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DIGIT Deal Roundup | September 2020

David Paul

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Deal Roundup

The DIGIT Deal Roundup column for September features investment and awards news from Intelligens Consulting, Pawprint, Consenna and CGI.

Funding

Bellrock Technology

Scottish data analytics innovator Bellrock Technology has successfully listed for the first time on a public sector framework that has generated more than £6 billion in contracts since 2012.

The Glasgow-based firm has won approval for its services on G-Cloud 12, allowing it to compete and bid for a share of around £2 billion in public sector contracts involving Bellrock Technology’s expertise in data analytics.

Bellrock now provides its full range of data solutions – including Data Science Deployment, Artificial Intelligence (AI) Deployment and Machine Learning – to support Government organisations in their use of data analytics.

It will be mentored along with nine other tech businesses which use AI, Data Science and Machine- Learning as part of a 12-week support Programme, based out of GCHQ’s Manchester office.

Bellrock also recently welcomed a fresh injection of £1 million from its long-term investors – allowing it to double its workforce to 16 – and completed its new Board with the appointments of Steve Langmead as Chair, Dave McConachie as Chief Commercial Officer, and Hugh Lennie as Chief Financial Officer.

Dave McConachie, Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Bellrock Technology’s inclusion in G-Cloud 12 is a hugely significant moment for our business.

“It gives us the opportunity to be considered as a Data Analytics supplier for the UK Government, as we look to expand our high-quality service in Data Analytics across the whole of the UK.

“It also follows our pride at being the only Scottish company invited to take part in the GCHQ Innovation Co-Lab, which is a huge vote of confidence for the unique approach we offer in delivering data analytics through our Lumen software.

“Both opportunities will give us a platform to take us into new markets and expand our client base significantly as we continue to move forward this year and into 2021.

“G-Cloud 12, our partnership with UK Cloud and our participation in the GCHQ Innovation Co-Lab allows us to position ourselves as the partner of choice to enhance evidence-based data decision-making for public sector departments.”


Willo

Willo Technologies

Glasgow-based tech startup Willo Technologies announced the raising of a £250,000 seed round from Guernsey-based VC 1818 Venture Capital and board members.

The video interviewing software company said the funding will allow it to grow further internationally, begin a recruitment drive for 24 members of staff and advance product development.

Earlier this year, Willo secured £20,000 in funding from Scottish Enterprise. In addition to more than £200,000 of VC investment, board members Steve Perry, Stefan Ciecierski and Peter Preston also contributed further funds to prepare the company for further growth.

CEO and founder Euan Cameron commented: “We witnessed a huge amount of growth as businesses across the globe were forced to address the fact that face-to-face interviews and consultations were no longer possible, and the resources required to conduct everything over Zoom or Skype were prohibitive.

“As well as finding a solution to interact with potential recruits, businesses had to act quickly to find efficient and effective ways to communicate with employees and their customers remotely.

“This demand shows no sign of slowing down as we adapt to a new normal, and it’s part of the reason we have been able to secure investment to develop the platform and take our business to the next level.

“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and it has been extremely rewarding to see how much appetite there has been for our service.

“With 1818 Venture Capital’s investment and expertise, we are very excited about the future.”

Marc Cohen, 1818 Venture capital CIO, said: “As the pandemic hit, we moved quickly to identify companies which helped people and businesses thrive in the fast-changing environment. During this time, we began using Willo’s product and were compelled by its simplicity and quality.

“While Willo’s growth has accelerated because of the pandemic, given the strength and vision of its management team, we truly believe the company has huge potential.

“Regardless of whether the trend towards homeworking continues, the need to communicate efficiently and effectively with people remotely will always be a priority for businesses around the world.”

To read the full story, click here.


MRM Global

MRM Global

Edinburgh-based tech firm MRM Global has secured £2.6 million in funding from BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor syndicate.

The investment will be used to fund further international growth, the firm revealed, with a specific focus placed on expanding the company’s presence in North America.

As part of its global expansion, MRM said it plans to recruit a local team in the US to support customers, develop new business and expand its partner network.

In the last three years, the firm has expanded internationally to more than 34 countries and now works with a host of world-leading spirit and beer brands.

Commenting on the deal, MRM Global Chief Executive, Craig Letton, commented: “In 2019, we doubled the size of our business in both revenue and headcount which was a real challenge for a business that has been bootstrapped since day one.

“We realised that if we really wanted to achieve our vision of supporting as many customers as possible, we needed to take on growth capital. More than just the capital, we wanted to bring on board an investor that shared our vision and values, with the expertise to help us scale.

“After speaking to several investors, it became clear that BGF was the best partner for us to realise our ambitions.”

MRM will invest heavily in the development of its technology platform and, in the coming months, plans to triple the size of its Edinburgh-based software engineering team to accelerate the product roadmap.

Euan Baxter, an investor at BGF who joins the Board of MRM Global said: “This partnership has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to back a disruptive and high-growth technology business that is changing the way global drinks brands drive visibility at the point of purchase.

“Despite the hospitality sector being negatively impacted by Covid-19, we are committed to backing companies in this space that have market-leading solutions and a clear opportunity to drive shareholder value.

“We believe MRM has a clear growth opportunity in front of it, underpinned by strong customer demand, and we look forward to extending its reach even further.”

To read the full story, click here.


Scottish 5G Centre

Paul Coffey, CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre

The Scotland 5G Centre will create a series of 5G hubs following a £4 million investment from the Scottish Government.

As part of its newly announced S5GConnect Programme, the Centre will create a series of hubs aimed at delivering the next stage of Holyrood’s 5G Strategy.

The hubs will provide a private network with advanced capabilities and access to an accelerator facility and mentoring schemes.

By working work with mobile operators and private network providers, it is hoped the Centre will be able to accelerate regional 5G networks.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity, and the Islands said: “The 5G revolution presents a significant opportunity for us in the years ahead, and seizing such opportunities is particularly important as we look to build the economic recovery following the lockdown required to suppress the Covid-19 virus.

“A study conducted by Deloitte in 2019 found that harnessing enhanced 4G and 5G connectivity could increase Scotland’s GDP by more than £17 billion by 2035.”

Wheelhouse added: “The Scottish Government’s investment of £4m through the S5GConnect Programme will enhance and widen digital connectivity in all parts of the country because we believe that it is through deploying next-generation technologies that we can create something special for businesses, families and communities.

“Potential locations for nine additional hubs across Scotland are being considered with plans for further rollout over the course of 2020 and 2021.”

CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre Paul Coffey said: “The role of the Scotland 5G Centre is to act as a catalyst for bringing together industry, academia and the public sector and this Programme allows us to do that. We are excited to begin working with industry partners from a variety of sectors on this initiative.

“5G deployment has commenced, but the technology is still nascent – and some of the new use cases are still a few years away. The S5GConnect Hubs will play a key role in accelerating that process and making the potential of 5G a reality.

“They will think nationally, but act locally, bringing together global and national priorities with local expertise through the reach of existing regional centres and organisations.

“We are working in tandem with the national network of development agencies and enterprise accelerators to establish these facilities quickly. This is a hugely exciting development for Scotland and the wider UK 5G ecosystem and we look forward to announcing more hubs in the near future.”

To read the full story, click here.


Intelligens Consulting

economic recovery

On the back of recently advising and helping to secure a multimillion-pound investment in full-fibre connectivity to homes and businesses across a large Scottish local authority region, Intelligens Consulting is delighted to announce a new customer win.

The telecoms firm will be supporting another major public body to stimulate and grow their local economy, allowing them to become one of the most connected regions in the UK through investment in full-fibre, IoT and 5G networks.

Iqbal Singh Bedi, Consulting Director and founder of Intelligens Consulting said: “Delivering a step-change in digital connectivity is exactly what is needed by businesses and residents at a time when we are shifting to a work from home model as a result of Coronavirus”.

“In order for Scotland to become fully world-class and digitally future prof more need to be done.”

This comes on the back of a review of the Scottish tech ecosystem by Mark Logan, commissioned by the Scottish Government, with recommendations on how to develop a world-class tech sector.

Bedi said the secret to achieving world-class digital infrastructure is to design an intervention scheme that unlocks investment in digital infrastructure, which is entirely market-led and does not require any State-aid or public subsidy.

Local authorities that are proactive in engaging with Intelligens Consulting stand to achieve around 70% full-fibre coverage as a result.

This level of coverage would deliver a future proof digital infrastructure that is 5G ready while delivering significant economic benefits and create jobs at zero cost to the public purse.


Calnex Solutions

Calnex

Provider of test and measurement solutions for the global telecommunications sector, Calnex Solutions has announced its intention to list on Alternative Investment Market (AIM) after raising £22.5 million in investment.

The company said the placing was “significantly oversubscribed”, having received strong support from institutional investors.

Of the £22.5 million, £6 million will be put aside for company growth, while £16.5 million will be held for existing shareholders.

After joining the public market on the 5th of October, the firm now has a total valuation of £42m and will be Scotland’s first IPO since 2018.

The company said that the funds raised through the Placing, along with the Calnex’s existing cash resources, will allow them to invest in business development and research and development resources, repay its existing debt facility and to “evaluate opportunities to acquire complementary technologies or businesses to expedite the company’s growth.”

Tommy Cook, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Calnex, commented: “We are delighted to announce our proposed placing and Admission to AIM, to support the evolution of Calnex.

“The telecommunications industry is going through unprecedented levels of change, presenting exciting opportunities for the expansion of the business.

“Having demonstrated sustained growth since inception, the move onto the public markets will provide us with new capital, a raised profile and enhanced ability to execute on acquisitions, as we seek to capture an increased share of the growing market for telecoms test solutions.

“We would like to thank our existing shareholders for their ongoing support and welcome our new shareholders at this exciting time for the company.”

To read the full story, click here.


Legado

Legado founder Josif Grace with Peter Thomas

Legado, a new Edinburgh-based life organisation and legacy planning platform, has launched after receiving £600,000 of financial backing.

The startup’s funding came from savings and investments business Prudential and global platform-as-a-service firm FNZ. The launch of Legado’s direct-to-consumer service follows a £50,000 grant from Innovate UK, meaning the firm can offer this version of the service for free for an extended period.

Thereafter, users will need to subscribe to the platform for a nominal monthly or annual fee to continue using Legado’s service.

Legado CEO and founder Josif Grace said: “Life organisation and legacy planning is something that can fill many with dread.

“While it is understandably a sensitive subject and strenuous task, it’s important that services like ours make it as easy as possible to prepare for life’s unexpected events.

“It’s important to highlight how it is never too early to think about the future and to keep plans updated throughout your life.

“We live in a digital world, however when it comes to forward planning, the industry still relies on paper, physical documents, unsecure emails and other file hosting services. Legado removes that aspect and provides one simple, highly secure platform which a consumer has access to and can manage throughout their lives.

“Not only does this provide the user with a central and secure space where they can store an abundance of documents, but they also have complete control over who is able to access specific information.

“Enterprises will also be able to benefit as they are granted unique access to their client’s affairs which can better shape the counsel and advice they provide.”

For the full article, click here.


Exizent

Bereavement Process

Glasgow-based technology firm Exizent has raised significant funding to transform the bereavement process through the launch of a new platform.

Launching in October, the first of its kind platform connects data, services, and the network of people involved when someone dies with the aim of increasing speed and simplifying the process.

The company raised £3.6 million in funding – believed to be the largest investment in a Scottish tech business since lockdown began – from several investors, including the global platform-as-a-service firm FNZ.

Nick Cousins, Founder and CEO of Exizent, said: “Our personal experiences are what led us to establish Exizent. We believe the administrative tasks facing families after the death of a loved one should be far easier, and that modern technology solutions and services can make this a reality.

“We have spent the last 18 months carefully designing, developing, and testing our product with innovative partners, and look forward to launching the platform to legal services professionals later this year.”

Adrian Durham, Group CEO of FNZ commented: “The Exizent team has already achieved an enormous amount and we are proud to support their vision of leveraging technology to make the bereavement process far easier for everyone involved.

“Exizent will also be joining the fast-growing FNZ OpenPlatform App Store.”

The company also plans to build digital connections with the various institutions that hold data and information about the person who has passed away to help them deal with queries from executors and legal services firms more efficiently.

For the full article, click here.


ClinSpec Diagnostics

ClinSpec

ClinSpec Diagnostics Limited has secured £2.4 million in investment from Social Investment Scotland to help develop a new technology that can detect cancer at an early stage using blood tests.

The ClinSpec Dx blood test uses a combination of infra-red light and artificial intelligence, and its ‘drop, dry, detect’ technology provides results in minutes.

This latest investment allows the University of Strathclyde spinout to progress its multi-cancer development Programme, including completion of its second brain cancer trial and the development of a multi-cancer algorithm covering the most common cancers.

Led by Chief Executive, Mark Hegarty, the company also plans to hire an additional five employees to strengthen its scientific and operations teams, taking its total headcount to 14.

Commenting on the investment, Hegarty said: “Worldwide, 26,000 people die from cancer each day. Early detection is critical for effective treatment, but many cancers go undetected for too long.

“This funding is another significant step forward for ClinSpec Dx in our mission to detect cancer earlier and help to increase patient survival and quality of life.”

Kerry Sharp, Director, Scottish Investment Bank, said: “Having backed ClinSpec Dx since being alerted to the potential of its pioneering diagnostic technology through its involvement in Scottish Enterprise’s High-Growth Spinout Programme, we’re encouraging continued growth at the company by trebling our initial investment.

“ClinSpec Dx is a textbook example of the type of company SIB was established to support; it’s innovative, ambitious, has its sights set on international expansion and, crucially, is developing a platform product that could prove vital in saving lives.”

The funding round was led by Mercia’s EIS Funds with Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, profit with purpose investor SIS Ventures, EoS Advisory and the University of Strathclyde.

ClinSpec Dx has raised £4 million to date, including a first-round of seed funding in 2019 led by EoS Advisory alongside Mercia’s EIS Funds and the Scottish Investment Bank’s Co-Investment Fund, as well as grant funding from the Higgs EDGE Special Award, and from Innovate UK through the precision medicine accelerator fund.

For the full article, click here.


Consenna

Consenna

Renfrewshire-based Consenna, a UK training and digital development agency specialising in sales effectiveness programmes for global IT vendors, has gained £3m in funding and expects turnover to go beyond £10m in the current financial year.

The growth is attributed to significant expansion within existing customers, as well as a raft of project wins.

Consenna has also hired four new team members since April and plans to recruit a further three before the end of the year, including a newly created role of Digital Director to lead expanded services in creative design, and the increasingly important area of data analytics.

Trevor Evans, Managing Director, commented: “During the past year we’ve significantly grown our pipeline of programmes focused on the UK technology market and have been excited to expand overseas.

“This is a trend we foresee continuing and as such we’ll be recruiting bilingual team members to ensure our reputation for outstanding customer service and proven outcomes is maintained.

“In the near term we will continue to manage overseas projects from our UK base, however, we fully expect to hire on the ground in the relevant territories as these projects expand.”


UniKLasers

UniKLasers

Edinburgh-based laser manufacturer UniKLasers has secured an £800K Project funded by Innovate UK, the National Research and Innovation Agency, to help spearhead development of Quantum technology-based applications.

UniKLasers joins a consortium of 14 other industry and academic partners to accelerate the growth of commercialisation and collaboration efforts within the British quantum technology community.

The Innovate UK project, with an overall value of £10m, is called ‘QT Assemble: Integrate Quantum Technology Programme’, and is led by Fraunhofer UK Research, based in Glasgow.

Prof. Fedor Karpushko, Founder and Chief Technical Officer at UniKLasers, said: “Quantum Technology is rife with exhilarating opportunities.

“This collaboration will enable us to conduct further research on integrating and embedding our DPSS miniaturised laser technology chiefly in areas of research and development around quantum sensors where the linewidth of the laser emission has the precision to allow cold atoms to move between quantum states.

“Being able to respond to the gravitational pull of buried and hidden objects, locating natural resources or picking up magnetic fields from the human brain, quantum sensors can detect the tiniest signals around us.

“This, in terms of real-world applications, gives credence that quantum sensing could be game-changing. It is ultrasensitive to even the slightest variations of any environmental change, therefore its use in advancing the frontiers of medical research and disease detection will have a hugely significant impact.”

The award of an £800,000 Project from Innovate UK follows a recent investment round by the Par Equity Syndicate supported by the Scottish Investment Bank which provided £750,000 financing to bring UniKLasers’ total funding since 2017 to £2.3 million.

For the full article, click here.


Connecting Scotland

Connecting Scotland

The Connecting Scotland campaign, which helps low-income families connect to the internet, has received a £23 million funding boost.

The latest funding means the project has now received a total of £43 million of investment.

The Scottish Government provided it with an initial £5 million investment before adding an additional £15 million in August. This additional investment expanded its scope to 23,000 households.

With its funding more than doubled, organisations that work with digitally excluded families and young people in care are being encouraged to get involved with the Programme.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “The pandemic has emphasised the importance of digital connectivity – for education, for access to public services and online shopping, and for staying in touch with friends and family. However, it has also heightened the impact of digital exclusion.

“Over the next 15 months, the Connecting Scotland Programme will make a significant contribution towards closing that digital divide by helping many more households to benefit from technology through issuing devices along with offers of support and data.”

Campbell added “By the end of next year it will have brought approximately 50,000 people online, underpinned by an additional £23 million Scottish Government funding. I will be able to announce details of the Programme’s next phase, including the groups of people that I believe will be particularly able to benefit in the coming weeks.

“However, it is absolutely crucial that anyone who could benefit from the scheme has the chance to do so which is why I hope local authorities and our third sector partners will help identify even more people needing this kind of support.”

For the full article, click here.


The Scottish Government

Scottish Government funding

The Scottish Government has launched a £3 million funding package to provide grants to high growth startup companies and university spinout projects.

The funding has been earmarked for 41 potential startups, which will receive grants of up to £50,000, and 16 spinout projects, which will receive up to £130,000 in funding. The government is also offering the companies bespoke support to help them develop.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Startup and spinout companies, many of which are in the technology, digital and low carbon sectors, are the future of our economy.

“They are driven by the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. Crucially, they are the kind of enterprises that create high-quality jobs, and which attract investment into Scotland – both of which will be vital to successfully rebuild the economy after the damage caused by Covid-19.

“By supporting startup companies and spinout projects through this funding we can not only help them survive but give them the potential to prosper. This is a key part of our long-term mission to create new jobs, good jobs and green jobs.”

In July, the Scottish Government announced that early stage, high growth potential companies would receive £38 million of funding, to be managed by Scottish Enterprise. The £3 million round of grant forms the first part of this.

Additional rounds include the £25 million Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund, which will provide equity-backed businesses with a mix of grant and investment funding up to a maximum of £300,000.

An additional £10 million will go to Scottish Enterprise’s existing Scottish Investment Bank co-investment funds to help stimulate private investment and support businesses that need more significant levels of funding to grow.

Full article here.


Scottish Universities

Traveltech for Scotland

Four Scottish universities are set to benefit from £20 million in government funding to transform the future of healthcare.

Tech projects from the University of Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier, Heriot-Watt, and the University of Edinburgh will share the funding package and focus on a broad range of areas.

The investment packages form part of a £32m UK-wide funding scheme for healthcare projects. Government Science Minister, Amanda Solloway, made the announcement at London Tech Week on September 7th.

Solloway said: “The pioneering projects we are backing today will help modernise healthcare, improving all of our lives now and into the future.

“Today’s announcement is part of our ambitious R&D Roadmap and underlines our commitment to back our incredible scientists and researchers and invest in ground-breaking research to keep the UK ahead in cutting-edge discoveries.”

Funding for the projects is being delivered through the Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050 call. Through the initiative, the UK Government plans to increase R&D spending by £22 billion within the next five years.

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said: “The projects announced today will develop new approaches which could become routine in the NHS and community and home care in the coming decades.

“Harnessing the latest technologies and the UK’s world-leading expertise will allow us to deliver a step-change in how healthcare is delivered and benefit millions of people, emphasising the critical role the UK’s R&D sector plays in improving the health of the nation.”

The full article can be found here.


UK Government

quantum computer

The UK Government has announced the backing of Britain’s first quantum computer as part its ambition to become the world’s first quantum-ready economy.

Backed by £10 million in funding, the computer will be hosted in Abington, Oxfordshire, with the aim of assisting businesses looking to adopt quantum technology in the future.

The tech could provide up to £4 billion of economic opportunities globally by 2024, and productivity gains resulting from quantum computing are expected to surpass over £341 billion globally within the next few decades.

In a statement, the government said: “Quantum computing offers the chance for businesses to find better or quicker ways to solve problems, many of which are not possible using standard computers.

“Industries including pharmaceuticals, aerospace and transport that substantially contribute to the UK economy are set to benefit most.

“This is because this technology could help them to accelerate the discovery of new drug treatments, improve the efficiency of global supply chains including across food, automotive and aerospace sectors, and cut road traffic in towns and cities, shortening people’s commuting times while reducing pollution levels – and benefiting people’s lives and businesses.”

The government said that the adoption of quantum technology would also result in new jobs, skills, and knowledge across the country.

Currently, there are only a small number of quantum computing platforms being developed worldwide, which presents an opportunity for the UK to be at the forefront of this technology.

Speaking after the Quantum Summit, Science Minister Amanda Solloway, who announced the funding, said: “Our ambition is to be the world’s first quantum-ready economy, which could provide UK businesses and industries with billions of pounds worth of opportunities.

“Therefore, I am delighted that companies across the country will have access to our first commercial quantum computer, to be based in Abingdon.

“This a key part of our plan to build back better using the latest technology, attract the brightest and best talent to the UK and encourage world-leading companies to invest here”

The project is part of the government’s previous plan to attract the top talent and world-leading companies to the UK, beginning with the commitment of £93 million in funding for the establishment of A National Quantum Computing Centre in 2018.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, commented: “Quantum computers are extraordinary new tools with the potential to allow us to tackle previously insurmountable challenges, promising benefits for all of society through applications in areas such as drug discovery and traffic optimisation.

“The National Quantum Computing Centre will tackle the key bottlenecks in quantum computing by bringing together experts from across the UK’s outstanding research and innovation system from academia and industry to unlock the potential of this exciting new technology.”

Full article here.


The National Health Service

NHS research

The NHS will receive a £50-million funding boost to develop the use of AI in the diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases like cancer.

The investment will go to scaling up work at the NHS’s three existing Digital Pathology and Imaging Artificial Intelligence Centres of Excellence. These were launched in 2018 to develop cutting-edge digital tools to improve the diagnosis of disease.

Each of the three centres, based in Coventry, Leeds, and London, will receive a share of the funding. They will deliver digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across an additional 38 NHS trusts, benefiting 26.5 million patients across England. These services, which include radiology, play a crucial role in diagnosing diseases.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Technology is a force for good in our fight against the deadliest diseases – it can transform and save lives through faster diagnosis, free up clinicians to spend time with their patients and make every pound in the NHS go further.

“I am determined we do all we can to save lives by spotting cancer sooner. Bringing the benefits of artificial intelligence to the frontline of our health service with this funding is another step in that mission. We can support doctors to improve the care we provide and make Britain a world-leader in this field.”

The new funding will help the government reach its commitment to save thousands more lives each year and detect three-quarters of all cancers at an early stage by 2028.

Full article here.


Deals and Partnerships

Pawprint

Pawprint

Eco tech business, Pawprint, launched a countrywide search for businesses to join their Pawprint Pioneers Programme to tackle climate change in September.

The Programme is seeking to attract climate-conscious businesses and organisations looking to become sustainability leaders in their fields, to become early adopters and help shape the Pawprint For Business offering.

BrewDog has become the first business to sign up after making a commitment to be the first international beer business to become carbon negative.

Christian Arno, Founder and CEO at Pawprint said; “Having personally conducted interviews with tens of businesses, I know there’s a huge appetite from businesses for Pawprint.

“Climate change affects us all, so it’s no surprise that people at all levels of all industries want their organisation to lead – and to lead through action, as BrewDog have done – on the topic.

“Pawprint will help businesses to accelerate and amplify their positive impact as we join together to tackle humanity’s greatest challenge yet. We’ll empower people to fight climate change and use their influence in every area of their lives.”


eTalent

Scots recruitment software innovator eTalent has begun its overseas expansion with the appointment of Dublin-based Venture Financial Recruitment as its Ireland Distributor in a two-year £200k+ deal.

The Edinburgh-based firm will get a 50% revenue share, reducing to 30% as it increases, making the deal expected to be worth more £100,000 a year to eTalent.

Speaking about the deal, Founder Nik Plevan said: “We’re delighted to be bringing the benefits of eTalent to Irish businesses in our first overseas expansion.

“We felt it was best to do this via a licenced distributor as a local company has local knowledge and contacts which are essential in this business.

“I’m very confident Dan and Venture will create a strong presence for eTalent in the Republic and Northern Ireland.”

Venture Financial Recruitment Principal Partner Dan McKeown said: “I am very excited to be bringing eTalent to Ireland as this software is truly disruptive in offering job advertising, candidate screening and psychometric testing all in one package.

“What eTalent offers is a genuine solution for clients facing volume recruitment. Where companies have multiple junior to mid-level vacancies in a calendar year, eTalent offers the tools to screen, review and test applications and leave the end-user with a shortlist of recommended candidates for interview in minutes via a simple online dashboard.

“The hiring manager can see more information by clicking on any candidate, including testing results, answers to specific questions and personality traits.

“All this at a fraction of the price a recruitment agency would charge makes it a brilliant offering for large corporates or SMEs alike as the software can be bought on a one-off job basis, as a bundle of job vacancies or as an annual subscription for companies hiring more than five staff in a year.”


Melrose Labs

Following the launch of its voice and messaging services earlier this year, Melrose Labs has partnered with Phronesis Technologies.

The new partnership will see its platform, which protects businesses from fraud, develop new identity verification services that will protect businesses and improve customer engagement.

The new offerings will also enhance Melrose Labs’ existing Identity and Location, and One-Time Password (OTP) services.

Mark Hay, CEO of Melrose Labs commented: “Identity verification is essential to reducing fraudulent activity and is a key part of ensuring secure and trustworthy customer engagements in online transactions.

“Our new partnership with Phronesis Technologies will allow us to develop new services and enhance our existing offerings.

“We’ve worked with Phronesis on a number of public and private sector projects before and our services complement one another well. Together, we’re able to provide businesses with reassurance by offering a superior service.

“Identity verification is becoming increasingly important to companies across several sectors, particularly those where additional layers of verification are essential.

“In part, this comes from increased online transactions and new regulations around Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). The area of ID verification has seen significant growth over the last few years, and we believe that the services we’re developing will rise above traditional offerings.”

James Trenholme, Founder and Director of Phronesis Technologies said: “We started Phronesis to provide powerful mobile data insights.

“By combining our data solutions with Melrose Labs’ communications layer, we can build more powerful customer offerings that fit right in with traditional voice, SMS and OTP services.

“All companies, large and small, rely on trust being at the heart of the business and today’s high-tech fraud attacks erode this deep customer trust. Our solutions address that balance without adding unnecessary friction into the process.”


Brightsolid

Vicky Glynn, Brightsolid

Hybrid cloud managed services company Brightsolid has been announced as an approved G-Cloud 12 supplier by the UK Government for the fourth consecutive year.

As of 28th September, Brightsolid is providing its hybrid cloud solutions to support Government organisations in their migration to and use of the cloud.

As part of the cloud support category within the framework, Brightsolid will be able to offer clients a wide range of private and public cloud solutions.

It will also offer several packaged consulting services from its recently launched professional services practice including Controls and Compliance, Journey to the Cloud, Cloud Readiness, Cloud Strategy and Cloud Migration.

Vicky Glynn, Head of Product at Brightsolid, said: “Brightsolid’s inclusion in the G-Cloud framework for the fourth year is significant for our business.

“Over the last 12 months we have considerably enhanced our service and product offering, and so those who prefer to transact through the framework have the potential to do much more by working with Brightsolid.

“There is no denying the value of the cloud has increased exponentially because of the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to the business flex and agility it delivers. We are pleased to offer our professional services packages which will support businesses no matter their stage in the cloud adoption journey.”

Malcolm Smith, Chief Sales Officer at Brightsolid, added: “Being a part of the G-Cloud framework reinforces Brightsolid’s commitment to the public sector. Market conditions have increased the demand for cloud environments and our inclusion in the framework again this year marks an exciting chapter.

“Organisations of all shapes and sizes will be looking for solutions that provide them not only flexibility and agility but also reassurance that these environments are secure.

“With our refreshed service offering, we strive to work in partnership with all of our customers to navigate them on a path to growth.”


ZIVVER

Secure digital communication provider ZIVVER announced in September that its communication platform is now available to NHS trusts via channel partner Barrier Networks, which has been chosen as a supplier for the NHSX’s new Clinical Communication Tools Framework, specifically for the provision of ZIVVER’s solution.

NHSX – a joint unit bringing together teams from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement to drive the digital transformation of care – has led on the development of this new framework, in response to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement that NHS trusts will be required to phase out pagers by the end of 2021, and to move to more modern communication tools.

Rick Goud, founder and CIO, ZIVVER, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a contract on the NHSX Clinical Communication Tools Procurement Framework in partnership with Barrier Networks.

“Being awarded this contract with the highest possible valuation on the quality of product and service is testament to ZIVVER’s provision of easy to use digital technology, which – having already been adopted by thousands of healthcare organisations across Europe – can now bring safe communications to the NHS.

“Moreover, partnering with Barrier Networks gives us an understanding of how to deliver into the NHS, based on their strong references in healthcare.”

Iain Slater, Sales Director, Barrier Networks, said, “Partnering with ZIVVER and being awarded this contract on the NHSX Framework demonstrates our ability to offer the NHS a communications tool that is both easy to use and secure. We are committed to working with the NHS to enable their users to benefit from a technology that is not only best in breed, but also supports their clinicians with delivering care whilst meeting their strategic plans.”


SWiT and Cisco

SWiT

Scotland Women in Technology (SWiT) has become a Cisco Networking Academy, offering free courses to their network across Scotland.

The tech giant has been championing the Networking Academy for over 20 years and has trained over 8 million students.

By becoming a Net Academy, SWiT aims to help people across Scotland access free training courses and empower them to make career choices or changes.

SWiT offers additional support events in parallel with the training. These will help its students build the confidence to take theory and turn it into practice.

In total, the Net Academy Programme has been made accessible across 180 countries and offers technology courses through a variety of accredited partners.

“Partnering with Cisco to become a Cisco Academy provides us with the chance to share user-friendly online technology courses, which are free, provide certification on completion and can be accessed 24/7 by our members and the wider community,” the charity stated.

Chair of SWiT Lynsey Campbell said: “By developing this partnership with Cisco Networking Academy, we are able to offer a great range of technology training and enablement resources to a wider audience

“In Scotland, now more than ever, the country needs to respond to a growing need for retraining and upskilling. We are proud to be part of that response with a targeted approach supporting women of all ages to join us and build a community of learning.

“Together we can really make an impact on equal representation in the technology sector for Scotland.”

The full article can be found here.


Intelligent Growth Solutions and Jungle

IGS growth trays

Indoor agritech specialist Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) will provide its indoor growing platforms to French urban agriculturalists Jungle.

IGS’s vertical growth towers, where plants are grown in trays stacked on top of one another, will be used by Jungle in its operations to supply crops to French retailers.

The multi-million-pound deal will see IGS start producing the first growth towers by early 2021, scaling incrementally to a minimum of 17 towers by the end of 2021.

Jungle will utilise IGS’s platform to grow a range of herbs and salads, widen its portfolio and produce new varieties through an ongoing programme of crop trials.

In addition, it will develop a variety of botanicals to provide natural ingredients to a world-leading flavour and fragrance business.

IGS CEO David Farquhar said: “In recent months, global markets have been challenged considerably and export agreements have become more difficult to fulfil.

“The announcement of this deal is an exciting one not just for IGS, but also for the UK’s agritech sector as we showcase our international capability to support economic recovery post-coronavirus.

“The Jungle team has a strong reputation for excellence and sustainability both of its produce and approach.

“Jungle needs a reliable, productive system that can meet its ambitious growth plans in France and beyond and IGS has proven to be exactly that, following a rigorous selection process.

“This deal is proof that our unwavering commitment to innovative, practical design, based on a deep understanding of delivering optimum growing conditions, is what customers want.

“The deployment of the system for Jungle begins immediately and I am encouraged by how well our teams are collaborating as we move forward together.”

Jungle CEO Gilles Dreyfus commented: “We have established Jungle as a grower of superior produce with major French retailers and have plans to build on this reputation as we look at operations in other regions.

“This partnership agreement is a significant step forward for Jungle and our ability to deliver at scale for our customers. We are proud to be innovators in our sector and it is important that we find people and organisations who share this same vision.

“We undertook a very serious assessment of the market and IGS was a clear leader in our eyes. What we can offer our customers through the partnership with IGS puts us at a different level in terms of scale, flexibility, and potential to expand and develop our produce portfolio.

“The IGS approach, both with the technology and the team, is such that we feel completely aligned and able to work collaboratively now and into the future.”

Full article here.


Nvidia and ARM

Nvidia

Tech giant Nvidia announced the acquisition of chip manufacturer ARM in a $40 billion (£31bn) deal that it said will create “the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence” in September.

Nvidia’s says the purchase will allow it to combine its artificial intelligence (AI) computing platform with ARM’s chips to accelerate innovation while expanding into larger, high-growth markets.

Commenting on the acquisition, Nvidia founder and CEO, Jensen Huang, said: “AI is the most powerful technology force of our time and has launched a new wave of computing.

“In the years ahead, trillions of computers running AI will create a new internet-of-things that is thousands of times larger than today’s internet-of-people. Our combination will create a company fabulously positioned for the age of AI.”

Huang added: “Simon Segars and his team at ARM have built an extraordinary company that is contributing to nearly every technology market in the world.

“Uniting Nvidia’s AI computing capabilities with the vast ecosystem of Arm’s CPU, we can advance computing from the cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars and robotics, to edge IoT, and expand AI computing to every corner of the globe.

“This combination has tremendous benefits for both companies, our customers, and the industry. For Arm’s ecosystem, the combination will turbocharge Arm’s R&D capacity and expand its IP portfolio with Nvidia’s world-leading GPU and AI technology.”

The full article is available here.


CGI and City of Edinburgh Council

Edinburgh

CGI has signed a six-year extension to its contract with City of Edinburgh Council, extending the global IT and business consulting services company’s role as a primary provider of end-to-end managed IT services to the local authority until 2029.

The contract extension, valued at £102 million, tasks CGI with helping to deliver Edinburgh’s vision of becoming one of the world’s ‘smartest’ capital cities.

CGI will achieve this goal partly through supporting the creation of a Smart City Operations Centre, which will deliver transformative digital services using artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and advanced analytics to accelerate benefits to Edinburgh’s citizens.

City of Edinburgh Council’s Smart Cities lead, Cammy Day, said: “Becoming a smart Capital city will make Edinburgh a more sustainable and fair city so I’m pleased we’ve secured CGI’s long-term support to help us with our vision.

“We’re already well on our way to transforming the way we deliver many Council services, making them much more efficient and easy to use for residents.

“We want to develop this further and under the contract, we’re looking at making digital learning services a lot more accessible and inclusive for all our pupils and residents. The work we’ll do with CGI will also support our plans for lowering carbon emissions and lowering costs by using smart technology.”

Planned improvements will include bridging the digital divide in Edinburgh, providing schools with digitally advanced networks and equipment, and helping Edinburgh meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Vice President and Business Unit Leader for Scotland, Lindsay McGranaghan, commented: “Edinburgh is a vibrant and diverse capital city that is growing at twice the national Scottish average.

“This growth brings huge opportunities to develop a modern, digital infrastructure that meets the demands of 21st-century living. By using the latest digital technology, we aim to help the Council make living and working in Edinburgh more transparent, collaborative and dynamic.

“The Council’s vision will enhance its relationship with its citizens and allow them to live and work in a digitally-advanced smart city.”

Tara McGeehan, President of CGI’s operations in the UK and Australia, said: “I’m delighted that CGI is extending its strategic partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council.

“At CGI our work on Smart Cities is incredibly important to us. We draw on experience from Montréal, Helsinki, and other cities around the world in bringing Smart Cities to life, and we take a pragmatic approach to enabling technology.”

The full article is available here.


Capita and SWAN

Capita secured 17 contract renewals on the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) with a combined value of £11 million and running until to March 2023.

Renewals include organisations that deliver vital services to the Scottish public including the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland, several government bodies including Education Scotland and most of the Scottish local authorities.

The core infrastructure for SWAN includes the development and deployment of a ‘wide area network’ as well as the provision of value-added services and support services such as service helpdesks, reporting, billing and technical support.

Since its launch in 2014, over 6,000 sites have been connected to the network, including schools, hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacists and local council offices.

Eddie Cronie, managing director, Capita Networking Solutions, part of Technology Solutions division, said: “These contract renewals are secured on our ability to deliver a reliable and secure network infrastructure to support the digital transformation ambitions for the Scottish public sector.

“SWAN is a true reflection of our technological capabilities and ability to deliver on a country-wide scale.”

Jim Crawford, regional director, Scotland at Capita Technology Solutions, said: “Since the launch of the SWAN network, organisations have benefited from better network connectivity that has resulted in improved services and support for their communities.

“This has enabled them to focus on their core service delivery areas and helped them operate more efficiently.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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