South African FinTech major returns to Bristol’s tech hub

Bristol is continuing to enhance its reputation as one of the UK’s brightest tech spots, as South Africa’s largest financial services group MMI Holdings announced this month that it plans to open a base in the city by employing 120 people and creating more than 100 jobs in the FinTech segment by 2017. 

The finance giant made inroads into the Bristol market through the acquisition of Blue Speck Financial and its and Money Hub app technology, a sale that was enabled by Acuity Advisors acting as exclusive corporate finance advisor to the Bristolian start-up.

Aimed at people with anything from £5 to £50 million, offers access to information, products and financial advice. Most importantly, users are able to see their complete financial universe from liabilities to savings, investments to future plans.

Blue Speck had originally come out of the university-led incubation programme SETsquared in Bristol, and it would appear MMI listened closely to the positive experiences of its acquired company before choosing the city.

Blue Speck founder and CEO Toby Hughes has already said that MMI had been attracted by the city’s high-level tech sector and its quality of life. Hughes developed strong links with Acuity Advisors in the city also, where the deal to sell the company was essentially clinched. “Acuity played an instrumental role in helping us secure this acquisition. The pragmatism and relentless focus of their team was pivotal to us achieving a fantastic outcome,” he said following the successful deal in May 2014.

MMI’s decision comes on the back of a series of announcements by global business players investing in the Bristol and Bath region’s tech cluster, the only UK tech cluster outside London to be named “internationally-significant” and “high-growth” in a recent Centre for Cities/McKinsey & Co report.

In fact, the MMI move has even been hailed as a major step in the right direction by Prime Minister David Cameron at the UK Investment Summit this month, who underlined Bristol’s job creation initiative as part of a £240 million programme of new investments across the UK and 1,800 new and safeguarded jobs.

Acuity Advisors is pleased to see Bristol, where it has been a core driver of the local startup landscape, becoming a globally recognised technology hub. Earlier this year, Bristol-based tech firm SecondSync was acquired by social media giant Twitter while Somerset-based solar-powered drone maker Ascenta was acquired by Facebook. Big names from the tech world such as Somo, the world’s largest independent mobile solutions company, Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, and Just Eat, the leading online takeaway service, have set up bases in Bristol this year as well.



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