Turing Fest was its biggest and best this year by Nick Freer

Turing Fest was its biggest and best this year by Nick Freer

Turing Fest, self-described as "Scotland's tech gathering", was at its biggest and best in August at the EICC in Edinburgh.  Like the city's own tech community, Turing is still relatively small compared to international equivalents like Berlin or Amsterdam but the 2-day tech binge - predominantly around product, strategy and marketing in startup world - is important, not least because great tech hubs need great tech festivals. 

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Scaling up, Scotland style by Nick Freer

Scaling up, Scotland style by Nick Freer

I was at a lunch with The Data Lab's chairman, Neil Logan, recently in Glasgow. Neil is an interesting character, not least because he became a chairman before he was ever a CEO.  

Neil co-founded Incremental Group last year, around three years after he was appointed chairman of The Data Lab, one of Scotland's Scottish Government-funded Innovation Centres.  Previous to that, he was in the senior team at technology services business Amor Group in the run up to its 2013 acquisition by NYSE-listed aerospace and defence group Lockheed Martin.  

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Pitching your startup to the media by Nick Freer

Pitching your startup to the media by Nick Freer

It was two days since we had spoken to a reporter from the world's leading tech news outlet, over a week since we had pitched the story but as I scanned the site on the morning school drop there was still no sign of it.  My heart sunk and so, just several minutes later, I was surprised to see Administrate CEO, John Peebles, standing in the school playground with a big smile on his face on a cold, dreich December morning.

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People, place and product by Nick Freer

People, place and product by Nick Freer

A friend and business contact who is a lot wiser than I, talks about the success of tech ecosystems coming down to what he describes as the 'three Ps' - if you want to build a great tech hub, the three key elements are product, people and place.  

In the last week, I've met a few people, the second of the three Ps, who suggest that Edinburgh and Scotland will go on to great things when it comes to tech...

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The Scottish Startup Survey by Nick Freer

The Scottish Startup Survey by Nick Freer

Having lost my job in Edinburgh in the wake of the last financial crisis, not long married and with a child on the way, in a city I had only relocated to a couple of years before, I started up my consultancy at very probably the worst possible time in recent history. It took me six months to pick up my first bit of business, a law firm and former client from my time in London...

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India via Edinburgh to Facebook HQ by Nick Freer

India via Edinburgh to Facebook HQ by Nick Freer

A wee while back, I wrote that Mark Zuckerburg taking an interest in Scotland’s tech scene might be just the kind of happening that would help to elevate the profile of our startup ecosystem on the world map.  Boom!  At the end of May came the news that a relatively small startup that not too many people had heard about - 3D audio pioneer, Two Big Ears - had been snapped up by US tech giant Facebook for an undisclosed amount...

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Selling Scottish tech harder by Nick Freer

Selling Scottish tech harder by Nick Freer

In an interview with Germany’s Die Welt in February following a ‘Townhall Q&A’ meeting in Berlin, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerburg discussed his views on tech startup capitals, in particular how Berlin stacked up against Silicon Valley.  Zuckerberg referred to US publication Business Insider who rate Berlin as the 9th-ranked hub for startups and Montreal in 20th place (there are only 20 startup cities listed) just ahead of Amsterdam in The Netherlands and London coming in at 6th, in what is unsurprisingly a North America-weighted league table.  It kind of begs the question where our fast-growing startup capital that is Edinburgh matches up.  Back of the fag packet workings complete, a few thoughts on the subject… 

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The A B C according to Moritz by Nick Freer

The A B C according to Moritz by Nick Freer

Sir Michael Moritz, doyen of all things tech and chairman of lofty investment firm Sequoia who backed Skyscanner in 2013, recently blogged about the need for Europe to step up its act and start to produce the kind of technology giants that really only the US has managed to spawn over the last decade or two.  Rather than punishing Facebook and Alphabet (Google’s holding company) for clever tax planning across Europe, our leaders should pay closer attention to how these mammoth corporates got to dominate so much in their various markets.  Moritz listed the two European exceptions to his rule as Germany’s SAP and the UK’s Arm Holdings...

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Shaping a tech nation by Nick Freer

Shaping a tech nation by Nick Freer

As we near the end of 2015, the rude health of our tech sector really is reason to be jolly.  It’s been a remarkable year for the digital scene in Scotland, one in which a country much better known for petroleum, golf, whisky and a rain-soaked arts festival in August increasingly attracts the attention of investors and commentators from every corner of the globe.  Only a few weeks’ back, former University of Edinburgh spin-out pureLiFi - led by Bavarian professor Harald Haas - went viral across the world’s media on the back of its patented technology that allows internet use via off-the-shelf LED bulbs.  I’ll try to exhaust the superlatives early on, but it’s nothing short of incredible that if you go back 5 years in time very few people were talking about Scotland’s fledgling tech ecosystem.

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