Tech In Wales: the March 2016 roundup

Tech In Swansea

While the majority of you are munching on leftover Easter eggs and getting used to sunnier, spring weather, Wales is reflecting on another successful month for its growing tech industry.

From boosts for Welsh games development to new tech horizons for Swansea, there were a ton of stellar tech developments in Wales during March.

Here’s our round up.

Relentless Software opens new studio

In a major win for the Welsh gaming sector, global games developer Relentless Software opened a new studio in Pontypridd and announced it’d be greating 70 jobs.

These jobs are to be created over the next two years, catering for a new partnership between the Brighton-based firm and toy manufacturer Hasbro.

The Welsh Government awarded Relentless with a £550,000 grant to secure the contract for the Welsh economy and games development industry.

Welcoming the deal, Welsh economy minister Edwina Hart said: “This is a highly strategic project and a significant coup for the digital media sector in Wales.

“It will be Wales’ second major inward investment games development studio that will create 70 skilled jobs and attract millions of pounds of investment to Wales from a global entertainment company.”

TechHub Swansea launches innovation centre

March also proved to be a big month for the technology industry in Swansea, with digital start-up incubator TechHub moving to bigger premises in Wales’s second largest city.

The new building is 15,000sq ft in size and located on the high street in Swansea. Facilities include a co-working floor, 4 large meeting rooms, 5 Skype pods and ultrafast broadband of up to 3.9Gbps.

Another exciting development for TechHub Swansea is the launch of Furnace. The latter is a DVLA-sponsored event space the local tech community can use for workshops, meetups and hackathons. It can house up to 300 people.
The growth of the organisation has been phenomenal. Since launching in December 2013, it’s expanded from 6 to 100 members and increased its facilities by 300%.

Speaking about the Welsh tech industry, TechHub Swansea co-founder Paul Harwood said: “We started TechHub Swansea as a non-profit community interest company and to see our community spring global tech companies from these shores. To get there we really need people to get behind what we are doing and support our events and initiatives.”

“Wales is a nation of over-achievers, the tech industry is no different. With one of the fastest growing tech sectors in Europe, we now punch well above our weight globally. The creation of a tech cluster around TechHub Swansea proves that.”

Software manufacturer launches in Australia

Welsh software manufacturer Zipporah, which works with over 80 clients and creates solutions for areas such as events and leisure management, expanded to Australia.

The firm has been selling products in the Australian market since 2013, but it’s now operating as a separate business in the country under the name Zipporah PTY.

Launched in 2013, Zipporah has gone on to implement its solutions into over 70 UK local authorities and is reaching over a million residents yearly.

At the beginning of the month, its headline product Advance – which aims to simplify online booking processes – was named most innovative software at the ESTNet Awards 2016.

Speaking to Tech Dragons, the firm’s MD Emma Powell said: “Australia and New Zealand are really exciting environments for Zipporah to be operating within.

“Both countries have followed the UK’s lead in embracing technology as a means to overcome austerity across local government.”

University of South Wales launches National Cybersecurity Academy

In a bid to create the next generation of cyber tech specialists, the University of South Wales and Welsh Government launched the National Cybersecurity.

The academy is the first of its kind in the UK and will be based at the university’s Newport campus. It’ll begin taking students in September of this year.

It’s hoped it’ll address the lack of cyber security specialists in the UK. According to statistics, 4.5 million professionals will be needed in this area by 2019.

Once opened, students will work on projects set by industry partners such as Airbus and General Dynamics UK and flight test the course to ensure it meets industry challenges.

Andy Love, strategic business development at Airbus, said: “There is an emerging eco system around cyber technology that is based in South Wales and Airbus is proud to be part of it.

“Our involvement with the course and the curriculum is an exciting opportunity for business and academia to influence the next generation of cyber security specialists.”

Inventory management platform acquires London startup

Swansea-based Veeqo, an inventory management platform for sellers, acquired shipping startup ParcelBright for an undisclosed sum.

ParcelBright simplifies parcel delivery by using technology that manages the APIs of multiple shipping companies within a single app. Veeqo says this will make things quicker for its customers.
Daniel Lipinski and Carlos Vilhena, the company’s founders, will become advisors to Veeqo as part of the deal. They’ll offer both commercial and technical advice.

Veeqo is widely regarded as one of Wales’s most promising tech startups. Founded in 2014, it’s raised over £1m through crowdfunding and has opened an office in New York.

Matt Warren, founder and CEO of Veeqo, said: “I am really excited that we have been able to complete this deal. Daniel and Carlos have built a fantastic company which when merged with Veeqo will enable our customer to not only save time but also save money when shipping their orders.”

Written by Nicholas Fearn, editor of Tech Dragons