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XYZ-ExteriorIn the year that saw Forbes confirm Manchester’s status as a strong FinTech hub, the city has attracted yet another business into its domain with the arrival of Israeli specialists in global payments solutions, Fibonatix.

This makes it the second Israeli company to establish themselves in Manchester in a matter of weeks, following the recent arrival of advertising agency, Sanabil Digital.

Fibonatix, temporarily located in Deansgate’s Centurion House before taking permanent residence in XYZ next April, chose Manchester as their UK base after being impressed by the high-calibre of sector professionals across the city. They also appreciated the close proximity to other major northern cities and easy access to new talent graduating from Manchester’s four universities.

“We view the North West as the developing centre of the UK’s payments industry and we wanted to be right in the centre of it,” said Tal Miller, CEO, Fibonatix.

He continued: “The payment solutions we offer focus on online businesses, and our staff members in Manchester have their unique areas of expertise which include compliance and underwriting, risk management and finance. We believe in working with and developing local talent so decided to recruit from Manchester. In the long-term, the plan is to grow our UK workforce and expand the company’s international reach.”

A global leader in research and development, Israel has one of the world’s highest concentrations of tech start-ups and is strengthening its position in FinTech. According to Deloitte, there are 430 FinTech companies in Israel, and there are 14 multinationals specialising in FinTech R&D in the country.

“The large volume of start-ups in Israel means companies expand, collapse, merge, rebrand, are bought and sold in a short space of time so traditionally, the way businesses operate there can be quite hectic. Our heritage is Israeli which we are extremely proud of, but one of the main drivers for continuing our growth in the UK is because we see ourselves as a global enterprise. We’re excited about expanding our international reach and look forward to growing Fibonatix in Manchester.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is renowned for technology innovation and has an outstanding global reputation as a great city to do business.

“The number of start-ups and SMEs calling Manchester home has catapulted in recent years and we are proud of our ability to attract international firms such as Fibonatix.”

Tim Newns, chief executive officer, MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “Manchester welcomes the arrival of Fibonatix which further demonstrates the city region’s growing reputation in FinTech and in particular payment solutions. Fibonatix is a great addition to the ecosystem and they will be looking to connect with the FinTech hubs across the city such as Rise Manchester and the soon to open Vault in Spinningfields.

“With the tech back office function of a number of high street banks and insurance firms being located in Greater Manchester there is a real market opportunity for FinTechs in the city. As one of Europe’s leading e-commerce centres, there is an appetite for new payment platforms to deliver to a growing global market.

“MIDAS wishes Fibonatix every success and looks forward to see the growth of the business in Manchester.”

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Tech hubs will help drive Manchester’s digital revolution Forward

MCC logoGrants of £2m each have been awarded to create two new technology business hubs in Manchester – with a goal of creating and sustaining 2,000 jobs over the next decade.

The funding, which is being allocated by Manchester City Council, was awarded to the city by the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS.)

The city was awarded £4m in grant funding to be used to secure and refurbish a city centre property with facilities to host and ‘incubate’ entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working with developing digital technologies – helping start-ups to get on their feet and existing businesses to grow in an initiative called Project Forward.

But following a procurement exercise, in which expressions of interest were invited, it was decided that splitting the grant between two tech hubs would provide the best value for money and maximise the benefits for the city – together providing 140,000sq ft of floorspace, twice that originally envisaged for a single tech hub.

Bruntwood/Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) and Allied London Properties Ltd were judged to have the best proposals and scored equally. Following discussions, both applicants confirmed they would be able to proceed with their schemes if they received £2m and DCMS approved the combined award.

The Allied London tech hub will be located in Enterprise City, St John’s (on the former ITV Granada site) as part of 600,000sq ft of digital and creative tech space. It would focus on the retail, media and TV sectors.

The Bruntwood/MSP tech hub will be located in Oxford House, Circle Square (on the former BBC site) as part of a major new tech and science business destination. It would focus on data science and technology innovation.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is already a nationally and internationally significant centre for digital and tech businesses. Support for start-ups and growing businesses in this sector will both help create jobs and stimulate further investment. Manchester is determined to be in the forefront of the digital revolution and these two new tech hubs will make a key contribution and ensure that the £4m funding we were awarded has the best impact possible.”

Tech North and the Manchester Growth Company will be involved in the continuous support of the development of both hubs, and assist in the management and monitoring of performance.

Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation at Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “This award is wonderful news for Manchester as a leading location for digital innovators to create and grow brilliant technology businesses.

“The city has a flourishing and diverse tech community. Our amazing partnership which includes Manchester Digital Complete Resourcing and the city’s universities brings together the complete package of specialist services needed for business success.

“Start-ups and scale-ups will have better access to talent and skills and to new sources of funding ensuring that tech entrepreneurs can fulfil their growth potential.

“We will work together with the local tech community to create a home and showcase for Manchester’s digital sector which will inspire international attention, drive jobs, and inward investment in the most exciting and disruptive sector of our economy.”

Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, said: “Enterprise is one of the three backbones for our St Johns neighbourhood where a variety of workspace infrastructure will be developed.

“Having established a platform for tech-enabled businesses in Spinningfields, via our XYZ building and with our operating platform Hellowork already establishing  OGSWorks , recently shortlisted in the top three co work hubs in the UK,  the grant as part of Project Forward will now be used to create. develop and evolve a much larger focused tech infrastructure platform within Enterprise City for digital-enabled enterprises specifically  in the Media Retail and TV and Film industries.

“This grant will enable us to establish Enterprise City  as an international brand attracting much needed  talent and capital to develop Manchester as a city for the digital world “


e-mail: r.williams@manchester.gov.uk

web address: www.manchester.gov.uk

Studio Liddell In UK Virtual Reality Trade Mission to San Francisco

Peter Caddock_Simon Smith_Studio LiddellExpanding Company Represents Manchester At VRX Conference

Manchester-based Studio Liddell is one of a select group invited by the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) to represent the country at the VRX Virtual Reality conference in San Francisco this week.

VRX is the world’s biggest VR conference and takes place in San Francisco on the 7th & 8th December. The DIT mission will compliment the conference with visits to major US VR companies and a reception at the British Consulate.

Peter Caddock, Head of New Technologies at Studio Liddell said: “We’re honoured to be invited on this trade mission to help represent the UK’s Virtual Reality industry at VRX. Our objective is to promote our company as a creator of VR experiences and form new partnerships with American & global contacts. We feel taking part in the DIT mission will greatly help us with our goals.”

Already globally renowned for its Children’s TV and Advertising animation, Studio Liddell has been winning new clients across Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Interactive sectors. Recent work includes a major project called MS: Inside Out for Merck Pharmaceuticals and Digitas Health, which allows the user to learn about typical Multiple Sclerosis symptoms via a virtual experience which places them inside the brain of someone with the condition using interactive VR on the Samsung Gear platform.

The Studio Liddell staff attending VRX will be Peter Caddock (Head of New Technologies), and Simon Smith (VR/AR/Interactive Business Development). Peter is a developer with over 25 years experience, and has worked at Studio Liddell for the last 9 years, leading projects including Apps based on globally-successful TV series Cloudbabies and Roary The Racing Car, and MS: Inside Out VR. Simon is a new addition to the Studio Liddell team having spent the last 15 years working in the video games industry at Codemasters, Blitz Games, and Sony PlayStation.



About Studio Liddell:

CG Animation & Interactive company Studio Liddell was founded in Manchester UK, in 1996 by Ian Liddell, Jon Liddell, and Andrew Jones. We now have two offices in Manchester-Salford and have expanded from creating imagery for advertising to developing and producing entire Children’s TV shows, Advertisements, Technical Animation, 4D Attractions, Apps, and Virtual & Augmented Reality.

Creativity is key at Studio Liddell and we have developed our technology to allow us to concentrate on designing the best content. To this end we have created a multi-platform orientated pipeline where we can take elements created for CG animation and use them in immersive Virtual and Augmented Reality applications. The studio has been working in AR & VR for over 7 years and is expanding the team due to winning multiple new clients in the sector.

For more information please email contact@StudioLiddell.com

Photo l-r: Peter Caddock and Simon Smith

Make your voice heard in Tech Nation 2017


Calling all Greater Manchester’s creative, digital and tech entrepreneurs! Make your voice heard in Tech Nation 2017

Tech Nation 2017 provides Greater Manchester’s digital and tech community  with the opportunity to make their voice  heard.

Tech Nation 2016 provided the most detailed analysis to date of how the digital sector is driving economic growth, showcasing the innovation and energy of tech hubs across the UK. Last year’s report highlighted  Manchester as having the largest agglomeration of digital skills (51,900) outside of London and a digital density of 19%. It also revealed that the impact of Manchester’s tech sector on the local economy grew by an astounding 92% between the years of 2010-2014.

In 2017 Tech City UK will take an even more in-depth look at how the digital economy is evolving, giving a greater voice to the UK’s tech communities and highlighting the considerable progress they are making.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be part of the report. So whether you’re part of a tech business, an academic, investor or another member of the ecosystem please take just seven minutes to complete the survey and share the link with your network.


Why take part?

By completing the short Tech Nation survey you will help to place Greater Manchester’s tech cluster firmly on the map. If as many people as possible from the ecosystem take part, the report will reflect GM’s true capabilities and the innovations coming out of here. There’s also the chance for you to be profiled in the report too, as around 40 companies who take part in the survey will be featured as case studies. Last year Wakelet appeared in the report which was distributed at international tech events such as SXSW. This year it could be you!



New ultra-thin semiconductor could extend life of Moore’s Law

Following a decade of intensive research into graphene and two-dimensional materials a new semiconductor material shows potential for the future of super-fast electronics.

The new semiconductor named Indium Selenide (InSe) is only a few atoms thick, similarly to graphene. The research was reported in Nature Nanotechnology this week by researchers of The University of Manchester and their colleagues at The University of Nottingham.

Graphene is just one atom thick and has unrivalled electronic properties, which has led to widely-publicised suggestions about its use in future electronic circuits.

For all its superlative properties graphene has no energy gap. It behaves more like a metal rather than a normal semiconductor, frustrating its potential for transistor-type applications.

The new research shows that InSe crystals can be made only a few atoms thick, nearly as thin as graphene. InSe was shown to have electronic quality higher than that of silicon which is ubiquitously used in modern electronics.

Importantly, unlike graphene but similar to silicon, ultra-thin InSe has a large energy gap allowing transistors to be easily switched on and off, allowing for super-fast next-generation electronic devices.

Combining graphene with other new materials, which individually have excellent characteristics complementary to the extraordinary properties of graphene, has resulted in exciting scientific developments and could produce applications as yet beyond our imagination.

Sir Andre Geim, one of the authors of this study and a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for research on graphene, believes that the new findings could have a significant impact on development of future electronics.

“Ultra-thin InSe seems to offer the golden middle between silicon and graphene. Similar to graphene, InSe offers a naturally thin body, allowing scaling to the true nanometre dimensions. Similar to silicon, InSe is a very good semiconductor.”

The Manchester researchers had to overcome one major problem to create high-quality InSe devices. Being so thin, InSe is rapidly damaged by oxygen and moisture present in the atmosphere. To avoid such damages, the devices were prepared in an argon atmosphere using new technologies developed at the National Graphene Institute.

This allowed high-quality atomically-thin films of InSe for the first time. The electron mobility at room temperature was measured at 2,000 cm2/Vs, significantly higher than silicon. This value increases several times at lower temperatures.

Current experiments produced the material several micrometres in size, comparable to the cross-section of a human hair. The researchers believe that by following the methods now widely used to produce large-area graphene sheets, InSe could also soon be produced at a commercial level.

Co-author of the paper Professor Vladimir Falko, Director of the National Graphene Institute said: “The technology that the NGI has developed for separating atomic layers of materials into high-quality two-dimensional crystals offers great opportunities to create new material systems for optoelectronics applications. We are constantly looking for new layered materials to try.”

Ultra-thin InSe is one of a growing family of two-dimensional crystals that have a variety of useful properties depending on their structure, thickness and chemical composition.

Currently, research in graphene and related two-dimensional materials is the fastest growing field of materials science that bridges science and engineering.

Notes for editors:

The paper, ‘High electron mobility, quantum Hall effect and anomalous optical response in atomically thin InSe ‘ by Denis A. Bandurin, Anastasia V. Tyurnina, Geliang L. Yu, Artem Mishchenko, Viktor Zólyomi, Sergey V. Morozov, Roshan Krishna Kumar, Roman V. Gorbachev, Zakhar R. Kudrynskyi, Sergio Pezzini, Zakhar D. Kovalyuk, Uli Zeitler, Konstantin S. Novoselov, Amalia Patanè, Laurence Eaves, Irina V. Grigorieva, Vladimir I. Fal’ko, Andre K. Geim and Yang Cao appears in Nature Nanotechnology (DOI 10.1038/nnano.2016.242)

Images of graphene can be downloaded from http://www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk/discover/image-gallery/ and images specific to this story are available from the Press Office.

Media enquiries:

Ben Robinson
Graphene Communications and Marketing Officer
The University of Manchester

Twitter: @UoMGraphene

T: +44 (0)161 275 0134
M: +44 (0)7920 750602
E: ben.robinson@manchester.ac.uk

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