First Derivatives' tie-up with Growth Fund 'will turn bright ideas into disruptive companies'

Gary McDonald Business Editor

NEWRY-based First Derivatives has signed a deal with the Business Growth Fund - its first with an investment company - to open its big data technology to innovative firms in sectors like cyber security, nanotechnology and life sciences.

The tie-up will identify, support and grow entrepreneurial companies to develop services standardised on FD’s world-leading Kx technology and will, according to both parties, have the potential to "disrupt markets in areas from personal medicine to robotics"


The partnership between First Derivatives and the UK’s most active provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses will combine access to FD’s technology and support with access to BGF’s £2.5 billion balance sheet and network of board level executives.

The aim is to turn bright ideas into disruptive companies in some of the most exciting sectors of the economy.


In the last year FD - founded by Brian Conlon in 1996 and now one of Europe’s most prominent tech success stories - has received increasing numbers of requests from established, start-up and scale-up firms as well as researchers and incubators at academic institutions interested in understanding how its ultra-high performance technology Kx platform could help them solve problems, build a business or even unlock entirely new markets.


Indeed FD has already made moves to apply the technology to companies in the digital marketing, retail analytics and utilities sectors.

And now, as an extension of those efforts, the partnership enables FD and BGF to support the growth of some of the UK’s most innovative, exciting technology businesses - advising, assisting and investing in those firms as they adopt Kx technology to achieve their ambitions.

Target areas include cyber security, AI, blockchain, robotics, nanotechnology, life sciences, neurology and machine learning.

FD's chief executive Brian Conlon said: “We've long since recognised the power and scalability of Kx. Having transformed areas of the financial markets, we are extremely excited about working with entrepreneurs, scientists, creatives and technologists in other fields to apply the technology into new areas.


“We wanted a patient partner that could provide long-term funding so that earlier stage innovations have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We share BGF’s passion for supporting the growth of British businesses, and are delighted to be working with them.”

BGF provided a record £387 million in funding to UK smaller and mid-sized companies last year - up from £257m in 2015.


Its founding chief executive Stephen Welton said: “Taking a proven technology that has successfully disrupted one market and developing this for other markets is innovation in its truest sense.


“First Derivatives is a fantastic story of entrepreneurial success. The aim of this partnership is to create a multiplier effect around the Kx technology and support the growth of more businesses by providing access to knowledge, people and funding in a commercially sustainable way.”


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