The Southern Tech 100 list 2020

The 2020 listing has now been published and once again highlights the top private IT and telecoms companies in the region.

The Tech 100 2020 is supported by Morgan Lovell and Roc Search and is compiled by The Business Magazine.

The list is headed by Westcoast, the Thames Valley’s top private tech company, with Arqiva at number two – the Winchester comms specialist now a £1 billion turnover business.
 
Morgan Lovell, our new sponsor, is an office design, fit-out and refurbishment specialist. It has specific experience of designing offices for tech companies – see feature here.
 
Headquartered at Bracknell, Morgan Lovell has for nearly 40 years been helping many of the world’s largest companies to Define, Design and Deliver office fit-out and refurbishment projects, creating workplaces that empower staff and grow businesses.
 

Founded in 1977 by John Morgan and Jack Lovell in Soho London, today Morgan Lovell is part of the construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall Group plc, which has a turnover in excess of £2 billion and employs 6,400 people.

Despite the obvious growth and success of the company, the ethos and goals are the same today as they were back then: to ensure clients have a hassle free project and to employ the most talented people in the industry.

The Tech 100 is also sponsored by Roc Search, with offices in Reading, which has a sector specialism in technology, helping businesses to recruit key people as they grow.
 
Roc Search was founded in 2007 and is now an award-winning business with 160 people across seven offices in the UK, Europe and the United States.

Southern Tech 100 awards recognise strength of region’s diverse sector

The Business Magazine’s annual awards dinner for Southern Tech 100 companies celebrated outstanding employers, innovation, business leaders and the best use of technology.

The annual Southern Tech 100 listing compiled by The Business Magazine highlights the top private IT and telecoms companies in the region. The 2020 listing is supported by Roc Search and Morgan Lovell, who judged a range of businesses from the Tech 100 in four awards categories.

Over 50 guests attended the dinner and networking evening at Oakley Hall, Basingstoke, on 5 March, to celebrate the top performers.

“Tech is key in the south,” said the evening’s host, Nick Morse from The Business Magazine. “And that’s why we and our sponsors enjoy recognising some of the successful businesses that have grown up around here and which contribute so much to our economy.”

He added: “The tech sector is a diverse one – from IP-rich software innovators; science and bioscience companies; hardware suppliers; cloud service providers; telecoms businesses, to tech-focused manufacturers.”

Guest speaker for the awards was Utilita co-founder CEO Bill Bullen. In 2008, the company installed the UK’s first ever smart meter. By 2020, 90% of its customers – the highest percentage in the UK – have a smart meter installed. Bullen talked about Utilita’s growth and success, as well as how its customers use around 20% less energy than the average household

And the winners are…

Innovative Tech Company

Winner: Ultima Business Solutions
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“It’s absolutely fantastic to win. A lot of companies are driving technology forward in the same areas we are, so it’s brilliant to be on top. We use our intelligent automation technology ourselves, especially in our managed services practice. What has stemmed from this is our ability to build our own software platforms. This gives our customers confidence in what we do: it’s the proof of the pudding. We have built our technology in-house, we can scale it, support it and deliver it. Looking ahead, we’re involved in automating everything, including cloud platforms, workspace platforms and security networking – all around our own IP and technologies.”

Gareth Meyer, commercial operations director, and Tamsin Ashmore, CFO

What the judges said: “This company has really driven the fact that technology is no longer just a way to support an organisation as they try to reach their goals, now it’s actively enabling them to get there. They are growing and innovating one of their four strategic solutions: intelligent automation. This enables them to support their clients in using technology to create new customer experiences, improve business models, and promote workforce innovation by embracing the fact that their customers need to take outcome driven approach that has technology at its heart.”

Finalists

  • Teneo
  • UKCloud
  • Venntro

Best Use of Technology

Winner: Utilita
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“We aren’t tied to any big legacy billing system so we started out with the ability to build our own technology. That gives us the agility to take advantage of all opportunities that come our way. Our delivery times are quick, for example, adding new features to our pre-pay app. Pre-pay smart meter technology has improved hugely and we are trialling ideas all the time. Our development team is part of the business and understands the business, which saves time bringing out new technology. We’re developing something that is useful as demand for pre-pay increases, driven by issues like the ageing population, energy poverty and climate change.”

Bill Bullen, CEO and co-founder, Utilita

What the judges said: “An outstanding demonstration of how technology really impacts lives. This accessible application empowers those who need it most, keeping vulnerable people on supply and providing data which can proactively allow customers to assess and adjust their energy consumption.”

Finalists

  • CitNow
  • Cobweb
  • Vohkus

Employer of the Year

Winner: Roc Technologies
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“Attracting and retaining staff are key priorities for us. We are in a fast-moving technology space and have some exciting projects, which attracts people to the business. Our apprenticeship programme has been a really successful way of bringing in fresh talent. We develop their skills and engrain in them our culture and values. We also have a lot of staff referrals – it’s all about bringing in the right people who feel the same way as we do and share our values. Things like the business culture are often more important than how much you earn, especially for the younger generation. All of our colleagues want to be part of something and to be at a great place to work.”

Matt Franklin, CEO, and Ian Furness, MD, Roc Technologies

What the judges said: “This company works incredibly hard on both attracting and retaining talent. The attraction part is focused on a value-based selection, an award-winning apprentice scheme, a high volume of successful staff referrals and offering flexible working arrangements for all. Retention is key and our winners are very good at keeping their talented staff. They do this by having an open values and culture forum, incredible team work and a common sense of purpose as a business. They also pride themselves on how much they do with external charity, environmental and community initiatives as an organisation.”

Finalists

  • Arqiva
  • Centerprise International
  • Vohkus
Business Leader of the Year

Winner: Centerprise International – Jeremy Nash

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“I was surprised to be shortlisted and very pleased to win. This award is about everything we’ve achieved over the preceding two years. It’s not about what I’ve done in isolation but what we have done together as a team. A major milestone has been to increase our bottom line by 103% in the last 12 months. We took a key decision to invest upfront in our future in resources and people. We knew we were in a position to do that and willing to take one or maybe two years of not making any meaningful profit. In fact, we got through the first year and made a profit. After that point, everything we made was going on the bottom line. We are now in a far stronger position than we were last year.”

Jeremy Nash, CEO Centerprise International

What the judges said: “Jeremy is passionate about Centreprise and his leadership role. The key to his success and passion centres around people engagement and relationships. Strong team and client relationships have moved the growth of the bottom line to increase by 100% from 2018 to 2019. Creating headroom for leadership and change is a challenge Jeremy relishes and facilitates effectively.”

Finalists

  • Redwood Technologies – Sean Taylor and Martin Taylor
  • UKCloud – Leighton James
  • Ultima Business Solutions – Scott Dodds