We live in the heart of Epping Forest, NE London. That means a 35-minute journey on the Central Line to get to the office, but it was great during lockdown; thousands flocked to the forest to get socially distanced exercise. It has always been great for families; one day back in the 2000’s, we took our then small boys out for a walk and came face to face with a band of orcs with the grey skin, the fangs, armour and nasty-looking weapons straight out of the Lord of the Rings, it turned out they were making a prequel and the forest was a perfect (cheap) stand in for New Zealand. Of course, our lads loved it and wanted to pile into the battle scenes if only the director had let them. Today, Epping Forest is once again filled with lighting rigs, food trucks and cameras; Netflix have arrived to film The Witcher and we have taken several trips to look, hoping to bump into Henry Cavill. There is great art and care taken in constructing and dressing the sets; quite an undertaking to present an unassuming bit of Greater London as Middle Earth or the world of The Witcher. It is remarkable to be able to see the amazing potential in something so banal as a woodland inside the M25.
Spotting potential is key to technology investment; seeing what could be beyond what it is. Most small tech companies are relatively young, starting with pioneering ideas but offer investors huge potential to grow, adapt, and become commercial success, far beyond the current scale of business.
To highlight some recent examples: This week PCI Pal [PCIP], a leading supplier of credit-card payment protection solutions, released an encouraging 3Q update; revealing strong trading continues with all KPIs ahead of management expectations and leading us to raise forecasts. Almost unnoticed alongside the positive news management highlighted its recent open banking integration; allowing the PCI Pal platform to offer a completely different payment option (utilising customers’ own mobile banking apps rather than credit cards) rather than simply securing credit card transactions. The update hints at further payment-focused developments to come for the platform. There is huge potential here. As a cloud-based platform for agents to secure credit card transactions, it has seen widespread adoption across UK and N. American contact centres driven by a broad partner ecosystem, building towards profitability on recurring high margin revenue. However, expanding into payment solutions could be transformational; offering not just PCI compliant security but expanding into a key service offering for these customers.
Last week, D4t4 Solutions[D4T4] also updated investors; the original website development business was transformed into a leading supplier of customer data gathering/management solutions by the acquisition of Celebrus in 2015. Over the last few years, commercial interaction has seen digital transformation. This has meant that a deeper understanding of customers data, journey and needs can drive huge advances in customer experience and monetisation. It took vision for management to see the potential in that scenario and move to position D4t4 as a leading CDP supplier to global business like Citbank, HSBC and Qantas. Now, this data gathering solution is being used for a different application in fraud detection. That granular customer data can tell a financial institution whether the customer is holding their mobile differently, typing their name slower, or even has a different finger size to normal, all red flags for fraud. This is a £12bn market opportunity being opened up for a business with <£30m revenue. Watch a demo of the Celebrus Fraud Data Platform here.
Technology investors are looking for the future bigger picture. Like those Witcher fans traipsing through Epping Forest to view the sets, they can see beyond the dog-walking signs and catering trucks to see the potential of how it will all look with lights and movie stars on their TV screens; an exciting world of what will be, rather than what is right now.