03 Jan 2018 Alexandra Frean, The Times

Software company with a rare promise of reliability

Over the years WANdisco has represented a real test of nerves for British investors. The Aim-listed British software company has been in recovery mode for the last two years, after it plunged from a £1 billion market valuation in 2013 to £50 million three years later. Its founder and chief executive David Richards, was forced out in 2016 amid a boardroom row, only to return to power a week later.

This has meant a roller coaster ride for shareholders as the company over-promised on its prospects and potential and burnt through cash. Today, with a market capitalisation of £248 million, it appears firmly in the ascendant, although it has still to make a profit.

It owes much of its turnaround to a decision taken early in 2016 to switch from direct sales of its patented live data platform, Wandisco Fusion, to indirect sales through partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as IBM and Dell EMC.

Yesterday, it announced a record contract win, worth $4.32 million, with an unnamed financial institution to deploy its Fusion technology which, at its simplest, allows customers to transfer massive amounts of live data in real time onto cloud servers, with no outages.

Wandisco didn’t specify when the $4.32 million will be paid but it represents around a fifth of the £21.7 million revenues predicted for 2018. Wandisco’s shares rose 10 per cent to 627.8p on the news.

The agreement, the second multi-million dollar contract in the financial services sector secured by Wandisco during 2017, will be delivered through the company’s IBM OEM partnership. It’s latest deal will enable its client to seemlessly move critical live data between both primary and disaster recovery sites. Crucially, Wandisco says its Fusion technology was selected after an extensive period of testing by the client and was deemed to be the only enterprise-grade solution able to do this.

This successful proof-of-concept for Fusion in hybrid environments, goes to the heart of Wandisco’s recovery. As more companies move data from servers on their premises to remote cloud servers and as adoption of devices connected to each other and to their human users through the internet of things grows, the company, which is based in Sheffield and San Francisco, is uniquely placed because it offers a very rare guarantee.

The majority of the internet of things is centred on real-time predictive technology, and for it to be truly reliable, there must be no downtime and no disruption. With critical real-world applications such as driverless vehicles, data needs to be analysed immediately across multiple locations, such that if there is downtime in one location, it can be picked up and continued elsewhere in real time. As analysts at Peel Hunt note, outages are simply not an option anymore and Wandisco is almost alone in guaranteeing virtually no downtime.

With research by Forbes/Statista/PWC forecasting a compound annual growth rate of around 30 per cent for the internet of things industry between now and 2020, Peel Hunt’s team sees Wandisco as the partner of choice for enterprises looking to take advantage.

The deal also helps put into context the company’s recent fundraising of $22 million in December, which aimed to support a faster roll-out of the company’s OEM strategy with existing and new partners. Mr Richards says that the company expects to bring to fruition a healthy pipeline of deals in 2018. 

Advice: BUY
Why: Wandisco’s latest contract provides another proof point that its technology remains a leader in the field of live data replication.