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UK START-UPS MUST MAKE THE MOST OF A SMALL WINDOW TO CAPITALISE ON INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, FOX WILLIAMS WARNS

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INVESTMENT

Despite rising investment, Brexit and growing interest from tech giants could cut off start-ups’ opportunities in 2020

 

While a burgeoning tech industry, education and the value of the pound have made UK tech start-ups an attractive target for investors outside the UK – with investment in UK tech start-ups growing 44 percent to £10.1bn in 2019 – businesses need to be aware that they may only have a short window to attract investors, city law firm Fox Williams LLP has warned. With a large proportion of investment dependent on the talent in place at start-ups, an inability to attract and keep the best and brightest talent post-Brexit could turn away investors. At the same time, as markets such as FinTech grow, they become more attractive areas for technology giants such as Apple or Facebook to invest in – meaning start-ups may only have a limited time to grow before their market is taken over.

“London’s position as the number one destination for tech investment in Europe isn’t guaranteed for ever,” said Jonathan Segal, Partner at Fox Williams. “While the value of the pound and the fact that businesses, talent, regulators and investors are all clustered in a single city help make London start-ups attractive for investment, it is quite possible that this will change. At present, UK start-ups are seen as a low-risk investment. Yet changes to the sterling exchange rate, or to immigration and employment laws that make it harder to attract and keep talent, could change this. Start-ups and growth companies will need to ensure they are doing all they can to attract investment; understand where their funding is coming from; and have both a clear final goal and a route mapped out.”

As it becomes harder to differentiate and attract investment by creating a never-before-seen product or service, so start-ups need to demonstrate their value through their talent, their professionalism, and by showing a clear path to profitability. This means not only having skilled personnel in place and being able to point to an experienced management team, but making certain that they will not be negatively affected by any changes in immigration law.

Fintechs will want to help EU citizens already present in the UK and arriving in 2020 to stay long term by ensuring they apply for settled status, providing advice on obtaining endorsement by Tech Nation under the Global Talent visa route and ensuring that UK based companies apply for a sponsor licence if they plan to recruit from overseas from 2021.

At the same time, start-ups need to demonstrate that they are taking the right advice. For example, most law firms will have a tech practice that can advise start-ups. However, for those in specialised sectors such as FinTech it is essential to employ advisers that also have financial services expertise.

As well as demonstrating their value and professionalism, start-ups need to know who is funding them, and ensure they have done relevant due diligence. The right advice will again be critical here, to ensure that regulators do not veto any investment in, or takeover of, any regulated business in the financial services sector, in particular FinTechs. Yet even if everything is clear from a regulatory perspective, start-ups need to be confident that they are completely happy to be funded by an investor, and have not missed any factors that might damage their reputation.

“This is no time for complacency,” continued Jonathan Segal. “While investment is increasing, it is not infinite. FinTechs and other start-ups that cannot show that they have prepared themselves to succeed with the talent, the professionalism, and the right attitude to advice will soon find themselves losing out to better prepared competitors. At the same time, organisations need to lobby for the support they need – such as ensuring clear and favourable post-Brexit immigration and employment laws are in place so they can plan as appropriate.”

“Businesses should consider seeking strategic immigration advice at an early stage, to help ensure they  can recruit the talent they need into the UK,” added Segal. “It’s vital that employers in the tech space are aware of and adhere to the correct processes and systems to ensure that the business is able to manage flow of talent in a seamless and orderly way. The UK Government is keen to  attract highly skilled tech talent to the UK and in light of Brexit and the new immigration system being introduced in the UK, it is critical that companies seek advice to ensure that talent mobility is not an issue.”

 

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT + MARKETING + COMMUNICATIONS

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Volante Technologies Recognized as Market Leader in Omdia Universe: Selecting a Payment Hub, 2021-22 Report

Cloud payments company scores highest mark for solution innovation capabilities and strategy

Volante Technologies, the global leader in cloud payments and financial messaging, has been recognized as a Leader in the Omdia Universe: Selecting a Payment Hub, 2021-22 global survey.

In preparing the report, Omdia, the analyst division of Informa, performed an in-depth review of the market and ranked vendors based on a matrix of key capabilities, attributes, and features. The comprehensive process incorporated in-depth client and vendor interviews, and is designed to help C-level executives, payment heads, and IT directors select the payment hub platform that will enable their payment modernization ambitions.

The report states that Volante has been recommended as a Leader “thanks to its co-innovation capabilities.” It highlights “the speed that the payment hub can be implemented” and “the maturity of Volante’s cloud capabilities” along with its “particularly strong low-code integration layer” as contributors to the ranking. The report concludes, “Volante scored the highest mark for its solution innovation capabilities and strategy / product roadmap.”

Philip Benton, Senior Analyst – Financial Services Technology at Omdia, said: “Volante Technologies earned its place as a recommended leader thanks to a combination of genuine innovation and the provision of services which allow the company to deliver significant payments efficiencies to both small and large institutions.”

John Farrell, SVP Global Product Management at Volante, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the top ranking of leader by Omdia. This recognition vindicates our strategy of working as a trusted partner to our customers, and helping free them from the limitations of legacy systems through modern cloud-native payments solutions.

“With 75% of our staff in research and development, we intend to continue investing in our products to maintain our leadership position, and continue delivering outstanding results to our customers.”

 

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ARTERIA AI SET TO ACQUIRE H4’S FINANCIAL SERVICES BUSINESS ASSETS

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H4 Chairman and Co-founder Joe Seifert to join Arteria AI as senior advisor

 

Arteria AI, an award-winning global leader in enterprise digital documentation, has agreed to acquire certain financial services assets of H4, an award-winning contract lifecycle management platform.

As part of the agreement, H4’s Chairman and Co-founder Joe Seifert will join Arteria AI’s team as a senior advisor.

Shelby Austin, CEO of Arteria AI, said: “This is a very exciting time for our business as we set out to unleash the power of data to help global financial institutions solve their client documentation challenges at scale. Since spinning out of Deloitte we have continued on an incredible growth journey accelerated by the market’s clear preference for data-first solutions.”

“It is a strategic decision for us to acquire certain financial services assets of H4 to expand our reach and super-charge our efforts. Joe Seifert will bring invaluable experience and expertise to our team.  We look forward to working together to provide an unrivalled, data-first client documentation solution for global financial institutions.”

Joe Seifert said: “Arteria AI and H4 cover most of the top-tier of the financial services market and it made perfect sense to join forces. Having spent time with Shelby and the team, I’m very excited that the combination will support Arteria AI’s position as a leader in digital documentation transformation across the global banking sector.”

Arteria AI works with the world’s largest banks to accelerate their client documentation processes at scale.  From document generation through signature and beyond, Arteria uses context-specific AI, data, analytics and automation to ensure that stakeholders across the bank are able to serve their clients more quickly.  This can be a key factor in driving additional revenue and minimizing risk and cost.

The company’s co-founders Shelby Austin, Abrar Huq and Jonathan Wong have more than 30 years experience within the documentation space and were leaders within the AI community prior to launching Arteria AI in October 2020.

H4 will focus on its offering for the corporate market, outside of global banking. Rob Fagg, CEO, and Andy Byrne, COO, have agreed a management buyout of H4, continuing their roles and becoming co-founders of the new business. Joe Seifert will remain a minority shareholder in H4.

 

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