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DIGIT Movers and Shakers | November 2020

Ross Kelly

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Recruitment News

The November edition of DIGIT’s Movers and Shakers column includes recruitment and awards news from companies including Edge Testing, AutoRek, Cumulus Oncology and Chromacity.

Recruitment News

Edge Testing

Edge Testing Solutions, part of Eurofins Digital Testing, has appointed Neil Cameron as Head of Technical Services; a new role created as part of the company’s nationwide expansion.

In his new position, Cameron will be based in Edge Testing’s Birmingham office, reporting directly to Technical Testing Director, Dan Martland.

Edge Testing said the new position will be pivotal in building its technical testing team and expanding the Digital Test Hub (DTH) portfolio with additional service offerings.

Cameron previously worked for IBM in Australia, New York and Hong Kong, building and running testing centres globally, and managing teams of up to 1,700 testers.

He had worked with Edge Testing’s former CEO and co-founder Brian Ferrie previously. After returning to the UK from a decade working in Australia, Cameron said he impressed by the success and continued growth of Edge Testing.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “Having worked with most of the senior team at Edge Testing before, I already knew and valued the company’s ethos of teamwork and exceptional client service. Edge Testing has grown exponentially over the last few years, with Birmingham and Manchester offices providing regional hubs for clients across England.

“My focus will be building our team further and using our DTH’s reputation to provide higher-value services. My aim is to take our progress so far to the next level.

“In my new role, I will lead the DTH to take all testing off clients’ hands and giving them peace of mind to focus on other parts of their business.”

Cameron’s role will also include identifying opportunities to work with other Eurofins’ companies, such as security testing experts, Commissum.

Edge Testing MD, Sharon Hamilton, commented: “Our UK expansion strategy has resulted in a number of strong senior appointments, with Neil being the latest addition to the team.

“He will be key in assisting Edge Testing to identify any changes we can make in 2021 and beyond to transform our business, ensuring we continue delivering the high level of service and teamwork that we are known for.”


Chromacity

Chromacity announced new appointments to its commercial team as the company adapts to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Bertrand Frossard joined as Chromacity’s International Business Development Manager in November, bringing more than 20 years’ commercial experience in disruptive technologies and gaining market share for multi-national organisations.

The company also welcomed former laser systems engineer, Lawrence Titley, as its new Sales Associate.

Having recently secured funding from Kelvin Capital, EOS and the Scottish Investment Bank, Chromacity is well-positioned for its next phase of expansion into international and industrial markets.

Shahida Imani, CEO at Chromacity, said: “It was great to receive strong support from our existing investors during these turbulent times – not to weather the storm, but to expand our commercial operations. We’re now fully focused on accelerating our business over the next few months, to build upon our success to date and maintain our competitive edge.”

Despite the challenges placed on laser manufacturers by Covid-19, Chromacity has continued to acquire new customers in Asia, Europe and North America by introducing a remote installation model for its optical parametric oscillators (OPOs).

Imani added: “It’s been a challenging year for most companies, but we have successfully managed to adapt to it. Our new remote installation capability has enabled us to continue to offer tunable picosecond OPOs, without the need for an engineer to travel with the system and face quarantine restrictions.

“Installing complex laser systems has typically required an on-site presence from the laser manufacturer, but since Covid-19, we have accelerated the rollout of our remote installation capability and this has proven very successful.”


Cumulus Oncology

Drug discovery accelerator Cumulus Oncology has unveiled the appointment of four senior figures to its advisory board as the company embarks on a new stage of growth.

Mohamed ‘Raz’ Dewji, Chris Brinsmead CBE, Ian Waddell and Nicola Broughton will join Cumulus and advise on further asset class acquisition and investment.

The four will take executive, strategic or advisory roles in the spin-out companies created as part of the Cumulus business model.

Founded in 2017 by Dr Clare Wareing, Cumulus Oncology creates and manages spin-out companies which specialise in the development of anti-cancer treatments.

The new appointments come amid an exciting period for the Edinburgh-headquartered firm. In July this year, the organisation secured £1.7 million following an investment round led by St Andrews-based Eos Advisory.

Additionally, in September Cumulus became a key founder of Modulus Oncology, a biotech startup spun out of the University of Sheffield.

Commenting on the announcement, Wareing said: “We are continuing to scale the business and are excited to have attracted the support of so many highly regarded figures in big pharma and biotech.”

Raz Dewji brings over 30 years of experience in the sector, having contributed to six oncology drug approvals and launches in senior roles with Pfizer, GSK, Novartis and AstraZeneca.

Nicola Broughton, co-founder and managing partner at Oskare Capital and a former Principal at Mercia Asset Management PLC, is an experienced life science investor, executive and non-executive director with strong expertise in identifying and nurturing university spin-outs.

Alan Wise, Chairman and Co-Founder at Cumulus, commented: “The skillset the advisors bring will help focus the company’s growth and aspirations in the oncology drug discovery sectors in universities, biotech companies and drug discovery organisations.

“Their proven expertise will enhance our ability to shortlist oncology assets for future spin-out opportunities and create value-adding deal structures around these opportunities.”

Chris Brinsmead CBE is a council member at Imperial College and former adviser to the UK government on life sciences. Previously, Brinsmead held leadership roles at ICI and AstraZeneca.

Ian Waddell is a former Director of Discovery Medicine at AstraZeneca, Head of Biology at Cancer Research UK and in 2017 joined Charles River Laboratories where he is now Chief Science Officer for Early Discovery.

Wareing added: “In Raz, Chris, Ian and Nicola, we have some of the UK’s leading figures in oncology drug development and commercialisation. Getting them on board furthers the global aspirations we have for Cumulus.”


Consenna

Consenna has created a new Director-level role with responsibility for leading its expanding product solution portfolio.

Simon Yates will join the consultancy firm in early January 2021, having amassed over 15 years within the IT sector at both resellers and global vendors.

In his most recent role, he led the Windows Commercial Category at Microsoft. Yates will be based in the South of England with travel to customer locations and Consenna’s Scottish HQ when required and once travel becomes easier.

Assuming the pivotal role of “Product Management Director”, Simon will be responsible for the development and delivery of Consenna’s growing product solution portfolio.

Commenting on his appointment, Yates said: “Through my roles at HP and Microsoft, Consenna was a business that I already knew made a difference to customers and I’ve observed it expand and flourish of late.

“I’ve seen first-hand how much dedication, passion and experience have gone in to growing the business whilst building a team with an unrivalled diversity of skills.  That means Consenna is able to deliver genuine, tangible impact to its customers and that really excites me for the years ahead.”

Trevor Evans, MD at Consenna, continues: “We’ve enjoyed significant growth this year and with planning for 2021 well underway, it’s vital we continue to recruit the very best, most credible talent the industry offers.

“Simon’s appointment marks another milestone for Consenna and further underpins our commitment to being a results orientated, customer-led business. Being ahead of customer needs, both existing and future, ensures we’re not only solving today’s challenges, but also those they’re yet to confront.

“That is why Consenna exists.  Simon’s experience will be invaluable in further elevating our customer proposition to ensure this mission is realised. I’m delighted to bring him on board.”


UnikLasers

UnikLasers has embarked on a recruitment drive and expanded into custom-designed premises as it accelerates its manufacturing capacity.

According to UniKLasers, the next few years will see growing commercialisation of quantum technology research, greatly improving the instrumentation that underpins industries such as financial services, defence and security measures and medical diagnostics.

Other Quantum Technologies fields, such as magnetic and gravity sensors – where geological and seismic data can be assessed – will also be important areas that require the development of high precision laser sources.

With several tranches of funding secured through Par Equity, the Scottish Investment Bank and Innovate UK, with additional support coming from Scottish Enterprise, RBS and the Scottish Government, UniKLasers has begun to increase its staffing levels, growing by 50% since the start of the year.

This brings the current staff count to 17 members, with more positions to be filled by the end of the year – fulfilling sales, marketing and laser/process engineering roles.

Alan Faichney, CEO, UniKLasers commented: “Undertaking staff recruitment and relocation to the extent we have, merely reflects the exhilarating opportunities that Quantum Technology will bring us in the coming years. The development of our miniaturised laser products is an essential component for a myriad of Quantum Technology applications.

“We’ve future-proofed the business to anticipate the significant shift to wide-scale Quantum Technology adoption and see us having a role in helping to define and shape the future of the technology.”


Eos Advisory

St Andrews-based investment firm, Eos Advisory, has appointed Mark Beaumont to its leadership team to help deliver its strategic growth plans over the coming years.

The strengthening of the Eos senior executive team marks the first in a series of forthcoming announcements which support the firm’s strategy going forward.

Beaumont’s remit will include helping to secure new co-investors, based both in the UK and internationally, to add to the investment leverage which Eos has been able to bring to its portfolio to date. Eos also remains a Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) co-investment partner, having completed a number of investment rounds alongside SIB this year.

Andrew McNeill, Managing Partner, Eos Advisory, said: “Eos has a strong track record with our syndicate investments, which will continue to be an important pillar for our work.

“As we scale our investments through the EIS Innovation Fund and our new co-investment vehicles, we will greatly benefit from the network and experience that Mark brings.]

“On the back of his investment as an Equity Partner in Eos in 2019, we are delighted that he has accepted our offer to now take this executive leadership role.”

Mark Beaumont, partner at Eos Advisory, commented: “Eos has established itself as one the most exciting early-stage investors in Scotland. The areas that Eos targets are hugely important, addressing key global issues, so I am motivated not just by finding and growing businesses, but also around the impact they will have and how Scotland continues to play an important role through innovative science and technology.

“I am much better known for building record-breaking teams and creating world firsts in the adventure world, but the processes and entrepreneurial skills are remarkably similar.

“I have spent my entire career building belief and process around projects that many people think are impossible, and that is what is often needed to create businesses that disrupt and often create new markets.”

Mark Beaumont, an Economics and Politics graduate from the University of Glasgow, is best known for his world record-breaking cycles around the globe, his broadcasting and as an author.

He is Patron for the Saltire Foundation, a part of Entrepreneurial Scotland as well as the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Dundee University, where he was formerly the Rector, as well as a corporate ambassador for private equity house LDC. In 2017, Mark was also awarded the British Empire Medal for his contributions to sport and charity.


AutoRek

November saw AutoRek appoint Kenny Bain as Chief Financial Officer.

Bain joins the senior management team at AutoRek and will play a key role in the next stage of the company’s evolution and scaling of the business’s operations.

The Edinburgh-based tech firm said Bain, who formerly served as Chief Executive Officer at Rant and Rave, brings ‘strong financial leadership and operational management experience’ and commands a proven track record of delivering ‘substantial growth’ in the software and technology sector.

During his 14 years at Graham Technology, Bain held a variety of roles including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and EMEA Managing Director.

Bain has also worked with a number of financial services organisations on improving customer experience strategies and brings a broad understanding of the increasing data management challenges that financial institutions face today.

AutoRek CEO Gordon McHarg commented: “We are delighted to have Kenny onboard bringing his breadth and depth of experience in the software technology sector to AutoRek.

“His extensive executive leadership and financial and operational management experience will make a strong impact to the company as we continue to build on the success of AutoRek both within the UK Financial Services sector and internationally.”

Bain added: “I am delighted to join AutoRek at this exciting time and look forward to working with Gordon and the team to deliver further growth.

“The business has a fantastic culture, a highly engaged team, a market-leading product and is passionate about customer success – all positioning AutoRek perfectly to capture the significant opportunities that lie ahead.”


South of Scotland Enterprise

South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) has announced Jane Morrison-Ross will join the organisation as its new permanent Chief Executive.

Morrison-Ross, who currently serves as CEO of ScotlandIS, will take on the leadership role in February 2021 to drive SOSE’s mission to champion business in the south of Scotland.

Through her role at ScotlandIS, Morrison-Ross has supported the tech sector in Scotland in all its specialisms from Space and Climate tech, AI, robotics, Agri-tech and healthtech.

Prior to her role at ScotlandIS, she was CEO of Taigh Chearsabhagh in North Uist, focusing on a five-year strategy for local economic regeneration, including jobs, housing and wellbeing in rural communities – creating collaborative partnerships, advising on the Island’s Bill and Island’s Deal and launching a capital build programme.

Morrison-Ross is a highly experienced consulting industry executive, a former strategy and transformation specialist with 25 years’ experience working across the public and private sector. Jane spent 17 years working with Capgemini UK Plc in several senior roles. She has a strong track record of working in and with companies from SME to global enterprises, holding senior roles in industry, third sector and public sector organisations.

The appointment has been made after a thorough 10-week recruitment process which was launched on 7 September 2020. SOSE is currently led by Interim CEO Nick Halfhide, from NatureScot (previously Scottish Natural Heritage) who was appointed on 3 February until this permanent appointment was made.

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of SOSE said: “I am really delighted that we have found such an outstanding CEO in Jane to lead our team at SOSE into the future.

“We have embarked on such an incredible journey for the South of Scotland so I am sure that with Jane’s experience and enthusiasm we will continue to drive forward our vision and passion for our region.

“Jane adds to the incredible team that we have been steadily building and we have almost 70 members of staff now. We also have an exceptional Board who have a broad range of knowledge and experience and have already showed since we started, their passion and commitment both to SOSE and the South of Scotland.

“I would like to thank Nick Halfhide for the great work he has done as Interim CEO of SOSE to get us off the ground. His leadership and commitment to the role in these challenging times will allow us to continue to build upon the momentum that we have all created into the future.

“Together we are here to do great things with our people of the south to deliver lasting change in the South of Scotland.”

Jane Morrison-Ross, said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Russel and to take up the reins from Nick. He and the team at SOSE have done an incredible job so far in hugely challenging circumstances.

“The SOSE region covers an area of Scotland rich in heritage but also with huge future potential. We will continue to be innovative, entrepreneurial, and focused on delivering for the individuals, communities, businesses and economy of the South of Scotland.”


Network ROI

Richard Smith was appointed as Service Delivery Manager for Network ROI in November. Previously, Smith worked at Network ROI as the Client Services Manager.

Smith brings 35 years’ experience from a career in information technology, having worked in many large corporates including Royal London, Unisys, Scottish Provident, Edinburgh Airport, Murray Group, Lloyds, RBS, Clydesdale Bank and Virgin Money.

Commenting on the appointment, Smith said: “I join Network ROI at an exciting time, with the chance to help develop and shape the companies service delivery management. As an employee owned business, I have the opportunity to positively influence the company’s future direction, be part of the decision making and mentor colleagues in the service desk team.”

CEO Keith Bevan said: “Our clients are the heart of our business, so this role represents one of our most important core activities, where the ITIL framework helps shape our data-driven decision-making business model and gives our customers the peace of mind that we are committed to delivering exceptional service standards.

“Richard brings not only a deep understanding of best practice but a key understanding of how this can be applied to our diverse UK client base.”


OnePatch

Scottish e-commerce firm OnePatch has strengthened its senior team with the recruitment of a highly experienced merchandising professional as its new Sales Director.

Paul O’Brien, who has an extensive track record in sectors such as utilities, tele-marketing and automotive retail, has joined the Glasgow startup as it looks to expand into new international markets.

O’Brien, who will relocate to Glasgow, left a high-level position to join OnePatch.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I have looked very closely at the potential for OnePatch as it positions itself in multiple marketplaces and I very much want to be part of what I believe is a shrewd, forward-looking and uniquely innovative company.

“I have worked previously with the company’s co-owner, Brendan Dunne, and I know that, when he sets himself an objective, he delivers without fail. I hope to use my long experience in sales to boost the team to the levels it requires to take it to the next stage.”

Brendan Dunne, Chief Financial Officer at OnePatch, said: “The entire team is delighted to be able to benefit from the experience and expertise of Paul O’Brien, with whom I first worked at Scottish Power 18 years ago.

“He is a consummate professional with a keen eye for market nuance and fast-moving change, and he will be a huge asset as we accelerate the growth trajectory on which we have embarked.”

Dublin-born Dunne, who founded the company with his brother Richard, the CEO, has tasked O’Brien with an immediate recruitment drive to expand the sales force from two to 10. There will be a parallel increase in the OnePatch Indian operation, which covers the sub-continent and Indonesia.

O’Brien will also be involved in the evolution of a new, recently launched OnePatch app, which will effectively create a synopsis of the core website, allowing mobile access to users’ dashboards and integrations.


Awards News

NeateBox

Edinburgh-based startup Neatebox was announced as the Scottish winner of the Super Connect for Good competition this month.

Neatebox was awarded the accolade for its WelcoMe app, which aims to improve communication between customer-facing staff and people with disabilities.

The awards recognise the best-emerging start-ups that “aim to bring positive social change and enhance people’s lives” using technology. Run by Hays Scotland and Empact Ventures, Neatebox is one of eight regional competition winners across the UK and Ireland.

Commenting on the award, Neatebox founder Gavin Neate said: “The entire team at Neatebox has worked tirelessly to bring into existence WelcoMe, a product which will truly revolutionise the way in which society interacts with its disabled members.

“To be recognised at any time is fantastic but to represent your country in the Super Connect for Good competition with a product that will fundamentally help millions during a time of incredible disruption is a massive source of pride for us all.”

Launched in 2018, the app now has over 70 participating venues across the UK and Ireland including Royal Bank of Scotland, The Scottish Government, NatWest, Deloitte and more. Neatebox were also an ‘industry winner’ for the category ‘HealthTech – General’ in the UK national competition.

Justin Black, director at Hays Scotland and one of the judges for the competition, commented: “We had a really fantastic cross-section of applicants across Scotland. It was great to see so many innovative ideas and how Scottish start-ups are focussing on solving big issues in society and the environment by leveraging technology.

“It was a hard-fought battle for first place and, to be honest, all the applicants have strong businesses that are making a difference right now. Congratulations to Neatebox.”


Intelligent Growth Solutions

Scottish-based agritech and smart spaces business, Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), has been named amongst the winners of Red Herring’s Top 100 North America 2020 event, which recognises some of the world’s most exciting and innovative technology companies.

IGS is an agritech innovator delivering state-of-the-art vertical farming technology designed to help producers improve the productivity of their crops – including yield, quality and consistency.

The company was shortlisted from thousands of entries before being invited to present at Red Herring’s virtual conference on November 17th and 18th where they were selected to join the final 100 winners. Previous winners of the awards include household names such as Alibaba, Kakao, Skype, Spotify, Twitter and YouTube.

David Farquhar, CEO of IGS, commented: “We are delighted to see IGS included in the Red Herring’s Top 100 North America 2020 list. It’s an incredible accolade for a relatively small company based in Scotland to have been recognised alongside major global players in the world of technology and innovation. This achievement is truly a testament to the ingenuity and forward-thinking approach of our team.”

Industry experts, insiders and journalists examined the entrants against a wide variety of criteria, including financial performance, innovation, business strategy, and market penetration. Winners were also selected from a broad range of industry verticals, from fintech and artificial intelligence to security, IoT, and many more industries.

Red Herring chairman Alex Vieux commented: “2020’s crop of Top 100 winners has been among our most intriguing yet. What has excited me most is to see so many people forging niches in high-tech and cutting-edge sectors. Some of the technical wizardry and first-rate business models showcased at the conference has been fantastic to learn about.

“We believe IGS embodies the drive, skill and passion on which tech thrives. IGS should be proud of its achievement – the competition was incredibly strong.”


Scottish Business Resilience Centre

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has announced it is now accepting entries for the first Cyber Community Awards.

The awards will recognise and celebrate the work being done by businesses, academics, and individuals to keep Scotland’s online community safe, spotlighting those making an impact in their local area.

Held on Thursday 25th February 2021 during CyberScotland Week, the online awards ceremony will be hosted by Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay.

Entries are being accepted in the following categories:

  • Cyber Community Hero
  • Student Community Champion
  • Outstanding Cyber Community Event

SBRC revealed that, in keeping with the theme of celebrating community, the public will help to choose the winners alongside a judging panel.

The shortlist for each category is set to be announced on 15th February 2021.

Commenting on the awards’ launch, SBRC Chief Executive Jude McCorry said: “We have all adapted in 2020 to follow a digital-first approach, with people working remotely and choosing to do business online.

“Unfortunately, this led to a corresponding uptick in cyber-attacks, but thankfully Scotland is home to a remarkable cyber defence community.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.


iOpt

Scottish internet of things innovator iOpt has won a global industry award for their groundbreaking solution to monitor environmental conditions in social housing.

The Glasgow-based company beat rivals from the USA, Australia and France, including industry giant Thales Group, in the Smart Cities, Government and Utilities category at the IoT Global Awards 2020.

Managing Director Dane Ralston said: “We are proud to have been recognised as a world-leader in the IoT sector, especially in the Smart Cities category. It’s an incredible achievement for the team and really puts us on the map as a Scottish company providing a sustainable solution that can improve lives all over the world.”

With the support of the Scottish Government, technology developed by iOpt is being rolled out across the UK to help numerous housing providers tackle a variety of problems such as damp, poor ventilation and fuel poverty. It is of direct relevance to supporting city and rural economies.

Ralston is hopeful that their success will show the immense benefit of the technology if rolled out at scale.

He said: “By spotting problems early, we are able to proactively rectify issues and begin improving the quality of people’s living conditions immediately. That means that tenants are living in healthier high-quality homes, are likely to lead healthier lives and are less likely to end up living in fuel poverty.

“We know from studies that improving wellbeing in this way often means an uptick in productivity and a real boost for the overall economy.

“Against the backdrop of Covid-19, we’re confident that this is a scalable solution that will improve people’s lives no matter whether they are living in an urban or rural environment.”


Legasea

Aberdeenshire start-up, Legasea, has won the award for Subsea Company of the Year 2020 as part of the CorporateLiveWire Global Awards

The Corporate LiveWire Global Awards recognises excellence from all sectors and offers the opportunity for leading professionals and companies; who have stood out for being results-driven, innovative, and service focused; to showcase their expertise, and highlight developments in their industry.

During the awards process, CorporateLiveWire invited over 90,000 businesses and corporate professionals, magazine contributors and subscribers to nominate companies & individuals based on factors such as service, innovation, experience, sustainability and other areas.

Lewis Sim, Legasea Managing Director, said “We are thrilled to accept this award! Receiving a globally recognised award such as this is fantastic for a startup company like ourselves. It truly shows that the hard work and dedication, of every member of our team, pays off.”

The Global awards recognise excellence for innovation, ethical practice, and service quality. Legasea shows themselves as front runners in all these categories and as such make this their third award win this year.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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