   startup   police   cybersecurity   police   police   police   police  

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