Silicon Round-up: MVF heads to Texas and hunts for takeovers after raising ‘warchest’

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MVF boss Titus Sharpe said the company has drawn up a shortlist of five potential companies that it is looking at acquiring.

It follows news earlier in the week that Pret A Manger owner Bridgepoint has acquired 40% of MVF for a rumoured £20 million.

Sharpe said: “With backers like Bridgepoint we’ve got a bit of a warchest and we can go out and look at larger acquisition opportunities, which we are doing. We have a shortlist at present, with about five on the list.”

Kentish Town-based MVF, founded in 2009, uses digital marketing and analytics to attract new customers for businesses. The company has 220 employees in the UK and following Bridgepoint’s investment plans to open its first overseas office in Austin, Texas.

“We chose Austin because it’s in the centre so it’s quite easy to sell most of the day to the west coast and most of the day to the east coast,” said Sharpe.

“We didn’t want to go west coast because of the time difference. You don’t get much office interaction. We’re sending two guys out initially. We envisage by June we’ll be at six.”

He added: “We are a very international business. We have a lot of big US customers, for example Salesforce. Even though we have no sales operation there, the US accounts for 20% of our revenues.”

Sharpe said that the company would also consider opening offices in Asia or Australia, but that the US was the priority for now.

JustPark revving up to Crowdcube records

A few weeks ago I wrote in this column about JustPark launching a crowdfunding campaign in tandem with a traditional venture capital funding round.

Now the start-up, which lets people rents out their private parking spaces via its platform, has helped Crowdcube, the platform it used for the raise, to hit a record.

As well as being Crowdcube’s 200 business on the platform, JustPark has helped push the total raised on the site above £60 million.

JustPark hit its £1 million funding goal within four days, thanks in no small part to the adverts for the raise plastered all over the tube you’d assume.

But the funding is still open and JustPark has now raised a total of £1.8 million.

The Crowdcube record is £1.95 million, raised by Kevin McCloud’s Hab Housing back in 2013. Can JustPark beat it?

Call for Government to back high-tech immigrants

Immigration is a hot topic, particularly in the tech community where start-ups and growing businesses alike complain about the difficulty of getting talented developers into the UK.

So techies are cheering the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations this week to add four digital jobs to the Shortage Occupation List, which subjects immigrants to less stringent work permit applications if the job they are filling is on the list.

The four positions are product manager, data scientist, senior developer and cyber security specialist.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: “We are delighted that the MAC has seen fit to recommend the digital technology sector for the List. 

“With the technology sector leading London and the rest of the country in job creation, the MAC’s recommendation is an important one that will enable smaller companies to save both time and money to hire the best talent to fill their vacancies and strengthen London’s growing position as a global tech hub.”

He added: “We urgently need to address the number of digitally-skilled workers in London and the rest of the UK to further fuel the development of digital and tech industries, sustain the economic performance of the sector and cement our international standing.

“This can only be done through a two-pronged approach: by nurturing more home-grown tech talent and addressing some strict immigration and visa rules and processes.”

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February 28, 2015 |
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