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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
In this year's inaugural Scottish Startup Survey, 95 per cent of respondents said they were looking to secure additional growth funding over the following twelve months. A more recent survey by one of the UK's top venture capitalists found that the next funding roundwas the single most stressful thing for founders when it comes to life leading a startup.Read More
The inaugural Scottish Startup Survey by Informatics Ventures,
University of Edinburgh Business School and my own consultancy, found
that over 10 per cent of Scotland's startup scene now classify
themselves in the health technology space, often abbreviated to
"health tech" or "health 2.0."
It's raining, I've got my eyes closed and one hand on the shoulder of a Scottish CEO in front of me as we shuffle down a gravelly path to the sound of the rain, chattering German schoolchildren and lunchtime traffic.Read More
Scotland’s financial sector has a proud history and despite a tumultuous decade still stands relatively tall in UK and European terms. However, the power bases for a number of our financial institutions have shifted to London in recent times and this presents a challenge for our economy...
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...Read More
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...Read More
When Becky Carlson, a head coach of a small town female rugby team, wrote a passionate article called “An Open Letter To The Athlete We Must Stop Recruiting” on her LinkedIn page, she couldn’t have known it would surpass Ban-Ki moon’s to be the best-performing LinkedIn post of the day...Read More
Former US Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker addressed an international banking conference in the wake of the global financial crisis telling the audience that “the most important financial innovation that I have seen the past 20 years is the automatic teller machine, that really helps people and prevents visits to the bank and it is a real convenience.”Read More
Tech City UK, the government-backed support programme for digital businesses, rolled into Edinburgh last week to present its annual Tech Nation report on the health of the tech economy and the companies who make it up from Dundee to Exeter and 28 other city tech hubs that lie in between...Read More
Back in the late 1990s there was a dinner party game called the ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’, based on the six degrees of separation concept whereby any two people on the planet are six or fewer connections apart...Read More
Those readers who have perused my previous scribblings may have noticed a common thread - a fairly regular reference to Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. On a personal level, I’m trying in vain to wean myself off the most annoyingly addictive of sites and, in business terms, it’s not really an online tool that has worked for me to date...Read More
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...Read More
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…Read More
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...Read More
When I started Blackcircles.com I had to beg, borrow and occasionally steal milk from the next door neighbour. Fast forward 13 years and I'm told that I was 'boot strapped', aye ok I suppose I was boot strapped then...Read More
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.Read More