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Tech in Wales: The May 2017 roundup

tech in wales

Nic Fearn, editor at Tech Dragons, rounds up the most prominent news to emerge from the Welsh tech sector throughout the month of May. 

From a fast-growing FinTech firm’s pledge to create 30 high-quality jobs in Cardiff to the unveiling of this year’s Wales Technology Awards finalists, the industry couldn’t be stronger.

Here’s our round-up of top Welsh tech news from May. 

30 FinTech jobs for Cardiff

Welsh FinTech startup Delio announced its expansion plans and proposals to create 30 jobs in Cardiff after it received £200,000 in repayable business finance from the Welsh government.

The company, which was founded by Gareth Lewis and David Newman in 2015, has created a white label platform aimed at helping large financial organisations connect clients with investment opportunities.

Delio said the funding would be used to help its expansion over the next three years.

Ken Skates, the Welsh economy secretary, said: “Delio has already been noted for its high growth potential and joins a growing number of emerging, smart Welsh companies that are clearly making their mark in this market. I am pleased Welsh government funding will support Delio’s expansion plans.”

Gareth Lewis, co-founder of the firm, added: “Our solution helps everyone – from family offices through to global banks – offer more to those seeking to invest directly in private equity, debt, real estate and other asset classes.”

Buyout deal for Cardiff telco

Glamorgan Telecom, which is based in Cardiff, completed a full-management buyout agreement thanks to support from equity investment organisation Finance Wales.

Kelly Bolderson, the company’s managing director and majority shareholder, and several colleagues bought out founder Neal Pughe’s stake in the firm.

As a result of this move, they now have full control of the firm’s current board of directors. This move will allow the company to refinance existing debt, complete an MBO and see Finance Wales take a 15% stake.

Now that the buyout has been completed, the company can also begin expanding across South Wales and the South West of England. Company revenue is expected to hit £5m by the end of 2018.

Speaking about the news, Bolderson said: “The completion of the management buyout is hugely important for Glamorgan Telecom, this really is the beginning of a new and exciting journey for the business.

“We thank Finance Wales for their help and support during this process. With a full buyout in place, the management team has full control to guide Glamorgan Telecom into an exciting new chapter.”

Awards finalists announced

The finalists for the Wales Technology Awards, organised by ESTNet, were also announced. They aim to recognise the achievements made by the Welsh tech sector.

On June 22nd, finalists will gather for a gala awards ceremony at the prestigious Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. They’ll be joined by a range of of high-profile technologists and companies.

A number of awards are set to be handed out during the ceremony, including Technology Leader of the Year, Innovative Product of the Year, Best New Talent and Industry Trailblazer.

Companies such as Amplyfi, Digital Profile, Wealthify, Boma Camp, DevOpsGuys, Zipporah, Wales Interactive and Symlconnect have been named as finalists.

Avril Lewis, managing director of the ESTnet, said: “The Wales Technology Awards stand to celebrate the vital contributions and successes of the circa 3,110 businesses and 40,000 people in Wales who represent our industry.

“The quality and volume of entries we received this year demonstrates what the ESTnet has known for many years; here in Wales we design, develop, manufacture and integrate some of the world’s most advanced enabling technologies that are driving and integral to the development of key market sectors.”

New aviation centre planned

Award-winning hybrid aircraft maker Faradair announced plans to open a research and development centre at Swansea University Bay Campus.

It’ll be based at the university’s College of Engineering and offer Welsh students a unique opportunity to develop careers in the lucrative aviation industry.

The centre will be supervised by Dr Ben Evans, an associate professor in aerospace engineering, and give postdoctoral students a chance to take part in real-life aviation projects

Set to open in September 2017, the centre will play a key part in the multi-role, 6-8 seat BEHA (Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft) development programme.

Neil Cloughley, managing director of Faradair Aerospace, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to announce this partnership with Swansea University.

“We have been so impressed with the Swansea Bay campus, its new facilities and most importantly the enthusiasm that Dr Evans and all the team members in the aerospace engineering department have for our new aircraft project.”

Welsh flag emoji lands on Twitter

And finally, following years of campaigns and requests from technology users, a new national flag Emoji for Wales is set to land on Twitter and mobile devices.

The news comes as Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia and BBC Wales social media lead Owen Williams launched a campaign to get national emojis developed for Scotland, Wales and England.

Their campaign was a big success and encouraged computer text and character authority Unicode to add these three flags to its next major emoji release.

When these emojis are officially released, technology companies such as Apple and Google will be able to integrate them into their own operating systems.

Burge told the BBC: “The Welsh flag is a great flag. I know I usually end up using the dragon emoji when talking about Wales, so it’s a big improvement.

Gareth Jones, CEO of Caerphilly-based innovation centre and startup incubator Welsh ICE, said this new emoji will help Welsh businesses stand out internationally.

“The Welsh emoji is great news for Welsh businesses who want to use the value of the brand to stand out in the market, and hopefully highlight some of the businesses active in Wales that perhaps people weren’t aware of,” he said.

“It also allows quicker searches by searching for the emoji, so the conversations on important topics online can build and build.”