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Making sense of IT... to shake up a huge market

CoPerceptuo wants to help IT pros while transforming consultancy

Hello there,

A theme among a bunch of startups I’ve come across recently has been helping businesses make better sense of the data and knowledge they already have.

If you’ve spent any time working in big organisations, you’ll know there’s plenty of scope for this kind of product, if you can get it right.

With a strong background in IT consultancy, today’s founders think they’ve got a compelling offering in this space. Scroll down to read all about CoPerceptuo.

– Martin

👀 Things you should know today

  • The UK Tech Cluster Group has launched its Ecosystems of Innovation report, detailing “four big ideas” it says can “harness tech’s potential across the UK”

  • Manchester Digital launched its Startup Review report just before Christmas, worth a look if you want to know more about the city’s ecosystem (I wrote a fair chunk of the report)

  • Staying in Manchester, internationally acclaimed newsletter The Mill wrote about the city’s A.I. aspirations and the challenges around growing the number of successful UK university spinouts. It’s paywalled, but worth a read (I gave some insights for the piece)

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CoPerceptuo wants to make sense of IT and shake up the consultancy market

‘Digital transformation’ can be a phrase that inspires fear in a senior business leader’s heart. An IT project within a big organisation can be costly and risky. Get it wrong and you end up with a multi-million pound white elephant that you–and your employees and customers–are stuck with for perhaps years to come.

That’s why IT leaders often bring in external consultants, to make sure the project is handled properly, the budget is right, the team is trained, it doesn’t cause problems with other tech in the organisation, and more.

Now CoPerceptuo wants to bring software into this equation, helping IT leaders make better-informed decisions about their technology. But it’s not just about digital transformation, it’s more broadly about helping IT leaders produce evidence about what they do.

The software is “doing for IT leaders what accounting packages did for finance leaders in the 2000s,” claims CEO Andy Shuttleworth on the startup’s homepage.

Shuttleworth comes from a tech consultancy background and spotted an opportunity to streamline high-level IT decision making within businesses.

“Often we find that IT teams want to align with the direction of their organisation, but they find it difficult to get the data to give evidence about how they're operating,” Shuttleworth tells me.

“CoPerceptuo is there as a means of guiding IT teams in gathering the right data to be able to generate the right insights to feed evidence into conversations that CIOs and CTOs have with board members and senior execs in the organisation, to prove that they are heading in the right direction and doing the right things.”

How it works

In its current form, CoPerceptuo allows users to collect data about their current IT setup, either via file uploads or manual entry. To ensure all the right data is included, the software can prompt the right people to contribute it from across the organisation.

“Playing on our consultancy background, we have something like 800 questions that you can ask, that can then drive maturity assessments and capability assessments that also add to the data points that you can get from the application,” says Shuttleworth.

“And there's also the ability to run surveys and get feedback from people who are consuming the IT services you're offering. All of those data points together give you a rounded set of information on which to make decisions, find compliance risks potentially, look at where you've got that sprawl of applications, data, technology, and how they're contributing to how the organisation operates.”

Shuttleworth says the software can then generate around 260 insights based on the data it collects. These include ‘organisation to IT fit’, budget and financial analysis, people and capacity analysis, environmental sustainability, and energy use.

Rather than waste time making users put everything they have into the system, CoPerceptuo works from the perspective of ‘if you want to know this, input this data’.

And the charts the software produces are accompanied by non-technical explanations of what they mean.

“It gives you an assessment of why it's important; what is this chart trying to show to your organisation and why could it be important. It's positioned so that CIO and CTOs can use that information to be able to present it to an executive in their language and their understanding. It’s about moving away from technical language,” says Shuttleworth.

The story so far

Shuttleworth started his career in the early 2000s, in tech outsourcing for big organisations working on digital transformation. More recently, he switched to consultancy in the same space, so it’s a market he knows well.

A few years ago, Shuttleworth and his consultancy business partner Andy Yates spotted a need for a better solution to communicate IT-related topics and projects with a wider organisation.

“We were already collecting a lot of data as part of our consultancy engagements anyway. And what we came to was a method of analysing the customer’s infrastructure and organisation, and creating diagrams that showed the organisation how they were operating from a technology perspective, where technology was used, and analysing those for risk issues and dependencies,” says Shuttleworth.

After beginning with versions of this idea created with spreadsheets and low-code/no-code platforms, Shuttleworth and Yates formed Manchester-based CoPerceptuo as a new business in 2022 to develop a proper software product.

They worked with thestartupfactory.tech to develop the first version of the software, and Shuttleworth says they have recently brought on board their first hire to start to transition on from  that initial incubation period.

Next steps

Shuttleworth says CoPerceptuo is already generating revenue from paid pilot programmes, with more in the pipeline.

Building on this interest, he says the startup is assessing opportunities to serve the NHS and the local and regional government market as one opportunity for its next step forward:

“The public sector is suffering from inflation and budget cuts… so there's a bit more scrutiny around those sectors which is driving a more value-for-money approach to advisory services, which I think we can offer through CoPerceptuo.”

On the product side, the startup plans to increase the number of reports it can generate, responding to demand for things like cybersecurity, information governance, and cloud assessments among others.

They’re also looking to bolster the user survey side of data collection with the ability to generate deeper insights that go beyond scores like NPS. And they want to be able to get into business processes to identify opportunities for improved efficiency through automation; a popular topic in the age of generative A.I.

In the longer term, they aim to support third-party APIs and tools for importing data, financial management reporting, as well as exploring ways of using generative A.I. in the reports the software produces.

Go deeper on CoPerceptuo

Read much more on their funding and investment plans, vision, competition, and challenges:


Shuttleworth says CoPerceptuo raised its first funds in late 2022, totalling the equivalent of £300,000. ‘Equivalent’ because part of those funds took the form of a sweat equity deal with thestartupfactory.tech to develop the first version of the application.

The rest of the funding was a combination of grant funding and angel investment.

The startup is planning a funding round this year to build out the team, including marketing and sales teams to bolster growth. While he’s not actively raising a round right now, Shuttleworth is happy to speak with investors.


Shuttleworth and Yates envision a future where using CoPerceptuo is a precursor to working with IT consultants.

“We’d love to see that before customers get a consultant in, the consultant says ‘have you applied CoPerceptuo? Before we come in, is the information there?’,” says Shuttleworth.

“And the reverse of that is clients also saying to consultancies ‘we've got CoPerceptuo so we want you to advise us based on the information that you can see coming out of it. We've already done a lot of legwork for you as a consultant.’ 

“I think it's that mindset that we're trying to change at the moment in the market. We'd love that reputation of ‘we've got CoPerceptuo already, but please give us some insights and some focused analysis and some direction on the data that we've already collected.’”

Within five years’ time the startup wants to be active internationally, in markets including North America and the EU. Shuttleworth is open to that being either through direct expansion or through partnerships.


From a tech point of view, there are products like Halo and ServiceNow that offer much broader ranges of features, including insights into how different IT assets are being used. Shuttleworth also has his eye on enterprise architecture (EA) software like ValueBlue, Ardoq, and LeanIX, which overlap somewhat with CoPerceptuo.

“The issue with some of those EA tool sets is that you still need an enterprise architecture function,” says Shuttleworth.

“Some of the clients that we're working with, such as housing associations, want a guided approach to enterprise architecture. They want that kind of assistance. They don't want to be just left to it. CoPerceptuo helps with that.” 

As CoPerceptuo grows into offering financial management insights, Shuttleworth sees the likes of IBM’s Apptio becoming a competitor. 

One strength over some software-based rivals, Shuttleworth says, is that CoPerceptuo combines hard data with surveys that get a more human-level insight into how things are going.

“You're always going to have to potentially look at your business services, your processes, your policies, and bring those in, based on somebody's knowledge somewhere. And that's where I think a lot of the competitors fall down. 

“They have all of these API's and connectors, but are still limited in what you can collect to get context of how it really is performing as part of your organisation, which is the absolute key, we believe, that drives those outcomes and drives that value from the IT service.”

But traditional IT consultancies are what Shuttleworth sees as CoPerceptuo’s main competition. 

That doesn’t need to be an issue, though. As noted above, the startup sees itself as an aid to these companies, helping establish a solid level of shared knowledge about the current state of IT within an organisation across technical teams and leadership before third parties get too involved.

“It's a huge market that we are trying to disrupt…. We are trying to give an alternative approach. So rather than the default answer being just getting a consultancy to give you an answer, you actually get some data, put it in a tool, do some capability analysis, and get some feedback from the consumers and end users of your services,” says Shuttleworth.

“Then you have the consultants focus on a particular area that gives you more value out of the backend of CoPerceptuo, rather than those consultants doing the high-level troubleshooting analysis that perhaps they’ve been known for in the past.”


Positioning itself in the market is what Shuttleworth sees as CoPerceptuo’s current main challenge.

“We know that we've got problem-solution fit because we've worked in the industry long enough… We know the problem exists.

“But with other enterprise architecture tools, and other IT tools, it can be very difficult to explain very concisely the benefits and the value of those technologies. And to give those use cases, and make people see the value that they could get very quickly out of the tool. I think that's the difficulty.”

If you’ve ever looked at a big IT software package’s website and wondered what the hell it actually does, you’d probably agree this communication issue is an industry-wide problem. 

How easily you can break from industry norms without scaring away customers who expect traditional IT software marketing is a valid question, but as CoPerceptuo works with more customers and figures out where it’s driving the most value, that problem should resolve itself. 

And Shuttleworth is optimistic about what this year has in store. 

“The way I'm thinking about it is we built an application in 2023, but 2024 is the year that we build a business.”

In summary:

What they do: Data collection and reporting to help IT professionals in big organisations communicate their work to senior execs and others, to be used as part of planning for digital transformation projects and other activities where external IT consultants might be called in.

Location: Manchester

Raised to date: £300,000 raised in late 2022: a mixture of investment, grant funding and a sweat equity deal for tech investment.

Currently raising?: Planning to raise a new round later this year, but open to talk to investors now

Back on Tuesday

We’ll have another startup for you this coming Tuesday morning. See you in your inbox then.

In the meantime, if you’re going to the Baltic Ventures demo day in Liverpool today, I’ll see you there.