DIGIT Deal Roundup December 2018
Welcome to the December edition of the DIGIT Deal Roundup. This month we cover new partnerships, funding, and contracts from companies such as Orca, Present Pal, Boston Networks and Monzo.
Edinburgh and Belfast-based P2P investment Fintech aggregator, Orca, has secured £500,000 in funding ahead of its multi-platform ISA launch this year.
The funding, which has come from a host of venture capitalist funds and private angel investors including Scottish ESM Investments, will be used to help deliver the Fintech’s ambitious development plans.
Orca CEO Iain Niblock said: “We’re delighted with the success of our recent funding round, particularly the response from the crowd who really got behind us,” he said.
“2019 will be a landmark year for Orca as we roll-out new product to fulfil the needs of our investors,” Orca confirmed, adding that it is already compiling a list of investors awaiting the launch of the ISA.
Monzo, the fastest growing digital mobile-only bank successfully raised £20 million in crowdfunding in just two days and 42 minutes. In a statement published online, the bank said more than 36,000 people pitched in during the crowdfunding drive, with £2,038,459 of the total coming from existing investors. The bank confirmed that of the 36,000 investors, more than 33,000 were brand new investors.
The Monzo team said of the support: “We’re happy that so many of you have been able to get involved and take a stake in the bank that you’re helping us build. Our community has played an essential part in making Monzo what it is today, and your support and feedback are becoming even more crucial as we grow.”
Monzo recently overtook First Direct as the UK’s best-rated lender. In a survey conducted by Which? Monzo scored 86%, compared with 85% for First Direct. This result marks the end of a near decade-long dominance by the latter.
Raven, a Glasgow-based incident and crisis management software brand, has secured £65,000 of funding at the 13th round of the Scottish EDGE competition. The company plans to use the funding to grow and develop its team by hiring a further two software developers to work on its groundbreaking safety and security software, as well as boost the headcount in its sales and marketing teams.
Ian Kerr, founder and managing director of Raven, said: “The Scottish EDGE competition has been a fantastic experience for Raven and it’s an honour to be recognised amongst such as strong field of finalists.
“With the funding that we’ve secured, we plan to add two developers to our new software team as well as a number of new faces to our sales and marketing operations.”
Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and Elliot Advisers (UK) have reached an agreement that will see fintech TotallyMoney receive £29 million in funding.
The investment, which is subject to FCA approval, will be used to accelerate customer acquisition, provide better credit for UK consumers and build on its existing, market-leading platform.
Commenting on the funding announcement, TotallyMoney CEO Alistair Douglas said: “Our success over the past 12 months has proven that we have a winning model. We were delighted to reach one million customers in such a short period of time and with this funding from two highly regarded investors we are now extremely well positioned to meet our strong growth ambitions.”
Richard Monahan of Elliott Advisers said: “Credit intermediation is evolving rapidly and TotallyMoney is driving this change with is best-in-class technology platform and embedded position in the consumer finance ecosystem. We are thrilled to partner with SEP and the management team to significantly scale the business.”
Microsoft has awarded Glasgow-based startup, Present Pal, an AI Accessibility grant to help it further develop its products.
The firm is among the first round of companies granted funding as part of the $25 million (£19.5m) five-year programme, which aims to improve disabled accessibility through artificial intelligence.
Present Pal founder Chris Hughes said: “We are already supporting students with learning differences in universities across the UK through our existing version of the App, but funded access to Microsoft’s AI tools will really boost the software’s intelligence and sophistication.
“We are delighted to receive this grant and begin a partnership with Microsoft and are looking forward to sharing our journey of enhancing the lives of people with disabilities.”
Smart Cities Programme
The Smart Cities Programme, led by the Scottish Cities Alliance, has received an additional £15m in European funding. This fresh injection of cash brings the total funding to £60m, which will be used to make centres around the country more attractive to potential investors and residents.
The Scottish Cities Alliance is a collaborative endeavour by Scotland’s seven cities – Aberdeen, Dundee Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling – along with the Scottish Government.
Trade Minister Ivan McKee, said: “The funding will enable the local authorities to strengthen their collaboration and bring even more cutting-edge technologies, like Open Data and Intelligent Street Lighting, to residents across Scotland. This £15 million from the European Regional Development Fund for Smart Cities supports the Scottish Government’s aim to remain open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally.”
Bright Purple Resourcing
Recruitment firm, Bright Purple Resourcing, has been named as a supplier under Lot 2 – Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT), of Crown Commercial Service’s Permanent Recruitment Framework. The new framework, which was developed alongside key HR Stakeholders within the public sector, provides transparent pricing, direct access to suppliers with suitable talent pools and compliance.
Managing Director, Paul Curry said: “Bright Purple Resourcing is excited to be part of this new framework and to be supplying the high calibre DDaT talent required. Our commitment to this framework is a further expansion of our public sector presence, building on our legacy of award-winning, high quality, end-to-end delivery.”
Edinburgh battery tech firm Dukosi has secured a new partnership with US firm XALT Energy, which will see its patented cell management technology integrated with the US company’s energy source solutions. XALT Energy will use Dukosi’s innovative battery technology in its energy storage products, help to provide improvements across the company’s supply chain and also deliver better value for consumers.
Richard R. Cundiff III, XALT Energy CEO, commented: “We have been impressed with the Dukosi solution since our initial introduction. We see many benefits from this technology — it can provide improvements across our supply chain while delivering better value to our customers.
“We see gains in our cell manufacturing process, better performing and optimised battery packs, and new benefits in recycling and at end-of-life. This technology offers a step change in functionality over current solutions, and we expect to offer this to many of our customers starting from mid-2020.”
Commenting on the announcement, Dukosi CEO Nat Edington said: “We are incredibly proud to partner with XALT Energy. We have worked closely with XALT over the last two years as we have developed our breakthrough cell-based technology.” Edington added that the partnership is a “natural next step” for the company, with all eyes set for market launch.
Fintech startup Soar has teamed up with Glasgow Credit Union, one of the UK’s largest credit unions with 50,000 members, to launch the company’s new mobile app and internet banking platform. This is the biggest deal for the Fintech since its launch in 2017. Glasgow Credit Union is expected to launch its new technology in 2019.
Andrew Duncan, Executive Chairman at Soar, commented: “It’s excellent to be working in partnership with Glasgow Credit Union to successfully deliver our solution for their growing member base. This new partnership is a huge step forward to help credit union embrace the most up-to-date technology that can have a positive impact on their business.”
Paul Macfarlane, CTO at Glasgow Credit Union said: “It’s important for us to continually invest in new technology to remain relevant and be able to compete with the rest of the financial services market in 2019. Working in conjunction with Soar and with the continued support of our existing partners, we’re improving on our great service offering to create a first-class experience for our members.”
Macfarlane added: “We chose to partner with Soar because of their innovative approach and were impressed with the way they embraced our members’ requirements, which will continue to influence and shape the roadmap for the product.”
LUX Assure, specialists in corrosion inhibitor management for the oil and gas industry, has partnered the University of Strathclyde to further develop its CoMic™ technology, a corrosion management system. The Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) has awarded funding to support the partnership.
The joint effort will work to develop CoMic’s existing manual analysis methodology, create custom algorithms and exploit innovative mathematical techniques to automatically analyse data gathered during on-site chemical tests. Dr Paul Murray, Lead Investigator at the University of Strathclyde, commented: “It is very exciting to be working closely with LUX Assure to conduct research and develop novel algorithms to automatically analyse data gathered by their highly innovative CoMic technology.”
Glasgow-based smart integrated solutions specialist, Boston Networks, has bought North Shields-based CCTV business 2020 Vision Systems for an undisclosed sum as it ramps up plans for UK growth. The management team at 2020 will continue to manage the business, working closely with Boston Networks CEO Scott McEwan and Boston’s executive management team.
The deal, which brings the staff count of the overall Boston Group to 170, is the second acquisition since specialist investment fund Aliter Capital acquired a major stake in Boston Networks in January this year.
Scott McEwan, Boston Networks CEO, said: “We look forward to leveraging 2020’s many years of experience of working in key areas of critical physical security, which will help us to drive towards the next phase of our growth as we continue to focus on applying technology to improve the performance, safety and security of people, buildings and assets.
“In particular this acquisition further deepens our services in the further education sector, enhances our existing security offering through the cloud platform and significantly spreads our geographic coverage.”
LUX Assure CEO, Emma Perfect, said: “This project will enable LUX Assure to provide information to our clients both on-site and in real-time, informing them of optimal corrosion inhibitor dosage and enabling prompt decision making on chemical injection.”
“Automated data analytics tools for use on-site, will facilitate quicker decision-making and deliver significant benefits to clients. Evolving the business towards providing such tools is of huge importance to us.”