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Friday 07 August 2020

Klarity: Back to the Workplace solution

DelfinHealth logoDocHQ logoTechnology to support the ‘back to the workplace’ move is a hotspot as organisations strive to create COVID-secure environments, so solutions are being created and existing tools repurposed or extended at pace. UK startups Delfin Health and DocHQ have joined forces to provide Klarity, an AI/ML-based ‘back to the workplace’ solution designed to predict, monitor and test the health and safety of the workforce as people return to their workplaces. What is different about this health and COVID-19 risk assessment tool is that employees are in control of their data. 

Delfin Health provides a service that allows for the collection and management all individuals’ health data, while DocHQ provides a health and wellbeing platform and services and capabilities from both solutions have been combined to create Klarity.

In addition to daily symptom checking and a proprietary testing process and interpretation (based on guidelines), it also includes a  personal risk assessment using explainable AI to determine the severity of COVID-19 risk for each employee, which is designed to help reassure returning employees. Klarity provides employers with an overview of each employee’s health status plus actionable insights, while enabling employees to only share relevant data if they chose to. 

Relying on individuals to share data has its challenges in terms of participation but the element of choice rather than compulsion could go a long way in getting individuals on side. There is a need for ‘back to the workplace’ enablers but there are privacy considerations that need to be thoroughly worked through too.

For insight into the booming ‘back to the workplace’ sector, look out for our forthcoming report: Priority technology for COVID-19 business recovery.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: software   startups   covid-19  

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Friday 07 August 2020

CCS opens artificial intelligence DPS

CCS logoThe Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has opened the Artificial Intelligence Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) Agreement (RM6200) for bids. The organisation is establishing more focused frameworks to run alongside the G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes & Specialists (DOS) frameworks; the first of these—the Automation Marketplace DPS—opened for bids in February and went live in March.

The new AI DPS, which is due to go live in September, is intended to provide central government and wider public sector departments with the opportunity to procure an extensive range of artificial intelligence services via a comprehensive number of suppliers. The initial term of the DPS is expected to run to March 2022 to keep in line with the Automation Marketplace DPS, but there will be opportunities for two 12 month extensions. The estimated value of the DPS is £25m in the first year, growing to £50m in year two and remaining steady at £50m per annum in year three and four if it is extended.

Buyers will be able to enter into a contract with a supplier for up to a maximum of four years. If they are new to AI they will be able to procure services through a discovery phase, but more experienced buyers will be able to purchase licencing, customisation and support services, or access to end-to-end partnerships.

The type of technology includes, but is not limited to: AI software applications; augmented decision making; data analytics using AI; the development and implementation of intelligent virtual assistants and chatbots; and medical AI technology. As detailed in the Guidelines for AI Procurement published by the Office for Artificial Intelligence in June, suppliers will be expected to adhere to the Data Ethics Framework. Suppliers applying to provide medical AI technology will also be required to demonstrate compliance with sector specific standards and guidance.  

AI technology and associated services are already available via G-Cloud, DOS, Automation Marketplace DPS and SPARK DPS, but the specific focus of the AI DPS should make it easier for specialist suppliers to highlight their expertise in this rapidly expanding area of the public sector market.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: government   framework   AI   opportunity   DPS  

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Friday 07 August 2020

Data core to EU investigation into Google/Fitbit acquisition

LogoFitbit logoThis week the European Commission announced it would launch an in depth investigation into Google’s proposed $2.1bn acquisition of wearables house Fitbit over concerns that the deal would “further entrench Google's market position in the online advertising markets by increasing the already vast amount of data that Google could use for personalisation of the ads it serves and displays”. 

The investigation is going ahead despite Google’s promise to maintain a separate data store and not use Fitbit data for targeted advertising. The process could take up to four months - 9 December. Google and Fitbit had originally hoped to close the deal on 1 November. Even if approval is to be given, that deadline could be hard to meet, pushing closure into 2021.

The EC decision is another blow to the deal that was originally announced in November 2019 and about which the US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission also have concerns. The investigations are in addition to the US Congress committee antitrust hearings that GoogleAmazonFacebook and Apple are currently enmeshed in. 

Google has stated the proposed move is about devices. However, from the EC perspective, it is crystal clear that data and how it is used is the prime concern: privacy, GDPR compliance, the use of data within healthcare, how it could entrench Google’s online advertising position, the competitive impact.

Considered in conjunction with the US multi-supplier anti-trust hearing, and the TikTok and now the WeChat situation whereby US companies are to be banned from “transactions” with both companies (the TikTok and WeChat furore is part politics, part data driven), it looks like lines could be drawn in the data sand. The Trump administration’s support for Microsoft to acquire TikTok (see What would Microsoft gain from TikTok?), is an anomaly however, as it would place a huge volume of data into the hands of an already large and rather data rich company. Maybe that line in the sand will end up being rather faint and wiggly.

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: acquisition   software   investigation   data  

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Friday 07 August 2020

More 'Tales of Two Economies'

Gaming

NintendoEarlier this week I reported how both gaming and streaming services were having ‘a good COVID-19’. I reported how Sony’s gaming division (think Playstation) had boosted revenues by 32% in Q2. Owners bought 91m games from Sony in the quarter.

Today I can add Nintendo which, despite a shortage of Switch consoles, had a stonking Q2 with revenues up 108% and profits up over 500%. It had launched Animal Crossing in March just ahead of the lockdown and has already sold 22m copies.

Activision Blizzard, the US company behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Warzone and Candy Crush, grew revenues by 21% to $1.93b in Q2. Profits rose 46% yoy.

Not streaming

ITVAs I also reported, streaming was having ‘a good COVID-19’ too. But this was at the cost of terrestrial TV like ITV and the BBC. ITV saw its advertising revenues down a massive 43% in Q2 although total revenues ‘only’ fell 17% to £1.2b. Apparently Love Island is ITV’s most popular show - it was cancelled this year as social distancing obviously doesn't quite work on that format!

Of course, both the BBC and ITV are in the streaming market too and ITV reported that Britbox subs were ‘ahead of target’.

Towards a New Normal

I also noted in my Roundup of share price performance in July  that we were seeing ‘A Tale of Two Economies’. The media is floor to ceiling tales of job losses and company closures. This is clearly hugely serious and damaging for those directly affected. But we rarely read the other side of the story - the parts of the economy that are booming.

The ‘New Normal’ will see permanent change. We must put our energies towards those that will thrive in the New Normal. If all the efforts - and investment - are put towards supporting companies that are unlikely to succeed in that New Normal, we will be doing nobody any favours.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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Thursday 06 August 2020

Rimini Street: benefitting from economic slowdown

Rimini Street logoAt Rimini Street, revenue increased a within guidance 12.2% in Q2 (to 30 June), reaching $78.4m and continuing the trend of moderating rates of growth that reflects the ongoing maturity of the company.

Adjusted EBITDA expanded from $8.5m to $9.6m although net income dropped back to $3.5m from $6.1m as the third party support provider continued to expand and invest in the business. Indeed the pandemic and related economic slowdown is providing impetus for accelerated investment in response to additional demand (see here) as indicated by the 13.9% yoy increase in the number of customers, taking the total to 2159. 

Expansion activity includes global availability of SAP S/4HANA support and the launch of Rimini Street’s Artificial Intelligence Support Applications that aim to improve the customer experience. This includes shortening guaranteed response times for critical Priority 1 cases from 15 minutes to 10 minutes and from 30 minutes to 15 minutes for serious Priority 2 cases. As part of its continual improvement programme Rimini Street had previously shortened guaranteed Priority 1 response times from 30 to 15 minutes and Priority 2 cases from 2 hours to 30 minutes. 

The way it uses AI/ML is informative. The Case Assignment Advisor AI Support Application reviews vectors in real time to identify the right engineering team for a specific case; while C-Signal performs sentiment and anomaly analysis on cases, contacts and clients to anticipate potential issues and proactively recommend actions to prevent issues from occurring. The tools are used to augment engineering teams live interactions with customers, rather than purely trying to automate processes. One of the positive results is that case resolution times have been reduced by an average of 23% yet customers still have direct interaction with engineers. Further AI Support Applications are expected.

The company remains confident, having raised the low-end of FY revenue guidance from $310m to $314m, putting FY guidance in the $314m-$320m range. And with former EVP and GM of Rackspace’s Global Solutions and Services group Gerard Brossard having just joined as EVP and COO responsible for global field operations, Rimini Street has more fire power to move forward with. 

Posted by: Angela Eager

Tags: results   itservices   AI   machinelearning  

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Thursday 06 August 2020

Intelligent Ultrasound sales constrained by C-19

Intelligent Ultrasound logoH1 results for AIM-listed ultrasound AI software and simulation company, Intelligent Ultrasound, show a 20% drop in revenue as the COVID-19 crisis severely constrained both its direct and reseller sales.

Revenue for the six months ended 30 June 2020 was £2.5m (H1 2019: £3.1m). UK direct sales more than doubled to £0.96m (H1 2019: £0.45m), but direct sales in North America and reseller sales elsewhere in the world were more heavily impacted by the pandemic, which made it impossible for its sales team to visit hospitals for much of the trading period.

Despite revenue and gross profit decline (H1 2020: £1.46m vs. H1 2019: £1.78m), operating losses were stable at £1.95m (H1 2019: £1.99m) and EBITDA losses reduced to £1.2m (H1 2019: £1.3m). COVID-19 meant the business made cost savings in terms of travel, exhibitions and conferences. Management also took the decision to close its second Oxford office, freeze recruitment and limit external consultancy spend. It also benefitted from the US Paycheck Protection Program and raised £4.8m (net of costs) via a placing in May—the placing was originally planned for 2021 but was brought forward to help maintain the company's cash position. Cash at the end of the period was £10.1m (31 Dec 2019: £7.3m including short term deposits).

All revenue is currently generated by its Simulation Division (see Tech Goodness: Intelligent Ultrasound training clinicians at NHS Nightingale), but its future success depends on its pre-revenue AI Division. This part of the business continued to make good progress during the period and it remains on track for royalty per unit revenues from its ScanNav AI software during 2021 (see Intelligent Ultrasound makes good progress in AI medical image analysis). Discussions with a number of OEMs for its ScanNav AnatomyGuide product continue and it has also accelerated development of two additional AI software products: ScanNav Lung/Covid19 and ScanNav Prostate.

It has been a challenging period for the company and significant market uncertainty remains, but it maintains a strong cash position and its AI software has good potential. 

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: AI   H1   healthcare   covid-19  

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Thursday 06 August 2020

Serco’s revived momentum unchecked by COVID

LogoSerco has delivered an impressive H120 performance and one slightly ahead of the estimates contained within the trading update it issued just seven weeks ago (see here). Revenue for the six months to 30th June was £1.8b, up 24% yoy on a constant currency basis, with organic growth of 15% and a 9% uplift from the purchase last year of the Naval Systems Business Unit (NSBU) of Alion in North America. Underlying trading profit increased by 53% to £78m, with NSBU adding 20%. Group margin increased from 3.4% to 4.3%. The strength of the first half results was mainly a product of both several large contract wins in 2019 and the US acquisition.

The company’s three largest geographic divisions all delivered strong non-acquisitive top line growth during the period. The UK, which accounts for 43% of global activities, saw its H120 turnover increase by 19% yoy, while North America (30%) and Asia-Pacific (18%) achieved organic sales improvements of 8% and 25% respectively. These territories also increased substantially their underlying trading profits.  Only the Middle East experienced first half declines in revenue and margin.

More significantly, Serco managed to sustain momentum through the initial few months of the coronavirus crisis. Although the company reported that there had been some dramatic impacts, positive and negative, on individual contracts, in aggregate the "ups" on profits have balanced the "downs". Despite COVID-driven disruptions to sales processes, moreover, Serco’s order intake was once again ahead of its revenues during H120 to generate a positive book-to-bill ratio.

While not complacent regarding the challenges ahead, the company remains confident regarding the remainder of 2020. The guidance issued with the trading update was reaffirmed. Organic revenue is expected to increase by c.9% yoy and underlying trading profit is forecast to grow by somewhere between 12.5% and 25% over FY19.

Posted by: Duncan Aitchison

Tags: results   bpm  

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Thursday 06 August 2020

Sync joins the digital banking fray armed with £5.5m

SyncAccording to reports, fledgling fintech, Sync, has raised £5.5m in seed funding as it plots its European launch. Founded by former Revolut executive, Ricky Lee, Sync is a bank account aggregator similar to rival fintech, Curve (see: Curve set for major cash call as economy slows). The technology enables users to integrate different bank accounts and payment cards whilst Sync also provides a range of added value services, such as financial management tools and foreign exchange.

Prior to his time as Revolut’s product design and strategy lead, Lee worked on the de-merger of Lloyds Bank from TSB and also helped design the revised group’s new user interface. The Sync CEO is badging his new venture as the World’s first “smart bank”. The latest funding is on top of £1.7m raised via a pre-seed round in 2018

Sync is the latest “challenger” to enter the increasingly varied array of digital banking options on the market. The startup is looking combine a number of the innovative features already available from other fintechs. Meanwhile, each member of this established cohort is continuing to develop scale of its own and build out the array of service offerings available.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding  

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Thursday 06 August 2020

Backers puff up Weezy for 15-minute grocery deliveries. Madness!

logoI think you have to either be amazingly brave or utterly bonkers to go head-to-head with online supermarkets – let alone Amazon – and launch a 15-minute grocery delivery service and expect to make money. Likewise backers.

Such is the case for London-based Weezy which has raised £1m in a pre-seed funding round backed by Heartcore Capital and former executives of Ocado, Tesco, Sainsbury’s Chop Chop and Deliveroo.

Founded in 2019, Weezy (I assume descriptive of its bike delivery riders after dashing around London) is building a network of distribution centres (first stop Fulham and Chelsea) to fulfil and deliver customers’ orders within 15 minutes.

Complete and utter madness. But what do I know?

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup  

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Thursday 06 August 2020

ScaleUp Institute sees COVID-19 as catalyst to close growth funding gap

logoA significant report just published by our friends at ScaleUp Institute in conjunction with fintech-focused industry body Innovate Finance and consultancy Deloitte, is calling for greater coordination between the private sector and the public sector to address the perceived ‘growth capital gap’, i.e. the difference between demand and supply for growth capital.

The report details five recommendations for addressing the problem:

  1. Create a ‘National Blueprint for Growth’
  2. Accelerate the unlocking of Institutional and Corporate Funding
  3. Expand and build upon the British Business Bank (BBB)
  4. Expand the role and scale of Innovate UK
  5. Create a “Future Opportunity Fund”

The report sees the COVID-19 pandemic as being a ‘catalyst for change’ in the way that the UK supports scale-ups.

Their recommendations build on the excellent Scaleup Institute 2019 Review published late last year (see Scaleup support (Part 1): Where’s Wally?) which, among other issues, highlighted the need for a funding roadmap that entrepreneurs could follow to get the right support to scale up their business.

Certainly COVID-19 has slowed funding for start-ups and scale-ups as we highlighted in our latest IndustryViews Venture Capital report: COVID correction for Tech VC deals. And peer scale-up network Tech Nation echoed the impact that COVID-19 was having on scale-ups back in March (see More scaleups look to lay off staff in struggle for new customers).

Although I have not yet read and inwardly digested this latest ScaleUp Institute report in full, its findings and recommendations are well articulated. But the very issue that it is trying to resolve – poor coordination between private and public sectors – will be, by definition, the toughest obstacle to seeing these recommendations acted upon.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: funding   startup   scaleup  

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Thursday 06 August 2020

CMA blocks FNZ's £220m takeover of GBST

FNZThe UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has intervened in the proposed merger of two major investment/wealth management technology companies to provisionally block the £220m deal. In a statement, the CMA has indicated that FNZ’s takeover of GBST could potentially leave UK consumers facing “higher costs and lower quality services” by substantially reducing choice and competition in the UK platform space. The acquisition was originally announced in November 2019.

Founded in New Zealand with a UK head office in Edinburgh, PaaS provider FNZ specialises in wealth management technology aimed at major financial services organisations. UK Clients include Barclays, HSBC and Standard Life. Meanwhile, Australian listed software provider, GBST, works with a wide range of players across the financial markets ecosystem, including wealth managers, institutional and retail brokers, custodians, investment bankers and margin lenders. The proposed deal could result in FNZ controlling around half of the total UK market for investment platforms.

Despite their differing approaches, FNZ and GBST are undoubtedly close competitors in the UK wealth management space. In part this is due to the fact that choice is fairly limited, which has understandably given the CMA cause for concern. Margins and competition are increasingly tight across the sector and switching platforms can be expensive (see: Financial Services SITS Sub-sector Comparison). With a limited number of potential deals to fight for, it will be interesting to see what impact the CMA’s ultimate conclusion has on the marketplace.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: investment   PaaS   M&A   wealthmanagement  

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Thursday 06 August 2020

Claranet acquires CorpFlex in Brazil

claranetClaranet is acquiring CorpFlex to expand its presence in the Brazilian market.

Claranet entered the market in Brazil through acquisition a few years ago and is likely to seek further acquisitions in the future to pursue what it describes as a "high growth" opportunity. The initial focus was on public cloud, with customers including aerospace firm, Embraer and the wholesale bank, Banco Fibra. CorpFlex will expand that with capability in private cloud and also cyber security, data management, and networks. Claranet will now have over 200 people in Brazil and believes the country holds the same potential as some of its largest European country operations. It considers its most significant competitors in Brazil to be TIVIT and the large Global System Integrators.

Claranet’s financial year concluded at the end of June. Charles Nasser, Claranet’s founder and Group CEO, told us that despite the pandemic, the company finished the year ahead of budget. Demand from larger customers (the firm targets the larger end of the mid-market, up to 5000 users) has been sustained through the lockdown period. Specifically around cloud, Claranet has seen minimal slow down, with investment pauses restricted mostly to those “in the eye of the storm”. Group revenue last year was c£370m (adjusted EBITDA £48.3m), up from c£322m in 2018 (adjusted EBITDA £50m).

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan

Tags: acquisition  

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Thursday 06 August 2020

Advanced supports Hants social care transformation

Advanced logoUK software and services business Advanced has entered into a six-year contract with Hampshire County Council to help it transform adult social care case management.

The deal will see nearly 2,000 staff at the council use CareWorks' cloud-based case management solution CareDirector. Advanced announced the acquisition of Dublin-based CareWorks in November 2019.

The contract award was announced by the council towards the end of last year with a stated value of £14.9m over its six year term, with the option to extend for three further three year periods—meaning a total maximum contract duration of 15 years. It forms part of a wider digital transformation programme being undertaken by the council.

The solution will be used by social workers, case workers, occupational therapists, nurses and public health practitioners as their principal case management tool. It will enable them to record the work they are undertaking with individuals and extract data to support planning and decision making. The council expects the new solution to improve collaboration between teams,  streamline processes and enhance mobile working.

Social care has suffered from years of underfunding and is in desperate need of a long-term and sustainable funding settlement; a situation that has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Social care has played a critical role in the pandemic response and has done so without the same level of support afforded the NHS. Digital solutions will play an important role in freeing-up resource in the sector, enabling staff to maximise the time spent supporting the most vulnerable in society.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: localgovernment   contract   saas   software   healtcare  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Civica bolsters healthcare offering with InfoFlex acquisition

Civica logoCivica has strengthened its position in the healthcare market with the acquisition of UK-based healthcare software specialist InfoFlex, whose cloud-enabled software is used to by more than 130 NHS Trusts to manage clinical workflow and patient pathway or treatment processes.

The acquisition is described as a ‘significant strategic investment’ by Civica in a key vertical market, advancing its strategy in the health sector and extending its capability in the NHS. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we know that InfoFlex (or more specifically Chameleon Information Management Services Ltd whose subsidiary traded as InfoFlex) reported turnover of £5.2m in FY19 (to 31 March), up 17% on the year before, and was profitable with a PBT of £438k in the same period. 

InfoFlex’s 50-strong team, which is based in Rickmansworth, will join Civica’s Health & Care division alongside previous cloud software acquisitions including Warwick International and Trac Systems. The addition looks to be a good fit for Civica, which  is looking to establish a stronger integrated care capability and has recently launched newly built products Cito, a cloud-based clinical information management solution, and Civica Prescribing. InfoFlex’s software supports trust-wide and cross-organisation capabilities and its software integrates with existing hospital systems, including Cito, across 65 clinical specialities enabling real-time access to all clinical information.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: acquisition   software   healthcare  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Unisys feels the impact of COVID-19 in Q2

Unisys logoQ2 results for Unisys reveal the impact of COVID-19 on the performance of the Pennsylvania headquartered business. Revenue for the three months ended 30 June 2020 was down 23% to $438.8m (Q2 2019: $569.4m) and it recorded a loss before tax of $66.8m (Q2 2019: profit of $7.9m).

Non-GAAP adjusted revenue was $438.8m (Q2 2019: $562.9m) with Non-GAAP operating profit falling to $0.8m (Q2 2019: $55.3m) and adjusted EBITDA at $50.2m (Q2 2019: $94.5m).

Unisys’ Public Sector business grew during the period, up 7.2% to $164.3m, but Commercial was down 33.0% to $151.0m and Financial fell 32.9% to $123.5m. Revenue was down across all regions, with EMEA suffering the steepest decline (down 27.5% to $143.6m). North American was the best performing region but it still suffered a 16.4% decline to $180.9m.

Approximately half of the revenue decline during the quarter was due to COVID-19-related impacts to Unisys’ Services business. The other half was due to shifts in timing of ClearPath Forward renewals and expected declines at iPSL, its UK-based cheque processing joint-venture.

Services revenue, which accounted for approximately 90% of total revenue during the quarter, was down 17.7% to $396.0m (Q2 2019: $481.0m), with COVID-19 taking its toll on field services, travel and transportation, and volume-based BPO contracts. Largely as a result of the aforementioned ClearPath Forward renewal timings, second-quarter revenue in Unisys’ Technology business was down 51.6% to $42.8m (Q2 2019: $88.4m).

Despite the downturn in Q2, management remain optimistic about the outlook for the second half of the year. It expects revenue to improve during the third and fourth quarters, driven by improvements in field services and BPO volumes as lockdown measures ease, and a more favourable ClearPath Forward renewal schedule. Full-year revenue expectations remain unchanged relative to Q1 (see Unisys Q1 decline following US Federal sale) at 10% decline year-on-year.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: results   bpo   financialservices   security   covid-19  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

TechHub goes to the wall as COVID-19 bites

THTechHub, the London-based supporter of technology startups has gone into administration, as COVID-19 and lockdown have crippled many activities in the capital. Despite an apparently thriving pre-lockdown business model, efforts to implement an acceptable rescue plan appear to have failed.

Launched in 2010 by Elizabeth Varley (CEO) and Mike Butcher, TechHub started life in the heart of London’s “Silicon Roundabout” cluster of technology companies. With Google and Pearson as founding sponsors, the company’s aim was to provide developers and budding tech entrepreneurs with an affordable, creative working environment.

TechHub subsequently grew into a global community with centres in the US, Spain, Romania, Latvia, Poland and Wales. Over the years the company has provided valuable support to hundreds of startups, helping fledgling businesses to find their feet and scale their operations. TechHub has been associated with a number of notable successes including fintech unicorn, Plaid (see: Visa earns its open banking stripes), Divide (acquired by Google) and Aiden.AI (acquired by Twitter).

COVID-19 and lockdown has caused a dramatic reduction in physical activity in major cities around the world. Since March, TechHub’s London facility lost close to 75% of its revenue. The company brought in administrator, Begbies Traynor, to facilitate a rescue plan, however negotiations with TechHub’s landlord and major creditor have apparently proved unsuccessful.

The startup community has been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus (see: New Research: COVID Correction for Tech VC Deals) and it’s a real shame to see the effect that this has had on TechHub. In part, the company’s collapse reflects the forced necessity of remote working and, regardless of the Prime Minister’s efforts to the contrary, perhaps hints at a future trend for many companies and organisations.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

Tags: funding  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

HealthHero launches with big ambitions in digital health provision

HealthHero logoThere is a new name in digital health provision in the UK. PE-backed HealthHero launched this week with the ambition of becoming Europe’s largest holistic digital health provider. Built on the foundations of existing telemedicine companies, HealthHero will operate in the UK, Germany and Republic of Ireland at launch and already covers over 4 million lives.

HealthHero is the brainchild of digital entrepreneur and investor Ranjan Singh, who takes the CEO role, with backing from London-based pan-European investment house MARCOL. The new business combines UK-based SME Medical Solutions, which has over 20 years’ experience in connecting patients and doctors remotely for insurance and corporate clients, with latest acquisition Fernarzt.com, a Berlin-based telemedicine platform established in 2017 to provide online consultations in Germany.

HealthHero already provides a full spectrum of primary care services 24/7 delivered through ‘a suite of digital tools’ – video calls, online chats and the phone – and is the preferred supplier for over 300 businesses. It also has plans to launch a consumer offering in the UK shortly.

You get a sense of HealthHero’s ambition from the tone of its website and there can be little doubt that it’s in the ‘right place at the right time’, with Covid-19 driving acceptance and usage of digital health provision. Since the onset of Covid-19 its seen demand for its services in UK & Ireland increase by over 300%. Research from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) confirms the significant acceleration of digital tool adoption during the pandemic. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, 70% of GP consultations were carried out face-to-face, within weeks that figure was just 23%. Both the RCGP and Health Foundation are calling for greater investment in digital primary care services as a result.

Of course, there are other established names vying for a share of the market – not least BabylonPush Doctor and GP Access (askmyGP) – and HealthHero will have to differentiate its offering if it’s to fulfill its ambition. A focus on the corporate/insurance market combined with the holistic approach – it can provide consultations from your sofa with a multidisciplinary team including specialists, mental health and musculoskeletal practitioners as well as GPs – is a good place to start, especially given the increase in remote working.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant

Tags: digital   scaleup   healthcare  

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Wednesday 05 August 2020

Mid-tier Mindtree scoops Top Tier exec for UK-based global post

logoBangalore-based mid-tier offshore services firm Mindtree has boosted its top management team with the appointment of Venu Lambu as President of Global Markets. Based in London, Lambu will be responsible for Mindtree’s strategic direction across all industry segments.  

picLambu transferred across from Mindtree’s parent company Larsen & Toubro, who hired him in January from Cognizant where he was Senior Vice President & Global Markets Head, Technology Services. Lambu joined Cognizant in December 2013 as Global Head for Infrastructure & Cloud Services after an eight-year stint at HCL where he was Vice President & Head, Continental Europe.

This is a significant appointment for Mindtree in terms of experience, role and location. Mindtree has been without a leader in Europe since March and has struggled for growth in the region (see Mindtree’s European miseries mount). Lambu’s deep knowledge of the territory (he was based in London at both Cognizant and HCL) should help Mindtree pinpoint new market opportunities.

TechMarketView hopes to catch up with Lambu soon.

Posted by: Anthony Miller

Tags: offshore   management  

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