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DIGIT Deal Roundup: February 2020

Duncan MacRae

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deal roundup february 2020

DIGIT’s Deal Roundup column for February 2020 features new partnerships and funding from companies such as Drinkly, Sharktower and Vodafone.

Funding 

Drinkly

Drinkly

After launching its first equity crowdfunding campaign, award-winning drinks-on-demand tech platform www.drinkly.co.uk has reached its funding target of £250,000.

An online marketplace that connects independent high-street retailers with consumers, Drinkly has plugged a retail gap in the multi-billion-pound convenience economy by promising ‘chilled beers, wines, spirits and more within one hour’. The company plans to move into 150 locations by December 2020 and, in its mission to become the market leader in drinks-on-demand delivery in the UK, has already secured over 40 retail partners across central Scotland, London and the north of England.

John Robertson, founder and CEO of Drinkly, said: “With this investment now in place, we’re able to push ahead with our ambitions to grow our retailer base, build out our tech and put in place a solid integrated marketing strategy to maximise our visibility among our core audiences. We’ve set the course and we’re on track to make 2020 the best year yet. We’d like to thank everyone who has bought into Your Round and placed their confidence in Drinkly.”

Backed by prolific entrepreneurs including BrewDog’s James Watt and Stuart Middleton, CCO of Skyscanner, Drinkly has delivered more than 16,000 orders to customers in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, adding over £110,000 in revenue this year alone to its first retail partners business. It has also engaged in exclusive partnerships with global drinks brands that have included Heineken.

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


Milestones

Cortex Worldwide

Cortex Worldwide Management

Cortex Worldwide, the digital technology company whose client base includes Microsoft Education marked its fifth year in business in 2019 by recording double-digit revenue growth and upping headcount to 35 at its headquarters in Edinburgh.

Cortex counts a number of large UK and international enterprise clients among its customer base and is set to announce a series of new business wins, including one of the UK’s leading banks, and high-profile board appointments during the first half of 2020.

Founded in 2014, Cortex Worldwide has developed a cloud-based web management content (WCM) platform that enables clients to create, deploy, analyse and optimise their digital estates. Cortex, which secured a management buyout from WPP plc in 2017, is led by CEO and Founder Peter Proud, formerly a senior executive at Accenture and Microsoft, and the company’s board includes John Waddell, former CEO of Scottish angel investment group Archangels.

Peter Proud, CEO and Founder of Cortex Worldwide, said: “We are now moving rapidly from a technology services company to a cloud-native global software business. We have a fantastic team, a best-of-breed product and some exciting new client wins to announce over the next few weeks and months. Overall, we’ve got big ambitions and have set our sights on being one of the next big things to come out of the Scottish tech scene.”

Cortex has attracted VC interest from the US over the last few months and is currently planning to launch offices in New York and London. Peter Proud commented: “While the business continues to be self-funded and we think that’s the right approach at this point in time, we’re not ruling out VC involvement with the right investors if that enables us to really step up our growth trajectory.”

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


Commsworld

Ricky Nicol, CEO of CommsworldCommsworld has set a major industry milestone by becoming the first operator to utilise the newly available Dark Fibre X (DFX) product from Openreach.

In its initial rollout, Commsworld will use 200km of Dark Fibre (unlit optical fibre) to upgrade the backhaul into its enabled exchanges across the Scottish Borders, linking the region to its national Optical Core Network with new ultrafast connectivity.

This will enable alternative, accessible and affordable connectivity to organisations throughout towns such as Jedburgh, Kelso, Duns and Peebles.

By lighting the Dark Fibre with its own optical equipment, Commsworld will be able to provide organisations and homes with flexible connectivity speeds of up to 10Gb/s, which is around 185 times the average UK download speed.

Charlie Boisseau, CTO at Commsworld, said: “Bringing this ultra-high-speed connectivity to more rural areas creates really exciting prospects for domestic and business users.

“Businesses won’t be limited by location anymore – we’re looking forward to seeing more businesses with dramatically faster and more robust connections flourishing in rural areas. Anyone will be able to set up a high-tech business from anywhere.”

By consuming Dark Fibre, Commsworld maintains full control of its network, allowing communities to benefit from enhanced technical capabilities and an improvement in customer service provided by the telecoms company.

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


Partnerships

Brainnwave 

Steve Coates, CEO, Brainwave

Fitch Solutions, a provider of credit market data, analytical tools and risk services, has agreed to integrate its country and industry research on a global data intelligence platform run by Edinburgh-based intelligence business Brainnwave.

The partnership will see Fitch Solutions integrate its country and industry research on Brainnwave’s digital platform, Ossian. The platform pulls data from a wide range of external and subscription sources and simplifies it, allowing businesses to identify and use hidden insights for competitive advantage.

Bill Eggers, global head of strategic partnerships at Fitch Solutions, said: “’Broadening the availability of our leading Country Risk and Industry Research via Brainnwave’s Ossian platform will benefit subscribers with new and deeper insights into the macroeconomic environment. We are pleased that this partnership will also bring Fitch Solutions’ content to an even broader audience.”

Fitch Solutions helps clients to excel at managing their counterparty risk, gain deeper insights into the debt and fixed income markets, and get comprehensive intelligence about the macroeconomic environment.

Brainnwave’s Ossian platform analyses hundreds of thousands of data points to identify every possible relevant commercial opportunity. It then prioritises them to allow businesses to focus on those most likely to deliver returns.

Steve Coates, CEO at Brainnwave, said: “The integration of Fitch Solutions’ country and industry research with our own sources will open massive opportunities for clients to tap into, filter and identify potential revenue streams, partnerships and deals to support their own business objectives.

“The scope of this opportunity is massive, making it a hugely exciting move for us. The scope for establishing similar partnerships with companies operating in the likes of Oil & Gas, Utilities, Space and Mining industries, is vast.”


Vodafone

SSE HydroVodafone has partnered with The SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow in a further commitment to the region. The SSE Hydro Arena is Scotland’s largest entertainment venue hosting around 150 music, sporting and entertainment events every year and with a capacity of 14,300.

Under the agreement, Vodafone will have access to a new on site super-suite, which will be available to customers and guests during live events; and will be used for branded experiences and to showcase the latest technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). Set to open in spring 2020, Vodafone customers will also have the opportunity to win tickets to flagship events at the arena via Vodafone’s VeryMe loyalty app.

Anne Sheehan, director, Vodafone Business said: “Scotland is a hugely important country for us and our new partnership with The SSE Hydro Arena reinforces our commitment to the city of Glasgow.

“I’m delighted we will be able to showcase our new technologies to both Vodafone Business guests and to music and sports fans from across Scotland. We’re looking forward to working closely with The SSE Hydro Arena to explore how 5G can enable the creation of new and compelling experiences for fans.”

Ross Easton, head of commercial, Scottish Event Campus said: “We’re delighted to welcome Vodafone as our official technology partner and look forward to working together. We believe Vodafone’s latest technologies have the potential to greatly enhance our visitors’ enjoyment at The SSE Hydro and will help us to continue to deliver a fantastic experience for fans.”

Vodafone already has a significant presence in Glasgow, with ten retail stores across the city. Glasgow was one of the first cities where Vodafone launched its 5G network in 2019; and a partnership with Glasgow University ensured it was the first educational institution in Scotland with a 5G network. 5G will support the adoption of a range of new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, connected cities and self-driving vehicles with many industries – including automotive, financial services, entertainment and healthcare – set to benefit.

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


Skills Development Scotland

cyber

Six secondary schools, specialists in the cybersecurity sector and various employers from across Scotland, are working with teachers to provide lessons in cyber skills to children, with approximately 120 pupils learning all about penetration testing.

The classes will involve going through the process of ethically hacking a fictional airline in a virtual environment. The lesson, which has been fully developed with and approved by teachers, is mapped to schools’ cybersecurity curriculum.

The pupils will also hear directly from experienced industry experts about what it is really like to work in cybersecurity in the hope that it will encourage them to consider it in the future.

Claire Gillespie, digital technology sector manager for Skills Development Scotland (SDS), said: “I’m really excited about this approach which will give learners hands-on experience with real security tools and techniques. But the really exciting part is having the industry experts involved.

“Sharing their skills, knowledge and real work experiences will be a real inspiration for the next generation of cybersecurity specialists. This is also a great way for cyber experts to benefit from classroom experiences, and who knows, maybe we will encourage some of them to re-train as teachers.”

The programme launched in time for Cyber Scotland Week 2020, and participating schools and employers include:

  • Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow with CGI
  • Johnstone High School with Morgan Stanley
  • All Saints in Glasgow with Clydesdale Bank
  • Holyrood Secondary in Glasgow with Viral Edge and Morgan Stanley
  • James Young High School in Livingston with JP Morgan
  • Portlethen Academy in Aberdeenshire with SBRC.

Gillespie added: “If this pilot is successful, we not only plan to roll this out to more schools, but we also plan to take it beyond just cybersecurity and bring other industry experts in to talk about other broader tech related subjects.”

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


Acquisition

Sharktower 

Trimble Technology Lab

Sharktower AI, the portfolio management arm of consultant and solutions business, Mudano, is expanding into its own standalone SaaS venture following the acquisition of Mudano by Accenture Applied Intelligence Services.

Sharktower provides portfolio insights visualisation, predictive analytics and decision-making without bias to help project teams spot and deal with problems before they happen.

Craig Mackay, Sharktower CEO, said: “In the last four years I have proudly been part Mudano’s leadership that has delivered huge growth and provided the platform to lead the Sharktower engineering team from five people in 2017 to a mature product team of over 30 people today.

“The world is being transformed by AI and data-led processes and Sharktower is already a leader in the space of applied intelligence for project management – this is absolutely the right time for us to standalone and accelerate our vision, diversify our opportunities and continue to help our customers remove the waste and failures in project delivery.”

The project has been in development and testing for five years, and now intends to expand over the next 50 from its new headquarters in Edinburgh.

Mackay added: “It’s an exciting time to be able to headquarter and grow a company with global ambitions from Edinburgh. We will continue to benefit from the amazing tech & data ecosystem that has been created here and with the continued support of Scottish Enterprise, we hope to play our part in making Edinburgh the number one destination of tech & data companies and talent in Europe.”

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

Duncan MacRae

Editor

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