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Insider Dealmaker Awards

Posted by superuser on Friday 4th of November 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Extract from Insidermedia

Fred Done's Betfred was the big winner at last night's Insider North West Dealmakers Awards 2011, scooping both the Deal of the Year and Dealmaker of the Year prizes. Recognised for the company's long-standing courtship of the Tote, which eventually culminated in a £265m deal, Betfred's finance director Barry Nightingale won the top individual prize. The event gathered together more than 800 of the region's top dealmakers in Manchester Central to celebrate another year in which their tenacity and hard work kept the finance community alive. Rugby star Austin Healey was the compere for the evening, which also raised money for The Prince’s Trust.

Corporate Finance Advisory Team of the Year

Winner: Clearwater
Clearwater has acted for private equity houses, management teams and been innovative in attempting to raise a new Venture Capital Trust. That ingenuity and creativity really impressed our judges.
Sponsored by: UBS
Shortlisted: BDO, DC Advisory, Dow Schofield Watts, KPMG, Rickitt Mitchell

Corporate Law Firm of the Year

Winner: Addleshaw Goddard
The judges were massively impressed with the entry from Addleshaw Goddard which oozed class, said one judge. The team has strength in depth and had a good year in a very tough market. The spread of clients includes large regional businesses, such as PZ Cussons, which it has worked closely with and kept that advisory work in the North West.
Sponsored by: Aston Ventures
Shortlisted: Eversheds; Gateley; Pinsent Masons, George Davis Solicitors

Private Equity Team of the Year

Winner: Endless
The job that Endless did on Crown Paints really swayed it for the judges. It was an incredible deal for all concerned and delivered a fantastic return.
Sponsored by: Cobbetts LLP
Shortlisted: LDC, Palatine Private Equity
Asset Based Lender of the Year
Winner: Close Invoice Finance
The judges were impressed with how Close provided working capital to a manufacturing business that enabled it to seal a deal to supply Coca-Cola, just the sort of support that the regional economy needs.
Sponsored by: Rapport
Shortlisted: Centric Commercial Finance, Barclays Corporate, Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance

Transaction Services Team of the Year

Winner: Deloitte
It was a close run thing but the judges were impressed with Deloitte’s entry as it demonstrated quality in the work they did on deals for clients such as Betfred and for the Co-operative Group on the merger of its travel businesses with Thomas Cook.
Sponsored by: Leumi ABL
Shortlisted: KPMG, BDO, PwC, Ernst & Young

Banking Team of the Year

Winner: Yorkshire Bank Corporate and Structured Finance
The judges were full of praise for how Yorkshire Bank’s structured and corporate finance team punched way above their weight and produced a range of work through the year that had range and balance.
Sponsored by: Creechurch Capital
Shortlisted: Barclays Corporate, The Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate Transaction Team, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Acquisition Team, The Co-operative Bank

AIM Deal of the Year

Winner: Ideal Shopping Direct – public to private
A take private, advised by Dow Schofield Watts, provided a new investment opportunity. This award was designed to herald floats, placings and fundraisings. Though these have been thinner on the ground, we nevertheless wanted reflect the unique technical skills involved in working with an AIM-listed company.
Sponsored by: McGrigors
Shortlisted: Hasgrove - sale of Interel; CBG - Sale to Giles; Istem Life Science – float; GB Group - acquisition of Data Discoveries

Small Deal of the Year

There were many number of deals that K3 could have won this category with and tribute is therefore paid to its audacious acquisition strategy in buying and building a great business in Salford.
Winner: K3 acquisition strategy
Sponsored by: Handelsbanken
Shortlisted: Sale of CBG to Giles; Sale of Interel to Hasgrove; B3 Cables’ acquisition of Blue Helix; Perspective acquisition strategy; acquisition of Data Discoveries by GB Group
Turnaround/Rescue Deal of the Year
Winner: Acquisition of Liberata
Endless invested £22m in Barrow based Liberata and managed to avoid a horrible insolvency process and preserved 2,200 jobs. However, the business is now well on the road to recovery.
Sponsored by: MC2
Shortlisted: Rescue of Silentnight by HIG Capital

Innovation in Dealmaking

Winner: George Davies Solicitors for Deal Club
The judges appreciated the efforts George Davies has made with its deal club, stimulating activity and providing a useful forum for ideas sharing.
Sponsored by: The Co-operative Bank
Shortlisted: Turner Parkinson for tp deals; Clearwater Corporate Finance for VCT Fund

Venture Capital Team of the Year

Winner: EV
The team at EV have possibly the toughest brief of the North West Fund and have really attacked the market for management breakouts in new start-up businesses with a string of brave investments.
Sponsored by: Centric Commercial Finance
Shortlisted: YFM Equity Partners, FW Capital
Deal of the Year
Winner: Acquisition of the Tote by Betfred
The judges were impressed that the deal involved a group of North West banks who made it possible and who showed real appetite. Fred Done would like to add his personal note of thanks for your support. Also this was the acquisition of a Wigan based business by one with deep roots in the North West.
Sponsored by: The Co-operative Bank
Shortlisted: Investment into Fourth Hospitality by ECI; Sale of Crown Paints by Endless; Sale of Leighs Paints to Sherwin Williams; Investment into Music Magpie by LDC; Acquisition of Tessenderlo Fine Chemicals by Tennants Consolidated

Dealmaker of the Year

Winner: Barry Nightingale, finance director, Betfred
For the first time this award goes to a director of a company involved in a deal, rather than the adviser or funder. It is a recognition of Barry’s role in pulling together a fantastic deal for his boss, the enigmatic Fred Done.
Sponsored by: Watson Moore
Shortlisted: Warwick Ley (Endless); Richard Pulford (DC Advisory); Philip Nuttall (Clearwater); Jonathan Boyers (KPMG)

Call for Manchester's Entrepreneurs - Innospace Accelerator Weekend

Posted by superuser on Thursday 3rd of November 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Click to download, leave a comment and get in touch with organiser directly

Call for Manchester's Entrepreneurs - Innospace Accelerator Weekend

Or, read online.

Creative Industries KTN News

Posted by superuser on Thursday 3rd of November 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Pro.Manchester Excerpt: Ten top tips to secure a private equity investment

Posted by superuser on Thursday 3rd of November 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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This article is copied from Pro.Manchester's SME Club. Many of you have met Paul Gower before at our events, and I thought the article is too good to be not shared with you.

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Management teams are beginning to realise that growth plans can only be put on hold for so long. After all, who can predict with any accuracy when the economic situation will improve? For those businesses that are doing well and outperforming their peers, now could well be the time to grasp the nettle to increase competitive advantage. Many SMEs are accessing investment capital to fund the expansion of their business.

1. Management, management, management

Private equity firms invest in people – people who have run or who are likely to run successful operations. Potential investors will look closely at you and the members of your management team. Does the team have relevant industry sector experience, a clear team leader and a team with complementary areas of expertise? This is the ideal scenario but those private equity investors who invest in SMEs recognise that often the “team” may often be incomplete or does not have sufficient experience – look for those investors who can help you identify any areas that need strengthening and be able to introduce you to the people to fill these gaps. Remember, investors may be willing to fund getting the right people into business to take it to the next level.

2. Potential to expand

Private equity investors are interested in companies with an opportunity to expand and grow, managed by experienced and ambitious teams who are capable of turning their business plan into reality. Does your company have high growth prospects and are you and your team ambitious to grow your company rapidly?

3. Capacity to create strategic value on exit

Every private equity investor will look for an exit at some stage. Although in its simplest form this could mean growing the business to a size whereby money could then be raised through traditional finance to fund buying out the equity investor, what really excites investors is the capacity to create strategic value. Can you identify those opportunities? Can you position your company so that it can be acquired for a higher value than the current level of profit implies?

4. Business Plan

One of the main purposes of a business plan when raising finance is to market your business proposal. It should show potential investors that if they invest in your business, you and your team will give them a unique opportunity to participate in making an excellent return. Don’t be put off by the expectation that you have to produce an “all singing and dancing,” business plan. Sometimes “less is more,” so focus on clarity rather than comprehensiveness. A well crafted succinct summary of what you are attempting to do will create interest. Once you have grabbed the attention of the investor, they will let you know what else they need to know.

5. Financials

Developing a set of financial projections will help to demonstrate to the investor that you have properly thought out the financial implications of your company’s growth plans. Private equity firms will use these projections to determine if your company offers enough growth potential to deliver the type of return on investment that the investor is seeking and whether the projections are realistic enough to give the company a reasonable chance of attaining them. A company without a financial plan is a company without financial direction.

6. It is not an investment it is a partnership

Are you willing to sell some of your company’s shares to a private equity investor? You should be absolutely sure that the relationship between you and the investor is a strong partnership, in reality a “Marriage.” It must be a trusting relationship where neither party is trying to get the upper hand. Interest of both parties must be aligned, working together to an agreed strategy; therefore the management should attempt to really get to know their investor before accepting investment.

7. Identify appropriate investor

Private equity is not just about the money – especially for SMEs, there should be an opportunity for the investor to add value. Identify those investors with an interest in your industry and for the type of deal you are proposing or those who might have a preference for investing in your region. Does the investment team have strong skills and experience and does the firm have business networks that could add value to your business? This could include local private equity specialists and regional offices of national players. Manchester has a vibrant private equity industry, so use it. You don’t need to go to London!

8. Do your due diligence

When you are engaged with potential equity investors be as thorough with your due diligence as they should be on you and your business. Review their website and see the companies in which they have invested. How successful have they been? Have they invested in your sector? Ask to be introduced to management teams in both their current portfolio and from previous investments – what were their experiences?

9. Advisor

Professional advisers can provide a vital role in critically reviewing the draft plan, acting as “devil’s advocate” and helping to give the plan the appropriate focus. Several of the accounting firms publish their own detailed booklets on how to prepare business plans. Fund raising can be a time-consuming business and you don’t want it to detrimentally impact on the business, the use of advisors to support you can help minimise this risk. Again Manchester has a vibrant corporate finance community; you don’t need to go outside of the region.

10. Consider it

The availability of equity finance for SMEs located in the North West has never been better. The North West Fund is a £185m fund that provides debt and equity finance from £50,000 to £2m to SMEs businesses based in or relocating to, the North West of England to start, develop and grow. Although this regional fund cannot finance Management Buy Outs, “MBOs” there are many Manchester-based managers of Venture Capital Trusts “VCTs” who can. In YFM’s 25 years’ of investment experience, we have found that at or near the bottom of the economic cycle is one of the best times to start expanding your business.

Mini Seedcamp Paris 6 December

Posted by Alasdair on Wednesday 2nd of November 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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On December 6th, Seedcamp will be hosting our fourth Mini Seedcamp Paris. If you're interested in joining us, applications are open until the 16th November. We're looking to take the 20 most awesome startups with us to meet with and be mentored by some of the greatest mentors from across Europe and State Side as they'll be in town for Le Web.

If you are a European technology startup looking to make it big, this is the right event for you - apply now and let us know about your company. As always, we are looking for innovative internet tech, software, media, and mobile focused businesses, great teams with awesome founders, and slick products that add real value.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The Seedcamp Team

GB Group acquires Capscan for £11.2 million

Posted by superuser on Wednesday 2nd of November 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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GB Group plc, the leading Identity Management specialist, has today acquired the highly regarded customer registration and address management company, Capscan Parent Ltd (Capscan). The acquisition adds 54 people, robust technology and a client portfolio of more than 1,800 customers, which includes ASOS, Ocado, and Virgin Wines.

GB Group has undertaken 3 acquisitions in the last 6 months. The latest acquisition of Capscan consolidates its position to be the market leader in Identity Management both in the UK and internationally. Together the acquisitions should increase the revenue of GB Group to around £35m from £24m a year ago.

GB Group also recently announced that it had added Denmark and South Africa to its international Identity Verification service, bringing the number of people globally that it is able to verify online to circa 1 billion.

The agreement is the culmination of strong periods of growth for both companies and underpins GB Group’s strategy to offer businesses the most far reaching and innovative Identity Management solutions, a market it estimates to be worth circa £435 million in the UK alone and significantly more globally. The Management believes the combined business positions the Group as the clear number 2 in the growing customer registration and address management software solutions market, increases its presence in the provision of UK address management solutions and presents greater opportunities for GB Group to capitalise on the opportunity in International addressing services which is experiencing strong growth and where GB Group already provides wider age and identity verification for businesses operating in countries such as USA, Canada, Germany, Australia and South Africa. Capscan has very strong credentials in International Addressing solutions with access to International data for 240 countries.

With a strong heritage, Capscan is well respected in its field, bringing innovative products, an exceptional network of partners, as well as a loyal and established customer base. GB Group provides a scalable support infrastructure, a platform for investment and an experienced management team for growth. The addition of Capscan follows two previous acquisitions by GB Group in the last six months (Data Discoveries Ltd and Advanced Checking Services Ltd), adding additional Identity Management expertise.

GB Group CEO Richard Law said, “This is most definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts – we have long-admired Capscan’s impressive history and client base as a rival. We are therefore, excited to be bringing the Capscan and GB Group teams and product offerings together and this third acquisition in six months further demonstrates our commitment to accelerate our share of the growing market for online Identity Management. Identity Management is a fundamental enabler of online business and this acquisition significantly enhances GB Group’s strategy and prospects in this market. I’m very excited for the future prospects of GB Group.”

Terry Hiles, Managing Director from Capscan added, “Combining the strengths of two leading address management companies is an exciting prospect and our collective potential, both in the UK and globally, is significant, especially in the bigger, highly valuable field of Identity Management. I imagine competitors will be intrigued and even nervous about this move – and rightly so. The combination of our businesses with our desire to evolve with our clients’ needs and a history of innovation, will make us a force to be reckoned with.”

Richard Law concludes: “The global Identity Management opportunity is exciting. We know that businesses, especially those looking to trade online and exploit cross-border opportunities, are grappling with a multitude of trading and compliance challenges, especially in quickly emerging markets. Businesses want peace of mind that customer data can be instantly verified and captured accurately and also that they have the right level of insight to maximise customer profitability. The online market is growing exponentially and so is GB Group’s reputation among online brands. There’s a clear opportunity for us to provide the tools for this online gold rush.”

About GB Group plc

GB Group is a global leading Identity Management business. It helps organisations recognise and verify all elements of an individual’s identity at every interaction. Through the application of our proprietary technology, we enable organisations to connect, communicate and transact with people safely, responsibly and profitably. In doing so, we help organisations like Virgin Games, Betfair, SkyBet, 32 Red, HMRC, Thomas Cook, O2 and Transport for London understand their customers better to create more meaningful customer interactions, ensure compliance and reduce costs across the business.

About Capscan

Traditionally part of Scandex Group, Capscan of companies and was one of the original pioneers in UK address verification software and services based upon Royal Mail Postcode Address File.

After a healthy trading relationship, Capscan recently entered a joint venture with Uniserv GmbH, one of Germany’s leading suppliers of address verification and data quality services, to launch a range of new software solutions for North America. Capscan also launched a new range of products in October at Technology for Marketing and Advertising, China.

Mark Thompson buys 7 software companies

Posted by superuser on Wednesday 2nd of November 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Acquisitions establish m-hance as a leading mid-market supplier

Seven well-established UK software companies form a new supplier to the mid–market

Seven UK business software companies today announce they have unified under a new senior management team and a single brand to form a supplier dedicated to meeting the requirements of mid-sized organisations.

Calyx Software, Gyrosoft, Trinity Computer Services, and divisions of MentecPlus, Touchstone Group, Sys-Care, and Avant-Garde have been integrated through acquisition into a single entity called m-hance. The new brand will apply across all companies in the group from today and will reflect the enhanced service that m-hance will provide to its rapidly growing customer base.

This announcement follows a series of recent acquisitions that has seen m-hance grow to 150 staff serving almost 1000 direct customers across the UK and Ireland and a further 1000 through channel partners. The company operates from offices in Manchester, London, Loughborough, Dublin and Glasgow.


Mark Thompson, CEO of m-hance, comments, “The creation of m-hance allows us to go to our customers with a single, clear identity and message. The company benefits from the stability, long trading history and deep client relationships of each of the component entities. We’ve combined the strengths of seven respected specialists into one financially strong leader with an experienced management team backed-up by a solid balance sheet containing no external debt”.

The new structure allows the company to further develop its product set along vertical market specific lines. For example, in the distribution and manufacturing sectors it had been providing a best of breed industry solution including finance, CRM and other business critical functionality to more than 750 organisations for over 25 years and can now expand this model further into not-for-profit, education, financial services and hospitality and leisure, where it has a strong customer footprint.

Thompson comments “The value-added benefits m-hance brings to our customers include a wider product portfolio, access to our own secure hosting facility and increased capabilities in terms of support and services. This transition is perfectly timed as economic and legislative changes impacting our target market means they increasingly need a partner who not only understands technology but also their business”.

Thompson adds, “Our customers are very loyal and more than 50% of our revenues are recurring, this translates to strong relationships and references which we can leverage to win new business. We have already secured 10 new customers since the start of the acquisition process and many have cited the increased scale and sector specific coverage as the deciding factors in choosing m-hance. ”

About m-hance

m-hance Ltd is a UK based company providing innovative and functionally rich business software solutions to 2000 mid-market sized organisations including G4S, Stafford Lynch and Endsleigh Insurance. m-hance’s core solutions offering consist of financial management, CRM, managed services and software development in a variety of vertical markets including distribution, manufacturing, not-for-profit and professional services.

Formed on 1 November 2011 following the acquisitions of Calyx Software, Gyrosoft, Trinity Computer Services and elements of MentecPlus, Touchstone Group, Sys-Care and Avant-Garde, m-hance is a leading supplier of innovative business software to mid-sized organisations.

m-hance is currently supported by 150 staff and operates from offices in Manchester, London, Loughborough, Dublin and Glasgow.

2011 Tech Job Trends

Posted by flowther on Tuesday 1st of November 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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London tech start ups are going head to head with Investment banks this week as the Silicon Milkroundabout job fair aims to lure the brightest computer science graduates away from investment banks and towards quirky start ups. Start ups and young technology companies have always battled banks for the UK's top tech talent, and with a growing, entrepreneurial community in East London and promises of stock options, flexible working hours and coal face experience, these young tech companies may now be winning the war for the top graduates.

Key Info:

- There are over 150 companies hiring at SiliconMilkRoundabout with over 500 technical jobs up for grabs at London start ups (with salaries from £20k to £100k)

- There are 3,134 Graduate technical jobs available in the UK and over 1,000 in London currently listed on, the UK’s most comprehensive job search engine.

- The average Banking IT salary is £57k which is 19% higher than the average tech start up salary. Tech startups offer greater job satisfaction and the upside of options, but this salary gap is what the start hiring community is up against.

- 23% of start ups currently hiring in London are offering stock to graduate tech employees; 0% of banks hiring graduates are offering stock.

- Despite their age, workhorse languages such as C and C++ continue to remain at the top end of the software development landscape in terms of use and job potential. That being said, Ruby, Hadoop and HTML5 are the fastest growing “in demand” tech skills with employer demand up 70%+ year on year for all of these search terms

- Graduate Mobile developers can demand a premium, with the average graduate salary for iPhone developers at £34k and Android developers at £35k, 20% higher than the average graduate tech job.

- Despite what appears to be an abundance of tech jobs in the UK, 13.1% of computer science graduates remain unemployed (source: HESA). 7,000+ computer scientists graduated this summer from University in the UK.

How do we get this data?

To carry out this analysis, collated every single tech job advertisement posted in the last month on over 150 different UK job boards, a total of 100,000 tech job ads. Using the advanced search technology that powers its job search engine, the data was semantically analysed based on “ad content” and salary rates. This data was then matched to the annnual statistics published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the Office of National Statistics. Adzuna have also produced a nice little infographic mapping out the tech hiring landscape here - Graduate job trends graphic

Join us at Under the Radar in San Francisco from 9th to 10th Nov 2011 (Discount Tickets available)

Posted by superuser on Friday 28th of October 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Join us at the upcoming Under the Radar conference. Register here using the code "UTRVIP" and receive $200 off your ticket.

With the consumerisation of IT and the success of Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms, running a business and engaging with customers has become easier and less costly. However, most business owners still don't know how to maximize the potential of the cloud.

The launch of Google and Intuit's marketplaces, along with a host of other major players following suit, has opened up multiple new channels for cloud startups to reach these business owners. This year's Under the Radar conference will focus on how industry leaders can leverage the innovation coming from the 29 presenting companies to build out new marketplaces for a competitive advantage and furthermore, create loyalty with the industry leaders customers.

Under the Radar is Silicon Valley’s most effective business development conference. While it is NOT a funding event, in the past three years alone, 67% of presenters have gone on to raise major funding and/or be acquired by companies such as Google, Yahoo!, Cisco, BT, Microsoft, Twitter, Fox Interactive, and others. It’s inevitable with so many dealmakers in one room.

HOW UNDER THE RADAR WORKS: A handful of the industry’s most compelling startups are selected to present to experts and technology executives who are specifically looking to partner with and acquire new technologies. For the sake of making it fun for all attendees and participants – it’s rolled out “American Idol” style. See the presenting companies and judges below. Alumni include LinkedIn,, Wufoo, Tungle, and hundreds more.

Presenting startups

Grovo Learning
Movable Ink
Seamless Receipts
Sprout Social
Stitch Labs
The Resumator
Wave Accounting


David Berlind, UBM TechWeb
Jason Collins, Alcatel-Lucent
Liz Gannes, All Things D
Dave Gilbertson, Constant Contact
Guido Haarmans, NetSuite
Russell Hamilton, Visa
Anton Hanebrink, Intuit
Margita Labhard, Best Buy
Christine Lagorio,
Vy Le, Rudys Barbershop
Jay H. Lee, American Express
Quinn Li, Qualcomm Ventures
Will Lowry, AT&T
Scott McMullan , Google
Rafe Needleman, CNET
Matt Rosoff, Business Insider
Roy Rubin, Magento
Mark Silva, Anthem Worldwide
Richard Wilson, Automatic Data Processing

Register using the code “UTRVIP” and receive $200 off your ticket.

Zendesk joins Techcelerate and makes a special offer for our growing community

Posted by superuser on Monday 24th of October 2011 | 0 Comment(s)

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Hot Silicon Valley Enterprise Software vendor, Zendesk joined Techcelerate and made an special offer for our growing community of over 2000 businesses.

Press Release

Zendesk Helps Startups Grow and Succeed in the North of England

Click on the thumbnail to download details or read online:

The Offer

Zendesk loves Techcelerate Startups

Click on the thumbnail to download details or read online:

Free Training

Link to free training in Manchester on this Friday Link to training event: