What’s the Buzz in the world of tech? From Phillip Hammond to Theranos

Four weeks can be a long time in the tech world. From IPOs to new technological developments – a lot can change. As we enter April, this blog reflects on the biggest developments over the last month and how they’re impacting scale-ups and start-ups, in the first instalment of our What’s the Buzz series. So as we finish off the last of our Easter Eggs, what have we learned this month?
The Spring Statement confirmed the government’s commitment to tech – but the Chancellor missed opportunities to help scale-ups
 
In the middle of March we saw the Chancellor deliver his Spring Statement, and given the government’s focus on technology in the Autumn Statement we were expecting further measures to support the sector.

There were certainly some positive signs for small tech firms; the £80m funding to help small businesses to recruit apprentices could be brilliant for sourcing and developing talent, particularly as skills shortages are challenge for the sector.

However, while the Autumn Statement saw the government increase R&D Tax Credits, this was only for large businesses, and the Spring Statement did not extend this to include SMEs. It’s also concerning that the government is considering a revenue-based tax for digital businesses, which may catch out start-ups. It’s fair to say that opportunities to help smaller tech businesses were missed.
 
Check out our full review of what the Spring Statement means for small firms here.
 
Theranos provided a cautionary tale for start-ups seeking fundraising

Raising funds can feel like the holy grail when you’re a start-up – providing the means to expand your business and of course validation of your idea and your business plan. But this month US unicorn Theranos offered important lessons on what not to do when seeking funds.

Theranos claimed to have developed a revolutionary blood-testing device, and from their foundation in 2003 rose to a valuation of $9 billion by 2014. However, subsequently it emerged that Elizabeth Holmes had deceived investors about the technology and Theranos’ customers, including fraudulently claiming that its products were used by the US military. Now,
Holmes has lost control of her company and will be fined $500,000.

It’s critical that during fundraising start-ups strike the right balance between showing their business in a positive light and ensuring that they have the evidence to back up what they’re saying. As Theranos shows, fundraising can be a critical moment for your business – so make sure you do it right.
 
The Bank of England is embracing the fintech sector with a new hub

The Bank of England was founded 300 years ago in 1694, but today it’s making every effort to keep up with the new technologies underpinning financial transactions today.
 
This month it has been announced that the organisation will set up its own fintech hub, to understand and make use of technologies like blockchain. The hub will also provide a means for fintech firms to engage with the Bank of England directly.

On the whole, this is a positive sign that the Bank of England will embrace new financial firms and technologies into the future.
 
It’s a fantastic time to be part of the Creative Tech scene

In March we also saw a very bright side of the London tech scene, with the Tech London Advocates Creative Tech meet up. Jointly hosted by ourselves and Pennington Manches, the evening event was an opportunity to meet some of the growing stars of the Creative Tech sector.

The founder of Tech London Advocates, Russ Shaw, rightly highlighted that London truly is the world leader in the Creative Tech space and indeed we heard from some very exciting companies on the night including Bubbl, a content marketing tool that fits into any platform, CrowdEmotion a tool that measures the emotions of website users and Brainbroker a new digital agency specifically catering for the needs of small and ambitious companies.

If you’re interested in coming to a future event, look out for updates here.
 
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