Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

New Business Bulletin: The Sunday Times, Unlimint, VICE Media Group and many more

The Sunday Times is launching The Sunday Times 100, a new research and content series identifying and celebrating Britain’s leading entrepreneurial businesses. The programme will start in July 2022 with The Sunday Times 100 ranking of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies, a league table which will showcase the people behind the UK’s most dynamic businesses. It will be followed by research shining a spotlight on fast-growing technology companies and international exporters. As well as dedicated supplements in The Sunday Times to announce the league tables, The Sunday Times 100 will also host a series of exclusive networking events for participants. The Sunday Times 100 will provide a unique, high-value sponsorship opportunity for brands looking to reach fast-growing, dynamic businesses in the UK. The inaugural Sunday Times 100 – Fastest-Growing Businesses, is sponsored by Barclays Private Bank and DHL Express, with further sponsors to be announced for the subsequent activities.

London-based global fintech Unlimint, has announced its integration with Telegram, a free cloud-based, cross-platform instant messaging service, becoming its official payment provider. With the integration, Unlimint’s clients will be able to use the fintech’s solution straight from the messenger as well as their website or app, creating a seamless experience for end users. Unlimint is an award-winning global fintech offering advanced payment capabilities through an evolving financial interface to startups and businesses across the globe, operating from five continents.

Monkey Shoulder, the 100% malt whisky made-for-mixing, has partnered with global multi-platform media company VICE Media Group to embark on a noble mission to define what party-goers want from their night out in a post-pandemic world. Together, they’ll explore how Britain’s nightlife scene has changed for the better and for worse, giving a voice to the people who know best. Whether it’s outdated dress codes, way-too-packed house parties, tearful club closures, hour-long queues, elitist guest lists, dead playlists or uncomfortable shoes, The Night Shift will lift the lid on what people truly believe constitutes a good night, turning to night owls up and down the nation to rewrite the rulebook on positive partying. Led by VICE presenters Matt Shea and Bupe Bhima, The Night Shift is a three-phase process: research, results and action, all culminating in an end-of-summer bash that will put all the learnings into practice.   

Fintech lender Uncapped has joined forces with BigCommerce, a leading Open SaaS ecommerce platform for established online brands, to remove one of the major barriers to re-platforming for online businesses: cost. Companies can now fund their migration to the BigCommerce platform with a capital advance from lending partner Uncapped, completely interest free. Any company that can show 6+ months of trading and £1m+ in yearly revenues is eligible for a fee free advance up to £50k. Migrations can be highly beneficial to online merchants. BigCommerce’s integrations to major marketplaces and social platforms, features like multi-storefront, multi-currency support and borderless commerce, and cutting-edge easy-to-use tools all give merchants the power to boost sales and scale rapidly. By removing the upfront cash outlay traditionally involved with re-platforming, the new partnership with Uncapped widens accessibility for ambitious entrepreneurs.

Sonrai Analytics, an emerging Belfast-based innovator in Artificial Intelligence (AI) data discovery, and California-based IV BioHoldings (IVBH), an innovative precision health company focusing in the area of liquid biopsy, have announced a strategic partnership to accelerate early detection of diseases with poor clinical outcomes. The partnership brings Sonrai’s cloud AI technology for discovering, developing, and validating high-value biomarkers to IVBH’s commercial portfolio: LiquidLung, HepGene and Mammogen. The collaboration will streamline the ability to identify, validate and productise novel biomarkers for the effective early detection and subsequent actionable treatment of patients with progressive disease.

American Express has announced the launch of ‘American Express Summer Drop’, a virtual game that gives people the chance to get a taste of what it’s like to be a Cardmember by winning tickets to a range of sought-after events from the American Express® Experiences programme or vouchers from a range of American Express retail partners. The augmented reality (AR) game will be live until 20 July 2022 with players able to win tickets by finding the “drops” – a virtual treasure hunt that unlocks interactive AR experiences linked to prizes – including tickets to The Championships, Wimbledon, American Express presents BST Hyde Park; Wilderness Festival; Luno presents All Points East; Somerset House Summer Series with American Express; and Brighton & Hove Albion FC. There are also vouchers to spend at places like Harvey Nichols and Bloom & Wild plus free coffees at Caffè Nero. The AR game will also be amplified through Yahoo’s omnichannel ad tech platform, with ad creative across TV, DOOH (digital out of home), VOD, mobile and video. 

Circulor announces that it has raised $25 million (20 million GBP) in Series B funding, signalling growing market demand for more transparent and secure industrial supply chains. Circulor provides the most proven and mature solution for increasing supply chain visibility. The new funds will be used to grow Circulor’s global footprint, with a focus on the North American market. Since completing its Series A in June 2021, Circulor has experienced rapid demand. New customers include BHP, Southwire, Trafigura, Jaguar Land Rover, Blackstone Minerals, Urbix Inc, Element 25 and more.

Imedia8, the digital solutions developer, has announced its latest collaboration with Highclere Castle; Grade I listed country house and filming location of The real Downton Abbey. ‘Friends of Highclere’ is the latest development in innovative technology, where Imedia8 produced the content, including drone footage, developed the website, and the VR video management system (VRMS). ‘Friends of Highclere’ presents a 2D and 3D experience showing Lord and Lady Carnarvon exploring previously unseen and behind-the-scenes rooms and locations inside the castle and around the estate. The 3D films were all created using cutting edge technology which allows unbelievable clarity and a 360 degree experience as if you were there in person, but with the advantage of it being available to view at your own convenience. 

Distributed, a provider of on-demand software teams, has secured £8m in a follow-on funding round, co-led by Downing Ventures and Guinness Ventures. The latest investment will help Distributed capitalise on the growing private talent cloud market, make further improvements to its workforce experience and extend the international reach of its Elastic Team of freelance developers. Existing seed investors, Fuel Ventures, and professional services firm Capita, also contributed to the funding round.

Honolulu based resort wear brand, Tori Richard, has signed with Teamwork Commerce. Having trademarked the phrase, “Resort is a State of Mind®,” the company was eager to implement Teamwork’s software to create a frictionless retail process and open more time to enjoy the Hawaiian lifestyle. The Implementation of Teamwork’s mobile Point of Sale and Order Management System will enable omnichannel services by offering customers endless fulfilment options such as Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS), Buy Online Ship from Store (BOSHIP), and Buy In-Store Ship from Warehouse.

Pluralsight, the technology workforce development company, has announced the launch of two new features for Pluralsight Flow, the software development intelligence platform helping engineering organizations accelerate growth through optimized software delivery. These features include Team Health Insights, which enables engineering leaders to proactively diagnose the holistic health of their teams, and the Sprint Movement report, designed to help with sprint planning and predictability efforts. Together, these new capabilities complement Pluralsight Flow’s goal to help engineering organizations better understand their workflows, build thriving teams, drive strategic alignment, and deliver value to customers faster and reliably.

Cyber security specialist, Core to Cloud, has partnered with one of the most awarded cloud security companies in the world, iboss, to bring Zero Trust Edge to its UK customers for unrivalled network security and peace of mind, regardless of where users work. Recognised for bringing cutting-edge technology to the UK market, Core to Cloud will introduce the zero trust cloud network security platform to its 100+ public and private sector customers. Patented and purpose built to protect organisations from breaches and data loss, iboss Zero Trust Edge prevents attacks by making applications, data and services inaccessible to cyber criminals while strictly granting access to only approved users to securely and directly connect to protected resources from wherever they work.  

Manchester-based ecommerce agency, Fluid Commerce has launched a progressive web app (PWA) for new home furnishing brand Daily Furniture, which supplies indoor furniture and home furnishings. Built using PWA Studio from Adobe Commerce, Daily Furniture’s new site combines useful features from web and mobile apps to improve site speed and boost conversion rates. The new site has a host of features to smooth the sales process for the modern-day consumer, including integrations with marketing automation platform Klaviyo and payment providers Adyen, Klarna and Paypal. The PWA also features quicker synchronisation, instant updates, offline utilisation, and enhanced performance. 

England and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has joined forces with Footballco to develop and star in original player-led video series debuting across GOAL platforms in a year-long exclusive deal. Rice is the first signing in Footballco’s broader video strategy to cast elite footballers in episodic video formats that go beyond the pitch. Since becoming an England regular, Rice has endeared himself to the nation with his easy personality and sense of humour, and the first video series utilises both. In ‘Box to Box’, Rice opens a series of mystery boxes filled with objects important to him that were secretly provided by friends and family and cover the full spectrum of his life on and off the pitch. This show debuts today across GOAL social channels that reach more than 500 million people and register over 100m engagements per month. Future Box to Box episodes will use objects of importance to profile stars of the men’s and women’s game, giving fans an unrivalled view of them as people and players.

finnCap Cavendish, part of finnCap Group plc, is pleased to announce it has advised on the sale of Lyco Group, a UK online distributor of lighting products, to efectoLED, the online lighting distributor in Southern Europe and a portfolio company of Miura Partners. The acquisition will boost efectoLED’s plans to expand across Europe as the firm expects to open a new warehouse in northern France as part of its aim to reach a €100 million turnover.

MetCom and NextNav have announced a commercial agreement for the nationwide deployment of 3D geolocation services in Japan, starting with the rollout of the Pinnacle vertical location service. MetCom will start commercial operation in October 2022 following the successful pilot in Tokyo this past year. The Pinnacle service will first be deployed in the densely populated Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas, with a plan to expand coverage to major cities across Japan in 2023.

GumGum and Vodafone have announced a successful strategic partnership which has seen the multinational telecommunications company successfully leverage GumGum’s contextual intelligence platform, VerityTM, to increase purchase intent around the popular Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3; a compact, foldable phone. As part of this successful partnership, GumGum set out to test the efficacy of Desktop Skins, utilising its contextual tech engine, VerityTM. This was executed with global media agency, Dentsu, and research giant, On Device Research (ODR), with the teams setting out to measure the impact of this eye-catching ad format.

NextPlay Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”) announced that HotPlay, the Company’s in-game advertising (“IGA”) unit, has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Triplecom Media PVT Ltd. (iTAP), whose iTAP platform is a fast-growing comprehensive over-the-top (OTT) entertainment platform in India, which sets forth general terms of a proposed partnership between the Company and iTAP. The MOU contemplates a collaboration between the parties, whereby each party will provide certain services and access to certain of their platforms to the other in order to enable each party to provide more comprehensive solutions to their respective customers and users. 

Freshworks Inc., a software company empowering the people who power business, has helped East Midlands Shared Services (EMSS) deliver self-service IT management to the public sector, with its cloud-based customer service software, Freshdesk®. New technology including AI-powered chatbots has supported the rapid processing of customer and partner queries and self-help articles have cut the number of inbound requests that EMSS agents have to manage. 

Aircall, the connected business phone, has announced it has passed $100 million in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), reaching the exclusive centaur status that only about 150 private companies in the cloud industry, worldwide, have achieved. This milestone comes 6 years after its first million dollar ARR reached in March 2016. Since its last funding round in June 2021, which catapulted the company to a billion dollar valuation, Aircall has recorded 70% YoY growth in revenue and a 107% YoY increase in large customers. 

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the UK-based animal rescue centre, has selected Oracle NetSuite to help support its growing international mission to ensure every dog and cat lives in a home where they are treated with love, care and respect. With NetSuite, Battersea plans to take advantage of an integrated business system to help unify financial management, planning and budgeting operations to free more of its time and resources to focus on business priorities as it continues to expand its mission. With NetSuite, Battersea plans to benefit from an integrated finance system to enable its team to automate previously manual processes, enhance financial reporting and analysis for trustees and wider stakeholder groups, and help enable Battersea to save time and resources. NetSuite is also being used to help Battersea improve its month-end processes and provide fixed asset management capabilities so the team can run depreciation analysis without having to extract and calculate information in Excel. In addition, as Battersea expands its domestic and global programmes, NetSuite Planning and Budgeting can be instrumental in facilitating company-wide and departmental financial planning and modelling. This will enable Battersea to become more data-led on how to best use its funding to help more animals.