Investment

Scandal-hit Sheffield tech firm WANdisco has raised $30 million in funding via a share placing which means it can continue to operate.

Shareholders last month overwhelmingly approved plans to raise the investment, with its funding runway set to end in July.

The company – whose shares remain under suspension on London’s AIM market following the revelation that a senior sales employee falsified purchase orders – was unable to offer new shares to retail investors but has been backed by existing shareholders.

“The company consulted with and received strong support from many of its largest shareholders prior to the fundraise,” it stated. “The company’s management team actively participated in the structuring and allocation of the fundraise.”

They include Stephen Kelly, a high-profile tech executive who recently joined as CEO, who subscribed for 850,000 shares, in addition to the 84,080 he already owns; chair Ken Lever, not previously a shareholder, who has subscribed for 200,000; and Peter Lees, an experienced finance executive and senior non-executive director at WANdisco, who now owns 60,000.

Global Frontier Investments and Davis Capital Partners agreed to subscribe for 4.2 million and 5.5m shares respectively. A total of 47.5m new shares are to be issued, representing 70.7% of the current issued ordinary share capital of the company prior to the fundraise.

An application has been made to the London Stock Exchange for the new ordinary shares to be admitted to trading on AIM. It is expected that this will occur on 7th July, alongside the resumption of trading in the existing shares.

WANdisco recently revealed plans to cut its workforce by 30% to reduce its annualised cost base from $41m to circa $25m following the scandal.

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An internal investigation, being probed by the Financial Conduct Authority, concluded that recognised revenue of almost $15m for FY22 was false, and that sales bookings of around $115.5m recorded in FY22 were also false.

The scandal resulted in the departure of founder and CEO Dave Richards as well as finance chief Erik Miller. Former Blue Prism figure Ijoma Maluza joined as interim CFO before the arrival of Kelly.

WANdisco, which helps businesses to harness the power within their unstructured data using analytics tools powered by artificial intelligence, is headquartered in both Sheffield and California.

The FCA investigation into the firm, which had announced plans to explore an additional listing in New York before the news of potential fraud broke, is ongoing.

The company expects to publish its FY22 annual report and accounts this week.

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