Maximising growth plans for an IT start up

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One of our IT clients, Converging Data, was recently acquired. Having worked with the business since 2016, it’s been exciting helping prepare for this landmark stage. 

We first got involved with the company when it was part of an accelerator (seed funding) programme led by Traction Central (under the name "Dotforge"). This programme was also supported by EMIS Group plc, Creative England Limited and Yorkshire and Humber Partners Academic Health Science Network Limited and provided some initial investment by way of loan notes to a handful of different companies, all of which were involved in the health technology sector. 

As the business has grown over subsequent years, we have assisted the company with some of its day to day agreements, and early in 2019, an arrangement which led to the company's Australian sister company being sold to Deloitte.  

Over the summer of 2019 we were delighted to learn about an offer co-founder Neil Murphy had received from Hippo Digital. This felt like a great fit for Converging Data, given that both it and Hippo Digital were Leeds-based businesses specialising in data-analytics working with organisations such as NHS Digital, William Hill, Barclays and Vodafone. Hippo Digital, who has more than 80 consultants, also supports the NHS and Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions with incorporating digital services into their day to day operations.

The acquisition of Converging Data brings additional clients to the Hippo portfolio as well as expertise in analytics, internet of things (IoT) and cyber security.

Here’s what Neil kindly said about working with us: “We got to know Amy and the 3volution team from early in 2016, and they have been a great help throughout the growth of the business.  Clearly very smart people who really know their stuff, Amy has supported me through two transactions in the last 18 months, one involving UK and Australian companies that required some very niche expertise. 

“I always felt like I was in good hands, and generally enjoyed the meetings, when did anyone ever say that about a bunch of Lawyers!”

Converging Data is just one of a number of companies we have worked with since start up and which we have since assisted either with their subsequent sales or the receipt of considerable investment. 

It's really satisfying working with these clients from their early days through to completion of a successful exit. We are seeing more and more of our technology businesses going through this process which is testament to the quality of their work but also illustrates just how vibrant the digital sector is here in Leeds.


Let It Go

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And finally, as we edge ever closer to the frozen wilderness of life out of the EU, we look at the impact of Brexit on litigation.


England has built up a reputation for being the applicable law and jurisdiction of choice for international commercial contracts. Will Brexit change this?


In a recent survey carried out by Thomson Reuters 64% of respondents stated that they are already reviewing the dispute resolution clauses in their international contracts. This is, perhaps, to be expected – Brexit is as good a time as any to take stock of your contracts. On the face of things, however, this figure is worryingly high (for the Courts and those of us involved in the English litigation industry). This said, whilst 64% of respondents conceded that the clauses were under review, 54% of respondents stated that they are not considering taking a different approach to choice of law or jurisdiction clauses – so whilst reviews of such clauses are sensible, it seems that at least half of those surveyed have decided to leave their disputes in the hands of the English and Welsh courts.


What can those continuing to use the English and Welsh courts expect to change? One obvious issue that will need to be addressed is service of proceedings. Currently it is much simpler to serve a claim on an EU-based Defendant than one based in a non-EU country. The rules for EU countries are clear, and there are separate rules for non-EU countries. This is likely to change before too long. The rules around service of documents on EU-based Defendants may well start to resemble the rules around service of documents outside the EU. This will no doubt lead to more complex procedures and inevitably lengthier periods for service. At the moment, once a claim has been issued and sent to the receiving agent in an EU country, that agent must take no longer than one month to serve the claim. By contrast, we are currently involved in proceeding issued against an Indian-based Defendant and the current estimated time for service of that claim in India is one year.


Similarly, enforcement of judgments between EU member states is relatively simple as compared to enforcement in non-member states. Brexit will no doubt complicate this. Meanwhile arbitration, litigation’s more flexible alternative, is already readily enforceable in a number of countries. In Thomson Reuters’ above-detailed survey, 29% of respondents indicated that they are considering selecting arbitration instead of litigation. If enforcement of English judgments becomes a difficult and lengthy process for all countries outside England and Wales, then it is likely that this figure will rise.


For those not pursuing international disputes in the English courts Brexit could be beneficial.. Whilst a world-renowned legal system may be something to take pride in, there is no doubt that the Courts have been under intense time and resource pressure. The Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly in 2019 provided a mean time of 58.5 weeks from issue to trial for a fast or multi track trial. Alleviating this pressure even slightly could well result in better and often quicker access to justice as the Court's resources become less stretched. 


Happy Brexit Day Everyone!

All things GDPR

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We have all been inundated with e-mails asking us to “opt-in” or “stay in touch” therefore, there is no doubt that you will be aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force on the 25th May 2018.

The GDPR applies to all European Union (EU) citizens and replaces the Data Protection Act 1998. The GDPR seeks to protect the privacy of individuals and give them more control over how their personal data is used. Whether you are a “data controller” or “data processor” you will be affected by the GDPR. Businesses based outside of the EEA but providing goods/services to EU citizens will also be subject to the GDPR.

The GDPR imposes greater transparency and accountability obligations on businesses in relation to the personal data they process. It is important that decisions made in relation to the processing of personal data are documented to show compliance with the GDPR. Greater transparency means informing individuals of the personal data you collect and your lawful basis for doing so.

Individuals have a number of additional rights available to them under the GDPR, such as the right to erasure (the right to be forgotten), the right to data portability and rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling. An individual also has the right to complain to a supervisory authority. This is the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in the UK.

The change which has captured the attention of all businesses is the level of fine which may be imposed. A company can incur a fine of up to EUR 20 million or 4% of the global annual turnover (whichever is higher) if it is found to be in breach of the GDPR.

Although the deadline has passed, the requirment to comply with GDPR is ongoing and businesses are continuing to implement measures to ensure that they are compliant. If you have not yet implemented the GDPR requirements ,do not panic. It is important to begin the process to become compliant and our team is here to help!

If you have any questions or queries, please contact Sara Ludlam or Heather Simpson.