Directorzone

COMPANIES: Anaplan to Skyscanner - Unicorns*

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on January 18, 2016, 9:00 am in News, Other

IMAGE: courtesy of Anley Piers / Unicorn & me


News about 13 UK growth companies and/or accelerators in the GRID marketplace, 10th – 16th January 2016:

 

First Oil £138m | Joseph Joseph £42m | GW Pharmaceuticals £28.5m | John Guest £127.5m | Ayesha Vardag Solicitors £6.5m | Venntro £42m | Skyscanner £93m | CMC Markets £157.9m | Reece Group £60m | Gigaclear £7m | Babylon Health | Anaplan | KBC Advanced Technologies

* Unicorns: "Private tech companies with a $1bn valuation are called unicorns because of their rarity. Anaplan joins Skyscanner, the Edinburgh online travel agent, and an estimated 17 other unicorns with British roots". FT 14 January.


Crude fall hammers Aberdeen tycoon | Danny Fortson, Sunday Times. 10th January.

FIRST OIL

DZ profile: Zennor Petroleum Limited

Business: bills itself as the largest British-owned private oil company in the North Sea. The company holds a 15% stake in Kraken, a $3bn development
Launched: 2001
Location: Aberdeen
Founder: Ian Suttie, 68. £350m fortune. Suttie, a prominent Aberdeen figure, bought the Broadford Works, a 19th-century textile mill in the heart of the city.
Financials: made a £17m loss on £138m turnover in the year to April 2014 — when the oil price was still more than $100.
News: Put itself up for sale after Suttie declined a request from lenders to inject cash as part of a restructuring. The 70% plunge in the price of crude has battered independent explorers, especially in the North Sea, where costs are among the highest in the world.

UPDATE: First Oil Expro broken up after administration deal | Gareth Mackie, The Scotsman. February 22 2016
North Sea explorer First Oil Expro has called in administrators from KPMG in the wake of sharp declines for crude prices. Following their appointment, the administrators agreed to sell a number of the company’s assets – including subsidiaries FIRST OIL & GAS and ANTRIM RESOURCES, which remain outside administration – to ZENNOR PETROLEUM, a Surrey-based oil and gas company. The deal paves the way for First Oil’s interests in North Sea producing fields Bacchus, Causeway, Cormorant East and Mungo & Monan – along with the undeveloped Glenn and Platypus discoveries – to transfer to Zennor.

 


JOSEPH JOSEPH: twins scoop £3.5m payout | Simon Duke, Sunday Times.
DZ profile: Joseph Joseph Ltd

Business: international household and kitchen products brand. kitchenware now sold in more than 100 countries, and its range includes £8 potato peelers and a £140 recycling bin. It has subsidiaries in America and France.
Founders: twin brothers, 41, Richard Joseph, managing director, and Antony, design director.
Launched: 2003 after their father, who owns a glass manufacturing business, gave them £10,000-worth of chopping boards made by his own factory. They used the profits from selling the stock to start their own enterprise.

Location: London

Staff: 110
Financials: rise in revenues from £40m to £42m for the 12 months to May. Pre-tax profits fell from £11m to £10m.
News:
1. received more than £3.5m in dividends last year, almost three times the previous year’s total
2. set up offshoots in Japan and Germany, which should be in operation within months.

UPDATE:

Let’s make it uncool for copycats, plead inventors | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times. June 26 2016
3. Has protection for each of his 450 products yet his lawyers spend about 85% of their time defending JJ designs. “One of the benefits of remaining in the EU was that it was easier to register designs across the entire continent,” he said. “Five years ago we spent more money on defending our designs than we did creating them. That gives you an idea of how bad it can get.”

Busy in the kitchen | Oliver Shah, The Sunday Times. April 2 2017.
4. Joseph Joseph recorded a 6% rise in sales last year to £44.4m, but profits fell as it expanded abroad and invested in its systems.
... pre-tax profits dropped by more than a third to £6.5m in the year to last May.The brothers shared a £3.5m dividend. 

5. Richard said Joseph Joseph had launched offices in Germany and Japan, opened a new warehouse and installed a new IT system during the year. “We took the opportunity to have a year of investment and restructuring to drive growth, which is paying off” he said.



GW PHARMACEUTICALS: Cannabis outfit’s accounting haze | Peter Evans, Sunday Times.
DZ profile: GW Pharmaceuticals Plc

Business: uses the compounds found in cannabis to develop treatments for multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cancer and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It processes hundreds of tonnes of cannabis each year. The plant is known to relieve pain, while some scientists believe it could have other medicinal properties. However, some analysts are sceptical that cannabis-derived treatments can combat the extreme pain caused by cancer. Interest in the commercial potential of cannabis has increased since four US states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — decriminalised the drug and 19 others legalised its use for medicinal purposes. Secured backing from more than 20 regulators around the world for a multiple sclerosis treatment called Sativex — the first legally approved cannabis-based medicine.
Launched: 1998
Location: Cambridge
Founder: Geoffrey Guy
Team: Justin Gover, chief executive
Staff: 350 people.
Financials: Last year more than doubled its pre-tax loss to £57.1m on revenue of £28.5m.
Investment: 2001 flotation on London’s junior Aim market. Since its dual listing on Nasdaq in 2013 it has raised $450m, which enabled development of Epidiolex, an experimental drug for childhood epilepsy
News: has admitted to a “material weakness” in its accounting practices, adding that its internal financial controls were “not effective” as of September 30. ... the problems related to the “accuracy of clinical study budgets” — a fundamental consideration for any drug developer. GW said it failed to identify payments it was due as a result of reaching certain milestones in trials. It added that the admission was made to comply with stricter regulations in the US. It also said its accounts for last year had been vetted by Deloitte.


JOHN GUEST: Family set to reap £420m from sale of widget empire | Daniel Dunkley, Sunday Times.
DZ profile: John Guest International Limited

Business: manufacturing empire and one of Europe’s biggest suppliers of tubes and plastic fittings.
Founder: John Guest, a self-taught engineer who died in 2010, made his fortune from inventing tubes that are still used in pubs, homes and cars. The Guest family is worth £188m according to the latest Rich List.
Launched: 1961
Location: near Heathrow
Staff: more than 1,100 people
Financials: made a post-tax profit of £21.9m on sales of £127.5m in 2014, up from £18m the year before
News:
1. Robert, Barry and Tim Guest, sons of the company’s late founder, are in talks to give up control of their business to private equity giant AEA INVESTORS for a £420m sale. Family members Tristan, James and Tom Guest also have a stake in the company, according to account filings. AEA, which outbid the FTSE 100 investment firm 3i , has a few weeks to put the finishing touches on an agreement. Sources said that 3i is waiting in the wings if the talks break down.
2. AEA, co-founded by the Rockefeller family, is one of America’s oldest private equity firms. Set up in 1968, the New York outfit specialises in manufacturing and consumer companies. It last made a big investment in Britain in 2012, when it paid £234m for NES Global Talent, an oil and gas recruitment business. AEA is expected to hire new managers to run the manufacturer.


AYESHA VARDAG SOLICITORS How I made it: Ayesha Vardag, founder | Laura Onita, Sunday Times.
DZ profile: Vardags Limited

Business: family law practice. Vardags has its own financial forensics team to tackle spouses who hide their cash ahead of a divorce. Clients have included the wife of a Qatari prince and the Marchioness of Northampton.
Founder: Ayesha Vardag, one of Britain’s leading divorce lawyers. Vardag has an 87% stake in the business with the rest split between her second husband and the managing director.
Launched: 2005
Staff: 60 people
Financials: Last year the firm reported revenues of £6.5m.
News:
1. She acted for a former Miss Malaysia, Pauline Chai, who was last week granted a divorce in London from Khoo Kay Peng, a Malaysian multimillionaire and chairman of the retail chain Laura Ashley. Chai racked up about £3.5m in lawyers’ bills — and could spend even more as she and her husband still have to agree a financial settlement.
2. Vardags plans to diversify beyond divorce and family law into corporate law, tax law and wills and trusts for high net worth clients. The move might boost the firm’s growth, said Vardag, as family law allows lawyers to charge only for the time spent on the case. “We are not allowed to do contingency fees where we take a percentage of the outcome of a case.”


VENNTRO: The matchmaker behind Venntro trying to take daters to the next level | Joanna Bourke, Evening Standard. 11th January.
DZ profile:

Business: online dating app provider. Manages 25,000 dating sites worldwide. As well as having its own dating sites, such as Smooch to Man Central Dating, Venntro allows other businesses (including Date Ginger) to power their sites through its systems for a cut of the revenue generated from subscriptions. In return, it provides the technology, customer care and payment services. “Once a user or company clicks register, we do everything else,” explains Williams. The firm has grown rapidly through self-funded acquisitions such as WooWise and Revealr. Today it boasts that a new member joins every three seconds across its markets in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Canada and the US.
ICB Classification: 9535 Internet
Competitors: online dating market, dominated by giants Match, Plenty of Fish and Tinder
Founders: Ross Williams (its 73% shareholder) and Steve Pammenter (who has a 22% stake) with backing from a third, unnamed, stakeholder. Williams was last month spotted on the final of the TV show The Apprentice, advising Lord Sugar on the dating industry.
Launched: 2003
Location: Covent Garden, London.
Staff: 150 people
Financials: pre-tax profits of £1.6 million on sales of £42m in the year to August 31, and Williams has revenues of £50 million by 2018 in his sights.
News: This year Venntro will cater for new and existing customers by broadening its services. “We are looking for a way to help nurture new relationships with value-added products like lifestyle apps that could give them date ideas. It will likely be an app service with a monthly cost or a cost per download,” he says. To achieve this, the business launched an incubator division last year to drive innovation by working with tech start-ups. In return for an equity stake, Venntro is offering access to its database of 45 million customers plus office space, advice and investment. The business also intends to expand its US arm.


SKYSCANNER: Fundraising values Skyscanner at $1.6bn | Murad Ahmed, FT.


DZ profile: Skyscanner Limited

Business: online price comparison travel site. Has 60m monthly users, but faces intense competition from the likes of Priceline’s Kayak, a rival travel comparison site, Chinese site Qunar and Google.  It now has 10 offices worldwide and a website that is available in 30 languages. Hugh Campbell, of GP Bullhound, an investment bank, said: “What sets it apart is how they’ve really invested in the technology infrastructure — the ‘plumbing’ that connects everything behind the scenes to make their searches work. They’re definitely the best in the world at that.”
Launched: 2001
Location: Edinburgh. Has offices in the UK, Singapore, Beijing, Shenzhen, Miami, Barcelona, Sofia and Budapest.
Founders: Gareth Williams, 47, CEO and Bonamy Grimes and Barry Smith who started Skyscanner with minimal savings and scraped along for five years, by which time revenues were £1.5m.. The trio met on their first day of studying mathematics and computing at the University of Manchester. Following graduation, Mr Williams came up with the concept of a single site to search and book flights, after struggling to find the best flights through traditional travel agents. Once a prototype was built and began to be used by thousands, the three men concentrated on the project full time and opened offices in Edinburgh.
Staff: 770 people
Financials: 2014 revenues rose 42 per cent year on year to £93m. This represented a slowdown from the doubling of turnover recorded in 2013. Skyscanner has been looking to international expansion as a path to overcome slowing revenue growth. As well as its Japanese joint venture, it acquired Youbibi, a Chinese travel search company, in 2013. (20.2.16 revenues for 2015 reported 36 per cent up at £120m).
Investment: SEQUOIA CAPITAL, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm which has backed Google, Apple and Facebook, took a stake in the company in October 2013. Sequoia’s chairman Sir Michael Moritz sits on the board. Backers include CTRIP, YAHOO JAPAN, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund and Silicon Valley investment guru Sir Michael Moritz. SCOTTISH EQUITY PARTNERS backed the company as far back as 2007 with a £2.5m investment for a 40 per cent. At the time, its revenues were less than £1 million. SEP’s stake has since been diluted but remains the company’s largest investor.
News:
1. has received nearly $192m from new investors, including:
- ARTEMIS, the UK-based fund manager;
- BAILLIE GIFFORD, the Edinburgh-based investment group;
- KHAZANAH NASIONAL BERHAD, the strategic investment fund of the Malaysian government;
- VITRUVIAN PARTNERS, a European investment group;
- and YAHOO! Japan, the Asian online portal that already runs a joint venture with Skyscanner in its home country.
Will use the investment to fund acquisitions, expand internationally and fend off takeover offers from larger rivals in the fiercely competitive sector. Gareth Williams: “We’re fundamentally a profitable company with organic growth. We’re in a $500bn sector globally, so wanted to make sure we have the funds to accelerate growth.”
2. This move sees Skyscanner enter the small club of British ‘unicorns’ — private technology companies worth more than $1bn. The fundraising round makes Skyscanner one of the UK’s most highly valued technology start-ups ... at about $1.6bn, doubling its valuation since 2013.

Update:

China’s largest travel agency pays £1.4bn for Skyscanner | Mark Bridge, The Times. November 24, 2016
But prime minister, the world can’t resist our unicorns | Kiki Loizou, The Sunday Times
3. China’s largest travel agency paid £1.4bn for Skyscanner. Ctrip, which is part-owned by Baidu, China’s equivalent of Google, and is listed on Nasdaq, sells flights, rail tickets, hotels and package tours. Intelligence estimated recently that Ctrip dealt with almost 70 per cent of Chinese online travel transactions. Ctrip is keen to acquire the company’s knowledge as the number of Chinese tourists travelling abroad increases — numbers doubled from around 60 million to 120 million in the five years from 2010. Ctrip is determined to be the company best placed to gain from this wanderlust and it takes a scientific approach fitting well with Skyscanner’s skill in analytics and algorithms, fostered by its computer science graduate founders. Ctrip, whose main rivals are Priceline, which has a stake in the Chinese company, Expedia and TripAdvisor, will gain access to new European traveller markets but, more important, bring the tech unicorn’s insights and infrastructure to bear closer to home.
4. Skyscanner’s work on voice recognition systems and artificial intelligence could be game-changers in a market where almost 20 per cent of Chinese travellers use voice search to access services. China has formed a key part of Skyscanner’s expansion plans for years. Since 2012, it has seen business in the region increase 10-fold and two years ago it acquired Youbibi, a Chinese travel search engine.
5. For Williams, who used to work as an IT consultant for Marks & Spencer and Cantor Fitzgerald, the sale of Skyscanner is said to have marked a windfall worth more than £200m. The earnings will come in the form of cash and equity in Ctrip. His co-founders, who stepped away from full-time roles with Skyscanner a few years ago, will also have made millions from their shareholdings. …a substantial chunk of Skyscanner’s 800-strong workforce is set to share a pot of more than £100m.
6. Just one week before the Skyscanner sale was announced, Williams was crowned entrepreneur of the year at the Scottish Business Awards.
7. Williams has invested in education technology start-up ADMINISTRATE and MALLZEE, a fashion app run by Cally Russell, the son of Scottish National Party minister Mike Russell.



CMC MARKETS: float to trigger £200m windfall for founder Peter Cruddas | Harriet Agnew, FT.
DZ profile:

Business: spread-betting company which launched Europe’s first online trading platform in the 1990s. Has been upgrading its technology to interact with customers more frequently on their mobile devices. CMC’s clients, across 70 countries, trade in about 10,000 financial instruments including shares, indices, foreign currencies, commodities and treasuries, as well as contracts for difference and spread bets. It said on Wednesday that it had just over 44,000 active clients by the end of September last year. It processed some 45m trades in the financial year ending in March, and 34m in the six months to September.
ICB Classification: 8777 Investment Services
Launched: 1989
Location: London. The firm has regulated offices and branches in 14 countries
Founder: Peter Cruddas, chief executive. A self-made billionaire, prominent City figure and former Conservative party treasurer until 2012. A Mr Cruddas has made headlines outside of his business because of his political affiliations. Recently, Mr Cruddas pledged to give £1m to the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, making him one of the more high-profile figures (co-treasurer) backing the Vote Leave campaign. owns about 90 per cent of CMC
Financials: CMC’s net operating income rose from £107m to £143.6m in the two years to the end of March 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 16 per cent. The company wants to increase its total revenue from £157.9m in March 2015 to £250m within five years. 77 per cent jump in net income in the six months to September 30 following a large increase in customer trades. At the time, it said it would pay out £15m in dividends to shareholders, of which Monaco-based Mr Cruddas is the largest, with 89 per cent. CMC has invested around £65.7m on its Next Generation trading platform as it upgrades its technology to reflect how clients are increasingly trading on mobile devices. In the six months to September 30 the value of trades executed on mobile devices increased from 41 per cent to 48 per cent.
Investment: In 2007, Goldman Sachs took a 10 per cent stake in the company in a deal that was worth up to £140m, according to reports at the time.
News:
1. Plans to float on the main markets of the London Stock Exchange. ...next month, is expected to value the company at about £750m. Working with advisers at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. In preparation for a listing, Mr Cruddas has suggested that the company will list about 25 per cent of its shares but it may look to list a smaller percentage because of market conditions.
2. Peter Cruddas is planning to sell a minimum of 30 per cent and is set to make more than £200m from the IPO. “After the IPO I’ll still be a 60 per cent shareholder of the business with a two-year lock-in,” said Mr Cruddas. “I’m committed to the business for the next five years minimum.” Goldman is selling 4 per cent of the company, while employees are selling 1 per cent. CMC plans to raise about £17m through an offer of new shares that will be used to meet the group’s admission and staff incentive plan costs. ...is offering a client and staff share offering scheme. Based on their level of trading costs, clients will be offered a bonus share for every 10 shares they hold continuously for 12 months following admission and will qualify for up to £20,000 worth of shares.
3. The flotation comes almost a decade after it was first mooted. CMC was set to float in the summer of 2006 but the IPO was pulled because of volatile markets.
4. Spread betting firms were hit last year from the currency swings that ensued in January when the Swiss Central Bank unexpectedly abandoned its currency ceiling against the euro. CMC put aside £3.8m in related debt provisions and write-offs at the year end. Mr Cruddas said CMC fared better than many of its rivals: “We introduced position limits and tier margins. We didn’t allow clients to ramp up large positions on small amounts of money.”


REECE GROUP: In the footsteps of a Victorian great | Chris Tighe, FT.
DZ profile:

Business: Reece Group comprises engineering companies relocated from around Tyneside, manufacturing industrial products for international markets, from defence and power generation to oil and gas, subsea, construction and medical.
ICB Classification: 2727 Diversified Industrials
Launched: 1980s
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Founder: Alan Reece, a Newcastle University professor and engineer, who along with university colleagues applied the principles of ploughing soil to the ocean bed. They founded SMD and other businesses that have made Tyneside home to global leaders in subsea engineering.
Team: John Reece, 54, the group’s chairman, who studied mechanical engineering at Cambridge university, has led both SMD — no longer connected to Reece Group — and Pearson Engineering, designer and manufacturer of combat engineering equipment including the Spark roller. This innovation has won deals around the world, including valuable US military contracts. Use of the rollers in conflicts, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq, contributed to an eventual £100m cash pile for the Reece Group.
Staff: nearly 500 people
Financials: The group expects to report £60m turnover for 2015, having spent £3m on research and development.
News:
1. Reece Group bought the Armstrong Works in 2012 and spent £20m on updating a facility that had housed BAE Systems.
2. Diversification is especially important given the global fluctuations affecting engineering. One Reece Group company based at the Armstrong Works, Responsive Engineering, has suffered a drop in orders because of falling oil prices and declared job cuts.
3. The Reece Foundation has given £15m over the past decade to support activities from social initiatives such as the UK’s biggest food bank to scholarships and technology facilities to encourage more young people into engineering.


GIGACLEAR: secures €25m loan to roll out ultrafast broadband / Daniel Thomas, FT. 13 January.
DZ profile:

Business: Fibre broadband provider which installs fibre cables in rural parts of the UK. Provides so-called ultrafast broadband capable of providing internet speeds of more than 1 gigabit a second, which is about 50 times the average speed across the UK. At the end of 2015, Gigaclear owned and operated 56 rural fibre networks and has 35 under construction across Kent, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Rutland, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Essex. The company is building its network in areas not covered by BT’s rival plans to extend its fibre broadband. Has installed fibre to more than 15,000 properties. A further 10,000 homes should be connected under existing plans.
ICB Classification: 9535 Internet
Launched: December 2010
Location: Oxfordshire
Founder: Matthew Hare, chief executive
Financials: expects to turn over £7m in 2016 and become profitable a year later.
Investment: has raised money from a number of high-profile investors including Neil Woodford and Prudential Infracapital last year.
News:
1. has secured a €25m loan to help almost treble the size of a network that will reach rural parts of Britain with some of the fastest internet speeds available. The debt facility from the European Investment Bank is the largest one of its kind awarded to a British company, and will be used to support the rollout of ultrafast fibre broadband to at least 40,000 properties across rural Britain this year. About a third of the funding for the infrastructure is being provided by the EIB, alongside additional investment from Gigaclear.
2. Last year Gigaclear launched a trial of Britain’s fastest internet package for retail customers with up to 5Gbps broadband speeds, delivering download speeds more than 200 times faster and upload speeds 1,000 times faster than the UK average.
3. Internet users in rural areas of Britain regularly complain about the lack of higher speed broadband services. The government is seeking to address this under a subsidised £1.6bn BDUK programme that aims to bring broadband speeds of at least 24 Mbps to 95 per cent of the UK. Gigaclear was the first operator other than BT to secure contracts under BDUK, winning three contracts in Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Essex.


BABYLON HEALTH: UK healthcare technology: your robot doctor will see you now / Murad Ahmed, FT.
DZ profile: Babylon Healthcare Services Limited

Business: has developed technology that allows patients to speak to a GP over the internet using their smartphones. Goal: to build an AI doctor that can diagnose illnesses without help from a human and suggest the likelihood of future health problems. Subscription health service  costs £4.99 per month and has 150,000 registered users. The app enables users to video conference one of 100 doctors employed by the company full-time - former NHS GPs who still work at least one day a week in a surgery. The system provides a health monitoring facility and allows people to book specialist consultations, therapy sessions and order medical tests that are sent to the home. Companies including CITIGROUP, SKY and MASTERCARD have incorporated it into their employee health plans. The start-up said it is also in talks with the NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE.

Launched: 2013

Location: London
Founder: Ali Parsa, chief executive fled Iran three years after the 1979 revolution. He travelled on his own across Europe and was granted asylum in the UK aged 16. He has never been back to Iran. While learning English, Parsa completed his A-levels and was offered a scholarship at University College London, to study engineering. After a PhD in engineering physics he went to work at Merrill Lynch in London and New York, before joining Goldman Sachs as executive director of European technology investment banking. He founded CIRCLE HOLDINGS, a private health company, and was chief executive until 2012. Circle now runs a number of private hospitals and also provides services to the NHS. Three years after he left the company, Circle was criticised for pulling out of a contract to manage Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire after financial troubles and mounting criticism of its performance.
Investment: new $25m funding round led by AB KINNEVIK, the Swedish investment group will value the three-year-old start-up in excess of $100m. The round also includes Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman, the founders of Deepmind, the AI group bought by Google for £400m, who are advisers for the company. Other new investors include funds related to BXR global investment group; HOXTON VENTURES, a London-based venture capital firm; and Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright, co-founders of Innocent Drinks. The fundraising .
News:
1. Babylon said its new investment would allow it to hire scientists and computer engineers to develop a version powered by artificial intelligence - a screening service, directing patients to human professionals when necessary. Babylon said its AI system will be released to users within two months.
2. The app is only available in the UK and Ireland but the company has plans to expand internationally. It has already agreed a deal with the government of Rwanda to provide its citizens with access to the service.

UPDATE

NHS to trial artificial intelligence app in place of 111 helpline | Madhumita Murgia, FT. January 5 2017
3. The NHS is to experiment with the app as an alternative to NHS 111, the non-emergency helpline. ... for the next six months more than 1.2m residents of north central London, including the boroughs of Camden, Islington, Enfield and Barnet, will have access to an app that will perform triage for urgent but non-life-threatening conditions. Every call to 111 costs the NHS between £12 to £16, depending on the service provider — 111 is run by a mix of ambulance services, private groups and non-profit organisations. 
4. Babylon’s own medical app is used by 500,000 people worldwide. Its triage service is free but it also offers paid-for video consultations with a doctor using your smartphone. That service costs £5 a month or £25 for a one-off consultation, while the cost for seeing a specialist is higher.
Babylon raises $60m to build AI doctor to diagnose illnesses | Madhumita Murgia, FT. April 25, 2017
5…has raised $60m.  Its latest funding round is understood to have doubled the start-up’s valuation to more than $200m, since its last fundraising in January 2016.  ...one of the largest for a European healthcare start-up at its stage, will involve new investors including the Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire business family. Babylon plans to use the funds to develop the next version of the app: a robot that can help provide faster and more sophisticated medical diagnoses.

6. ... team of 170 AI researchers is not merely building a lexicon of diseases — it is trying to create a robot doctor that can triage, diagnose and even treat individuals over their phones. It plans to use machine-learning algorithms to analyse an individual’s health profile and suggest possible future illnesses, before they even have symptoms.

Interview: I can do a better job than the NHS, says Babylon boss Ali Parsa | Sabah Meddings, The Sunday Times. May 20 2018

7. The service, which has 1.4m users and is available 24 hours a day.lost £12.9m in 2016 — the latest figures available at Companies House. Revenue rose to £797,042 from £158,293. The company has so far relied on cash injections from investors.

8.  Babylon has enjoyed several early successes. Last month it struck a deal with Chinese internet giant TENCENT to offer its technology to the group’s 1bn WeChat users. That deal — for an undisclosed sum — followed a similar tie-up with SAUDI ARABIA’S MINISTRY OF HEALTH in March.

 

9. Babylon is one of several online GP apps in the UK. Others include Push Doctor and The GP Service. However, Parsa says his use of AI to pre-screen patients makes Babylon uniquely able to work with the NHS. Parsa has a bold claim: he reckons he can offer three times as much service to patients as the health service, for the same money, and 24 hours a day. Babylon has inked a deal with the NHS to allow patients in London free access to its online GP service by switching to Babylon. Yet since its launch last November, GP at Hand has been beset by criticism, and accusations of “cherry picking”. Doctors in Unite, the union for medical practitioners, claims traditional GP practices face a cash crunch due to the online service targeting younger, healthier people. Funding from their existing practice is removed when patients sign up to GP at Hand.



ANAPLAN: becomes UK’s latest tech unicorn | Andrew Bounds, FT. 14 January.
DZ profile:

Business: Provides cloud-based business planning software and has been dubbed “the spreadsheet killer” for replacing Microsoft Excel at several multinationals. It has more than 60,000 individual users at 400 companies including HP, the computer company, and Legal & General, the insurer. It charges a subscription.
ICB Classification: 9537 Software
Founder: Michael Gould in a North Yorkshire barn in 2008, and still has a software development centre in York, although its headquarters are now in San Francisco. Mr Gould is chief technology officer.
Staff: 550 people. Fred Laluyaux, chief executive.
Financials: It does not disclose revenues but said they increased 134 per cent year over year in the six months to July 2015. Users increased 160 per cent while employee numbers doubled to 550.
Investment: Has raised $90m to become the second UK-founded company to achieve a $1bn valuation inside a week. Premji Invest, the family investment office of Azim Premji of Indian software group Wipro, led the Anaplan fundraising. Baillie Gifford, the Edinburgh investment fund, and US funds Founders Circle Capital and Harmony Partners, as well as Anaplan’s current investors, were also involved. It has raised $240m in five funding rounds. Other investors include Salesforce, the administrative software company, and Silicon Valley-based Shasta Ventures.
News:
1. Laurent Lefouet, managing director of Anaplan for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the money would fund extra staff and a move into countries such as China, Japan and India. “We have had three to four years of hypergrowth and we are not planning to slow down. We plan to double the size of our US team and move into new geographies.” He added that the global market was worth $15-$20bn annually.
2. The company also recruited James Budge, an experienced tech executive from Genesys, the US software business, as chief financial officer.


KBC ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES: Oil software supplier KBC agrees sale to rival Aspen | Kate Burgess, FT.
DZ profile:

Business: consultancy and supplier of simulation software to the oil and gas industry. Listed in London in 1997 and moved to Aim in 2006.
ICB Classification: 9537 Software
Launched: 1979
Location: Walton-on-Thames
Staff: more than 300 people in the UK, US and Singapore.
News: agreed this week to a cash bid of £158m. Aspen Technology, a bigger rival valued on Nasdaq at $3bn, has offered 185p a share for the business. About 42 per cent of shareholders in KBC back the deal. Aspen said this week that and oil service companies were under pressure to consolidate and that KBC would enable further innovation in refining and upstream markets at Aspen.