Business Growth Fund (BGF) is investing £4m in Hampshire-based cloud provider Skyscape for a minority stake. The investment will be used to help Skyscape capture more of the UK public sector IT market.
Founded in 2011, Skyscape provides cloud services to public sector organisations such as the Cabinet Office, Home Office, HMRC and MOD, local authorities and independent government organisations. The company is growing at a rate of 20% per month.
The investment in the SME comes at a time when the government is shifting to cloud computing and adopting a cloud-first strategy.
The G-Cloud sales have now crossed the £154m mark and the small to medium enterprises (SMEs) have won 60% of the business by value placed through G-Cloud, said Stephen Allott, the government’s crown representative for SMEs.
“The government’s IT strategy and G-Cloud framework have been helping provide increased access to SMEs, enabling them to compete for more government contracts. This investment is a great example of government’s procurement reforms in action,” Allott said.
Skyscape will use the investment to improve the capacity, scale and performance of its cloud platform, improve SLAs and develop its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) strategy, said the company's chief executive, Phil Dawson.
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BGF, the independent financial firm backed by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered, aims to help British SMEs by making long-term equity investments.
“BGF’s investment will enhance the capacity, scale and robustness of our platform and will enable us to develop our customer service propositions. The investment will also help to accelerate our offering into healthcare, local government, research and higher education,” Dawson said.
Skyscape is growing rapidly due to its unique cloud service offering to the developing public sector market, said James Austin, investment director, BGF.
Last year, the company launched an undergraduate placement programme to help upskill students in large-scale cloud and virtualised computing environments. It has created roles in cloud operations and development, including operations analysts, automation engineers and portal developers for the programme.
It struck a cloud services deal with HMRC in 2012, making the tax authority the first major government department to use G-Cloud to procure centralised data storage.