Our very own Scott Woodcock will be speaking at the highly anticipated Future of Fintech event, hosted by Business Cloud on the 19th of July in KPMG’s Manchester offices.
BQ and the Business Growth Hub have launched the Innovation 100, recognising some of Greater Manchester’s most innovative businesses, including Hello Soda, alongside other dynamic and disruptive businesses such as Apadmi, Response Tap, and Code Nation.
An even greater recognition was being identified by the panel as one of the 10 firms that are “making the greatest business impacts with their innovation and are wonderfully diverse” with an “extraordinary ability to innovate”.
We are very honoured to be included in this list and view it as continued recognition and support for our efforts and achievements in the tech space. Our ability to innovate and our determination and creativity as a business is what has allowed us to grow to the international disrupter we are now, and we will continue to innovate far beyond 2018.
Across Greater Manchester alone, Innovate UK has provided funding for over 600 innovation projects since 2004 and the North West is home to a highly innovative business community that are contributing to new discoveries every day.
BQ’s Bryan Hoare said: “We’re delighted to give companies the chance to see some recognition for the hard work they put into innovation in their businesses.
“Innovation is the key to unlocking future growth, job creation and prosperity for the region, and what these businesses are already doing is incredibly impressive in lots of ways.”
Chris Greenhalgh, head of innovation at Business Growth Hub, said: “It’s our aim with Innovation100 to raise the profile of those businesses innovating in different ways, inspiring others to innovate and achieve growth.”
“What the Innovation100 companies underline is that while innovation can often be related to products, it can also apply to developing disruptive business models, applying new processes and delivering new services. Innovation is across many different facets of business, across different sectors and different sizes of companies.”
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November saw Prolific North release their Tech 100, a list compiled in association with Manchester Tech Trust and RSM highlighting some of the biggest tech companies based in the North of England.
In addition to this, they released a further list on December 1st detailing the 30 northern tech companies they deemed worth watching.
The Top 30 to Watch list showcases fast-growing, disruptive tech businesses on the cusp of innovation, all of which have ambitious growth plans for the upcoming year. With some – including Hello Soda – having recently secured private equity investment to fast-track their expansion, this list focuses on the most promising young tech companies in the north.
Take a look at the top 30 here
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Two big players in the dark web have just been shut down as reported by the BBC.
The two sites – AlphaBay and Hansa – have been associated with trading illicit items including drugs, weapons, and stolen data leaving millions at risk of fraud.
What is the dark web?
The Dark Web (which can also be referred to as “The Deep Web” or “The Invisible Web”) makes up at least 85% of the internet, with some sources stating that traditional search engines only see 0.03% of the entire web.
Originally launched by the US Naval Research Laboratory in 2003, The Dark Web was created with intentions to use it for secret services, law enforcement, and to train political dissidents in countries with oppressive governments. Additionally, journalists in heavily censored countries could use it to communicate and exchange information.
The Dark Web requires specific software, configurations, or authorisation to access in order to ensure complete anonymity, and transactions are made using untraceable currencies such as bitcoin.
The Dangers of the Dark Web
Despite its original purpose, The Dark Web is mostly used for illicit trade including buying and selling Fake IDs and visas, stolen credit cards, weapons, drugs, child pornography, and even the services of hit men, all with hidden IP addresses of both hosting sites, and visitors e.g. Silk Road.
Cybercriminals are willing to pay good money for stolen data, making the Dark Web a huge target for illegal activity and giving people easy access to commit ID and credit card fraud through the untraceable internet.
Our solution, Fraud Web, enables you to see whether your customers’ data is for sale on The Dark Web, and which data is at risk. This means that you can identify whether a criminal could potentially access your customer’s data and know if your customer has fallen victim to ID fraud.
With Fraud Web, you will receive high, medium, and low risk alerts surrounding the likelihood of ID theft so that you can quickly and efficiently identify fraud and alert your customers.
The average cost of a single stolen data record for any business is $154.
Can you afford the risk?
Get in touch to find out more or book your free demo
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As our first event in our second ‘home town’ Austin, SXSW 2017 was – in a word – incredible. The trade show was like a glimpse into the future, the city was like walking through a different film set around each corner, there was a continuous soundtrack to each day thanks to the hundreds of artists and bands, and the nightlife was non-stop. Let’s break it down…
The SXSW 2017 Trade Show
The SXSW 2017 Trade Show was the most diverse exhibition event we have experienced at Hello Soda. With running themes being AI, VR and robotics, there was no shortage of interesting and engaging innovations to experience (yes that is an actual robot dancing to Brazilian music!)
Situated in the International Pavilion opposite the Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Manchester stands, we were proud to represent the United Kingdom (particularly the Northern Powerhouse) as an international, fast-growing tech business. Here’s a picture of our Head of Analytics, Consultancy and Solutions Leanne testing out their VR headsets…Innovation IS Great!
Sticking to the buzz around AI at the trade show, we offered an Anki Cozmo (a little robot powered by advanced artificial intelligence technology) as a prize for our draw. Congratulations to our winner Tom Edwards from Epsilon!
So where did Hello Soda fit into all of this?
Businesses from around the world flocked to the trade show to discover new technologies to help with the problems they are facing in the digital age. Luckily Hello Soda offer solutions to a lot of these challenges and, in particular, the wide range of advanced techniques we utilise in our software solutions including Natural Language Processing, Psycholinguistics and Bayesian Belief Networks seemed to be on the top of most peoples’ lists to find out more about in order to improve their business processes.
The city during South By
Finally, one of the best aspects of being in Austin during the busiest time of year is that the entire city transforms into a work of art. From a pop-up Los Pollos Hermanos (the infamous fast-food joint from Breaking Bad) to guitars in the street, we saw it all.
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This has been the year that big data has become, if possible, even bigger. A survey by Gartner found that 48% of companies invested in big data in 2016, and nearly three quarters of those surveyed have already invested, or plan to invest.
And this trend looks set to continue. Decisions are being driven by data in many different sectors, from marketing and pharmaceutical companies to third-sector organisations. Algorithms within the advertising industry are influenced by information about shopping habits, and the same data-driven algorithm is used for engineering both Formula 1 vehicles and asthma drugs.
But just how far can big data take us? Has it reached its peak or is there more potential to explore? We’ve had a think about what 2017 means for big data.
1. There will be more data
Perhaps the most obvious big data prediction for the upcoming year is that there will be more of it. The increasing number of individuals living their day-to-day lives largely through the internet means that there is more opportunity than ever before to create and collect data, and by 2020 the amount of data that is worth analysing is predicted to double.
Everything from social media, health monitors and taxi apps collect data from the user, all with the aim to improve and personalise the user experience and make more efficient, cost-effective business decisions.
Recently, British Airways put out a patent application for a ‘Digital Pill’ – a system which intends to personalise the travel environment for each passenger. It would work as an ingestible sensor and would supposedly monitor temperature, sleep phase, and heart rate. This data would then be fed to the airline which would then alter elements of the individual’s in-flight experience, such as their meals, sleep-times, lighting, and in-flight entertainment, accordingly.
This revelation shows just how advanced the use of data can get, and raises the question of what other innovations we will see emerge in 2017 that we had previously thought to be impossible.
2. There will be more demand for big data and analytical skills
Businesses should get big data analytics on their list of new year’s resolutions if they want to provide a better service to their customers and keep their competitive edge. Personalisation has become ordinary for consumers, who now expect businesses to go a step further. For example, users of TV and film subscription services such as Netflix assume that the app will understand what they’re looking for and recommend shows for them to watch. Businesses should use data to make the customer’s journey more efficient and convenient, something that traditional data, such as demographics and credit scores, can struggle to achieve.
A significant benefit of big data is that it encompasses a large number of data points from a range of sources, and can therefore paint a much more accurate picture of an individual consumer at one point in time than businesses could have dreamed of ten years ago.
It allows companies to verify identity and detect fraud, and provides insight and predictions into behaviour like travel, outings, and vote outcomes. It could even save lives – researchers have discovered a way of utilising machine learning to develop predictive models for the onset of type two diabetes.
This demand will subsequently lead to businesses needing to recruit staff with big data analytics skill sets, or work with an external specialist to keep up with industry competition and customer expectations. This may mean a rise in people with jobs like data scientists, data modellers, data analysts, developers and more.
3. There will be more monetisation
Plenty of experts have predicted that the creation of this data and its use will result in its monetisation. The chief executive of Dell, Michael Dell, has predicted that big data analytics is the next trillion-dollar market. IDC predicts that that data monetisation efforts will result in enterprises increasing the marketplace’s consumption of their own data by 100-fold – or even more.
By 2020, the amount of data that is worth analysing will double. Forrester expects that as firms will try to sell their data, ‘many will sputter’, but in 2017, an increasing number of firms will look to drive value and revenue from their ‘exhaust fumes’. Forrester declares that ‘all companies are in the data business now’.
The trouble comes with identifying which type of data is useful – but it seems that businesses aren’t too far away from achieving this. IDC predicts that by 2020, organisations that are able to analyse all relevant data and deliver actionable information will achieve an extra $430 billion in productivity benefits over their less analytically oriented peers.
Although this is a good few years away, we are likely to see a move towards this in 2017, as a similar figure for revenues associated with data monetisation would get us closer to Michael Dell’s trillion-dollar prediction. In the same interview, Dell described the current state of data analytics, saying that: ‘If you look at companies today, most of them are not very good at using the data they have to make better decisions in real time’. However, as the big data market continues to grow, we are likely to see companies making better business decisions as a consequence.
4. There will be a deviation away from the buzzword
‘Big data’ has been one of the biggest buzzwords of the last couple of years, but as its use grows, this term will be used less. Big data itself is raw and unstructured, making it near impossible to derive meaning from it without implementing tools that are capable of analysing it and creating meaningful insights.
However, we have already started to see move away from the ambiguity of the term ‘big data’. Terms such as ‘smart data’ and ‘actionable data’ differentiate between the offerings of the different types of analytical tools available.
Ultimately, it looks like big data is here to stay in 2017. Data analytics has gone a long way towards transforming almost every sector this year, and patents for innovative products, huge growth in the amount of data generated, and increasing customer demand mean that data will likely be the driving force behind many business decisions next year.
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Last week, we joined our US team in Austin and, following a successful official launch of our office located in Industrious on West 5th street, we now truly feel at home there.
As well as the fantastic weather (as opposed to Manchester’s currently freezing temperatures), we really loved the community spirit and the nurturing of creativity we came across in the city.
While in the US we really embraced the culture in Austin and took part in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, followed by a dip in Barton Springs and a huge Thanksgiving meal that evening – complete with turkey and pumpkin pie!
2016 has been a huge year for us in terms of global growth, and now, with a new US headquarters, and multiple new recruits, we are confident that 2017 will mark an even better year.
Our first major event in Austin during 2017 will be South by South West (SXSW) in March which celebrates innovation in technology as well as film, culture, music and more. We will be exhibiting at the Trade Show as well as attending other events throughout the week. Get in touch if you have any suggestions for what to attend or set up a meeting for when the team is there!
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Yesterday, we launched our new Hello Soda Austin office in Industrious on West 5th Street. We invited local businesses to celebrate with us over champagne and nibbles while our Chief Revenue Officer, Ben Allott toasted to a successful 2016 and an even better 2017.
The move to make Austin our US headquarters means that we are now at the heart and centre of the American tech scene, with access to some of the brightest minds and other exciting up-and-coming businesses. While 2016 was a year of huge global growth, 2017 will be a time for truly establishing Hello Soda within American businesses.
Our first local event will be South by South West (SXSW) taking place across the city in March 2017. We will be exhibiting at the Trade Show from the 12th to the 15th as well as attending events throughout the festival.
Now that we have officially launched the offices, we are looking to build a strong sales team to help support our existing and prospective US client base. If you are interested, and feel that you have what it takes, please send a CV and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you!
About Hello Soda:
We are a big data and text analytics business headquartered in Manchester, UK, and have recently launched our new US headquarters in Austin, Texas. We create multilingual software solution PROFILE for businesses in multiple industries looking to leverage digital data to verify identity, reduce fraud, and create more personalised user experiences.
Get in touch to find out more or simply come by one of our offices:
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- MEN Business of the Year Awards – Winner
- EN Awards – Digital Entrepreneur of the Year Winner (James Blake)
- Credit Excellence Awards – Risk, Data & Fraud Prevention Winner
- Payments Awards – Innovation of the Year Winner
- KPMG & H2 Ventures Fintech 100 – Emerging Star
Here’s to an even better 2017!
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Hello Soda has been named as one of 13 UK business in the Fintech 100 recognised to be driving innovation and disruption in the financial services sector.
The Fintech 100 is a collaborative list compiled by KPMG and H2 Ventures, consisting of the top 50 established fintech companies worldwide, and the 50 emerging stars.
In the ‘Emerging Stars’ category, Hello Soda was selected as a player of the future, with ‘new, disruptive ideas and industry solutions.’
This year’s final Fintech 100 list will be recognised and celebrated Wednesday 26th October in San Francisco.