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DIGIT Deal Roundup: April 2020

David Paul

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deal roundup

In April’s edition of the DIGIT Deal Roundup column, we cover new funding and partnership announcements from Beeks, Logan Energy, Legasea and PlayerData.

 

Investment and Deals

Logan Energy

Clean energy solutions provider, Logan Energy, has been selected to supply and maintain three hydrogen tube trailers for a six-figure green hydrogen project in Northern Ireland.

The tube trailers – trucks that carry compressed hydrogen – will be used for the transportation of green hydrogen produced from an electrolyser located at a wind farm in County Antrim, owned and operated by Energia Group.

The hydrogen will be transported to Belfast’s main public transport depot, where it will power a fleet of Translink double-decker fuel-cell buses, using a refuelling station to be supplied and maintained by Logan Energy.

The firm was selected by Irish gas and electricity supplier, Energia, which is a Lead Partner organisation in the €9 million EU-funded ‘GenCOMM’ project.

GenCOMM aims to address sustainability challenges of communities in Northwest Europe through the implementation of smart hydrogen-based energy and commercial models.

Funded by the Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) Programme, the aim is to foster transnational cooperation to make the area a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion.

Logan Energy was selected for the five-year contract by Energia after proposing the most innovative and cost-effective tube trailer solution with its trailer suppliers, Calvera.

The company also plans to expand its experienced network of maintenance staff in order to provide ongoing maintenance and assistance throughout the project.

Bill Ireland, CEO of Logan Energy, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Energia as a key technology provider for this integrated project; one that will technically and financially validate the renewable hydrogen value chain.

“As well as offering the best technical and economic solution, we believe we were selected to be the supplier of choice due to our strong track record in supplying and maintaining hydrogen technology for other key hydrogen projects across Europe and the UK, such as the Levenmouth Community Energy Project, SEAFUEL and in Orkney for EMEC.”

He continued: “This contract is significant for us because it shows that our extensive technical track record of hydrogen systems, and proven ability to deliver, is valued by key players such as Energia, but it also demonstrates a viable renewable hydrogen supply and demand scenario that we can replicate in towns and cities throughout the UK, Europe and further afield.”


Candidate.ID

Glasgow based software company Candidate.ID has announced a further investment of £630,000 from VC Firm Blackfinch Ventures, taking the company’s total external investment to £1.6 million in 15 months.

In securing the investment, the company says that it will be able to focus on doubling revenue in 2020 whilst making further progress on its machine learning programme.

The firm’s platform is currently being used by a variety of firms, such as FTSE100, Fortune500 and international Recruitment Process Outsourcing companies.

Candidate.ID’s Advisory Board includes bosses from organisations including Barclays, Intuit, IQVIA, Nationwide, Philips and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Reuben Wilcock, Ventures Director at Blackfinch Ventures, said: “Recruitment has seen significant disruption in recent years as technology solutions automate processes, increasing productivity.

“We chose to invest in Candidate.ID because we believe in the team’s vision for automated talent recruitment and a more positive experience for job seekers. We were also impressed with the recently re-launched platform and how the company has already secured global traction.”

Adam Gordon co-founder and CEO of Candidate.ID, added: “The team at Blackfinch Ventures really believe in our people, technology and business plan and we are excited about working with them and accelerating our mission, to make recruitment more effective for every employer and a better experience for every candidate.”


PawPrint

Eco Startup Pawprint

Scottish eco startup, Pawprint, has smashed its crowdfunding target in just a matter of hours and added 200 new investors.

Hosted on Crowdcube, the Pawprint crowdfund went live at 8am on Tuesday 14th April. However, within just six hours the startup had beaten its original target of £100,000.

To date, Pawprint has raised £580,000 from backers including Oli Norman of Itison and Kevin Dorren of Dietchef.

Crowdcube co-founder, Luke Lang, said he wasn’t surprised by the public response, stating: “It’s no surprise to me that Pawprint, with its inspiring vision to empower people to fight climate change, has raced into over-funding so quickly.

“People love to back innovative, ambitious businesses who are on a mission to make a difference and Pawprint certainly meets that criteria.”

Commenting on the crowdfunding, Pawprint founder and CEO Christian Arno said: “We very nearly postponed this crowdfund as we, like everyone else, became immersed in the coronavirus fight.

“But when we checked with people who had shown an interest in investing, their overwhelming feeling was that they want us to press on and do our bit to fight another global threat. And they want, perhaps with even more resolve, for us to press on and give them something positive to work on.”

Arno added: “Of course, the coronavirus is the UK’s most pressing crisis, but many of us have been impressed witnessing how everyone is pulling together to tackle it.

“The impact our changes in behaviour have so quickly had on the environment also persuaded us that now is the right time to push on with the climate change fight.

“And judging by the crowdfund response, others agree – we now have another 200 people uniting with us in the fight.”


PlayerData

Wearable tech startup, PlayerData, has secured £750,000 in funding to support market entry and its next phase of growth.

The investment round, which saw Sir Terry Leahy among a group of prominent private investors to participate, will enable the startup to fast-track the launch of its sports team and individual athlete products.

PlayerData’s EDGE product is a dual hardware and software platform that allows teams and individuals to access performance data and monitor their training – providing insights into distances covered, positioning on a pitch and tracking speed.

The app was originally trialled at the Homeless World Cup in Mexico, 2018, and has been gaining traction with sports team including Clydebank FC.

Hotrabhvanon, who is chief executive at PlayerData, commented: “We went to market with EDGE six months ago and have already signed up a series of sports teams including football clubs from grassroots to professional level across the UK.

“The response has been phenomenal, with coaches praising the ease of use and feedback that enables a unique insight into how players are performing.

“The next twelve months will see the team expanding our reach in football with some exciting announcements in the pipeline as we bridge the technology gap for amateur and elite athletes alike.”

The Edinburgh firm said it plans to launch the second version of EDGE later this year, and it will include additional applications for use in more technique-based individual sports.

He said the company had seen minimal detrimental impact on trading in the quarter to March 31, with the majority of customer implementations continuing as scheduled.


ClassForKids

ClassForKids, the rapidly expanding management software company for children’s clubs, has leased new office space at Glasgow’s 180 West George Street.

In a significant relocation from smaller premises on St Vincent Street, ClassForKids has secured the entire third floor at 180 West George Street, totalling 7,900 sq. ft. Knight Frank and Ryden LLP represented Picton on the deal, while Lapsley McManus acted on behalf of ClassForKids.

ClassForKids shares the space with companies such as Aberdeen Standard, Arcadis, Pennisula Business Services, Mathworks and PageGroup.

Sarah Hagen, office agency associate at Knight Frank Glasgow, said: “The extensive refurbishment of 180 West George Street is paying off by attracting a range of high quality occupiers.

“West George Street is experiencing a superb renaissance with occupiers being spoiled by its accessibility to Queen Street and Central stations but also the wealth of amenities both in this building and on its doorstep.

“The addition of a successful, growing business like ClassForKids to 180 West George Street is great news for the building.”

Tim Hamlin at Picton added: “We are delighted to welcome ClassForKids to 180 West George Street and wish them a successful occupation in the building.

“We are committed to continuing our investment in the building, enhancing the reception and first floor by adding to what is an attractive open plan, modern workplace, and we look forward to welcoming more businesses to the property.”


Partnerships & Acquisitions

Beeks Financial Cloud

Glasgow based Financial technology firm Beeks Financial Cloud has continued its expansion drive with an acquisition despite the uncertain outlook for markets.

Beeks has agreed to buy Velocimetrics for up to £4.55 million, in a deal that will allow the company to expand its produce range and customer base.

Aim-listed Beek supplies technology that can be used to speed up online trading in financial products. The company had planned to develop the capability to offer these in house.

However, its chief executive Gordon McArthur said: “ The acquisition of Velocimetrics accelerates our product roadmap, providing us with the ability to offer our clients network monitoring and trade analytics, increasing our competitive differentiation while minimising anticipated product development spend for this functionality.”

He noted Beeks expects to be able to sell its existing services to Velocimetrics’ customers.

Mr McArthur had underlined the company’s financial growth ambitions last month when the company posted a near 50% increase in interim underlying profits, to £600,000 from £410,000.

The company’s customer base includes large financial institutions and private investors. These have had to deal with considerable market volatility amid the global fallout from the spread of the coronavirus.

However, McArthur said: “The increased volatility across global financial markets is providing a positive trading environment for a large proportion of our customers.”


Converged Communication Solutions

Scottish IT company, Converged Communication Solutions, has further strengthened the cybersecurity services it delivers to clients by joining the NextWave Partner Programme of global cybersecurity leader Palo Alto Networks.

For Aberdeen-headquartered Converged, which provides Internet connectivity, telephony, IT support and cybersecurity services to clients across Scotland, the agreement means that it becomes one of the only Palo Alto Networks partners north of central Scotland.

This enables Converged to provide organisations across the northern half of the country with access to cutting-edge technologies that defend against cyber-attacks.

Neil Christie, managing director of Converged, says that cybersecurity continues to be of growing concern in the north of Scotland. He said: “Over the past 18 months we have seen organisations of all sizes being more mindful of the impact that cyber-attacks and poor cybersecurity can have.

“We have invested heavily in enhancing the cybersecurity services we offer clients, including gaining Certification Body status in the Cyber Essentials Plus and IASME Gold standards.

“Becoming a Palo Alto Networks NextWave Partner is the latest phase of that, and to back it all up we are always on the lookout for talented network engineers to join our experienced team.

“Our aim is to provide clients with a bespoke service that is built around their needs using the best-of-breed technologies to strengthen networks and repel cyber-attacks.

“The advanced firewalls and extensive suite of cloud-based services that Palo Alto Networks offers ensures we can deliver the most robust cyber defences to protect our clients’ digital lives.

“The importance of this and the need to have a business continuity plan that allows safe and secure home working has been very soundly demonstrated in recent weeks.”

Karl Soderlund, SVP of worldwide channel sales at Palo Alto Networks, added: “NextWave Partners play a critical role in helping our customers solve their most pressing security challenges.

“As a NextWave Partner, Converged Communication Solutions has demonstrated the engineering expertise and technology specialisation to successfully integrate our Palo Alto Networks cybersecurity offerings to secure the network, endpoint, and cloud.”


2i

2i, one of the UK’s leading independent software assurance consultancies, has announced that Topolytics, an award-winning waste analytics company, has selected 2i’s testing and consultancy services to support the delivery of a global waste tracking and analytics solution.

Topolytics’ WasteMap platform is being used by corporate waste producers and the waste sector to drive greater recovery and re-use of materials.

Topolytics has also partnered with the Ordnance Survey to develop a prototype system that will monitor and track all the UK’s waste.

Working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the UK environmental regulators, the system will capture 500 million movements of waste from their sources through to final processing or disposal.

It is set to improve oversight, maximise the value of waste materials and minimise their damage to the environment.

Ben Emson, Topolytics CTO, commented: “We were searching for a partner who could give us confidence that the speed of our delivery would not compromise our quality.

“2i’s SAFe 5.0 certified experts have been working with us collaboratively to build testing and quality assurance into all stages of the delivery pipeline, empowering our developers to conduct testing whenever required.”

2i has provided a quality assurance framework spanning test automation, accessibility testing and performance testing. The provision of rapid feedback and quick fixing of any defects is designed to de-risk all stages of the waste tracking solution’s delivery.

Dave Kelly, Managing Director, 2i said: “We’re excited to contribute to an important sustainability project that will improve the re-use of materials and capture more value from waste through advanced data and analytics.

“Using our best in class expertise and bespoke quality assurance frameworks we help dynamic start-ups such as Topolytics accelerate their innovative projects while providing quality and certainty of delivery.”


Legasea

Aberdeenshire start-up company Legasea has been selected as part of the £10 million Ocean Outdoor SME fund, which has been established to give businesses and brands access to advertising space across Ocean digital screens.

The aim of the fund is to help support and stimulate businesses, jobs and the local economies in the cities where Ocean operates.

A fund with a median value of £10 million has been established, giving businesses and brands access to advertising space across Ocean screens in 12 UK cities.

The support fund will be administered in partnership with the Local Authorities Ocean works with. The fund is more than sufficient to cover multiple advertising campaigns for SMEs across Ocean’s roadside and city networks.

Ocean screens are located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, London, Bristol and Southampton.

Ocean Outdoor UK joint managing directors Phil Hall and Steve George said: “Brands, retailers and SMEs need to continue to market themselves, so our message is do not go dark.

“Previous crises have seen a reasonably rapid return to ‘normality’ for strong brands – and research from Kantar shows that stronger brands recover nine times faster.

“However, for many SMEs, income streams and operating costs are under incredible strain. Ocean hopes to alleviate some of that stress through this fund.

“If we can leverage our network to help keep businesses and local economies going, or kick-start them even, then that can only be a good thing.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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