Top 50 Midlands Tech Disruptors – deals bring growth to sector |

In the fourth of your series which is profiling the tech sector, we feature a host of companies who have either grown through acquisition – or who have been bought themselves.

The deals market for tech companies in the Midlands is one of the most buoyant in the UK – with growth at its heart. Here, then are our next 10 tech innovators, in conjunction with Nottingham-based tech unicorn Ideagen.

Joel Blake

GFA Exchange
GFA Exchange provide client risk management technology, to help reduce risk and cost for finance providers who want to be more inclusive.

The company, based in Birmingham, was founded by local entrepreneur Joel Blake OBE, and in 2020 was chosen by Innovate UK to receive up to £50,000 from over 8,600 UK applications based upon its innovative approach of using data intelligence with the latest in machine learning technology, to help financial lenders tackle the issue of access to finance for SMEs affected by COVID-19.

Last year, Vann Vogstad, the Worcester entrepreneur behind a new property management platform, raised £275,000 to establish it as the ‘Airbnb for shared living’.

Vogstad raised funding from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, and private investors.

COHO was inspired by Vogstad’s fond memories of house sharing in Birmingham after leaving university more than ten years ago.

Last year, Telford-based risk management company The SmartWater Group revealed its major rebrand as DeterTech.

The firm also announced its acquisition of SmartGuard, a leading provider of temporary site security solutions in Denmark.

It follows the previous acquisition of Tag Security Holdings, which provides a platform from which DeterTech can now offer its solutions at scale into the Nordics, Benelux and Germany.

DeterTech’s portfolio comprises crime intelligence, site security, site sensors, access control and forensic marking.

PKF Smith Cooper Systems
Last September, PKF Smith Cooper Systems, the Derby-based Sage support firm, made a triple acquisition.

The company swooped for Price Bailey, Cellular Solutions and Sci-Net on the back of a record year in 2021, which saw the firm increase its customer base by 20% and staff headcount by 50%.

The company has also moved to new 12,500 sq ft offices on Pride Park, along with its sister company, accountancy firm PKF Smith Cooper.

Ade Cheatham of Cooper Parry

Cooper Parry
In February, Cooper Parry took a major step towards achieving its £250m growth ambitions by snapping up a duo of likeminded firms.

The fast-growing accountancy disruptor, which has bases at East Midlands Airport and Birmingham, completed deals to acquire tech-based accountancy firm ihorizon and Acclivity, a boutique advisory company specialising in accountancy, tax and consultancy to entrepreneurs and high growth early stage businesses.

More than 40 staff have joined Cooper Parry’s Tech and High Growth team as a result of the deals – taking the firm’s total UK headcount to over 535.

Bam Boom Cloud
In February, Derby-based IT business Bam Boom Cloud was sold to US cloud commerce marketplace Pax8.

Bam Boom has grown rapidly since a management buyout and spin-out from Cooper Parry in March 2021 and has more than 135 employees across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India and Canada.

Warwick Esports
In May 2021, the University of Warwick announced that was investing £275,000 in establishing an esports centre.

It is located at the heart of Warwick campus in the newly named ‘Junction’ facility.

Esports is a competitive team-play environment, watched by millions every single day, with a recent world esports final of League of Legends garnering 3.8 million concurrent viewers.

James Cartwright and Luke Draper of IDT

Ilkeston-based managed IT services specialist, IDT, has announced an “unprecedented” 4,000% growth in its business mobile sector through its upgraded partnerships with EE and O2.

The partnerships see IDT extending its range of services into the MSP sector, including custom business mobile deals and mobile business broadband.

The updated Partnership enables IDT, one of the fastest growing MSPs in the East Midlands, to offer its customers a host of turnkey solutions on the nation’s two largest, fastest and most reliable mobile networks.

Technology Blueprint
In August, the software company based in Leamington Spa was snapped up by a Canadian group.

Technology Blueprint, a SaaS software solutions provider to the property technology sector, was bought by Volaris Group Inc.

Technology Blueprint’s offers software solutions to clients in the real estate sales, letting and management market.

Emma de Sousa

The Access Group
In January, Access Legal, part of Loughborough-based The Access Group, appointed Emma de Sousa as its new managing director.

The move followed a deal in December which saw the software developer buying Construction Industry Solutions and COINS US Group for an undisclosed sum.

COINS is a leading construction management software and services company which services the contracting, home building and service management sectors globally, and has more than 100,000 users worldwide.

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