RIDING LONDON’S NEW TECH WAVE: PORTLAND, OREGON-BASED OPAL LABS BRINGS DIGITAL BRAINSTORMING TO THE U.K., SECURES EIS STATUS FOR INVESTORS

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Portland, Ore.-based tech start-up Opal Labs expands global footprint with London office, announces new U.K.-based customers Arup, BP and LAUNCH, and secures EIS status for U.K.-based investors.

London is living through the most optimistic start-up party in a decade and the world’s entrepreneurs are taking note. One of Portland, Ore.’s most promising start-up starlets Opal Labs (“Opal”) has set up shop in London’s growing Tech City to service U.K. customers, such as Arup and BP, and fuel its growth with U.K. investment.

Opal Labs is one of many forward-thinking tech disruptors that consider London crucial to its success – and its U.K. office is the first step to becoming a global business. The company plans to attract U.K.-based investors through the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

“London certainly has the wind in its sales at the moment, you can just feel it. It’s pushing the envelope in everything from product design, to service innovation and marketing,” said Opal Labs’ managing director and co-founder Matt Oxley. “There is so much merit being in this city, at a time like this, working with some of the most innovative companies in the world.”

Opal Labs offers social business software enabling teams to easily collaborate around ideas, problem solve and unlock innovation potential across the organisation. The company has been busy helping U.K.-headquartered enterprises such as BP and Arup tap into their company’s next “big idea” using its flagship application Opal Brainstorms. The intuitive social enterprise application is designed to shape the ideas that can have the most impact on an organisation.

“The challenge to us was could we get a mechanism that would allow the whole of Arup – 11,000 employees – to talk to each other, particularly at the beginning of projects,” said Tristram Carfrae, RDI, group board director, fellow and chair at Arup. “So we worked with Opal to create the ideal virtual brainstorming tool.”

Opal Labs developed its Opal Brainstorms application with significant insights from the Arup team– most famous for its ground-breaking work on the Sydney Opera House, Gherkin and the Beijing Olympics “Water Cube.” To develop an application powerful enough for Arup’s team of 11,000 world-class innovators, Opal’s software experts opened up shop in London and worked intimately with users to create a business application that solves a real-world problem – allowing an entire organisation to share and shape their ideas. Arup produced this video to document its journey working with Opal to bring Opal Brainstorms to market.

“We have been extremely privileged to work with some of the most innovative companies in the world including NIKE, INTEL and now, Arup. What we have learnt along the way is that organisational creativity is a critical differentiator,” said Oxley. “Creative ideas can come from anywhere within an organisation and have the power to completely transform a project or entire business – like the idea of a bubble structure on the Beijing Water Cube or using a waffle iron to make Nike’s first running shoe sole. Our job at Opal is to help organisations find and shape these ideas so they can make a real impact out in the world.”

The London team is also proud to be associated with a breakthrough collaboration between NASA, USAID, Department of State, and NIKE called LAUNCH - which is leading the way in systems innovation. Meanwhile, energy giant BP is using Opal Brainstorms to enable communication and collaboration around the globe and is particularly interested in the power of social enterprise tech to improve the way their teams problem-solve between offices.

Back in the U.S., Opal Labs has recently been named to the Portland 100 – an elite list of start-ups expected to reach $100 million USD in revenue or $100 million USD in enterprise value over the next five years. The Portland Development Commission and successful software entrepreneur, Angel investor and Portland 100 board member, Nitin Khanna, selected Opal as one of the Portland 100 participants.

“We are committed to further expand our business in London, and create the blueprint for how we build a global brand,” said Opal Labs’ president of North America Steve Giannini. “The traction that we have made to date is quite remarkable, and the team in London has been instrumental in contributing to those achievements.”

“We aim to continue the momentum we’ve got in the U.S. here in London and are actively seeking the right investment partners who share our vision to fuel Opal’s rapid growth,” said Oxley.

Especially attractive to U.K.-based investors is Opal’s recent acceptance into the Enterprise Investment Scheme, a government initiative designed to encourage investment in London’s most promising start-ups through tax incentives.

The Opal Labs London office is located at 44 Emerald Street and can be reached at london(at)workwithopal(dot)com.

About Opal Labs
Opal Labs is leading the movement to fundamentally change the way the world does business. Opal’s social enterprise technology helps organisations unlock their innovation potential by enabling the ability to share, shape and ship ideas. Opal Labs is working with global innovators like Arup, Method and BP to deploy a powerful ecosystem of apps such as its flagship Opal Brainstorms – designed to harness the power of ideas to solve the biggest problems facing businesses, and the world, today. Visit http://www.workwithopal.com.

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JulieAnna Giannini
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