The FinTech Five, Friend Members Edition – 4th November 2022
Welcome to a friends edition of the FinTech Five! This week we are taking a closer look at the best news updates from five of our FinTech Wales Friend Members who continue to provide support, knowledge, and expertise to our region’s FinTech community.
1. Cardiff Capital Region Highlight the Cardiff Region In Action – The latest in Innovation, Sustainability, Inclusion and Connectivity
First this week, Cardiff Capital Region have shared highlights of the latest Innovation, Sustainability, Inclusivity and Connectivity in the Cardiff Region over the past month, including:
- Innovation: KLA invests $100m+ in a new R&D and Manufacturing centre for SPTS Technologies in Newport
- Sustainability: Kepak in Merthyr wins plaudits from international Carbon Footprint expert
- Inclusivity: BITC launches Newport Place Programme to tackle inequalities through business action
- Connectivity: Wales Technology Awards spotlight innovations that are connecting the world
2. British Business Bank publishes updated list of 464 companies in which the Future Fund has an equity stake
This week the British Business Bank published a list of 67 additional companies in which the Future Fund holds an equity stake, taking the total to 464 as at 30 September 2022, meaning more than a third of companies have now converted to equity.¹
Companies in which Future Fund is now a shareholder include Nottingham-based PBD Biotech, that has developed a rapid screening test for both human and bovine tuberculosis, and Optellum, creators of AI-based software for early diagnosis of lung cancer that utilises the largest real-world dataset of CT scans to identify at-risk patients and help clinicians provide better cancer management and care to patients.
The Future Fund supported UK companies that typically rely on equity investment to fund their growth. By creating a bridge to the next equity funding round, the Future Fund supported these companies through a period of considerable economic disruption and now the recovery.
Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, British Business Bank said:
“The Future Fund was created to ensure a flow of capital, at the height of the pandemic, to companies that would otherwise have been unable to access government support schemes, while ensuring long-term value for the UK taxpayer. We are pleased to see so many of those companies now going on to raise further private sector capital, which will allow the Future Fund to benefit from their continued growth.”
3. Burges Salmon awarded Gold EcoVadis Medal for second year running
Next, Burges Salmon is proud to have been awarded the Gold EcoVadis Medal, building on their Gold Medal earned in 2021, strongly addressing environmental, social and governance issues, to deliver results that make a difference to their people and society.
Since its founding in 2007, EcoVadis has grown to become the world’s largest and a trusted provider of business sustainability ratings, creating a global network of more than 100,000+ rated companies.
The EcoVadis Sustainability Scorecard illustrates our performance across 21 indicators, in four themes:
- Labour and Human Rights
- Sustainable Procurement
Securing this Gold Medal rating is the latest step on the Burges Salmon journey as a leader, being on the 94thpercentile of organisations assessed at the time of publication and in the top 5% of global participants.
Mike Barlow, Head of ESG and Partner at Burges Salmon, says:
“We’re pleased to receive this assessment from EcoVadis. It is important to us to aim for the highest standard in our own ESG approach and performance. We advise clients on a range of ESG legal issues and matters and believe that we should demonstrate our own commitment and experience as well as providing the highest quality legal advice on ESG.”
4. New Chairman appointed at GS Verde Group
Next, specialist merger and acquisition advisory business GS Verde Group has appointed Gavin Johns as its new Chairman, as the Group embarks on the next phase of its acquisition and growth strategy.
A technology entrepreneur with global expertise in fintech, mergers and acquisitions, finance and business scale-up projects, honed through almost three decades in industry, Mr Johns’ skill and experience in scaling disruptive business models, global markets and fast-growing business will be a real asset for the GS Verde Group and its clients.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Johns said:
“I am delighted to be joining the board at GS Verde Group, at a time of growth and opportunity for the business – both in the UK and further afield.
“I look forward to working with the Group in its next phase of growth, as we develop GS Verde’s presence’ in the UK and internationally.”
Peter Wright, departing Chairman, said:
“It has been one of my greatest satisfactions to see how the Group has blossomed and grown into such a powerhouse in the corporate deals market. I wish all the team every success as it moves onwards and upwards.”
5. EY Insights: Businesses finding unexpected financial benefits from climate initiatives
Last but not least this week, the EY organisation recently announced the release of the 2022 Sustainable Value Study, a survey of over 500 chief sustainability officers and equivalents representing companies worth more than US$1b around the world.
The survey finds companies taking decisive action to combat climate concerns are benefiting from unexpected financial value in areas like revenue growth and earnings, with 7 in 10 seeing financial benefits that exceed their expectations.
Those companies taking the boldest steps are also seeing unexpectedly positive benefits in areas like staff retention, recruitment, brand perception and customer purchasing behaviour. This evidence counters concerns that climate action may harm financial performance.
These results should give more confidence to companies who have not yet announced ambitious climate plans that there are financial upsides in doing so. This presents a win-win for business and global sustainability, which is increasingly vital as the action companies are currently taking will not go far or fast enough to meet the planet’s needs when compared to the Paris Agreement targets.
Steve Varley, EY Global Vice Chair Sustainability, says:
“While the Paris Agreement is a target for governments, it also sets a standard for the business community to meet. Unfortunately, too little action is taking place too slowly to meet that standard.
“However, those companies acting now have lessons to teach the businesses dragging their heels, who may swiftly realize they are missing out on new business opportunities and genuine financial returns. Those taking decisive action are setting out an increasingly obvious ‘roadmap’ which can guide all businesses on how to become more sustainable, deliver on the priorities of their stakeholders and create financial value for their shareholders.
Until Next Time
That’s it for this month’s Friends Edition of the FinTech Five. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to join us next fortnightly for more of the best content from across our FinTech Wales membership.