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Browne Jacobson tech team advises on £208m Hastee investment

Browne Jacobson’s corporate technology team has successfully advised London fintech start-up Hastee on securing £208m of funding, comprising of both equity and a unique credit facility, including on the corporate aspects of a new, unique £200m credit line. The investment was led by Umbra Capital and supported by IDC Ventures and others.

Established in 2017 by James Herbert, Hastee will use the investment to develop and grow its award winning, revolutionary Hastee app which allows workers immediate access to 50% of their earned pay on-demand, reducing reliance on payday loans, credit cards and overdrafts.

An employee can withdraw up to £100 free of charge every month. Subsequent withdrawals are subject to a 2.5 per cent transaction fee. The employee withdrawals are initially funded by Hastee which is subsequently reimbursed by employers on each normal pay day. There is no cost to employers and the solution can integrate with existing HR and payroll processes. Clients include London City Airport, IRIS – the largest privately held software company in the UK, recruitment specialists Brightsparks, Avery Care Homes and pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers, whose brands include All Bar One and O’Neill’s, amongst others.

Browne Jacobson’s London based team of Jon Snade and Harry Pearson advised Hastee on all legal matters of the investment, as well as assisting with the corporate aspects of a new £200m credit line from Umbra, which will be used to pay employees directly.

James Herbert, Hastee founder and CEO, said: “We are delighted that our investors, led by Umbra, have chosen to partner with us as we bring financial freedom to people across the country. This investment will help us support a greater number of organisations in reducing financial stress, increasing wellbeing and improving the productivity of their employees and, as a result, their organisations.”

Browne Jacobson corporate finance and tech partner Jon Snade added: “We are delighted to have advised Hastee on this significant investment package for the business. Hastee has seen incredible growth since it was formed two years ago and this latest investment will play a huge role in helping to reach new clients and sectors. It shows that there remains a strong appetite amongst investors in fintech starts ups such as Hastee that offer cutting edge tech solutions which have strong prospects of delivering a healthy return on investment.”

Browne Jacadvobson has built a reputation for its innovative approach to delivering legal services to start ups following the launch of its hugely successful Grow programme in 2017 and which is tailored specifically for high-growth companies at any stage of the start-up journey. The firm works with over 100 high-growth businesses through Grow across a broad range of sectors but notably in fintech and insurtech.

Tech investment and open information can unlock justice for all

Technology has the potential to unlock justice for all, according to a new report launched by the Law Society of England and Wales. However, it is by no means a ‘silver bullet’.

Based on an assessment of 50 initiatives and qualitative interviews with more than 45 stakeholders – the report explores whether technology is the key to unlock the potential of law, justice and rights.

It concludes that, with the right support from government, technology can be the key to unlocking access to justice innovation.

“Technological solutions can help to unlock justice for those with legal needs but not the means,” Law Society of England and Wales president Simon Davis said.

“New user-focused innovations have overcome some of the traditional obstacles to access. Firms, advice clinics and in-house teams are utilising technology to serve more effectively the needs of often vulnerable clients.

“However much more support is needed for meaningful impact. This includes better coordination, information sharing and resources.

“There are still too few solutions designed specifically for this purpose – instead, the sector is over-reliant on a trickle down from the commercial legal market.”

Key findings include:

  • Significant work is being done by firms, advice clinics and in-house teams to meet legal need which is supported by technology. The government has taken positive steps through the Legal Support Advisory Group and its ministerial commitments to support new forms of technology to make justice more accessible. There is, however, much more to be done – in most cases, better data management, information sharing and co-ordination is needed.
  • The consumer-facing market is less mature than the business-to-business market on legal technology adoption. Recently, resource allocation and the need for greater efficiencies have driven demand for technological solutions.
  • Online resources are the primary means of providing information to the public. However, face-to-face remains the most popular way for delivering advice, followed by mobile apps which are often used at the start of the process.
  • Barriers to technological adoption include; widespread variation, lack of access to data, inequality of resources, duplication of products, funding and regulatory concerns.
  • Innovation is being led and used by third sector, including law centres and pro bono clinics, often working with firms and universities to provide services. This is more commonly found for disputes in housing, family, employment, debt and social welfare.

“Government must recognise that technology alone cannot provide a silver bullet: use of technology needs to be part of a wider innovation strategy, centred on the individual that needs legal help and framed by the organisation’s purpose and resources,” Simon Davis said.

“Technology-based initiatives can facilitate access to a qualified lawyer, but they cannot replace it. Since 2012 half of law centres or agencies offering free legal advice have closed, and there have been significant cuts to legal aid.

“Government should work with stakeholders to agree a joint set of principles for long-term investment. This will encourage a growth in justice innovations and their adoption within the sector – enhancing access opportunities for those who need it most.”

The report recommends government bodies, private sector and third sector organisations that offer funds for legal technology and access to justice initiatives should agree on a set of principles to encourage long-term investment in the sector. It also suggests the creation of an Open Source Platform for access to justice and technology and a comprehensive list of agreed solutions to overcome barriers and meet legal need.

Armanino recognised for excellence in Technology Consulting

Armanino LLP, one of the 25 largest accounting and business consulting firms in the United States, today announced it has been named a finalist for the 2019 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Partner of the Year Award and to Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs for 2019. The firm was selected by Microsoft as one of only 164 companies to be recognised in its Partner of the Year Awards from a field of nearly 3,000 nominees across 115 countries. Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs are chosen from organisations specialising in the sale and implementation of enterprise resource planning and accounting software based on annual revenue.

“These recognitions tell a larger story about the level of detail and client service we put into every engagement. At each level, we strive to be the most innovative and entrepreneurial firm so we can make a positive impact on our clients,” said Matt Armanino, CEO at Armanino LLP. “We are excited to be named a finalist for the 2019 Microsoft Partner of the Year honour and to Bob Scott’s Top 100 VARs, because it means that impact is being felt with results and success for clients.”

Armanino was recognised for providing outstanding solutions and services in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. As a Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics partner, Armanino serves on the Worldwide Partner Advisory Committee and has been named a Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle member six times since 2012. In March 2019, Armanino opened its Seattle office, providing direct access to the Microsoft ecosystem. The firm serves clients by defining digital transformation with cloud technologies and supports business process reengineering with a selection of solutions including AI, IOT and BI/Analytics created through Microsoft Business Applications.

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognise Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year. In addition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Armanino offers a host of software solutions including Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, Dynamics GP, Salesforce, Sage Intacct, Adaptive Insights, Microsoft Power BI, Workiva, BlackLine and more.

About Armanino LLP

Armanino LLP is one of the 25 largest independent accounting and business consulting firms in the nation. Armanino provides an integrated set of audit, tax, business management, consulting and technology solutions to companies in the United States and globally. The firm helps clients adapt and change in every stage of business, from startup through rapid growth to the sale of a company. Armanino emphasises smart technology, leading a cloud revolution of financial, operational, sales and compliance tools that are transforming the way companies do business. The firm extends its global services to more than 100 countries through its membership in Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world’s major accounting and consulting membership organisations. In addition to its core consulting and accounting practices, Armanino operates its division, AMF Media Group, a media and communications services agency. Its affiliate, Intersect Capital, is an independent financial planning, wealth and lifestyle management firm.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit https://www.armaninollp.com/

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Types of Technology Transfer Agreement Registerable in Nigeria

The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) is the technology transfer office in Nigeria with a mandate to regulate the acquisition of foreign technology. NOTAP’s mandate is implemented through the evaluation, registration and monitoring of all technology transfers agreements signed by Nigeria business owners with their foreign technical partners. The task of NOTAP is to evaluate agreements to ensure that the terms and conditions contained therein suit the Nigeria environment, is fair and well aligned to the National Innovation System.

According to NOTAP’s Revised Guidelines for Registration and Monitoring of Technology Transfer Agreements in Nigeria, 2011, all agreements must be classified under any of the following heads;

a. Management Services

This agreement incorporates all agreements in the areas of insurance, marketing, human resources, administration, accounting, sales promotion, hotel management agreements and other related services.

b. Consultancy Services

This agreement cut across various industries and fields such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture and includes the provision of architectural designs, engineering designs, construction works and feasibility studies.

c. Technical Services

This agreement deals with the provision of experts from the technical partner’s plant to the Nigerian company’s plant to render short term technical services locally for a maximum period of 6 months. The agreement must contain detailed information of the experts. This agreement is usually for technical services such as installation and commissioning of new plants, supply of equipment and machinery, operation, repairs and maintenance of equipment.

d. Technical Know-How Agreement

This agreement involves the granting of a license, the provision of technical know-how, information on manufacturing processes, drawings, diagrams, operating manuals, expertise, engineering assistance, designs, standard and quality control of products, advice on necessary equipment, plant, machinery and manufacturing capability, etc.

e. Trademark License Agreement

This agreement deals with the grant of exclusive or nonexclusive right by a foreign trademark owner or licensor to a Nigerian company to use the mark to manufacture and sell its goods and services. A Trademark License Agreement must be accompanied by technical know-how by the licensor to ensure that the goods and services for which the trademark is to be used meets the specified standard. Again, the agreement must satisfy the following conditions to be registrable in Nigeria;

  • i. The trademark must be internationally recognized and accompanied by a licensed know-how;
  • ii. The goods involved must be manufactured locally;
  • iii. The products must be for export;
  • iv. The licensor must not own more than 75% of the company’s share capital.

f. Franchise Agreement

This agreement is a business model or arrangement where the Franchisor grants the right to exploit a system developed by the Franchisor to a Franchisee. It is generally a total package including the intellectual property rights to carry out the business or provide and sell the associated goods or services.

The agreement includes the right to use the trademarks, trade secrets, trade names or logos and designs associated with the business, patents and know-how of the business and any other relevant information contained in a brochure which may be advertising or copyright related to the manufacture, sales of goods or the provision and marketing or services to customers.

The agreement covers different areas of human and economic endeavor such as manufacture of products, provisions of services, supply of manufacturing processes, distribution and sales of goods, provision and marketing of services etc.

g. Software License Agreement

This agreement involves the use of application packages to drive the operation of companies in various sectors of the economy such as banking and other financial institutions, pension, telecommunication companies etc. A Software License Agreement may incorporate the provision of Annual Technical Support or Maintenance Services. Payment for Software License is effected once, while payment for an Annual Technical Support is on a yearly basis and commences 1 year after the implementation of the Software License Agreement.

h. Research and Development Agreement

This agreement focuses on the following;

  • i. Grant of access to the patent, inventions and results or research and development activities carried out by the transferor in respect of the specified products;
  • (ii) Advice on engineering products design and product development services;
  • (iii) Advice on international research and development works carried out on the specified products including new or modified methods of manufacture, formulation product and process improvements;
  • v. Provision of specialist staff to assist the licensee company overcome its technical problem as they arise;
  • vi. Making available the licensor’s specialist departments and the specialist department of any of its subsidiary or associated companies for the licensee’s use when required.
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Industry predictions: Technology, Media and Telecom sector trends

The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) practice at Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has today announced its predictions for the UK TMT sector in 2019. The news comes following the launch of the eighteenth edition of Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2019 report.

Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2019 report – summary:

Smart speakers will be the fastest-growing connected device in 2019, with expected growth of 63% year-on-year to reach £5.6bn in revenue worldwide

Global 3D printing revenues from large public companies will rise by 12.6% to surpass £2bn, representing a significant but small proportion (0.02%) of all manufacturing revenues

c.20 handset vendors will launch 5G-ready devices in 2019, with 50,000 5G-enabled handsets to be shipped in the UK by the end of the year.

Smart Speakers: the hear and now

Deloitte predicts that smart speakers – internet-connected speakers with integrated digital assistants – will be the fastest-growing connected device in 2019, with 164 million units to be sold globally, up from 98 million in 2018. The smart speaker market is expected to grow by 63% year-on-year to £5.6bn in revenue, with a global installed base of a quarter of a billion by the end of 2019.

As of mid-2018, 12% of UK adults, approximately 6.2 million, had access to a smart speaker. This compares with 22% of adults in urban China and 19% in the USA. With 8% of global shipments reaching the UK, UK revenue for smart speakers will reach £44.8mn ($56.7mn) in 2019.

Paul Lee, global head of research for technology, media and telecoms at Deloitte, comments: “Smart speaker adoption has seen phenomenal growth in recent years. With improvements continuing to be made, demand for smart speakers could be in the many billions of units, possibly even higher than for smartphones. In the future, smart speakers have the potential to be installed in every room in a house, hotel, office, school and even beside every hospital bed.

“Significantly, smart speakers have, literally, a world of opportunity for growth in non-English-speaking countries. So far, the vast majority of these devices have been sold to markets with English as the primary language. As linguistic software improves, demand will continue to soar, particularly if these speakers appeal to customers speaking Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.

“We expect smart speakers to be the seventh most-used consumer device this year, and it may take some years before this technology’s true impact is felt. Mass adoption has yet to happen, voice recognition accuracy has plenty of scope for improvement, and there are still relatively few apps available.”

Radio: Revenue, reach, and resilience

Radio, the 99-year old traditional medium, will maintain its hold on UK media consumption, with 47 million people listening to radio weekly or more often. Global radio revenues are forecast to increase modestly to £31.6 billion, still many multiples of emerging media formats such as eSports, whose revenues are likely to be 40 times smaller.

Globally, Deloitte predicts that nearly three billion people will listen to radio weekly in 2019, and that total radio revenue will reach £31.6bn ($40bn), a one per cent increase from 2018.

Lee comments: “Due to the rise of on-demand media and streaming services, many underestimate the influence radio still holds. The perception that video or indeed streaming has killed the radio star is simply not the case. Whether it’s in the car, over breakfast, or even at work, the vast majority of people in the UK still have at least one ear on the airwaves during the course of the day. Radio is alive, well and enjoyed by all ages.”

The UK is the fifth largest market globally for annual radio revenues, with revenues of £1.3bn ($1.6bn) in 2017. The US is by far the largest market (£17.2bn/$21.8bn) followed by Germany (£3.1bn/$3.9bn).

Lee adds: “Radio advertising is underestimated, with many unaware of the influence it holds for brands. As traditional media and television viewing figures continue to struggle, listening figures for radio are holding steady. Radio will continue to play an integral role in advertising campaigns for years to come. In a world where digital changes everything, radio may be the exception.”

3D printing: Growth accelerates again, but remains niche

Deloitte predicts that sales related to 3D printing by large public companies will surpass £2.1bn in 2019 and £2.4bn in 2020, growing by 12.5% year-on-year, more than double its growth rate compared to just a few years ago.

This growth will be driven by faster printing speeds, larger printing volume and, crucially, an increase in the number of materials able to be printed. Metal is expected to overtake plastics and represent more than half of all 3D printing within the next two years.

Lee comments: “In 2019, 3D printing will finally start to make its mark. Companies across multiple industries are using the technology for more than just rapid prototyping. 3D printers today are capable of printing a greater variety of materials, which mainly means more metal printing and less plastic printing. Plastic is fine for prototypes and certain final parts, but the trillion-dollar metal-parts fabrication market is the more important market for 3D printers to address.

“Bionic prosthetic limbs for children for instance, which are usually costly, particularly due to the need to replace these frequently as children grows, have been revolutionised by the introduction of 3D printing and can now be produced for a mere £20.”

5G enters the mainstream in 2019

2019 will also see the first mass-market generation of 5G-enabled handsets go on sale. Deloitte predicts that around 20 handset vendors will launch 5G-ready handsets in 2019, with the first available in Q2. Approximately one million 5G-enabled handsets will be shipped by the year’s end, out of a projected 1.5 billion smartphone handsets which will be sold in total in 2019. In the UK, 5G shipments will number around 50,000.

Julian Rae, Technology partner at Deloitte in Cambridge, concludes: “The introduction of 5G handsets expected this year will look a lot like 2010, when 4G phones first entered the market. There will be a lot of noise in the first year from vendors vying to be first to market, and relatively little action from consumers. We’re not talking about an overnight switch to faster connectivity with lower latency, we will see 5G used by consumers in hotspot locations in the next two to three years, with mass adoption by 2025.”

To hear about the above TMT Predictions and more, Julian Rae and Paul Lee will be hosting the Deloitte Telecoms, Media & Technology Predictions Breakfast Event in Cambridge on 13 February at 1 Station Square, Cambridge, CB1 2GA. For more information please contact [email protected].

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Brexit has already created 3,500 technology jobs in Brussels

Thousands of tech jobs have moved to Brussels from the UK due to Brexit with expectations of more to come once Britain leaves the EU, according to a sector leader.

As many as 3,500 roles have already been relocated to the Belgium capital, said Juan Bossicard, president of Microsoft’s Innovation Centre in the city.

The stream of tech workers leaving the UK began in the summer of 2016, Mr Bossicard told the New Statesman.

“Since Brexit began, 3,500 jobs have moved here from the UK and we expect far more to come after Brexit officially happens,” he said.

Mr Bossicard said Brexit offered a “huge opportunity” for Brussels, and added the city has a lot of offer UK companies, including single market access and good links to other European countries.

Ahead of the EU referendum, job losses linked to Brexit were forecast to be in the hundreds of thousands but since the vote these projections have been curtailed.

However, the Bank of England has said that Britain is set to lose 5,000 financial services jobs by 29 March next year, a prediction backed by the Treasury.

MPs are set to begin debating Theresa May’s Brexit deal, with a vote on the agreement due to take place in the coming days.

On Tuesday, an official at the European Court of Justice said Article 50 could be unilaterally revoked, sending the pound up against the dollar and the euro.