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DIGIT Deal Roundup | November 2020

David Paul

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deal roundup

In the November edition of DIGIT’s 2020 Deal Roundup, there is investment, funding and business news from FinTech Scotland, Pawprint, Zumo and Mocean Energy.

Investment & Funding

Mocean Energy

deal roundup

Green energy startup Mocean Energy has secured major new investment to accelerate the development of its wave energy tech.

The Edinburgh-based startup has raised £612,000 of seed funding, as well as £250,000 from Innovate UK – to advance the design, adoption, and deployment of its Blue Star wave machine in the oil and gas sector.

Led by Equity Gap, the funding round includes investment by Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture capital fund, as well as the Scottish Investment Bank.

The equity funding also unlocks a further £250,000 from Innovate UK.

Mocean Energy Managing Director Cameron McNatt commented: “The equity funding is a tremendous boost and underscores our ambition to deliver a commercial product.

“As well as supporting our technology development pathway, this will allow us to create two new full-time posts which will bring an increased focus on finding the right kind of industry partners to drive our commercialisation goals.”

McNatt added: “The Innovate UK grant will enable us to advance our engineering design, including a new power take-off, moorings and umbilical, and will deliver additional grant support to our project partners Newcastle University’s Electrical Power Research Group and Rosyth-based electronics-specialists Supply Design.”

The funding boost will also enable Mocean Energy to bring on three new non-executive board members, each of whom brings a ‘wealth of experience’ to the firm, McNatt said.

Fraser Lusty, Director, Equity Gap said: “Mocean Energy has an exciting technology backed by some very sound science and ideally placed to help the oil and gas sector decarbonise its operations, with other worldwide applications to follow.

“This funding allows them to broaden their team and seek well-aligned commercial partners who can bring offshore experience to accelerate their ambitious plans.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


Zumo

Edinburgh-based Zumo announced a £10 million Series A funding round to meet the demand of the growing crypto-curious market.

Zumo’s app, launched in June of this year, allows users to purchase crypto safely and easily.

The app has seen an increase in userbase on the back of a refer and share scheme and a successful Seedrs crowdfund that saw Zumo exceed their £1m targets in just four days.

Early investors in Zumo include Guy Berryman of Coldplay fame, Steven Halliday and Murray Capital.

Nick Jones, CEO and co-founder, said: “Most projects in the space are aimed at the 2-3% of people who’ve already got cryptocurrency, but there aren’t that many aimed at bringing in a wider audience. From the start, we designed Zumo to be easy-to-use without sacrificing security.

“Our app allows anyone to easily buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency using only their smartphone and an internet connection. We have no hidden fees, and don’t charge users for adding or removing their funds, only a 0.5% fee when they convert between currencies.”


Vistalworks

deal roundup

Vistalworks secured funding from the UK Government’s innovation agency to launch a research and development (R&D) project aiming to reduce up to 840,000 tonnes of CO2 a year – equivalent to 100,000 homes’ energy use.

It is planned that a software solution to help European enforcement agencies target the black market will be announced in time for COP26 next year.

With £60,000 funding from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund for the first phase of the HFCs project, the company will work with the Dundee-based Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science on a new software solution.

Vicky Brock, chief executive and co-founder of Vistalworks, said: “HFC greenhouse gases are available on a huge black market that most people have never heard of.

“When COP26 comes to our home city of Glasgow in 2021, it is our ambition to present a regulatory enforcement solution that can be used by the world to tackle the illicit trade in these greenhouse gases and directly reduce the associated social, climate and environmental harms.

“Reducing the black market will enable legitimate businesses to ‘build back better’ from the Covid-19 pandemic, creating a more sustainable economy and directly tackling the illegal emissions threatening Net Zero targets in countries across the globe.

“At a time when nations are working to meet tough climate change goals, our software could be a major tool in helping companies, governments and enforcement agencies to tackle this illegal activity and help the environment.”

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation is investing up to £191m to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years.

The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of Covid-19. The Sustainable Innovation Fund is funding 1,103 projects, 1,069 UK businesses and totalling over £130 million in support across the UK.

Innovate UK executive chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy.

“Vistalworks, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


Pawprint

Eco Startup Pawprint

Eco tech startup Pawprint surpassed its £400,000 crowdfunding target in under a week in November.

Hosted by Crowdcube, Pawprint’s crowdfund launched on the 18th November and has since raised £429,000 from 253 investors.

As part of the campaign, individuals were able to invest as little as £10 in the business in return for an equity stake in the firm.

Commenting on the crowdfunding success, Pawprint founder Christian Arno said: “If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that collective effort has the power to change the world and tackling an issue on the scale of climate change needs everyone, all of us working together united against climate change.

“Pawprint allows us all to become experts, informed on how to take action, but to do this on our terms and in our own way.”

This marks the second successful crowdfunding campaign for Pawprint this year. Its first campaign of 2020 launched in May and saw BrewDog founder James Watt invest in the business.

Founded in 2019, the Edinburgh-based firm has raised over £1 million from angel investors to date, including early backers of Tesla, Amazon and Spotify.

The Edinburgh business has also seen increased demand for its online tool throughout 2020 as awareness of climate change continues to rise.

To find out more, read the full article here.


EIT Digital

EIT Digital

EIT Digital has gained financial backing to boost business and university growth in Scotland through its offices in Edinburgh.

The European digital education organisation, whose satellite office was opened in Edinburgh in April 2019 by Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee, has “maintained strong progress,” gaining a €6-million (£5.3-million) investment boost.

EIT Digital will use the money to “commercialise innovative new digital products and fresh collaborations” between international business and Scottish universities through three new programmes focussed on fintech, privacy, and 5G.

Commenting on the funding, McKee said: “EIT Digital’s investment in Scottish businesses commercialising innovative new digital products is helping drive forward Scotland’s digital economy.

“EIT Digital also plays a key role in connecting academia and industry via their doctoral programs. I’m pleased to see their work is helping the Scottish digital sector to achieve its economic potential and increasing overall economic resilience by fostering EU partnerships in the face of Brexit and Covid-19.”

Morgan Gillis, EIT Digital’s UK director, commented: “EIT Digital is very pleased with the take-up of its programs in Scotland and delighted to be deeply involved in the international development of Scotland’s digital economy across a range of sectors.

“We much appreciate our close collaboration with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council as strategic partners in making this success possible.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


MIME Technologies

MIME Technologies, a med-tech spin-out from the University of Aberdeen, has received £248,000 in funding from the Scottish Government.

The money will be used to help deliver tech that will support the heavily impacted aviation industry during its recovery from the pandemic. It will also drive new maritime med-tech solutions and create several skilled jobs in Scotland.

The recent award from the competitive Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund, delivered by Scottish Enterprise on behalf of the Scottish Government, offers support to early-stage, innovative, high-growth companies which have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will support the company with new investment into Research & Development, as well as activities focused on entering new offshore markets.

Anne Roberts, Chief Executive at MIME Technologies, said: “It has never been more important for the aviation industry to provide clear guidance and reassurance that every effort is being made to prioritise the health of passengers and employees.

“As the industry begins to recover following Covid-19, commercial and private airlines can use our technology to do just that. It will also streamline contract costs to help manage decreased budgets and optimise support for cabin crew during medical emergencies.

“Despite challenging operating conditions this year, MIME Technologies has continued to thrive. Our company roadmap has accelerated in 2020, and we are expanding our operations to include maritime solutions.

“This market shares the same challenges as aviation: a reliance upon people with basic training to deliver first response care in difficult environments, often hundreds or even thousands of miles away from medical services.

“This funding is an acknowledgement of the impact that technology like ours can have in several remote care markets during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. It also enables us to create an increasing number of fulfilling job opportunities in Scotland’s vibrant med-tech sector. We look forward to welcoming new talent to our team.”

The company, which received its first investment from Scottish angel syndicate Equity Gap, launched its aviation product earlier this year to support cabin crew first response at 40,000 feet on commercial aircraft or private jets.

To find out more, read the full article here.


Talking Medicines

deal roundup

Social intelligence company Talking Medicines received a significant £1.1 million funding boost to scale up its AI-based data tech platform for measuring patient sentiment.

The company will use the funds to support the launch and roll-out of a new AI data platform, which will translate what patients are saying into actionable pharma-grade intelligence by providing a global patient confidence score by medicine.

As part of these plans, the business intends to immediately recruit nine new employees to the NLP data tech team.

Talking Medicines has now raised £2.5 million to date, including three previous seed funding rounds with previous investors including impact investor SIS Ventures and the Scottish Investment Bank.

Talking Medicines CEO, Jo Halliday, said: “We are delighted that Tern is joining our investor group, and Al Sisto will be bringing his wealth of experience to the Board.

“Now more than ever we passionately believe that big pharma needs a systematic way to make data-driven decisions through accessing high-grade social intelligence driven from the patient.

“This investment will scale our team and the development of our AI, ML, NLP tech tools to translate what patients are saying into actionable pharma-grade intelligence through our global patient confidence score by medicine.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


Clear Surgical

Clear Surgical deal roundup

Scottish medical device firm Clear surgical gained £280,000 of new investment from existing shareholders in an oversubscribed funding round last month.

The firm says it will use the funding to support the development of new advanced surgical devices and help build on the success of its first product, the OpLight.

Clear Surgical’s funding round was led by the investment syndicate Kelvin Capital and with Scottish Health Innovations and Scottish Investment Bank participation.

Chairman of the Board at Clear Surgical, Michelle Ward, commented: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the business.

“Securing important new funding from oversubscribed funding round and agreeing on a development relationship with the new Medical Device Manufacturing Centre at Heriot-Watt University gives a clear pathway to building the business domestically and internationally.

“By working directly with frontline surgeons and turning their ideas into reality we create solutions that have real and immediate benefits. Our products are not speculative because they come directly from the very people who want them and who will use them.”

Clear Surgical recently became the first client of the new £3.7m Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) based in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh campus.

Angus Hay, Director of Kelvin Capital said: “Novel solutions to problems very often come from those who face those challenges every day and in the case of Clear Surgical and its portfolio of medical devices that is exactly true.

“The OpLight solves a major issue for surgeons, especially in countries where power supply is a problem, and it is applicable and complementary to an extensive range of procedures and existing devices. Collaborating with front line surgeons and creating solutions to improve patient care is at the heart of this innovative business.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


SICCAR

deal roundup

Edinburgh data-sharing platform, SICCAR, has raised £1.3 million in an investment round led by specialist technology investment house, Par Equity.

The new investment will enable the company to strengthen its product development and customer teams as the company builds on its success in two industry sectors.

With the funds, the firm said it plans to expand its executive team to include marketing expertise, customer engagement capability and product and technical resource as it refines the SICCAR platform.

Commenting on the investment round, SICCAR co-founder Peter Ferry said: “In funding the next stage of our growth we’ve found a partner with a depth of experience and connections across the industries we’re working in. We have access to Par Equity’s network and direct recent industry and technology knowledge.

“Their support will help ensure that we are able to build on our existing momentum to rapidly grow a successful business.”

Investment Manager at Par Equity Aidan MacMillan said: “We were attracted to SICCAR because of their unique approach, which enables the people who really understand the problem, the customers, to use distributed ledger tech as a tool to solve real pain points.

“The Scottish Public Sector alone has over 100 agencies that need to connect in a way that everyone can trust. Covid-19 has accelerated the move towards online eServices around the world and SICCAR has the solution they need.”

Colin Cook, Director, Digital Directorate Scottish Government Director of Scottish Government, said: “Wallet.Services were one of the first startups through the Scottish Government’s CivTech accelerator which looks to provide opportunities to companies in the GovTech sector via a range of innovative challenges.

“Wallet.Services worked with CivTech prepare the ‘Distributed Ledger Technologies in Public Services’ report and I look forward to this new investment giving them the opportunity of competing on an international level.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


Integrated Graphene

deal roundup

Scottish tech company Integrated Graphene has secured £3.1 million of funding to kickstart its production of new ‘breakthrough’ 3D graphene foam.

Led by Archangels, the six-figure investment also included funding from Par Equity, Techstart Ventures and ESM Investments.

The firm revealed that several Integrated Graphene’s original seed investors also participated in the fundraiser.

The boost will be used to fund equipment to demonstrate product performance and to ‘significantly expand’ resources for commercialisation of its 3D graphene foam, Gii.

Claus Marquordt, co-founder and CEO of Integrated Graphene commented: “We are very pleased to have the continued support of our seed investors who have helped us shape and scale this revolutionary business from an idea to commercial launch-ready.

“Ultimately, this funding round will enable us to capitalise on being first to market world-wide with high performing, cost-effective, application-specific 3D Graphene Foam, enabling better products.”

Long-term, the firm says it hopes to tap into the rapidly expanding worldwide graphene market, which is estimated to be worth $1.6 billion by 2025 and grow to as much as $6 billion by 2030.

Niki McKenzie, Joint Managing Director at Archangels, said: “The mass production of high-quality graphene at a commercially attractive price has long been seen as the holy grail in this sector and Integrated Graphene has the potential to lead the world in this arena.

“We are confident that, with supportive shareholders, the business can take the next step in its ambition to scale up its manufacture of this invaluable material.”

Robert Richmond, Investment Director at Techstart Ventures, added: “Claus and Marco’s deep-domain expertise and commercial instincts impressed us from our first interaction. We are thrilled to be supporting this round.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


Product Guru

Product Guru deal roundup

Online product discovery platform Product Guru has secured £330,000 in funding as it looks to disrupt the retail industry.

As part of the deal, the company will receive £230,000 in funding from Scotmid Coop and Techstart Ventures, as well as an additional £100k from Scottish Enterprise.

This latest investment follows an exciting period of growth for the tech firm. Despite the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, the company says it has more than doubled its workforce and boosted sign-ups significantly in the first eight months of 2020.

Commenting on the investment, Product Guru CEO Simon Coyle, said: “This funding has come at a critical time as we look to build upon the success of our rapid growth.

“Continually developing our services to meet retailers’ needs will allow us to connect and match even more suppliers and buyers, helping us to build upon the disruptive changes we’ve made to the sector.”

Coyle added: “2020 sent shockwaves through the high street, and nothing will ever be the same. Having worked in retail for 20 years, this has made me even more ambitious with our plans for growth over the next 18 months.”

Product Guru said the funding boost will enable it to recruit two highly skilled senior developers to support the launch of the platform’s premium subscription service in 2021.

Calum Forsyth, an investor at Techstart Ventures, said: “Small and challenger brands punch well above their weight in markets that have traditionally been led by large corporations.

“Through consistent reinvention, innovation and a focus on the customer, we have seen unprecedented levels of growth among these brands.

“Product Guru is a very elegant solution that sits at the heart of this marketplace challenge. We are delighted to be backing the team and joining them on this journey.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


UserTesting

UserTesting Edinburgh deal roundup

San Francisco-headquartered tech firm UserTesting announced it was awarded a grant of £3.2 million from Scottish Enterprise.

The grant forms part of a £10m research and development project that will help create as many as 70 high-value, technical roles in Edinburgh.

UserTesting said it will use the funding boost to strengthen its product R&D department based in the capital, enhance its platform capabilities, and support international growth as the firm expands into European markets.

Fergus Kennedy, VP of Engineering at UserTesting, said: “It’s an exciting time as we receive this new grant from Scottish Enterprise and partner with the organisation to support growth in the tech community in Scotland.

“This grant will help us expand our product portfolio through R&D investments, growing our Product and Engineering function with as many as 70 high-value technical roles at our European HQ in Edinburgh.”

UserTesting launched its European HQ in July 2019, having recognised Edinburgh’s potential as a top European centre for technology.

The firm currently has 106 people working across Europe, with 69 of those operating out of the Edinburgh office.

Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting, said: “We continue to be extremely impressed with the quality of technical talent in Scotland, and with the help of the grant from Scottish Enterprise we look forward to growing our European presence.”

Scottish Enterprise Interim CEO, Linda Hanna, added: “This is an important investment by an international company at a crucial time for Scotland’s economy. The tech sector is a major employer in Scotland, particularly in our cities, and we’re confident it will play a vital role in aiding the country’s economic recovery.”

Ivan McKee, Scottish Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, welcomed the announcement as another positive step in attracting inward investment.

He said: “This UserTesting grant will help to support our ambition of creating high-value jobs and contribute to the wider growth of the technology sector.”

“Scotland faces significant challenges as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and tech companies, with their focus on innovation and growth potential, have a critical role to play in our economic recovery.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


Modulr

deal roundup

In November, Edinburgh-based fintech Modulr announced the backing of online payments giant PayPal.

Modulr received £9 million in funding from the firm, which it said will be used to develop additional products, grow its team, and expand its customer base.

Commenting on the announcement, Modulr chief executive Myles Stephenson said the investment marks a milestone for the company’s payments infrastructure.

“Modulr lowers the barriers to bringing payments into a platform, creating endless new possibilities for our customers while allowing them to focus on their core competencies – the investment from PayPal Ventures enhances our ability to execute on that vision,” he said.

To date, the company has raised a total £63.3m, from PayPal, Highland Europe, Frog Capital and Blenheim Chalcot as well as a £10m grant from the Capability and Innovation Fund.

Anil Hansjee, a partner at PayPal Ventures, said: “More digital businesses are looking to incorporate payments into their existing user experience but either doesn’t have the expertise or the resources.

“Modulr is well-positioned to be an enabler of this trend and will undoubtedly expand end-users’ access to fast, reliable and secure financial services.”

The firm is building on previous successes, and from its move to an Edinburgh office in 2018.

In October 2019, the company announced plans to create 53 highly skilled jobs in Edinburgh as part of a £20 million investment package.

For the full story, click here.


Scottish National Investment Bank

Scottish National Investment Bank deal roundup

The Scottish National Investment Bank officially launched last month with the completion of its first major investment.

Supported by the Scottish Government, it is the UK’s first mission-led development bank and will be capitalised with £2 billion in funding over the next ten years.

The bank’s proposed missions will focus primarily on supporting Scotland’s transition to net zero, extending equality of opportunity through improving places and harnessing innovation to enable Scotland to flourish.

Commenting on the launch, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank will help to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face now and in years to come, delivering economic, social and environmental returns.

“The launch of the bank is one of the most significant developments in the lifetime of this parliament, with the potential for it to transform, grow and decarbonise Scotland’s economy.”

Willie Watt, Scottish National Investment Bank Chair, added: “Today is a key milestone for the Scottish National Investment Bank.

“Our launch enables us to make mission-led, strategic, patient investments in businesses and projects that can deliver benefits for the people of Scotland. I am excited about the role the Bank will play in supporting and enabling growth in the Scottish economy.”

The Bank’s first action will see £12.5 million invested in Glasgow-based tech startup, M Squared Lasers. The firm intends to use the funding boost to support and accelerate growth.

The First Minister said the first investment highlights a “great example of the ambitious and innovative companies” Scotland’s tech sector boasts.

Dr Graeme Malcolm, CEO and founder of M Squared, said: “We are delighted that the Scottish National Investment Bank has invested in M Squared as its very first business – our shared commitments to society and the environment makes this an ideal partnership that will enable accelerated growth and progress in frontier technologies.”

Watt commented: “We are particularly pleased that our first investment is in M Squared which is at the cutting edge of innovation and is a recognised world-leader in its field.

“It is our firm belief that the bank will make many more investments that deliver positive mission impacts in the years and decades to come.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


The Open University

Rising Stars deal roundup

Open University has received a £1 million grant to support Scottish SME’s with skills training in response to Covid-19.

The new funding will enable SMEs across the country to access up to £5,000 of online training, delivered by the Open University in Scotland.

The OU programme forms part of the Scottish Funding Council’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund Phase 2, which aims to help businesses upskill and reskill their existing workforces.

Phase 1 of the initiatives focused on delivery for levy payers in partnership with Scotland’s colleges.

Support marks the first time the fund is being made available to SMEs across the private, public and third sector’s, the Scottish Government confirmed.

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, said the funding boost will provide a critical lifeline to both businesses and workers across the country in the wake of the pandemic.

He said: “Opportunities for training are essential for both employers and employees, and in August we doubled funding for our Flexible Workforce Development Fund to £20 million for 2020/21 to ensure businesses across Scotland can continue to invest in their workforce.

“As this fund adapts and responds to the impacts of the pandemic, we will also see the introduction of additional delivery partners including the Open University in Scotland and private training providers for employers who require more specialist training.”

Hepburn added: “By strengthening upskilling the existing workforce, in partnership with colleges, we can retain jobs and support employers as they pivot and adapt to a new and very different working environment as a result of the pandemic.”

Susan Stewart, Director of The Open University in Scotland welcomed the announcement: “The Open University in Scotland has led in the development of new skills for those facing redundancy, furlough or sectoral job pressures as a result of Covid-19.

“We welcome this funding which allows us to deliver support at scale to small and medium-sized businesses across Scotland providing vital training as they adapt to new ways of working post-pandemic.”

Stewart said support will focus heavily on supporting employees in areas where existing skill gaps pose a serious problem, such as the digital sector, health and social care and the green economy.

“We will help businesses with a tailored, flexible package of online training to boost productivity and upskill and retrain employees particularly in those areas where skills gaps exist across Scotland.” Stewart said.

To find out more, read the full article here.


The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships

AI research deal roundup

Researchers from Scottish universities are part of a group sharing a £20 million funding pot to develop artificial intelligence (AI) research.

Named after scientists Alan Turing, The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships will accelerate and support 15 of Britain’s top researchers with the hope of building and strengthening Britain’s position in AI on the international stage.

Among the recipients of the fellowships are researchers Dr Antonio Hurtado, Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde’s Institute of Photonics, and Dr Jeff Dalton from the University of Glasgow.

Dr Hurtado will use the funding to support the development of ultra-fast AI technologies for medicine, security, and renewable energy, while Dr Dalton is looking to improve the capabilities and performance of virtual personal assistants.

Commenting on his work, Dr Hurtado said: “In today’s world, the ability to process vast amounts of data fast and efficiently is crucial in sectors such as energy, healthcare and finance. AI systems are key tools to make sense of huge volumes of data but consume very high levels of energy and increasingly contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Operating in a similar way to the biological neurons that process information in the brain, the new photonic devices will be able to process data at high speeds while reducing energy consumption, helping the UK to meet its net-zero carbon ambitions by 2050.

“The new technology’s potential capability to perform complex computational tasks at ultrafast speed could see it used across a range of sectors – from meteorology forecasting to processing images at very fast rates for medical diagnostics.”

Dr Dalton added: “Being awarded the Turing AI Acceleration fellowship is an incredible honour and we are very excited by the opportunity to accelerate progress on the next generation of virtual assistants that will transform our economy and society.

“This award is key in building a world-leading research group in Scotland with state-of-the-art deep-learning hardware for conversational AI that will enable us to perform large-scale experiments on real-world datasets to maximize impact.”

The Fellowships aim to increase collaboration between academia and industry, with each fellow bringing together a wide range of partners on their projects to accelerate the impact of their AI technologies. Partners have already committed to cash and in-kind contributions more than £10 million.

To find out more, read the full article here.


Deals & Partnerships

Obashi Technology

Obashi deal roundup

Scottish tech firm Obashi announced in November that it has been selected to join the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Innovators Community for the first time.

Falkirk-based Obashi Technology will join both the Innovators Community and the WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Obashi Technology is only the sixth UK-based firm chosen to join, as well as becoming the first Scottish company to do so.

As part of the Global Innovators Community, Obashi will help define the global agenda on key issues with a particular focus on shaping the future of technology governance – artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Commenting on the announcement, Obashi CEO Fergus Cloughley said: “We’re delighted to be the first Scottish company to begin collaborating with the World Economic Forum and other technology leaders as part of the Global Innovator’s Community.”

He added: “Dataflow underpins every industry on the planet, and it’s exciting and heartening to now see it being recognised as a vital global utility and a key component part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Sheila Warren, Head of Blockchain, Digital Assets and Data Policy at the WEF, said: “We are delighted to have Obashi join our Global Innovators Community.

“We are excited to work with Obashi within the Data Policy Platform given their focus on data flows as a key to accessing the opportunities of the new global data economy.”

Nicola Anderson, CEO of FinTech Scotland, added: “We’re delighted that Obashi will join the WEF Global Innovators Community. Data and dataflow sit at the heart of fintech innovation and will provide future opportunities to create new businesses, generate jobs and deliver greater financially inclusive outcomes for people.

“Obashi demonstrates the depth of expertise Scotland has in data and fintech. Its cross-sector collaboration has enabled a data flow framework that can support the emerging digital economy and future economic growth.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


Brightsolid

Brightsolid

Brightsolid has announced that Dundee City Council is using its Dundee data centre to host 95% of the Council’s information and communications technology.

The migration took place in summer 2020, offsetting an expected investment of £1 million that would have been required for the Council to continue using its on-premises data centres.

An early cost analysis showed continuing with on-premises data centres would require an investment of up to £1m, so they approached Brightsolid to discuss options.

The result was a co-location agreement to move the majority of the council’s ICT to Brightsolid’s Tier III designed data centre in Dundee. The project forms the Council’s first step towards its long-term goal of relying largely on the public cloud.

By choosing to co-locate to Brightsolid’s Dundee data centre, the Council achieved increased resilience and improved the management and monitoring of services, and off-set that future investment.

Graeme Quinn, Senior Manager IT Infrastructure at Dundee City Council, said: “We were pleased by the smooth migration to the data centre and have also seen ongoing benefits such as improved management and monitoring of services, especially out of working hours.

“This, combined with Brightsolid’s flexible billing structure, allows us to turn infrastructure efficiencies into significant cost savings,” Quinn added.

Dundee City Council said the remaining 5% of its ICT will stay onsite to aid the local authority in connecting with Brightsolid’s data centre.

“Dundee City Council is not unique in its desire for flexibility and scalability alongside lower costs. These are precisely the demands co-location meets,” said Brightsolid CEO Elaine Maddison.

“By moving to our data centre the Council will enjoy increased resilience and the flexibility to scale infrastructure based on need, leading to cost savings in the long run,” Maddison added.

To find out more, read the full article here.


Waterstons

Business and IT consultancy Waterstons has joined an exclusive list of Government approved cybersecurity providers.

As a ‘Certified Cyber Security Consultancy’, Waterstons is now certified to deliver delivers risk assessment and risk management services which meet the National Cyber Security Centre’s standard for high quality, tailored cybersecurity advice.

Waterstons’ is one of only 26 companies to join the scheme, and one of only 20 companies to make it on to the framework specialising in cybersecurity risk assessment and risk management. Waterstons is also the only company on the list to be headquartered in the North East of England.

Craig Archdeacon, Senior Information Security Consultant at Waterstons, said: “At Waterstons we know that building a successful and resilient business requires strong foundations in which cybersecurity plays a critical part.

The NCSC risk assessment and risk management accreditation is testament to the years of effort and endeavour from our security team, which I’m extremely proud to be part of. This endorsement from the NCSC gives us the platform to help more Scottish businesses build the stable foundations required to create a resilient business.”


Intelligens Consulting

economic recovery

 

Intelligens Consulting has published research commissioned by Scotland’s Towns Partnership on behalf of the Scottish Government in November, looking at the benefits and challenges of deploying public WiFi schemes.

The research explains that public bodies are starting to replace outdoor public WiFi schemes with outdoor small-cell networks. Densified and fibre-connected small cells are expected to form the foundation of future outdoor 5G networks.

It is likely that soon the ‘new norm’ will be indoor public WiFi and outdoor 5G networks complementing each other to provide consumers with a seamless connected experience.

Iqbal Singh Bedi who authored the report said, “However this new norm will take a while to materialise. In the meantime, the approach implemented by each public body will depend on a number of economic factors, its own unique political circumstances and priority outcomes.”

Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s Chief Officer, Phil Prentice, said: “WiFi is rightly cited as one of the most important aspects of digital connectivity that consumers cannot live without.”


FinTech Scotland, Google Cloud and Check Point

FinTech Scotland Google Cloud

Google Cloud is joining Scotland’s fintech cluster as part of a growing number of global organisations supporting Scottish innovation.

The company is teaming up with cluster management organisation, FinTech Scotland, to support the growth of the fintech SME community in Scotland.

With the majority of fintech firms using cloud solutions to integrate more easily and cost-effectively with their clients, Google Cloud’s addition to FinTech Scotland’s cluster will further enable innovation at speed as well as benefiting from Google’s knowledge and expertise.

Commenting on the platform’s integration into the cluster, FinTech Scotland’s executive chair, Stephen Ingledew, said: “We very much welcome Google Cloud expert engagement with the fintech community and cluster as it acts as a further boost to driving impactful innovation.

“Google Cloud data capabilities and know-how will certainly be of great value to the innovative SME community in Scotland.”

FinTech Scotland also announced it would be partnering with cybersecurity company Check Point to increase awareness and engagement around cybersecurity with Scottish fintech firms.

Commenting on the collaboration, Roddy MacCallum, Head of Scotland at Check Point Software Technologies, said: “Scotland is home to a phenomenal pool of fintech talent. However, as with many sectors, these firms face complex challenges right now, as they navigate the changes to their networks due to the rapid digital transformation and remote working practices forced upon us all.

“By partnering with FinTech Scotland, we aim to equip these firms with the tools and support they need to ensure cybersecurity is deeply embedded within their business in these challenging times and beyond.”

To find out more, read the full article here.


Virgin Money and Redspire

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In November Virgin Money announced a new strategic fintech partnership with Glasgow-based Redspire to support the development of its digital proposition for the new Virgin Money Business current account.

Redspire is a Microsoft Gold Partner for Cloud Business Applications and will support the development of new digital solutions, as part of Virgin Money’s commitment to the recent £35m award from the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) Capability and Innovation Fund.

Virgin Money has created a ‘Working Capital Health’ proposition, which will transform its existing business current account offering into a financial wellness tracker for SMEs and combine dynamic views across an SME’s working capital cycle, with a set of working capital solutions, all backed up by proactive relationship management and a unique ecosystem of capability partners. Redspire is the second of these partners to be announced, and they will also work alongside the Bank’s key strategic technology partner, Microsoft.

Gavin Opperman, Group Business Director at Virgin Money, said “Following our successful application to the BCR Capability and Innovation Fund, we have been moving forward with Virgin Money Business, which will be ready for launch early in 2021.

“Collaboration is key to our success and I am pleased to welcome Respire onto our extended team. We have a strong relationship with Redspire and place great value on their agility and ability to respond to our needs. I look forward to working with them as we continue to build our Working Capital Health proposition.”

Billy Lyle, CEO at Redspire, and engagement lead with Virgin Money said “We’re delighted to be announced as Virgin Money’s technology partner, alongside our own partners at Microsoft.

“It’s been a year like no other for all businesses in the UK, but Virgin Money has shown real adaptability and resilience, as well as a commitment to delivering for their customer base. Years’ worth of digital transformation has taken place in months rather than in years in 2020.

“My team is excited to continue to drive meaningful change with the limitless power of the Microsoft stack.”

Andrew Falconer, Programme Sponsor at Virgin Money added: “Redspire typify the kind of business we aim to partner with.

“Focussed entirely on the customer, they bring creativity and imagination to the development of solutions and have shown an enormous degree of flexibility and commitment to supporting Virgin Money changes the landscape for SME banking in the UK.”


Informed Solutions

Informed Solutions announced that it has been selected as the digital strategic partner for Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) – the accredited paying agency in Scotland for all European Commission Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes.

The role of the company will to give strategic advice, strengthen RPID’s in-house digital capability to help mitigate the risks associated with legacy systems, and ensuring its infrastructure, applications and data estate are kept up to date.

Alongside this, Informed will work with RPID to exploit digital practices and technologies so that the organisation is in “the best possible position to deliver future digital services.”

Informed Solutions’ UK CEO, Seth Finegan comments: “We’re delighted to be appointed as RPID’s strategic digital partner of choice. It’s a hugely exciting time for Scottish rural economic policy, and RPID and the Agriculture and Rural Policy Directorate have an increasingly important role to play in establishing Scotland’s role as a leader in the design, development and delivery of digital land information services, and as a benchmark for digital skills development”.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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