DIGIT Movers and Shakers: June 2019

Movers and Shakers June

The June edition of DIGIT’s Movers and Shakers column features recruitment, expansion and awards news from across Scotland’s digital technology sector.

Recruitment

Airts

Airts announced a double appointment in June, with former Skyscanner marketer Melissa McMahon joining as the company’s first marketing director. FreeAgent co-founder and CEP, Roan Lavery, also joined the Airts board.

The firm said the appointments are in response to “growing global demand for the company’s resource optimisation solution, Braid”.

Braid is an AI-powered people planning and project management platform for the professional services industry, currently in use at two of the Big Four accountancy firms.

As co-founder and CPO of FreeAgent, Roan Lavery commands more than a decade’s experience implementing strategy, scaling operations and building a world-class product organisation. Commenting on the appointment, Lavery said: “I’m excited to work with the talented team at Airts, helping them to scale Braid, a product already solving real customer problems with leading-edge technology.”

Prior to her time at Skyscanner, McMahon served in senior marketing roles for global B2B organisations in companies such as American Express. Earlier on in her career, she also worked as a consultant at top-tier professional services firms, including Capgemini.

McMahon commented: “The Airts team has done a phenomenal job building Braid. My focus will be on sharing the learning with our customers and the industry at large, connecting with the global community we know will get value from Braid.”

Andrew Bone, co-founder and CEO of Airts, added: “We’re delighted to have both Roan and Melissa join us. Their expertise will be invaluable as we scale the business to meet and capitalise on the growing demand we’re experiencing.”


Castlight Financial

Neil Cunningham has joined Glasgow-based financial capability firm, Castlight Financial, in a move that will further strengthen the company’s management team.

Cunningham boasts a strong track record of new product innovation and the creation of “transformative business partnerships” within the consumer credit and financial services markets, Castlight said.

In his most recent position as Partnerships Director at Equifax UK, Cunningham was responsible for an ecosystem of more than 80 third-party partners, ranging from fintechs to large consultancies across the credit risk lifecycle. Working within Castlight’s open banking strategy team, his key priorities moving forward will be to further develop the company’s network of creative business relationships, as well as nurturing “co-creation” initiatives with customers.

Welcoming Cunningham to the team, Castlight CEO Phil Grady said: “Neil is joining us at an exciting time for our business as our portfolio of affordability solutions is growing at a steady pace and our customer base is expanding.

“We are confident that Neil’s open banking expertise and extensive experience of partnership working will be of significant value to our customers as we continue to work with them to create, innovate and drive their businesses forward.”

Cunningham said: “Castlight already has an established track record of innovation and that was very appealing to me. The principle of co-creation drives the company’s relationships with its financial services customers and that is something I’ve advocated strongly throughout my career.

“Open banking has transformational potential, yet we’ve heard it referred to as a slow burn revolution. It’s not a silver bullet on its own. In my mind, the way to accelerate the revolution is to collaborate with the other players in the value chain, such as financial institutions, software providers and other fintechs in order to deliver tangible value to the customer in an intuitive way.”


Converged Communication Solutions

Continued growth at Converged Communication Solutions has prompted the appointment of two new staff members, with Carolynne Yule and Murray Duguid joining the team.

The latest appointments follow the firm strengthening its cybersecurity service earlier this year, which saw the recruitment of a chief security officer and the firm gaining Certification Body status under the Cyber Essentials scheme.

Yule joins the company as client engagement coordinator; a role that will see her work with clients to understand their IT and telephony requirements and support the delivery of these services. Yule has extensive experience in relationship management and commands a wealth of administration and customer service experience through various property management, office management and business development roles.

Duguid will assume the role of project manager, bringing with him more than two decades of experience in project and process management, service delivery and business development roles in the IT, multimedia and e-learning sectors. At Converged, Duguid will support operations across the business, managing the progress of projects from enquiry to post-installation evaluation.

Neil Christie, managing director of Converged Communication Solutions, said: “Converged has experienced sustained growth over the last few years, with new services, an expanded customer base and opening an office in Inverness. At Converged, we have always focused on the needs of our customers, it is what we feel sets us apart. These new roles will help us to continue to do that with renewed energy and fresh ideas.

“Carolynne and Murray have varied career backgrounds and they bring new skills and perspectives to the business, which is exciting. It is great to welcome them both to the Converged team and I look forward to seeing the valuable contributions they provide in supporting our wide client base and aiding the continued growth of the business.”


LendingCrowd

Fintech lending platform LendingCrowd has appointed Robbie McKenzie to the firm’s newly-created post of general counsel and chief risk & compliance officer.

McKenzie is a dual-qualified lawyer, holding practising certificates in Scotland and England, and joins the firm from London-based private equity fund manager, Pollen Street Capital. He will lead the company’s legal, risk and compliance function while acting as an anti-money laundering officer.

In his new role, McKenzie will help to ensure the fintech lender adheres with the FCA’s new rules on peer-to-peer platforms, due to come into effect in December 2019.

Stuart Lunn, founder and CEO of LendingCrowd, commented: “Few organisations of our size employ an in-house general counsel. However, LendingCrowd is committed to being a leader in regulation and compliance, rather than simply meeting our statutory obligations.

“We were one of the first fintech lenders to receive full FCA authorisation and our robust credit decisioning is supported by our cutting-edge proprietary technology and the experts in our Credit Team. I am delighted to welcome Robbie to the team and look forward to him playing a leading role in ensuring we meet the highest regulatory standards as we continue on our ambitious growth strategy.”

McKenzie added: “These are exciting times for LendingCrowd and it is a real privilege to be joining them as we embark upon the next phase of our growth story. Stuart and the team have had a remarkable first five years and I’m confident that the next five will be even better.”


Brainnwave

Brainnwave has appointed Derek Burgess as VP of sales in a move that significantly boosts its senior team. Burgess brings with him more than 10 years of experience in sales and business development roles – joining the Edinburgh-based company from DigitalGlobe.

Prior to his time working in these roles, Burgess was also a data analyst and engineer. In his new position at Brainnwave, Burgess will help to expand the firm’s work with global organisations in the oil & gas, mining and utilities sectors.

Brainnwave has delivered projects with blue chip companies such as Aggreko, helping the firm to secure greater insights from data to drive viable business decisions. The Edinburgh company is also working on a major project to support in the management of gas flaring activities around the world.

Commenting on Burgess’ arrival, Brainnwave co-founder and CEO, Steve Coates, said: “This is a key appointment for us as we look to move forward with our growth plans. Derek’s expertise and in-depth understanding of the sectors we operate in will be invaluable to demonstrating how we can work with businesses, using their data to make a real impact on their operations and strategies.”

Burgess added: “I’m thrilled to join the Brainnwave team. It’s a growing, ambitious business that is already working with global leaders in the energy and housing sectors, and I’m looking forward to contributing to its journey.”


Capito

Mark Gibson has been appointed as the new managing director at IT services and solutions provider, Capito. Bringing with him more than 25 years’ of global senior management experience, Gibson has an established reputation for being an innovative and entrepreneurial leader, Capito said. Movers and Shakers June

Gibson will play a pivotal role in helping to develop and execute the company’s business strategy, particularly in operations and sales management. His appointment comes as the Livingston-headquartered firm is poised for a major nationwide expansion.

Prior to joining Capito, Gibson has held senior roles in a number of IT companies, including SAS/Memex, where he played a key role in the sale and subsequent integration of Memex. More recently at BLOXX, he was responsible for driving business development, sales and strategic partner relationships.

Chairman Alan Quinn commented: “I am delighted that a professional of Mark Gibson’s calibre will be joining our team as managing director. Mark comes to us with a wealth of experience in the IT industry and we are confident that his leadership will usher in a new era of strategic growth at Capito.”

Gibson added: “This is an exciting time to be joining Capito. Our team has never been stronger and all are committed to delivering exceptional service to our clients by providing them with the technology solutions that they need to achieve their business goals. I see a tremendous opportunity ahead to be the undisputed trusted IT partner of choice to both the private and public sectors across the UK.

“I look forward to the challenge of helping Capito to realise its ambitions.”


Float

Edinburgh-based fintech Float has announced the arrival of a new c-suite team as the company continues its growth ambitions.

The trio of appointments will see the Float team grow to 17 full-time members of staff, with the new hires offering the firm extensive experience in leading international expansion.

Jennifer Given, formerly of CashMaster, will join Float as COO, while Tim Leslie will assume the role of CTO following an extended spell as R&D manager at SumDog. Nick Cole, former managing partner at Teviot, has also joined as CMO.

Given said: “I hope to be able to use the experience I’ve gathered in my previous roles of growing Scottish tech businesses to support Float through an exciting period. I know it’s my job to help guide Float on this upward trajectory and deliver extensive and sustainable growth.”

The trio will be responsible for helping Float maintain an extended period of high growth in which the firm has shifted its primary route to market and signed several leading global accountancy firms to its new partnership programme.

Float CEO and co-founder, Colin Hewitt, commented: “Following the introduction of Making Tax Digital, and with the colossal uptake of services like Xero, we are witnessing a breakthrough moment for digital accounting. In many ways, it’s the moment we’ve been waiting for since Float launched, and we hope the new team will help us capitalise on the extra interest and investment in this space.

“Our priority is to sign up progressive accountancy firms which understand that the future of accountancy is digital. Our new c-suite has a tremendous track record of building teams, growing businesses and meeting ambitious growth objectives and we expect them to prove these skills again with Float.”

Read the full article here.


Expansions

Eyecademy

Eyecademy officially announced its expansion of operations into the North East of England in June as part of a move aimed at strengthening the company’s provision of data, analytics and consultancy.

Long-term, the expansion will enable the firm to “continue to deliver insights to enterprise across the UK”, the firm said in a statement.

The Glasgow-based firm has acquired new offices at the Core in Newcastle city centre. Eyecademy will join a host of companies at the innovation hub, including the National Innovation Centre for Data. Leading the North East expansion is the company’s newly-appointed regional development manager, Michael McMeekin.

Commenting on the expansion, managing director Colin West said: “2019 has started very strongly for us, and this injection of growth and expansion into England through our Newcastle office brings exciting times for us all at Eyecademy. Our expertise in driving data, coupled with our strong reputation for quality, gives us a great chance to impact businesses in this region much more effectively.”

West added: “The recent hire of our regional development manager in Michael McMeekin just endorses our desire to utilise local talent as effectively as possible. Having lived and worked his entire life in Newcastle, Michael brings that classic blend of industry experience and pure passion to the role.

“He fully understands the challenges faced in the North East of England, and we are excited that he is on board.”


Awards

AutoRek

AutoRek, the financial controls, regulatory reporting and data management platform, has been awarded ‘Best Insurance System’ at the 2019 bobsguide awards.

The awards are judged based on the strength of technology updates and their impact on the client experience, as well as how systems stand out in the marketplace. Several evaluation rounds were carried out as part of the judging process, including user and market engagement.

Commenting on the award, AutoRek’s head of marketing, Lyn Canavan, said: “We are proud to have won Best Insurance System with bobsguide for the first time. The recognition rewards the commitment that our team have put into the development of our insurance product and solutions.

“Our insurance system is implemented across the insurance industry and allows firms to fulfil their financial, operational, risk control and reporting obligations.”


Polly Purvis OBE

Abertay University announced that Polly Purvis OBE, chief executive of ScotlandIS, is set to receive an honorary degree at this year’s summer graduations. Movers and Shakers June

Purvis will join almost 600 students for morning and afternoon ceremonies at Caird Hall in Dundee on Thursday the 4th July. Scots language advocate, Matthew Fitt, psychology professor Bruce Hood and public servant Eddie Frizzell will also be awarded honorary degrees on the day.

Students will graduate from Abertay’s four academic schools during the ceremonies – Design & Informatics; Social and Health Sciences; Science, Engineering and Technology and Dundee Business School.

Professor Nigel Seaton, principal and vice-chancellor, said: “Our honorary graduates have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields and we are very pleased to recognise their outstanding achievements.

“They are role models for our students, and for the University community more widely, and I look forward to welcoming them to our summer graduation ceremonies.”

Purvis has served as chief executive of ScotlandIS for the last six years as is set to retire later in 2019. Throughout her time with the technology industry body, Purvis has spearheaded initiatives to help tackle skills shortages in Scotland’s digital technology sector.

She has also worked to help close the gender pay gap in the industry and played a role in establishing digital skills academy, CodeClan. In 2018, Purvis was presented with the Lifetime Achievement prize at the Scotland Women in Technology Awards, while the year before she was awarded an OBE.



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