Posted on January 23, 2019 by staff

Agility, mobility and ‘hell in a handbasket’ – tech in 2019


Agility and mobility will be the key words in the technology sector in 2019, according to one of the most respected names in the industry.

Hugh Campbell is the managing partner of European technology investment bank GP Bullhound and also predicted some “darkening skies ahead” and a short period of turbulence around Brexit.

Speaking to BusinessCloud he said: “I think the key word for 2019 is agility. We’ve started the year with four deals in two weeks which suggests the tech boom run continues.

“But if we look back to Q4 in 2018 we saw huge volatility in the share prices of the big tech stocks, both in the US and in China.

“We do see darkening skies ahead. This tech bull run must, at some point, come to an end, hence agility.

“When we look at businesses we are looking at businesses that are probably more B2B enterprise software than B2B with a consumer twist.”

Campbell also predicted that investors will be more selective in which companies they put their money in.

“We also see buyers and investors looking at profitability than ever before, than large companies burning large amounts of cash,” he explained.

“I do think that the level of analysis that investors and buyers go into will mean, unless you’re a real standout business with a standout product and that you’re growing your revenue at great pace, there will be a flight to quality and a flight to lower risk and that means profitability.”

Campbell, who opened GP Bullhound’s Manchester office in 2013, said businesses need to think mobile.

“I think it remains the case from a thematic perspective that everything needs to be mobile first,” he told BusinessCloud.

“We see two key trends within mobile in 2019. The first is that, at last, consumers are starting to pay for mobile subscriptions, often very niche products, whether it’s around fitness and health that they’ll pay £2 or £3 a month for. Spotify is a great example of that.  That reduces the emphasis  and requirement for advertising.

“The second piece is we think there will be more distribution of apps away from these walled gardens of Android on Google and with Apple. For us 2019 is summed up as agility and mobility.”

Of Brexit he said: “I think it’s going to wash itself through. It feels  like we’re in the eye of the storm now and we are going to hell in a handbasket but I think in six months this will all be resolved and we’ll all be moving forward with a much more positive economy and with a positive foreign exchange rate.”