TD Weekly (20/09/2019)

From the launch of new growth programmes for UK technology companies to a £110 million funding round for a Cardiff-based fintech firm, here’s the latest news from the Welsh tech sector. 

Applications open for Tech Nation growth programmes

Tech Nation is calling for ambitious technology businesses and entrepreneurs to apply for three of the UK’s most renowned growth programs.

Led by the industry body, Future Fifty, Upscale and Rising Stars have been designed to scale and grow the next generation of British tech firms.

The bespoke programmes are available for businesses at every stage of growth: early-stage (Rising Stars), mid-stage (Upscale) and late-stage (Future Fifty). Prestigious alumni include UK heavyweights Monzo, Starling Bank, Darktrace, Deliveroo and Skyscanner.

Gino Brancazio, Wales entrepreneur engagement manager at Tech Nation, commented: “Welsh innovation has never been more rapid, and the race to become Wales’ first tech unicorn is well and truly on. 

“Tech Nation’s startup competition Rising Stars, and scaleup programmes Upscale and Future Fifty, offer tech companies from across Wales the chance to accelerate their growth with tailored support from industry experts and peers. 

“With Tech Nation alumni already including Swansea’s Veeqo, Caerphilly’s Awen Collective and Cardiff’s Delio, I hope to see many more familiar names joining the Tech Nation cohorts this year, and encourage all Welsh tech companies to take a look at the brilliant opportunities on offer.”

Fintech entrepreneur wins award

Gareth Lewis, co-founder and CEO of fintech provider Delio, was recently recognised at this year’s ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) Top 100 Young CAs Awards for embracing technology in finance. 

Every year, the professional body celebrates bright and innovative accountants shaping the future of the industry. Gareth was awarded as a result of the work he’s doing at Delio.

Based in Cardiff, the firm develops and offers white-label technology services that help investors identify unique investment opportunities within private markets.

Gareth Lewis said: “I am proud to have my journey with Delio recognised by ICAS. We have grown from strength to strength and I am thrilled to see where our technology will take us next.

“At Delio, we see how our technology helps a range of financial institutions connect with investors in the private markets in real-time. Our technology has become an efficient and scalable solution. It helps some of the world’s most prominent organisations do more for their clients.”

Fintech company raises £110 million 

One of Wales’ fastest-growing technology companies, Sonovate, has raised £110 million of debt and equity finance in a deal led by M&G Investments, MXB Holdings Inc, Dawn Capital and Rocket Internet SE.

Sonovate, which is based in Cardiff, helps businesses working with contingent workers to unlock their growth potential. Its platform provides SMEs and freelancers with upfront funding against unpaid invoices.

The firm said it’ll use the funds to “advance its core product offering, reach into new international markets including Germany, the Netherlands and America and optimise finance for SME and mid-market businesses”.

Kevin Haupert, director at M&G Investments, said “The experienced management team at Sonovate has a clear understanding of what companies in the recruitment and manpower sector require, resulting in an innovative offering fit for purpose for the digital age. 

“This investment from our pension fund and institutional clients will enable Sonovate to expand its business, unlocking further much-needed capital to SMEs across the UK.”

Cyber student takes part in global competition 

A cyber security student from Cardiff has returned home from competing in the WorldSkills 2019 ‘Vocational Olympics’, which took place in Russia.

19-year-old Kyle Woodward, who studies at National Cyber Security Academy at the University of South Wales, represented Wales as part of a 30-strong team.

He competed in the cyber security events at the event after winning the UK round of the cyber competition. WorldSkills takes place every two years, with over 1,600 young people taking part. 

Kyle said: “The benefits of being involved in WorldSkills have been amazing. You go into it with very little understanding of what it’s like in industry.

“And you very quickly learn what is needed – that it’s not just about the ability to do work in your chosen career, but it’s about confidence, networking, being able to talk to people and discuss what you’re all about.”