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09 February 2012

Innovative Liverpool IT business secures VC investment

Press Release 9th February 2012

ScraperWiki, a Liverpool-based software business, has received backing from The North West Fund for Venture Capital as the next stage in a series of developments that have seen the business secure over $1m to invest in its products and development.

The funding, part of The £185m North West Fund, provided jointly by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) has allowed the company to scale up software development activities and increase sales and marketing, including running a series of workshops across the United States as part of programme sponsored by a major US media group.

ScraperWiki, which is based on Liverpool Science Park, has developed an internet platform that enables users to develop and run software to collect and collate data from across the web. The platform allows users to privately or collaboratively develop programmes. Collaborative development platforms can allow users to share their data or trade programming skills with customers who need data collected or analysed. The business has key corporate sectors, including the media, who have such a need to gather and resell information. Increasingly major news stories are being developed from public web sources.

Founded by Aidan McGuire and Julian Todd, ScraperWiki secured funding from Channel 4 in 2010, and last year won a major award from the US Knight Foundation to support the rollout of its platform across the US.

To coincide with the investment, the company has appointed a new Chair, Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical whose product Ubuntu is the leading open source platform for cloud computing.

Francis Irving, CEO of ScraperWiki, said: "The market for business data will be fully disrupted over the next decade and we will be using this investment to drive up data accessibility and drive down data the cost and effort involved in accessing the data."

The North West Fund for Venture Capital, managed by EV, has made a substantial investment in the business as part of the latest funding round.

Doug Stellman, Investment Director for the fund, said: "Usage of ScraperWiki has reached an inflexion point and is set to take off as awareness of the platform spreads. In addition to the corporate and government customers, ScraperWiki has growing a community of independent IT professionals who are using it to provide data analysis services to their customers. There have already been some fascinating examples of novel collaborations."

Stuart Scott Goldstone of Aarons, Chester advised EV on the investment, while Gary Jones of Weightmans, Liverpool, advised ScraperWiki.

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