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The investment firm working with Microsoft to help UK businesses digitally transform and grow

Microsoft is working with investment company BGF to help high-growth, innovative businesses digitally transform and unlock sustainable growth.

BGF, which has 16 offices across the UK and in Ireland, works with entrepreneurs in a range of sectors to grow their company. In doing so, they also support the UK and Irish economies.

Helping their portfolio digitally transform is a key part of every BGF business plan. As a result, many companies choose the cloud to reduce costs, work more flexibly and respond to spikes in customer demand.

Lyndon Arnold, Head of Technology at BGF, said: “Small businesses can grow very quickly, so they need a digital platform that can grow at the same pace. That’s why so many companies choose Microsoft solutions. Our strategic partnership with Microsoft helps the businesses we work with to modernise their digital footprint. It also helps them share learnings beyond technology to other topics that are top of mind for high-growth companies such as cultural transformation, diversity and inclusion, talent, accessibility and sustainability.”

BGF, which was set up to address the chronic shortage of funding available to high-growth companies, has backed more than 400 businesses since it was founded in 2011. It delivers, on average, more than one investment a week of between £1m and £15m, in addition to significant follow-on funding for investee companies.

It has invested in companies involved in technology, media, telecoms, healthcare, e-commerce, automotive and aerospace, among other sectors. One of those companies is IXICO, the London-headquartered specialist technology services Contract Research Organisation; a leading proponent in the development and deployment of AI data analytics on medical images and wearable biosensor patient data.

The healthcare firm uses Microsoft Azure to support its analysis of brain scans to enable the firm’s biopharmaceutical clients obtain more information from their neurological disease clinical development programmes for conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntingdon’s disease.

Robin Wolz, Chief Scientific Officer at IXICO, said: “We were founded in 2004 to help translate research into real-world applications. Since then we have grown to become one of the leading companies involved in the capture and analysis of images of the central nervous system. But we work in a very competitive space, and moving to Microsoft Azure helps us remain competitive and re-enforces our strong market position.

“By using Azure, we can bring our analytics tools and data together in the cloud to run imaging programs much faster and deploy novel solutions more quickly. Microsoft invests a lot in cloud security, which is also very important for us, and Azure has the regulatory certifications we need to be able to use the cloud with confidence and support our clients stringent requirements for data security.

“We are a world-class company, and now we are using a world-class cloud platform with Azure.”

BGF and Microsoft are long-term partners for these businesses; with a focus on helping drive growth and returns, and building scale for the investments in a sustainable way.

BGF has also invested in MuscleFood, an online food retailer specialising in healthy eating. Paul Joseph, Chief Technology Officer, said the company started using Azure to help growth, and is now using a range of cloud-first services such as Microsoft 365, InTune and Azure Active Directory.

“We have a cloud-first mentality, which enables us to be agile,” Joseph said. “With the Microsoft cloud we can focus on growing our business and looking after our customers rather than the infrastructure and technology. Speed is critical for our business, because that’s where we will unlock growth – Azure really helps with that.

“Working with BGF and Microsoft via their strategic partnership will take MuscleFood to the next level.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the pace of digital transformation for many companies, which had to quickly pivot to digital ways of working. According to research from Gartner, worldwide spending on public cloud services is expected to grow 18.4% in 2021.

Craig Wellman, Director of Financial Services at Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft is partnering with growth capital investors like BGF to help the companies they work with to digitally transform and innovate on the cloud. Through our private capital programme, we ensure that firms and portfolio companies can maximize their relationship with Microsoft and drive sustainable growth.

“Businesses of all sizes want technology that empowers staff to work wherever and whenever they want. Microsoft’s tools and services are a perfect fit, providing the flexibility, collaboration and productivity that a modern workforce needs to compete and grow.”

2018