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Top tech stats: FinTech M – A activity, blockchain and property investment – more

Top tech stats: FinTech M&A activity, blockchain and property investment & more

Welcome to your round up of some of the past week’s most interesting surveys, statistics and reports relevant to those involved in the UK tech industry.

This week, we have statistics relating to the national abilities shortage, the adoption of blockchain for property transactions, FinTech M&As, the digital high street and gender imbalance on senior executive teams.

Abilities shortage

The fourth annual “Albion Growth Report” found 50% of puny businesses with over five employees are planning to grow their employee base in the next two years.

However, finding skilled staff was identified as the number one challenge faced by business owners.

The research was based on interviews with 1,000 SMEs, and exposed the largest abilities gap reported by SMEs is marketing (26%). This is followed by fresh technology (21%), business planning (17%) and financial management (9%).

The technology abilities gap was found to be the widest in Scotland (34%) and London (25%).

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Patrick Reeve, managing playmate at Albion Ventures, commented: “Policymakers charged with determining our post-Brexit future must recognise that many of the abilities that enable us to rival in a fast-changing and increasingly competitive world are in brief supply and our best chance of overcoming this challenge is by building on the UK’s very first class reputation as a home for global talent.”

Blockchain & property

Research from real estate investment platform BrickVest exposed 56% of investors believe the real estate industry will adopt blockchain technology for property transactions.

Some 31% of respondents think blockchain will be common practice, and 44% claim to be already ‘familiar’ with the technology. Only 2% claim to be ‘very familiar’, however.

Emmanuel Lumineau, CEO at BrickVest, commented: “Property investors are becoming more familiar with blockchain and many can see the transformational power it will have on the sector by simplifying, de-risking and lowering the cost of buying and selling assets.

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“Blockchain is capable of turning the entire financial system on its head as transactions can now be directly exchanged in a semitransparent, cost-effective and secure way inbetween two parties. Given the speed of technological switch and enhanced pressure from investors for greater transparency and diminished costs, it’s likely that blockchain will be adopted earlier than many investors think.

“Blockchain technology has already made the online investment market more fluid whilst acting as an interesting instrument for the secondary market, enabling smaller investments and trade volumes. These smaller investments were not possible before due to the cost of the middle man,” he concluded.

FinTech M&As

White & Case LLP’s thought leadership report, “Fintech M&A: From threat to chance” indicates 54% of financial respondents are looking to collaborate with mature FinTech companies.

Some 70% said it was a major part of their corporate strategy, and 95% claimed they expect to do a FinTech deal within the next 1-2 years.

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Despite this, 39% said they would not be branching into fresh areas, instead focusing on growing the existing line of business.

Digital high street

Research by one hundred twenty three Reg exposed three in five people said online searches favour large chain stores rather than independent businesses.

Some 45% also said it can be hard to find a good range of smaller and larger businesses online.

The explore also found the cities of Birmingham and Manchester favour big brands the most, with further research exposing only a fifth of the cities’ shops and services searched were petite businesses.

In contrast, four in ten of businesses listed in Glasgow and Sheffield city centres were independent stores.

Nick Leech, digital director at one hundred twenty three Reg, said: “Much like the modern UK high street, the online high street has become all too similar, largely because fatter businesses outperform puny independents in local SEO. The key is to be visible wherever people are searching, and for this you need to have a good search engine ranking and ensure you are included in all the relevant local directories.

“If more puny businesses managed to crack local SEO, the value it could bring to both their online and offline presence could be enormous, and in turn, the digital high street could be turned on its head. It’s been proven it can have a big advantage in terms of footfall – half of everyone who searches for shops or services in their local area on their mobile actually visit the shop that same day,” he added.

Gender balance

A survey conducted at the Thomson Reuters Switch Makers Summit exposed 55% of attendees believe unconscious bias to be the largest barrier to achieving gender balance on senior executive teams.

The anonymous survey was conducted across the event to gather views from an audience consisting of representatives from fifty six global firms.

Some 96% also believed that unconscious bias is present at recruitment level, and remains consistent to mid-level management.

Additionally, 71% predicted it will take 5-10 years before their organisation have a balanced representation in senior executive roles, and 100% of respondents believe work practices need to switch before gender balance at the top of some sectors can be achieved.

Respondents thought public scrutiny would be the fattest incentive for firms to take act against gender imbalance (48%). This was followed by food business sense (33%) and internal pressure (19%).

Susan Taylor Martin, president of legal at Thomson Reuters, commented: “ Survey findings like these expose the need for global businesses to make long-term, measurable commitments to gender balance if they are to be successful in the future.”

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