Software creates hi-tech ambitions

David Richards, president and chief executive of WANdisco, speaking to Prime Minister David Cameron
David Richards, president and chief executive of WANdisco, speaking to Prime Minister David Cameron
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More Yorkshire technology businesses could float on the stock market following the success of two software businesses with strong Sheffield connections.

According to accountancy and professional services firm Deloitte, 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for Yorkshire technology businesses that want to raise finance from the equity markets.

Deloitte cites the success of companies like WANdisco and EMIS as examples which other Yorkshire technology companies could follow.

WANdisco is based in Silicon Valley in the US and at Electric Works, on Sheffield’s Digital Campus, and was co-founded by Sheffield-born David Richards.

The company’s products are used by blue chip corporates around the world to ensure software developers in different offices are always working on the latest version of the business’s bespoke systems.

Following a significantly over-subscribed floatation on the Alternative Investment Market last May, the company has made a number of key acquisitions.

It has moved into the fast growing “Big Data” sector, providing applications for companies needing to store and process vast amounts of information and has launched a new subsidiary in Sheffield’s twin city of Chengdu, in China.

EMIS is a market leading primary care software provider, based in Leeds, which supplies software that is used by more than half the GP practices in the UK and includes systems that securely store the records of 39 million patients.

The company is run by Sheffield Hallam University graduate Neil Laycock, the former chief executive of city-based internet service provider PlusNet.

Mr Laycock originally joined EMIS to head a Sheffield-based team developing, now the UK’s most popular health information and advice website.

Deloitte partner Rob Seldon said: “Yorkshire firms are typically led by strong, entrepreneurial management teams who are keen to explore financing options to meet their strategic goals.

“The capital markets will continue to provide an alternative option for ambitious firms looking to raise capital for expansion.

“Developing strong technology platforms and exporting to developing markets both involve a mix of risk and reward which, when coupled with strong management governance makes them attractive to the equity markets.”