DIGIT Movers and Shakers | January 2021
A former school teacher who retrained for a career in the technology sector just four years ago was promoted into a senior role at IT consultancy Inoapps in January.
Tom Benham, who joined the business as a Junior Developer in 2017 after completing an intensive 16-week CodeClan technology sector retraining programme, has become Inoapps’ Custom Apps Team Lead.
Based in the company’s Technology Division, located within Linlithgow’s Oracle Campus, Tom will now oversee a team of developers, taking responsibility for project delivery and resource management.
As part of the new role, he will also support colleagues on business development activities across the UK, reporting to Inoapps’ VP of Ideation, Dermot Murray.
Prior to pursuing a technology career, Tom graduated with a teaching degree from the University of Glasgow and then spent more than a decade as a primary school teacher in North Lanarkshire where he progressed to Principal Teacher level.
Tom is one of 24 colleagues recruited to Inoapps since forming its 2016 partnership with CodeClan, Scotland’s industry-led digital skills academy which is focused on bridging the nation’s IT skills gap. On joining Inoapps, he undertook an initial 18-month graduate development plan, followed by further internal and external training, which put him on his current trajectory.
Commenting on the promotion, Phil Burgess, Managing Director of Inoapps EMEA, said: “I congratulate Tom on making this next step of his career into this key leadership role.
“His progress highlights the impact of the significant training investment we’ve committed towards our colleagues and underlines the success of our partnership with CodeClan, which has enormously benefitted Inoapps through the diversity of talent they’ve brought into the tech sector.”
Tom Benham said: “I’m delighted to take on this new challenge, heading up the Custom Apps team. The mentoring and coaching I’ve received since joining Inoapps has been invaluable in enabling me to progress my career and move into this new role.”
Brand advertising platform AdInMo announced two senior appointments in January, with Joanne Lacey joining as Chief Operating Officer and Konstantine Rybnikov as VP Engineering.
As well as overseeing operations at AdInMo, Lacey will be responsible for driving awareness of the mobile adtech company and help deliver the company’s commitment to enabling a developer-first monetisation channel. She will also lead AdInMo’s industry engagement programme working with advertisers and other stakeholders to establish a scalable measurement of trusted brand ads.
Lacey brings over two decades of mobile industry experience to the AdInMo team and joins from global trade body, Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), where she spent eight years as COO and sat on their Global Board. During that time, she was instrumental in delivering numerous industry programmes, including Future of Messaging and Trust in Personal Data & Identity. She will remain an industry advisor at MEF.
She also previously held senior marketing and operational roles at mobile games technology and publishing companies, including deltaDNA, Player X and I-play. Having helped establish mobile games as a new gaming format (joining Digital Bridges in 2000 in the days of WAP, SMS & Java gaming) she is well placed to help AdInMo establish immersive InGamePlay advertising as a new mobile advertising ad category.
Check out our latest blog series for our Monthly Developer Shoutout!
These are the developers pioneering the use of immersive ads in their games and reaping the monetization uplift rewards. We salute you!https://t.co/[email protected] @Kwalee #GSgamestudio #AthangGames pic.twitter.com/yPmDMn0Bd6
— AdInMo (@Adinmo_media) February 1, 2021
Commenting on her appointment, Lacey said: “I started in the mobile games industry 20 years ago and it’s wonderful to be back home. Being at the start of establishing a new tech category is always exciting and InGamePlay brand advertising is a channel with huge potential given the exponential growth of mobile games in recent years. AdInMo is at the forefront of a new shift in digital marketing and I’m excited to join the management team to help us achieve scale.”
AdInMo has also appointed Konstantine Rybnikov as VP Engineering. Rybnikov will be responsible for leading the company’s SDK development and mobile optimised platform.
Prior to joining AdInMo, Rybnikov held senior development positions at a range of startups and digital advertising companies, including SoundFlow and ThoughtLeadr delivering real-time ads based on OpenRTB and direct campaigns.
Rybnikov, who co-founded tech hotspot Kyiv’s Functional Programming Community, bolsters the tech team at AdInMo working alongside AdInMo’s Chief Technology Officer, Chris Wright, who invested in AdInMo after his game analytics company, deltaDNA, was acquired by Unity Technologies.
Kristan Rivers, CEO, AdInMo, said: “We’re delighted that Joanne and Kon have joined our team at this key growth period for AdInMo.
“Joanne is someone I’ve been lucky enough to work with at both Player X and I-play and have always appreciated the strategic focus she brings to every role. AdInMo’s team ramped up significantly in Covid times and having a powerhouse of industry knowledge and a management team that’s worked together several times is a unique advantage.”
Data & Marketing Association
The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) has announced the appointments of Tony Miller, Marketing Director of WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) and Mandy Merron, Partner at Moore Kingston Smith to the DMA Board.
Commenting on the appointments, Stephen Maher, Chair of the DMA Board and CEO of MBA said: “The DMA champions the way marketing should be done, responsibly, sustainably and creatively – always led by customer-first principles and driven by people who truly believe in these values.
“Tony and Mandy’s experience and commitment to the data and marketing sector are already evident, which will make their strategic advice and industry knowledge a valuable resource for the DMA and its membership.”
Maher added: “I look forward to working together, utilising their experience and passion to support the DMA and our initiatives that promote intelligent marketing across our industry, from the classroom to the boardroom.”
#SCV is the process of joining up the dots in your data. Only by filling in the gaps of your customer profiles will you be able to gain a fuller picture of their needs & how best to meet them. https://t.co/6JObdRubth #IDMLearning #Marketing #DigitalMarkeing pic.twitter.com/gDK4OfhzAB
— DMA UK (@DMA_UK) February 8, 2021
Tony Miller has held senior marketing positions at a number of international organisations, including Disney and Havas CX Helia. For nearly 30 years, he has helped define and shape best practice across the data and marketing industry. Most recently, he has served as Vice-Chair of the DMA Awards Committee and Grand Prix Judge at the DMA Awards 2020. Miller has been elected to a three-year term on the DMA Board.
Mandy Merron has been appointed as the DMA’s new Treasurer. Merron specialises in corporate finance and also served as Treasurer of The Telephone Preference Service for seven years until 2011. Merron succeeds Peter Smithson who helped navigate the DMA through a significant period of change for the association and the industry it represents.
ScotlandIS announced the appointment of a new interim Chief Executive in January, with Karen Meechan assuming the role temporarily.
Prior to the announcement, Meechan held the position of Chief Operating Officer at the tech sector cluster management organisation.
Check out this interview with @brightsolid CEO, Elaine Maddison, talking all about how a major culture shift was key to the firm’s financial stability amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read the full interview here: https://t.co/5aITgeNkxp#SISmember #culture #success #growth
— ScotlandIS (@scotlandis) February 8, 2021
In a statement, ScotlandIS said Meechan will assume the role when current Chief Executive, Jane Morrison-Ross, leaves in February.
Alison McLaughlin, Chair of ScotlandIS, said: “I am pleased to announce that Karen Meechan has agreed to take on the role of Interim CEO when Jane Morrison-Ross departs next month.
“Karen is well known to our partners and members and has worked closely with Jane on the current ScotlandIS strategy and ambition.
“The board is confident that she will lead the ScotlandIS team to build on the organisation’s success and, most importantly, ensure we continue to provide the support our members need over the coming months.”
Meechan added: “Having worked closely on ScotlandIS’ strategy and operations, as well as with members’ for many years, I am looking forward to helping steer us through the coming months in what is a critical year for Scotland’s digital sector.”
Morrison-Ross is set to join South of Scotland Enterprise as Chief Executive, having served at ScotlandIS since 2019. Morrison-Ross officially took up the role of Chief Executive in October 2019 following the retirement of long-running Chief Exec, Polly Purvis.
Check out the original article here.
Lothian Broadband announced a number of high-profile appointments in January as the company embarks on a new phase of rapid growth.
The move will see founding Chairman Patrick Flockhart step down and be replaced by existing non-executive director Kevin Hague. Additionally, the company revealed that Scott Coats will join the board as a non-exec director, replacing another founding director, David Walls.
Kevin Hague has been a non-executive Director with Lothian Broadband since 2019 and has extensive experience of leading fast-growth consumer-facing businesses. Scott Coates has worked with a number of digital infrastructure scale-ups and he led Lothian Broadband’s last funding round.
Commenting on the changes, Patrick Flockhart, said: “The team at Lothian Broadband have done a great job of growing the business and building a trusted, local brand. As a committed investor in the business, I believe these board changes will accelerate the next stage of growth in Lothian, ensuring it has the right strategy and leadership in place to take it to the next level.”
Kevin Hague, incoming Chairman added: “Lothian Broadband has a unique opportunity to target Scotland’s fibre gap with high-quality infrastructure bringing much-needed connectivity to communities across Scotland.
“I’m hugely grateful to Patrick for the opportunity to guide Lothian Broadband through what promises to be an exciting phase of the company’s development.
“Delivering rapid growth in any business is a challenge, particularly when it comes to managing the culture of the organisation, ensuring systems and processes are scalable and protecting the integrity of the brand.
“Knowing the quality and ambition of the management team we already have in place, I am confident that Lothian Broadband is well-positioned to meet these challenges while taking advantage of the large market opportunity we see before us.”
Edinburgh-based EdTech company Robotical has bolstered its team with four new hires as it rolls out the latest version of its flagship product, Marty The Robot.
The new additions take the Robotical team to 12 with the focus on building greater awareness of Marty – a characterful STEM education tool that brings learning coding to life as the most affordable humanoid robot on the market.
The recruitment drive brings in Natalya Ratner as Head of Marketing, responsible for aligning marketing strategy with business objectives, lead generation and growing the Robotical brand internationally.
Ratner joined the start-up world in 2020 after a six-year stint with the Scottish Government. Following various roles within international marketing, Natalya was appointed Head of Digital Experience for Scotland’s nation brand unit, overseeing a team of content and social media managers and digital strategists. Before that, Natalya honed her digital marketing craft in Scotland’s biggest media agency, bigmouthmedia (later LBi), where she managed flagship clients British Airways, Condé Nast and Standard Life.
Michael Sinclair joins as Learning Experience Manager, overseeing Robotical’s education offering, lessons and resources and ensuring alignment to national curricula and cross-curricular integration of Marty in schools.
Marty makes #STEMeducation fun and interesting – inviting students to do more than just learn! What is unique about your role in STEM?#STEMAmbassadorsinScotland @STEMAmbassadors @SAESSERC #EdTech #Robotics #LearnToCode #STEM pic.twitter.com/FPQ8bANfsV
— Robotical (@RoboticalLtd) February 5, 2021
Sinclair has been involved in education for over 20 years. He found that exploring new ways of thinking has encouraged growth and he has always endeavoured to stay ahead of the curve. Michael has taught in primary and secondary schools and has worked with a range of learners from primary to university students facing challenges with literacy, numeracy and maths.
Michael has also worked as an educational writer and editor, creating and checking lesson content and item questions for publishing and edtech companies. He is a co-founder of Connected Educator Appreciation Day.
Siobhan Duncan takes on the role as Lead Developer. With a BEng in Computing and Electronics and a MRes in Robotics and Autonomous systems from Heriot Watt University, Siobhan is currently completing her PhD from the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.
Passionate about outreach, she is committed to getting the next generation enthused about a career in robotics, with a focus on trying to encourage more young women into STEM. Her personal highlight was her robot’s appearance on BBC’s Tomorrow’s World and she has organised activities at many events including the Edinburgh Science Festival, Heriot Watt Year of Robotics, Doors Open Day, Biggar Science Festival, IET Eng Fest, BBC Children in Need Car Fest, and both the Scottish and UK Parliaments.
Brano Pilnan also joined on the tech side as Software Engineer and takes care of Marty’s software, hiding away the complexity that would otherwise keep learners from entering the exciting world of robotics.
He has a MInf from the University of Edinburgh where he used Reinforcement Learning to help a dog-like robot learn how to run by itself during his dissertation. When not coding or otherwise playing with electronics and computers (rare), Brano can be seen cycling, hiking, or skiing.
With a second batch of Marty V2 due to be available from the end of February 2021, the team, who are based in Leith, Edinburgh, are focused on promoting the benefits of the robot to educators around the world looking for engaging solutions in teaching coding to children from primary school age up to the university level.
Dr Sandy Enoch, Founder and CEO, said: “It’s an exciting start to the year for us with the imminent arrival of our second batch of Marty V2 and with our new recruits joining our team. We are thrilled to welcome Nat, Michael, Siobhan and Brano – each of whom brings the right blend of skills and attitude to give us a top team well placed to help us realise our ambitions for Marty.”
The team at Storm ID continues to grow in 2021 with the announcement of several new hires, including Jim McNair, whom the company welcomes as Sales Director.
McNair joins Storm ID amid an exciting period as the business looks to scale and commercialise its recent work in digital health. In his new role, McNair will be taking responsibility for sales and marketing of Lenus Health and will also support Storm ID’s wider digital transformation work.
Having previously worked at Leidos as Sales Director, McNair boasts over 15 years’ experience in business development, developing and implementing sales and go to market plans. He began his career in in the public sector supporting economic development and worked in tech transfer and innovation consulting before leading Leidos’s sales activities across Scotland and the UK public sector.
The Lenus Health Platform supports the delivery of new digital health services that are continuous, preventative and participatory, helping to transform care pathways for a range of long-term conditions.
Lenus, which is in use in the NHS, enables patient-generated health data from digital technologies and consumer health techs such as apps, sensors and wearables to be shared with healthcare professionals and machine learning models to provide decision support, enabling targeted interventions to happen in the community.
It is also designed to support services that will help reduce unnecessary and expensive hospital admissions including face-to-face appointments, improve patient engagement with their own health and wellbeing and reduce duplication and unnecessary processes through user managed access to patient data.
Commenting on the appointment, McNair said: “Storm are really going places with their digital transformation work. I’m really delighted to be joining the team and looking forward to helping grow out the business including in the digital health space with Lenus.”
Scottish startup EOS Advisory has announced the bolstering of its board with a high-profile appointment.
Chris Brinsmead CBE has joined the firm as a partner, strengthening the leadership team at the St Andrews-based investment firm.
Brinsmead has previous experience as a council member at Imperial College London and is a former adviser to the UK Government on life sciences, as well as holding senior executive roles at ICI, Zeneca and AstraZeneca.
Over the last decade, Brinsmead has been a non-executive board member and chair on a number of private and public limited company boards.
Andrew McNeill, Managing Partner, Eos Advisory, said: “We have always had an enormous amount of respect for Chris’s achievements in the UK and international pharmaceutical sector, and have then had the pleasure of working more closely with Chris on Cumulus Oncology and other Eos-backed ventures in recent times.
“Bringing Chris on board is a milestone event for the firm and is a sign of our ambitions for the future.”
Commenting on his appointment, Brinsmead said: “Meeting the team over the last two years and investing in a couple of their companies I realised that I was fully aligned with the goals of the Eos partners.
“Eos is a group of hugely talented, diverse individuals with tremendous experience. I believe that by joining the partnership, I can help to strengthen their work and potentially increase the impact.
“I am excited to identify and work with startup companies, conceived in Scotland, focussed on four distinct themes, all of which can have an impact worldwide.”
Check out the full story here.
Digital currency and payments platform Zumo has appointed its first chief technology officer as it prepares to launch new products later this year.
Tim Sabanov, who was previously Lead Technical Architect with Zumo, assumes his role immediately and will oversee the development and roll-out of new products, including a debit card that converts cryptocurrencies to traditional currencies like pound sterling.
Sabanov brings ten years of leadership in providing solutions to firms working with blockchain technologies and specialises in payments, financial services and fintech.
He was most recently Full Stack Blockchain Developer with Slovenian-based app specialist D.Labs, also working with mungoparc, SPRD.digital and Zabec.net.
Hello friends and happy Monday! If you are enjoying the Zumo App, we’d appreciate your time to go to the App Store or Google Play to give us a review. #btc #bitcoin #ethereum #eth #crypto #cryptocurrency #cryptowallet #smartmoney pic.twitter.com/ssZo3IA633
— Zumo (@zumopay) February 8, 2021
Since joining Zumo in January 2020, he has led the development of the Zumo App, ZumoKit Enterprise Solutions platform, and most recently, the Zumo Smartfolio, which enables users to view and manage their overall cryptocurrency assets seamlessly and calculates opportunities to maximise the buying positions for user’s portfolio.
Sabanov said: “Zumo is leading the field in providing technologies that democratise access to financial services. What makes Zumo different, however, is the non-custodial approach it takes in its platforms, meaning that whether you are a business operating on the ZumoPay payments platform, or a consumer on the Zumo App, you are truly in charge of your own finances.
“We are just beginning to realise the potential use cases of blockchain technology which is why I am delighted to take up this post and help further Zumo’s mission to bring the benefits of smart money to everyone.”
Co-founder and CEO of Zumo Nick Jones commented: “Tim is a leader in blockchain technologies of truly global stature and his experience will take our products to the next level.”
Check out the full story here.
Glasgow-based technology firm Exizent announced the appointment of John Catnach as Chief Technology Officer in January. As CTO, Catnach will lead the organisation’s tech strategy and the development of its probate platform.
Catnach joined Exizent in April 2020 as Head of Engineering after spending three years at J.P. Morgan, where he was Vice President and Product Manager for the bank’s private cloud platform. Prior to that he was the Head of Technology for the Scottish Children’s Lottery, where he was responsible for the delivery and operation of the successful digital platform.
Catnach began his career in technology digitising the operational processes for Vickers Defence System. He then spent over a decade at Accenture where he worked across various UK Government projects, including managing the design, implementation and support of the DWP’s benefits and entitlement systems including Pensions, Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
Commenting on his appointment, Catnach said: “I am acutely aware of the transformative power of technology across various industries, from defence to government and financial services. But I am especially excited to look at how an area such as probate, previously lacking in any innovation, can be radically improved, making the process far less stressful for the bereaved. All while making it far easier to manage for law firms.
“I am proud of what we have achieved at Exizent so far and look forward to building a first-class product that continues to address the big issues facing the people during one of the hardest times of their lives.”
Aleks Tomczyk, Exizent Co-founder and COO, said: “Technology sits right at the heart of what we do and it is vital that we continue to innovate, offering Exizent clients the best user experience we possibly can. We have ambitious plans for the expansion of our platform in the coming months and I am thrilled to have John take on the leadership of our technology strategy and delivery.”
Catnatch’s appointment follows news in December that former Nationwide Building Society Non-Executive Director Mitchel Lenson was to become Exizent’s Chairman. Lenson also sits on the board of Currency Cloud and BioCatch.
Akari – VKY Intelligent Automation
Leading Glasgow tech businesses Akari Solutions and VKY Intelligent Automation have announced a strategic partnership. The partnership will enable the two organisations to share a wealth of technical resources and collaborate on projects covering a wide range of technologies.
Both are already Microsoft and UiPath partners, with Akari holding nine Gold competencies and this agreement will see Microsoft projects being delivered under the Akari brand and automation/RPA projects being delivered under VKY.
This combination will see them grow their already impressive capabilities under the Microsoft product stack and successful automation projects with large local councils and recognisable household names. Akari’s expertise in Power Platform and Teams as a Platform, coupled with VKY’s full-stack automation experience makes them the go-to partner for platform development and Intelligent Automation.
Both organisations were already on a strong growth trajectory with VKY and Akari taking home a Global award from Microsoft alongside multiple competencies and advanced specialisations. Between the two organisations, they will be taking on an additional headcount of twenty plus technical resources as well as upping their investment in business development and marketing.
To facilitate close collaboration, Margaret Totten, MD of Akari, will join the VKY board.
Commenting on the move, she said: “VKY have been developing a strong reputation for automation delivery and have already made a strong mark on the automation landscape. This coupled with Akari’s expertise across the Microsoft stack and in particular Power Platform, Teams Platform and the role of citizen development will allow both organisations the ability to offer a far broader service to our customers without compromising on quality. This enhances both businesses’ already exciting pipelines of work.”
Alex Croucher, MD of VKY, said: “2020 was hard for everyone so we have sought ways of becoming more resilient and efficient. We have a lot of respect for Mags and the Akari team so forming a partnership on shared values and opportunity makes a lot of sense. It’s great to be collaborating with another Glasgow business and we’re excited about the strategic direction and value that Mags will bring to the board.”
Helen Smith, Partner Success Manager at Microsoft added: “This new Partnership opens very exciting opportunities for Akari, VKY and the customers they serve. Having had the pleasure of seeing Akari thrive over the last few years in creating modern and inclusive environments for their customers, I can not wait to see what they will do next with even more strings to their bow through automation services from VKY.”
VKY Intelligent Automation hires sales director
To help bolster this immediately VKY have announced the hiring of veteran Sales Director Nick Lyons. Following a successful 20-year career in Sales and Marketing both in the UK and Europe, primarily in the commercial real estate and interiors markets, Nick has joined VKY as head of sales and marketing for EMEA and APAC.
Nick said: “Following a tumultuous period in global markets, the pace of change is accelerating. Organisations are asking ‘how can we innovate to improve competitiveness and agility whilst reducing our costs?’ The pandemic has supercharged the demand for automation to assist businesses to scale and grow in an increasingly competitive and global marketplace. I am delighted to assist the board of directors in meeting our ambitious growth targets over the coming few years.”
Alex Croucher, MD at VKY had this to say: “We spent six months searching for the right individual to lead our sales organisation. We needed somebody who shares our values of authenticity and integrity and Nick epitomises those qualities. Hiring somebody of Nick’s experience and calibre demonstrates how ambitious our growth plans are for the next three years.”
Blockchain Technology Partners
Blockchain Technology Partners (BTP) and Taekion, a US-based cybersecurity company, have announced a partnership to extend BTP’s blockchain and smart contract management platform, Sextant, to include support for the Taekion File System (TFS) on the Hyperledger Sawtooth blockchain.
TFS is a highly secure file system that combines the operational patterns of a file system with the advantages of blockchain technology. Its development was supported with seed funding by the US National Science Foundation, US Air Force and the US Department of Energy in the form of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to Taekion to build secure enclaves for critical national infrastructure.
Commenting on the partnership, Taekion co-founder and CEO Dave Cohen said: “We selected BTP’s blockchain and smart contract management platform, Sextant, to automate the deployment and management of both TFS and its underlying permissioned blockchain network. A key consideration for us was that BTP also provided long term support for our preferred blockchain technology, Hyperledger Sawtooth, through Paralos, its freely available open source software distribution.”
Sextant for TFS brings the benefits of military-grade information security to business, simplifying the curation and secure long-term storage of key documents on a blockchain-based file system. Significantly, Sextant for TFS can be used as a direct substitute for Linux- and Unix-based file systems typically used for critical data storage without changing the systems that connect to these file systems.
Duncan Johnston-Watt, co-founder and CEO of BTP added: “We are delighted to partner with Taekion as TFS guarantees that the entire file as well as the history of each file is stored on the blockchain and not simply a cryptographic hash with the data being stored elsewhere.
“This approach differs from its competitors and offers enterprises a clear path to attaining three key NIST cybersecurity framework requirements – protect, detect and recover – reducing the risk of their data being silently undermined by another ‘SolarWinds’ style supply chain attack.”
Scottish fintech company, AutoRek, was announced as the winner of ‘Best Insurance System’ in this year’s bobsguide awards, marking the second year that the software provider has won the award.
The bobsguide awards were based on the strength of tech updates and their impact on the client experience. Several rounds of assessment were carried out by the judging panel including user and market engagement, as well as specific criteria for each individual award.
Michael McCaw, editor at bobsguide, commented: “During an incredibly difficult year for the insurance industry, many market participants looked to their tech partners to contribute additional value and certainty across various processes and functions. The judges were particularly impressed with the standards set by AutoRek throughout 2020, in making sure their clients were well-informed and had access to leading data management and reconciliation technology.”
Lyn Canavan, Head of Marketing at AutoRek, commented “We are proud to have won Best Insurance System with bobsguide for the second time. We have focused our efforts on innovating our Insurance solution over the past couple of years and this award recognises the hard work and dedication of the whole AutoRek team. We are continuing to expand our global Insurance client base and are confident that these clients will reap the benefits of our end-to-end automation tool.”