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DIGIT Deal Roundup: April 2018

Brian Baglow

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DIGIT Deal Roundup April 2018

Welcome to the April edition of the DIGIT Deal Roundup. This month we cover the funding, acquisitions and new deals for companies including: Cityfibre, Commsworld, ResDiary, Hutchinson Networks, Boston Networks and Codeplay.

CityFibre

CityFibre Logo: DIGIT Deal Roundup April 2018CityFibre, the fibre-optics infrastructure company which is currently building networks across Scotland has agreed to a £538 million takeover. Antin Infrastructure Fund partnered with Goldman Sach’s-backed West Street Infrastructure Funds to make the bid which was then accepted by around 60% of shareholders.

Speaking on the takeover, CEO Greg Mesch said: “It’s a year in which we moved a step closer to realising our long-held vision of a full-fibre future across the UK.

“We continued to make significant headway within the public sector market and now we are well-positioned to benefit from a more supportive public policy environment.”


Phoenix Broadband Ltd

DIGIT Deal Roundup April 2018 Yardi LogoEarlier in April US-based Yardi announced the acquisition of co-working technology firm Phoenix Broadband, which specialises in infrastructure and hardware solutions for shared workspaces.

Based in Stirling, Phoenix Broadband is known for its Medusa business brand. Medusa is a service platform for managing technology resources in shared workspaces around the world; currently serving over 700 locations such as business centres, IT firms and co-working spaces with more than 300 of these in North America.

Tony Freeth, Principle for Medusabusiness said: “We are delighted to become part of the Yardi family, and through them, ensure Medusa is the leading network technology powering the boom of flexible workspace in the real estate industry.”

Continuing, Tony said: “We believe our clients will benefit tremendously from Yardi’s investment in the future of coworking.”


Kick ICT

Fast growing IT company, Kick ICT Group has acquired full service IT firm, Castle Computer Services, for an undisclosed sum. This acquisition has resulted in the creation of Scotland’s largest independent IT services business specialising in the SME market.

Tom O’Hara, who launched Kick, said: “The deal has created a significant, independent IT business with the potential to become a major player in the UK IT market.”

Continuing, Tom said the firm are “keen to accelerate our growth plans now that we have the scale to expand more quickly.”


ResDiary

French travel and lifestyle group, AccorHotels, completed the acquisition of Glasgow-based table reservation firm ResDiary.

ResDiary (founded in 2004) provides table management technology to companies in the travel, hospitality and leisure industries, operating in 57 countries and boasting 14 million monthly diners. The acquisition by Accor will allow the Glasgow firm to reach a larger global audiences and compete with similar services such as Bookatable and OpenTable.

Mike Conyers, ResDiary Co-founder and CEO said: “We have had a very successful relationship with AccorHotels in Asia Pacific, and all the ResDiary team is thrilled to join the Group.

“We are looking forward to expanding our service on a more global level with AccorHotels.”

 


Commsworld

Ricky Nicol CEO CommsworldTelecoms provider Commsworld has acquired ECS and rebranded it to Essential Cloud Solutions in a deal that Commsworld CEO Ricky Nicol describes as “a real game changer”.

This is a significant step forward for both businesses, opening the door for Commsworld to offer a cloud and connectivity suit of solutions including cyber security, Wi-Fi and IT.

Commsworld has recently entered a strategic partnership with CityFibre to deliver a Gigabit City project in Edinburgh, and this move will enable the firm to continue to offer unique services within Scotland; further complimenting its’ superfast network with full Microsoft solutions and accreditation.

Speaking on the deal, Ricky Nicol said: “The acquisition comes from a constant demand from clients for fully integrated solutions and means we are taking these Cloud solutions and IT skills to our client base.”

He added: “We can now take our excellent network services to the desktop and add that extra layer of security, simplicity and service for our clients.”


Boston Networks

Boston Networks PEL ServicesGlasgow-based Boston Networks, which provides fixed and wireless networks, intelligent building systems and fire & security solutions has acquired London-based PEL Services Limited in a move that will combine the specialist capabilities of both firms.

This marks Boston Networks’ first acquisition since specialist investor Aliter Capital acquired a stake in the firm in January 2018.

The combined company will employ 150 specialist staff, giving it the resources to work with major public and private sector customers. Speaking on the acquisition, Boston CEO, Scott McEwan said it “will further deepen the services offered by Boston Networks as we continue to grow and focus on applying technology to improve the performance, safety and security of people, buildings and assets.”

Scott believes tapping into PEL’s experience working in a number of industries and sectors will enable Boston to grow further. He said: “We look forward to leveraging PEL’s many years of experience of working in the sound, fire, security and audio-visual markets which will help us to drive towards the next phase of our growth.”


2i Testing

Dave Kelly, 2i TestingOne of the UK’s leading independent testing consultancies, 2i Testing, has been awarded a two year contract as one of the suppliers leading the delivery of the new Social Security Programme and Agency.

2i will work to put in place a modern, digital service which places a strong focus on the people using Scotland’s welfare services. The consultancy firm will work in partnership with the Scottish Government to develop the architecture, capabilities and platforms that will underpin the whole system.

Speaking on the contract award, Managing Director Dave Kelly said: “2i are absolutely delighted to be chosen to help the Scottish Government deliver a modern Social Security system in line with their key values of dignity, fairness and respect for citizens.

“We are totally committed to providing the best possible technology platform that supports the evolving Scottish Social Security Agency and helps them deliver against all of their goals.”


PODFather

DIGIT Deal Roundup April 2018: Podfather Tarmac

Edinburgh-based PODFather has secured a contract with Tarmac – one of the UK’s leading building materials and construction solutions businesses – to deploy a logistics planning and live customer delivery tracking solution across its 1,800-strong vehicle fleet, as well as that of its extensive subcontractor network.

The PODFather system will be deployed on both Android and Apple devices, making it easier for Tarmac’s subcontractor network to deploy it on mobile devices. This will enhance the traceability of deliveries, boosting productivity and efficiency in the process.

Colin McCreadie, Managing Director of PODFather says he is delighted to add another prominent and distinguished UK construction materials giant to the company’s growing list clients, he said: “We have been working closely with Tarmac for four years and have collaboratively developed a logistics planning system which is used to plan the distribution of customer orders. This system connects to drivers through our smartphone app to communicate details of their current and next jobs.


Hutchinson Networks

Hutchinson networks InvestmentHutchinson Networks, the Edinburgh-based multi-vendor IT and network specialist has secured £2.2 million of growth capital investment from funds advised by private equity fund manager YFM Equity Partners (YFM).

The investment will enable the company to fund additional marketing and operational resources to accelerate international growth. In addition Hutchinson will also recruit an additional 50 technology staff over the next two years, in addition to the 89 staff employed across the UK and worldwide.

Stephen Heslop, Hutchinson Networks’ Chief Operating Officer said: “The general move to cloud-based services across all industries continues to drive exceptional growth opportunities for us.  We are very pleased to have YFM as investors; we liked the straightforward approach and their experience of supporting growing businesses. We will now focus on delivering our transformative technologies and expertise to clients in the UK and globally.”

Nigel Owens, Investment Director at YFM responsible for the Scottish market said:
“Hutchinson Networks has an outstanding reputation with its clients and its technology partners.  The company has grown strongly due to the drive and energy of the management team. The plans for the business to scale both sales and employment whilst expanding their geographic footprint in a growing market fits perfectly into the portfolio of businesses in which we are investing.”


SeedHaus

Seed Haus Cohort TwoThree of Scotland’s most ambitious new technology start-ups have been chosen to participate in the second cohort of the Seed Haus incubator, receiving pre-seed investment, infrastructure, office space, guidance and mentoring from some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs.

Casta Spes Technologies, the creators of a robotic all-terrain vehicle, PingGo, a media engagement platform and Jukebox Labs, the world’s first trivia-as-a-service company, were selected after a strict recruitment process, which to date, has received over 230 applications to participate.

Calum Forsyth, said: “We’re delighted to welcome these outstanding founders to the Seed Haus community. The next few months will involve a tremendous amount of work as we double down on building out products and refining user acquisition strategies but we are all very much looking forward to it.”

Sarah Lee, founder of PingGo told DIGIT: “This is where PingGo will thrive and flourish. I’m coming to SeedHaus with a live product and an international customer base. Now it’s time to bring everything together and fast forward.

“I feel very lucky to be here and excited about the future.”

Brian Baglow, the co-founder and CEO of Jukebox Labs, said: “Jukebox Labs has already started to see the benefits of being involved with the incubator, from expert business support, to feedback and advice from founders and investors who have already created successful companies. We still can’t quite believe we made it into this cohort and we plan to take full advantage of every benefit and do our very best to make Jukebox Labs another Scottish success story.”


TVSquared

tvsquaredTVSquared, the TV analytics and optimization has raised $8 million in funding to accelerate its market expansion. The latest round was led by private equity partnership, West Coast Capital, and supported by existing investors, including the Scottish Investment Bank.

This new investment brings the total equity funding raised by the company to over $21 million.

Chris van der Kuyl, the Chairman of TVSquared, told DIGIT: “On behalf of the Board, we are delighted at the close of this latest round of funding, which will fuel TVSquared’s global growth. The support of our current shareholders means that the team can focus on delivering fantastic products to an ever-growing audience.”

Paul Davidson, Partner, West Coast Capital, said: “In the two years we have invested in TVSquared, it has established itself as the premier provider of TV advertising analytics for brands, agencies and networks.

“Its technology, vision and team are world class, and we look forward to seeing it continue to innovate the way TV can be used as a marketing channel. TVSquared has been a great addition to our strong portfolio of technology businesses.”

 


Novosound

DIGIT Deal Roundup: NovosoundThe first spin-out company set to emerge from the University of the West of Scotland has closed its seed investment round, raising £1.5 million.

Novosound, the winner of the 2017 Converge Challenge, has developed and patented a ground-breaking technique to mass-manufacture printable ultrasound sensors. The revolutionary method overcomes the limitations of existing technology, improving a manufacturing process, which hasn’t majorly changed in more than 40 years.

Par Equity, the Edinburgh-based venture capital firm which has a strong track record in investing in early stage companies, is the lead investor with Kelvin Capital co-investing alongside. The investment will drive Novosound’s growth plan, allow it to expand its already-experienced team, and bring its cutting-edge ultrasound sensors to market. Further investment was secured from Gabriel, the Scottish Investment Bank, the EOS Technology Investment Syndicate and Investing Women.

Dr. Dave Hughes, Novosound’s Chief Technical Officer, said: “The manufacturing of ultrasound sensors has not changed in more than four decades, limiting their effectiveness in certain industrial settings. Our revolutionary sensors have the potential to disrupt the    $2.6 billion non-destructive testing market by enabling continuous, safe monitoring of petrochemical infrastructure, unlocking a huge commercial opportunity for Novosound.”

Marcus Henderson, Investment Manager at Par Equity, said: “At Par Equity, we invest in high-growth innovative technology ventures that have the potential to deliver significant returns to our investors.  Novosound is a great example of this type of venture as Dave Hughes, Richard Cooper and the entire team at Novosound have developed a truly revolutionary ultrasound technology with wide ranging applications and benefits in multiple industries.  We believe that this provides the company with a huge range of opportunities and the potential to grow into a significant business over the next three to five years.  We were delighted to lead this round of investment and we’re now excited about the prospect of helping the company move through the next phases of growth and development in order to achieve their full potential.”


Waracle

DIGIT Deal Roundup April 2018: Waracle Mozenix InvestmentDundee development company Waracle, which is part of the Exception Group, has taken a minority stake in augmented reality (AR) start-up Mozenix.

Waracle plans to use the technology developed by Mozenix to offer clients a wider suite of products.

The investment in Mozenix and AR is part of Waracle’s ongoing strategy to keep close to all emerging technologies, grow employee skill sets and as a result be in a position to rapidly offer innovative digital solutions for customers.

AR technology is already being deployed across a number of industry sectors including retail, construction and oil and gas. AR overlays digital information and 3D models on top of the real-world environment via smartphone, tablet or HUD (heads up display).

CEO and founder of Mozenix, Michael Romilly, said: “The investment and support we’ll get from Waracle and Exception is going to be invaluable as we grow our company and AR offering. Many Scottish startups struggle to grow with demand. We’ve already begun working with the Waracle and Exception teams and their experience is helping us drive results.”

Chris Martin, CEO of Waracle told DIGIT: “The whole company is excited to be working with Mozenix to help deliver mobile AR apps. We’re already seeing significant demand for mobile AR applications from existing customers across multiple industry sectors.”


Scottish Water

Scottish Water has announced a groundbreaking deal with Atos to ensure that technology plays an integral role in the future of Scotland’s water supply and waste management processing.

In a five-year partnership, Atos will collaborate with Capgemini to provide technology-based solutions to help Scottish Water manage its country-wide activities.

Currently, Scottish Water provides water and waste water services to 2.5 million households and over 150,000 businesses; managing extensive networks of reservoirs, water sources and more than 60,000 miles of underground pipes across the country.

This deal, it is hoped, will provide innovative IT-solutions to streamline operations and improve service efficiency during a period of immense investment.From 20152021 over £3.5 billion will be invested in maintenance and improvements to drinking water, protecting the environment and supporting the Scottish economy.

Rob Mustard, Scottish Water’s Director of Digital said: “Our new approach will improve not only how we use technology to produce and deliver water but also enhance our customer insight to ensure what we do is as effective as possible and that communities continue to get the best possible service, of which they can be truly proud.”

“We want our networks and systems to be as reliable, resilient and as secure in a world where digital technology has become the cornerstone of everyday life for billions of people.”

Gavin Thomson, Senior Vice President of ATOS, said: “Atos is proud to have entered into this agreement with Scottish Water, which will help truly transform one of Scotland’s leading organisations and enable it to reap the benefits of digitisation while meeting the future needs of the public.”


Purple Vantage

Michal Young, CEO, MBN SolutionsMBN Solutions and Purple Management Consulting have announced a new Joint Venture named Purple Vantage.

Building on the sector credentials and capabilities of MBN Solutions and the management consulting capabilities of Purple Management, Purple Vantage has been formed to address the market opportunities and growth in the application of Data, Insight & Analytics and Blockchain use cases.

The new venture has acquired the intellectual property and methodologies of Consilium Analytics for the provision of advanced analytics advisory services.

With the overwhelming rise in analytics projects and businesses exploring new and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Data and Blockchain, many businesses simply lack the basic experience to buy in the required help to secure the promised benefits.

Michael Young, chief executive of MBN Solutions said: “We frequently find our position as a leading, trusted resourcing advisor, means that our clients discuss their needs for strategy and related advisory services in the areas of big data, analytics and data science with us.

“Alarmingly, our clients frequently discussed poor results from contractor staffed projects or outsourced activities in the data domain.”

Alistair Sergeant, Chief Executive of Purple Consulting, said: “We found that we would often be called upon to help clients deal with previous project failures and runaway projects in and around their activities to embrace emerging technologies.

“It was clear to us and our consultants that the underlying issue was the lack of senior competency in respect of articulating strategy for such activities and acting as the ‘intelligent client” to procure the right team to get the job done.”


Codeplay

Codeplay InvestmentThe Foresight Group has announced that Edinburgh-based Codeplay will receive a £1.05 million investment from the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund.

The investment represents 50% of a £2.1 million co-investment commitment from Foresight funds, the balance of which is expected to complete from Foresight VCTs in the next few days.

The company will be using the investment to fund the creation of safety-certified Artificial Intelligence (AI) development for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and self-driving cars.

ADAS systems provide surround monitoring around the car features such as adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance, self-parking and driver monitoring.

Chris Wardle, the Investment Manager of Foresight, said: “We are very excited to partner with Codeplay, an established leader in heterogenous processor systems and support their expansion into safety-certified Artificial Intelligence products for the automotive industry as well as other verticals.”

Andrew Richards, the Founder and CEO of Codeplay, added: “We are delighted to receive investment through the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund. We have been working hard on the technologies and partnerships to enable AI everywhere, from intelligent smartphones to making cars safer.

“This is a great new partnership that will provide us with both funding and specialist expertise. Williams Advanced Engineering is renowned for the provision of world-class technology innovation and Foresight has the proven track record to help grow Codeplay into a world leading company.”


Edesix

DIGIT Deal Roundup Aporil 2018: Edesix CameraEdesix Ltd. the Edinburgh-based manufacturer of Body Worn Camera solutions has secured up to £2 million of debt funding through ProVen Legacy, the debt vehicle created by Beringea, the London-based growth capital investor

Edesix will use the funding to support the expansion of its sales operations, support recruitment and operational expansion as it targets growth in the US market.

The company opened a new office in New Jersey in April 2018, with a member of the UK sales team relocating to join current and new staff members. Edesix also expects to launch new products which will enhance the current offering to the Video Management Systems (VMS) market.

Richard McBride, CEO of Edesix, said: “We’d been in conversations with Beringea for a couple of years before confirming this funding, and found them to be the perfect partner to help us at this vital stage in our journey as we look to grow our presence and sales in the US market.”

Mark Taylor, head of growth finance at Beringea, said: “ProVen Legacy was created to help investors reduce the impact of inheritance tax – a growing problem for many, as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age – but also to enable Beringea to support businesses at later stages in their growth journey once they have become mature enough to introduce an element of debt rather than existing investors having to give away equity.

“Edesix has built an impressive business in the UK over a number of years, and we are pleased to be supporting its growth into the US market – a major milestone for any UK business – through ProVen Legacy.”

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Brian Baglow

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