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Movers and Shakers: January 2018

Brian Baglow

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Far from being the quietest month of the year, January 2018 took off like an overexcited rocket, with new appointments, expansions, relocations and acquisitions galore. Here’s the extended director’s cut of the DIGIT’s definitive Movers and Shakers…

Appointments

Susan Russell Joins Criton Apps as Head of Marketing

Criton AppsCriton Apps has appointed Susan Russell, the former Marketing Manager of Festivals Edinburgh to spearhead its international sales drive. Susan, who has been integral to the award-winning promotion of Edinburgh as the Festival City globally for the past nine years, will be responsible for ensuring Criton achieves the traction it needs within the tourism and hospitality market to become a major player. Her industry experience also includes Women in Tourism, where she is both Founder and Chairperson, and VisitScotland.

Julie Grieve, founder and CEO of Criton Apps, said: “This is a very exciting time for the business and we are building a strong team with extensive industry experience to meet our global ambitions.
“I am delighted that Susan is joining us. I’ve witnessed her drive and insight through promoting Edinburgh’s Festivals and I am excited to be working with her. Criton will grow through her knowledge of digital development, global media and partnership working.”

Susan takes the title of Head of Marketing and starts alongside two new business development managers, Karina Ogunyemi and Sadiah Mir. Karina, who joins from Travel Tech Europe, will head up Criton’s London sales office at the Tech Lab, while Sadiah will continue to build on Criton’s sales in Scotland from its HQ at Codebase, Edinburgh.


MBN Solutions DirectorsMBN Solutions Appoints Two New Directors Following Best Ever Year

MBN Solutions has promoted Peter Docherty to the position of Managing Director of MBN Solutions and Robin Huggins to Director of Academy & Client Services, in recognition of the importance of the MBN Academy and its role in supporting the development of exceptionally high-performing recruitment consultants.

MBN CEO Michael Young said “This promotion reflects Peter’s exceptional leadership and business management skills and is a result of our continued growth.  With my day-to-day focus extended to the growth of our related business ventures and MBN Group opportunities, I am pleased to be able to rely on Peter’s skills, determination and success to continue our growth story.”

Paul Forrest, the chairman of MBN, said: “Rob is a key member of the MBN leadership team and it is his role leading our account management activities and the MBN Academy that have contributed greatly to our growth over the last few years.  Recognising the important role our people make is an important pillar of our employment proposition.  We will continue to offer our best performers the opportunity to take on leadership roles as we continue to grow.”


Mark Weir joins Cisco as the regional director, UK & Ireland for Cyber Security.

Before joining Cisco, Mark was the UK & Ireland regional director for cyber security specialist Fortinet.

Mark told DIGIT: “Really excited to announce that I have joined Cisco to lead the Cyber Security Practice for the UK&I. I have admired, competed and partnered with Cisco over many years so great to actually work directly to drive the Cyber business to Hyper growth.

“In today’s world of increased threat and risk there are not many companies that can truly help mitigate these threats and bring about the change  and consolidation this industry needs, I am glad I am working at a company that can.”


Sarah Murray - ResDiaryResDiary Appoints Sarah Wilkinson as Managing Director

Glasgow-based online reservation system, ResDiary, has appointed Sarah Wilkinson (nee Murray), former Chief Operating Officer of Carluccio’s, as Managing Director.

Sarah, who worked with Carluccio’s for 18 years, has been brought in to encourage new growth sectors, improving processes and procedures to facilitate this. As one of the founding team that helped Carluccio’s grow into a large restaurant group, Sarah will be instrumental in spearheading ResDiary’s move to scale from an SME.

Founder and CEO, Mike Conyers said: “The team and I are really looking forward to working with Sarah. Her experience in building and managing a chain of restaurants will be crucial in our ongoing growth and development.

“From a team of two, we now have 84 employees across the globe, and 2016 and 2017 were years of unprecedented growth for us. Sarah is here to ensure this carries on in the same vein for 2018. Her in-depth connection to the industry will ensure that as we grow, we continue to be a partner, rather than a supplier, to venues.”

Sarah Wilkinson said: “Joining ResDiary has come at the perfect time for me. I love the way the company works; there’s a strong family culture and everyone enjoys what they do. It’s clear the team is passionate about the system, believing it’s the best on the market, and that makes me really excited about developing both them, and the product.

“Although this is a slight change in industry for me, ResDiary is first and foremost a software for restaurants, which is where my passion remains. I know that my experience in growing a business like Carluccio’s will be invaluable here and I believe we’ll go from strength to strength together.”


Sam Wason & Gordon Kaye, CathcartCathcart Associates Appoints 10 New Consultants As Turnover Grows

Independent IT recruitment specialists Cathcart Associates has hired 10 new consultants over the last year as the business expands further in Manchester and the north of England. Manchester has been a key focus area for the business over the last year as the city has witnessed an increase in demand for tech specialists.

Overseas, Cathcart Energy, which focuses on finding talent for the renewable energy industry, opened an office in Sweden and is set to expand to further locations in 2018.

The recruitment firm has also added to its client portfolio, growing from 90 companies last year to 119 this year.

The annual turnover for the whole group reached £6.5 million in the last 12 months, up from £5 million in  2016.

Sam Wason, co-founder and director of Cathcart Associates, says: “The IT sector in Scotland, particularly in Edinburgh has experienced real growth in the last 12 months and we have noticed the increase in demand from companies to find the best IT talent for a range of tech roles. This boost has had a positive impact on our business as seen in our results and growth this year.”


Dentsu Aegis NetworkDentsu Aegis Network Appoints Two New Senior Staff Members

International brand strategy specialist Kirstee Macbeth joins Dentsu Aegis Network Edinburgh as a Head of Strategy. Kirstee previously launched a strategic consultancy after setting up the Scottish office of entertainment marketing company AKA, and is Vice President of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Council. She joins the agency with over 20 years’ experience in strategic planning, brand development and consumer marketing.

Ian Martin joins the agency as Strategy Director from the 7stars where he held the position of Account Director. Ian has extensive experience of delivering business-changing strategies across a range of sectors and high profile clients including Dell EMEA, VW and ScottishPower.

Dentsu Aegis Network Edinburgh, which employs 65 people in Scotland, ended 2017 with a number of significant new client appointments, delivering leading strategic communications insight to brands including innovative business lender Ultimate Finance, and Vin de Bordeaux.

Kirstee said: “I am delighted to be joining Dentsu Aegis Network in Edinburgh. The business has a history of great work, great people and fantastic clients; with strategy and insight at the heart of its work. With a focus on leading marketing communications within the Scottish market, it is the perfect place to continue helping clients achieve their strategic brand and business objectives.”

Ian comments: “Dentsu Aegis Network has had a very exciting year in 2017.  I’m eager to join such an ambitious team that offers clients a unique proposition drawn from the strength and capabilities of the network. Their model allows it to deliver significant differentiation in the market where clients need to adapt to digital disruption to succeed.”

David Crawley, Managing Partner of Dentsu Aegis Network Edinburgh, said: “We are committed to meeting the needs of our clients in an increasingly disruptive world. Our recent investment in senior talent, the development of our digital products and propositions, and a new state-of-the-art office, ensures we are strategically placed to help clients navigate the digital economy.”


 

New Business

Broker Insights TeamScottish Games Giants Back New Insurtech Venture

Long-time business partners and games industry stalwarts, Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns have teamed up with two senior brokers to launch a new insurtech firm in Dundee.

Broker Insights is co-founded by Fraser Edmond and Iain Crole, both formerly top executives at Aviva UK, and Sandy Cairnie, a Dundee-based tech entrepreneur, this new venture will be chaired by Van der Kuyl, with Burns operating as a non-executive director.

Broker Insights aims to use technology to bridge the information gap between brokers and insurers. By enabling customer data to be shared on a trusted platform, the firm aims to help brokers access more products and services for their clients while helping insurers increase their distribution reach.

In doing so, they hope to maximise distribution and sales of insurance products through brokers across the UK, driving down costs and boosting the bottom line.

Edmond, said “There is a huge opportunity to make an impact by helping to modernise a very traditional marketplace by focusing on data analytics, user experience and bringing the UK’s insurers and brokers much closer together so they can trade better.

“We see scope for the model being replicated in other territories and have built international expansion into our strategy and product roadmap from day one.”

Van der Kuyl, said “These guys bring deep industry sector knowledge, first mover advantage and tonnes of ambition to a market that knows it needs to embrace the application of technology and data analytics to drive efficiencies.

“We’re very excited about the prospects for the business and I look forward to working closely with the team over the months and years ahead to help ensure they reach their full potential.”


Insight & ActionEuan Robertson, CEO Insights & ActionInsight & Action Ltd.

Insight & Action is an advisory firm that specialises in the challenges of building future proof data-driven businesses.

Led by Euan Robertson, who originally trained as a control engineer and published research into AI applications as far back as the 1980s, Insight & Action was established based on the belief that every organization is a system which can benefit from greater insight and control.

Insight and Action is helping clients in the Private Equity, High Growth and Enterprise space to understand how Analytical and AI techniques can add value to their businesses.


Expansions

Systal LogoSystal Creating 30 New Jobs at Glasgow HQ

Systal Technology Solutions create 30 new jobs at the company’s Robroyston HQ, creating a new incident management team to handle business-critical technical problems and security breaches.

The team is being created due to increased demand for local assistance during critical incidents such as cyberattacks, or equipment failures. The team will be the front line responders for clients encountering major IT problems, tasked with getting systems operational as quickly as possible.

Neil Nicolson, director at Systal, said: “Efficient IT operations are one of the hallmarks of business continuity today. The trouble is, new technologies mean that infrastructures are getting increasingly complicated and dynamic, and there’s the growing threat of cybercrime to contend with too.

“In turn, this means increasing demand for incident management teams with sophisticated skill sets, and a wealth of experience – and this can’t be easily delivered offshore.

“We are really proud of our onshore operations centre and how it enables us to offer our customers really close partnerships and fantastic continuity of service. The new incident management team will be an integral part of the operations centre and its expansion moving forward, and we’re pleased to be in a position that allows us to create highly skilled IT roles in the region.”


FinTech Previse Expands With New Scottish Office

Previ.se logoPrevise, the London-based start-up is to open a new development centre in Glasgow, creating 37 new data science jobs.

Previse’s technology uses artificial intelligence to enable large businesses to pay suppliers the day an invoice is received. Using hundreds of millions of data points, it creates an independent score of a multinational buyer’s likelihood of paying an invoice. The technology uses this to make a decision about which invoices will be paid, so funding can be extended to SME suppliers instantly.

This technology aims to tackle the problem of late payment for the supply chain, which has been identified as a growing challenge for Britain’s small businesses. With a reported 60% experiencing the problem, figures show that late payments force 50,000 UK businesses to close every year.

The company worked with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International to support the creation of the new Previse Glasgow office. In addition, Previse has a partnership with The Data Lab, to enable the company to tap into Scotland’s top data science academics for two projects which will further develop its data analytics technology later in 2018.


Be-IT expansionBe-IT Moves To New Office, Appoints New Directors

Specialist IT recruitment company Be-IT is investing over £100,000 in a new central Glasgow headquarters, as part of an expansion into new markets including Ireland and the North West of England.

The company provides specialist recruiting services for professionals within IT, Digital, Project Management and Leadership roles.

Be-IT, which currently has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast is forecasting turnover in excess of £12 million in its fourth full year of trading. As part of the expansion, Be-IT has also restructured its upper management, with Nikola Kelly becoming managing director and Gareth Biggerstaff appointed CEO.

Be-IT is now considering strategic acquisitions to help it achieve its growth plans.

Mr Biggerstaff told DIGIT: “The new Glasgow office really is a significant landmark in the journey of the business. It proves that our brand is transportable and further expansion is more than viable. The new facility will allow us to cement our position in Scotland and aid our expansion plans into Ireland.

“November was a landmark month for us as turnover exceeded £1 million for the first time, which reflects the buoyancy of the market. We are a young business and our strategy is always to expand and scale as we operate, the time is now right for us to take the next step.”


KPV Lab LogoKPV Lab Opens First Edinburgh Office

German software development company KPV LAB will establish its first UK office in Edinburgh.

KPV Lab is a new organisation, created in 2015, which incorporates Hyper Digital. Hyper Digital was itself formed out of the Edinburgh-based sub.blue in 2011.

According to the company’s website: “KPV LAB, currently in stealth mode, is the behind-the-scenes parent company for a number of projects we are developing. Each considers new ways to visualise, explore and interactive with information that reveals unique value and experiences in the process.

For the moment we are quietly developing the projects, but shall reveal more the closer we get to launch.”

Commenting on the new Edinburgh office, HyperDigital founder and KPV LAB Edinburgh director Tom Beddard said, the new Scottish operation will compliment KPV LAB’s existing offices in Berlin and Munich and see it “properly participate in the thriving tech scene in Edinburgh.”


Incremental Group Opens New Manchester Office

Digital transformation and Microsoft Dynamics specialist, Incremental, with backing from investors, Maven Capital Partners and the Scottish Investment Bank, is creating a new office in Manchester’s media city.

Neil Logan, Chief Executive Officer of Incremental Group said: “Having a presence in the North West is strategically important to us as we expand across the UK.  We spent time evaluating several options and believe Manchester, and in particular our new base in Media City, provides us with the right platform to continue to grow our customer base and attract excellent digital technologists.”

Tim Newns, chief executive officer, MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “Incremental is a welcome addition to Greater Manchester’s digital landscape and to MediaCityUK in particular which is currently home to 7,000 digital experts. Being the largest creative, digital and tech hub outside London and a top 20 European digital city means the region continues to attract innovative tech companies that have key specialisms including data analytics, cloud computing, Microsoft Dynamics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It will be exciting to see Incremental grow and expand in Greater Manchester and MediaCityUK is the perfect place to do it.”

Incremental already employs 70 staff in its Glasgow and Aberdeen offices. Recruitment to expand its Commercial function is underway and the business could employ an additional 60 people across all disciplines by 2020.


Harlequin Group LogoHarlequin Group Acquires New Office as Part of £200,000 Investment

Harlequin, which was founded in 1993, was created to offer multi-site acquisition services to the telecoms industry. The company expanded to Scotland in 2002 and now counts Openreach, Everything Everywhere Limited (EE), Nokia, Arqiva and HF Comms as clients.

Russell Frith, who leads the company’s Scotland operations, undertaking a range of consultancy services including site acquisition, town planning, surveying, estates management, structural and electrical design, site build and integration, as well as IT security services.

The company has grown its staff numbers in Scotland from two to 18 and has now purchased its own premises as part of a wider £200,000 investment.

With the success of the client growth in Scotland, Harlequin also offers operational capability in Northern Ireland, with resource based in Belfast.

Mr Frith, said: “This is a hugely critical step for us in our future growth… I’ve been here since we launched Harlequin in Scotland and the key to the progress we’ve made is very much down to our people.

“We’ve always looked to recruit locally where possible and as we move forward we’ll continue to look close to home as new opportunities arise.”

 


Relocations

TravelTek LogoTravel Tech Company Opens New Office Following £5.3M Investment

Traveltek Group has created new jobs and opened a new East Kilbride HQ following a £5.3 million investment from private equity fund manager YFM secured at the end of 2016.

Traveltek Group’s international director Gillian Anderson said: “It’s been a remarkable year for Traveltek, with 70 new staff members joining our workforce, both at our East Kilbride headquarters, and in new and expanding markets across the Middle East and Asia.

“As we look ahead to 2018, we are confident the extensive research and development we have conducted this year will lead to the roll out of new industry-first technology, positioning Scotland as a global hub for innovation.”

In December 2017 Traveltek was awarded the World’s Leading Dynamic Packaging Solutions Provider prize for the fourth year running at the World Travel Awards 2017, staving off competition from contenders including Expedia.


Lorien Recruitment LogoTech Recruiter Moves Into Larger Edinburgh HQ

Tech recruitment firm Lorien has moved into a new office at the newly-refurbished Randolph House in Edinburgh.

Lorien hopes to strengthen its roots in the capital with the new 3,162 sq ft first floor office space at the new building, part of the Charlotte Square collection. Lorien joins tech company QikServe in the building, with the new restaurant brand @pizza on the ground floor.

 


Acquisitions

Northgate Public Service Acquired by NEC

Northgate Public Services (NPS) is a software and services provider to the public sector. The company has approximately 30 staff in its Glasgow office and around 2,000 worldwide. The acquisition by the Japanese tech giant has been valued at $475 million.

NEC and NPS have ruled out any redundancies or board-level replacements as part of the deal. NEC said it will use the acquisition to push into the UK and Australian markets, while putting NPS through an international expansion drive across the US and Asia.

NPS provides software underpinning many public services, including technology that collects UK council tax and administers out-of-work benefits. It works with every police force in the UK as well as 95% of UK local authorities.

NPS Chief executive Stephen Callaghan said: “Combined with NEC’s business, we will now be able to offer a wider suite of services and software to our existing client base, whilst also expanding in new geographies and technology sectors. The increased financial strength, technical capability and market access support NEC provides will allow us to accelerate our growth plans considerably and I am enthusiastic about our future prospects.”


Network ROI LogoNetwork ROI Completes Employee Buyout

Midlothian-based Network ROI, has completed an employee buy-out after receiving £1 million in funding from alternative finance specialist, ThinCats.

Founded in 2003 by Sean Elliot, Network ROI’s initial focus was to provide IT support to companies in Scotland. As the company grew, its focus also expanded to delivering a full range of managed IT and connectivity services to organisations throughout the UK.

Network ROI now has 32 employees, all with a stake in the business as a result of ThinCats’ financing.

CEO Sean Elliot, said: “We started looking at this in 2012. I was coming up to 50, and we began to look at an exit strategy and a business plan to support that. I considered the usual options such as a trade sale, but came across the concept of employee ownership.”

The company needed £1 million to finance the transition, and went looking for sources of capital.

“We had a beauty parade and narrowed down potential funding sources to two – ThinCats and a conventional high street bank,” says Sean. “While the bank’s business development people were keen to construct a loan that was viable for us, when it was referred to the credit committee we were presented with more draconian covenants, such as a shorter repayment term and taking all our business to the bank, which made the deal a lot less attractive.

“The loan has allowed us to transition to full employee ownership, facilitating my succession,” says Sean. “When we complete the second five-year phase, we may well look to ThinCats to refinance that.”


PCM Provista AcquisitionPCM Inc. Acquires ProVista UK

Technology solutions provider PCM, Inc. (PCMI) has acquired Glasgow-based Provista Technology Services Ltd. and its subsidiary, Provista UK Ltd., collectively known as Provista UK.

Provista UK was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Glasgow, with offices in Aberdeen and Birmingham. The company offers expertise across a range of technologies and manufacturers including Cisco, Avaya, Cisco Meraki, and other vendors, offering all aspects of cloud networking, cloud video, hyperconvergence, security, collaboration, secure wireless and IP LAN, WAN & data centre networks. Provista holds some of the highest certifications in the UK marketplace including Cisco Gold, Avaya Sapphire Partner, Cisco Meraki, and VMware Solutions Provider, amongst others.

The acquisition gives PCM UK the immediate capability to deliver networking, security, unified communications and data center solutions backed with feature-rich services and support offerings to the UK market. Provista UK is also expected to contribute to PCM UK’s growth of existing managed services and multi-lingual global service desk within Europe.


Rebranding

Unifii LogoService Integrators Becomes Unifii

Service Integrators, the service management and ServiceNow automation and integration specialist has re-branded to become Unifii.

Founded in 2010, Service Integrators opened its first office in London, operating throughout the UK and Europe. More recently it has expanded to open a second office in Edinburgh and a technology base in New Delhi, India.

Unifii is a specialist consultancy that helps clients align their technology with their business goals and deliver the tools and processes needed to support the business internally and externally. They enable businesses to respond to market opportunities faster, by simplifying the service delivery, integrating disparate systems and automating processes.

Unifii has helped numerous clients develop technology to enable faster and more effective responses to their needs. Clients include: NHS Education for Scotland, Office for National Statistics, Computacenter, Timico, ABB Group and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Mike Glock, Director, of Unifii, told DIGIT: “The past year has been an incredible one for Service Integrators. Our re-brand is the next step in our evolution to better show the world who we are and what we do, with a new name and a new brand identity.

“The new name, Unifii, comes from the aspiration to bring together our three key offerings: Innovation, Integration and Implementation.”

Unifii’s new website can be found at www.unifii.co.uk


Awards/Honours/Stuff

Callum Sinclair, Partner and Head of Technology, Burness PaullCallum Sinclair, head of technology at Burness Paull was one of only two Scottish-based lawyers included in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2018 list. He was among only eight disruptors on the list.

The publication said: “Sinclair has gone into battle to bring topics such as blockchain and artificial intelligence into the lexicon of even the staunchest traditionalists….in the process, he has opened doors the firm would not even have knocked on before.

“As sponsor of the firm’s first legal technologist, he is building a team that is driving a transformational agenda. More bluntly, over the past year Sinclair’s team has seen its revenue, powered by clients such as Skyscanner and the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, increase by more than 25%

Mr Sinclair said: “It is an amazing honour to be included in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2018. I am following some very illustrious company and I hope I can live up to the standards they have set. I’m especially delighted to be named as only one of eight hot disruptors alongside lawyers from famous names like Linklaters, Allen & Overy and Mischon de Reya.

“The legal sector was slow to grasp the opportunities presented by new technology and in some ways, we are still playing catch-up – but the last three years have seen a real transformation and improvement for the better.”

 

 

 

Movers and shakers

Brian Baglow

Editor

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