Tech in Wales: We Build Bot’s £600,000 raise, Newport job openings and more

Nic Fearn, editor of Tech Dragons, rounds up the latest technology news to emerge from Wales throughout the month of April 2018.

April proved to be an exciting month of prosperity for the Welsh technology industry. Not only is Wrexham’s new innovation hub starting to come to life, but a local fintech entrepreneur launched a community investment scheme for his peers and Newport is about to get a jobs boost. Here are the best Welsh tech stories from the past month.

AI firm raises nearly £600,000

Chatbot start-up We Build Bots raised more than £575,000 of investment in a crowdfunding campaign backed by more than 332 people.

Headquartered in Cardiff, the company initially wanted to raise £500,000 through investment platform Seedrs but quickly surpassed this goal. Its current valuation exceeds £2m.

Paul Shepherd, founder of the start-up, plans to grow We Build Bots into a £100m-valued business within the next five years. He is the brainchild of IntelAgent, a customer service automation platform.

The software is an automated messaging and social media tool that provides customers with answers, perform tasks and even identifies sales opportunities.

“Using a bot to promote investment in our bots was the obvious choice, enabling us to showcase the technology we’re asking for investment in,” said Paul.

“We’ve had a flying start to the campaign with over 55% of our funding target achieved in the first 10 days and anticipate reaching our goal within the funding period, enabling us to embark on the next phase of growth.”

Fintech community launches

Fintech start-up Delio set up a private investment community to help clients expand their distribution capabilities and deal flows.

Called DelioConnect, it gives financial companies and professionals a way to access trusted partners they can engage, connect and communicate with. They can also use it to find funding.

Through the network, members can connect with professionals and companies from a catalogue of vetted network participants. Delio said this means they can develop propositions “under their own terms”.

Members can upload supporting documentation to an online portal, allowing them to pitch to potential investors and partners. They can easily turn these into actionable propositions to accelerate deal management.

Gareth Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Delio said: “From our client conversations, we’ve seen a great appetite in the market for a connected network, which enhances and expedites deal flow in a secure and structured way and that’s the inspiration behind DelioConnect.

“We already have around sixty institutions from around the globe going live with us, including wealth managers, family offices and corporate finance houses, and we’re excited to see the impact the network will have for our members and the opportunities it opens for deal originators and investors,” he added. 

Innovation centre announces new hires

As The Wrexham Enterprise Hub gears up to launch over the next few months, it has taken on three new team members to develop its facilities and services.

Carl Turner has been appointed as community manager, while Pete Rogers and Victoria Williams will support him as community assistants. 

Having formerly worked for NatWest Bank as a community manager, he will be tasked with finding new members, sourcing business mentors, organising events, and coordinating day-to-day operations.

Pete, who is also a freelance film producer and touring poet, will run the hub’s online activities. And Victoria, who previously worked in the financial sector, will handle administrative tasks.

Announced earlier in the year, the hub will be delivered by Town Square Spaces on the behalf of Business Wales and be funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Gareth Jones, founder of Town Square Spaces, said hiring a new team is the next positive step to setting up and developing a “burgeoning start-up space”.

He said: “Work on the Hub at Queen’s Square is progressing well. However, it’s communities that decide the success of start-up spaces, and they are built of positive people.

“All the successful hubs, spaces and coworking areas across the world succeed when they build a community of like-minded individuals who, through collaboration and mutual support, grow their businesses together.”

20 new tech jobs for Newport

W2 Global Data, which offers software-as-a-service products, announced it’s planning to create 20 high-skilled jobs in Newport in the coming months.

Having moved to the city at the start of the year, the firm said it’s seen impressive growth and wants to expand its team to achieve even more success.

The firm develops verification products that identify online fraud and stop potential money launderers in their tracks.

Warren Russell, CEO of the firm, said: “The rapid growth of online fraud and subsequent strengthening of the regulatory environment is putting real pressure on online retailers to verify their customers’ identity as part of their risk management and business continuity strategy 

“Demand for our services has far outgrown our earlier projections and we have doubled our headcount over the past year as a result.”

Careers platform expands

Digital Profile, which is an online careers platform, inked a deal with Cardiff Council and the Development Bank for Wales to accelerate the growth of its software.

It’s been working with the council to create a new feature that lets youngsters find high-quality jobs, training and courses locally.

Councillor Sarah Merry, who is the cabinet member for education at Cardiff Council, said the council has been using the app to get young people into jobs.

“The Cardiff Commitment is creating strong links between our schools and employers. This means we can ensure that Cardiff’s children and young people have the best opportunity to develop the type of skills employers in the city and the wider region,” she said

“Digital Profile provides a safe and secure community, in which pupils and students, schools and colleges, businesses and organisations can connect and interact. This straightforward, direct communication has brought a powerful online dimension to the Cardiff Commitment.”

The app is being offered to firms in areas such as finance, engineering, media, creative arts, information technology, architecture, sport, hospitality, retail, construction, manufacturing, education, training and environment.

Dan Lewis, who created the platform, said his company is “changing how people search, progress and upskill in the world of work”.

He added: “We provide links between multiple sectors in the world of careers, allowing opportunities to flow through different channels to target the right audience. Our mission is to help over 5 million people in the first 3 years progress their career.”