NearForm secures investment to fuel rapid international expansion

Creator of contact-tracing app for the island of Ireland, Scotland, the EU and north-eastern US states secures faster cash injection to build better software

Global software development and consultancy firm NearForm, which over the last year has made great strides in the field of contact-tracing app development, has announced a strategic investment from Columbia Capital.

NearForm develops enterprise software to help large corporate and public sector companies scale their platforms for the digital economy. Using open source software, its digital products deliver secure mobile and web platforms that can scale to meet industry and consumer demands.

With the additional investment from Columbia Capital in internet infrastructure, enterprise IT and mobility, NearForm says it will support market penetration and scale operations across North America and Europe, beefing up recruitment in sales, marketing, engineering and design.

NearForm hopes to take advantage of the surge of digital transformation plans undertaken by companies in the post-Covid environment, and cited research showing that digital transformation remains the number one priority for CIOs in 2021, as companies look to innovate and grow post-pandemic, noting that more than 80% of digital transformations fail.

It added that when speed and agility are crucial, traditional consulting firm methods are expensive and slow. NearForm said its open source approach has accelerated cost-effective digital transformations for clients including Walmart, IBM and Condé Nast.

Over the last year, NearForm has made great strides in the field of contact-tracing app development, producing the most widely adopted Covid-19 contract-tracing app code, Covid Green, now used from New York to New Zealand.

In June 2020, the company announced that its technology was at the heart of the Covid-19 contact-tracing app for the Republic of Ireland, and a month later, the same technology was deployed by the Northern Ireland Assembly in its app so that people from both sides of the border could use their app wherever in Ireland they were.

Further contracts were signed with the Scottish government and the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, but the biggest score came in the US, first with the state of Pennsylvania in September and then New York and New Jersey.

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NearForm’s technology is also at the heart of a move by makers of contact-tracing apps in the EU to ensure that member states’ apps will work seamlessly across borders, so users will only need to install one app for use across the EU.

“The unprecedented events of 2020 have shown that both public and private sector companies must react quickly to meet the challenges of today’s world,” said NearForm CEO and founder Cian Ó Maidín. “NearForm was founded on the belief that open source technology has become best practice for delivering cost-effective, scalable and secure digital platforms at speed for the most challenging projects.

“Our open source software solutions are already used by many of the world’s biggest companies, like Facebook, Netflix and Uber, and can help others to meet consumers’ digital expectations faster than traditional methods.”

Columbia Capital partner Jason Booma added: “As digital becomes the default form of interface for both commercial and civic organisations, creating software stacks that emphasise agility can unlock attractive options for even those with the most complex enterprise architectures.

“NearForm has an expert, engineering-led culture that reliably translates to achieving positive and cost-effective customer outcomes. We look forward to working with the company as it scales and expands globally.”

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