With its unique mix of entrepreneurs, investors and inventors, it’s little surprise Edinburgh is attracting more digital technology investment than ever before. And as it vies to become the digital capital of Europe, there’s never been a more exciting time to launch a technology business in Scotland.
So, if you are thinking of launching your own technology business or like us, you work with technology companies from across Scotland, here are a few of the top technology influencers you should be keeping an eye on to stay abreast of the latest industry developments:
STEPHEN INGLEDEW, CEO FINTECH SCOTLAND
FinTech Scotland’s mission is to make a better world for everyone through financial innovation, collaboration and inclusion and to secure Scotland’s place as a significant player in the global fintech marketplace.
Stephen has years of experience in the financial sector and has worked for companies such as Standard Life, Barclays, Scottish Financial Enterprise and The Institute of Financial Services, as well as small innovative financial enterprises.
His enthusiasm for and knowledge of Scotland’s fintech sector knows no bounds. He is a regular speaker at major global events and if you’re interested in Scotland’s fintech scene, he needs to be top of your list of people to connect with.
RAY BUGG, FOUNDER OF DIGIT.FYI
DIGIT is Scotland’s largest and most effective stakeholder industry news site and events focusing on ICT and technology.
The go to resource for any tech enthusiasts, Ray is particularly interested in Cyber Security, Big Data, Cloud Computing, ICT Skills, Mobile Working, The Internet of Things, Digital Transformation, Oil and Gas technology and Fintech. Until DIGIT’s launch in 2013, there was no other forum or community representing the technology sector so Ray and the DIGIT team are well worth a follow.
Catch Ray on @digitfyi
MELINDA MATTHEWS, CEO OF CODECLAN
Scotland’s award-winning digital skills academy, CodeClan, plays a leading role in accelerating Scotland’s progress in building a high-performing digital economy. It is passionate about teaching digital skills and believes that promoting digital excellence creates opportunities for Scotland’s students, graduates, employers and the wider economy.
It has the support of The Scottish Government, Scotland’s digital technologies trade body, ScotlandIS, and Skills Development Scotland. And it’s the first UK digital skills academy to be approved by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).
As CEO, Melinda has over 25 years’ experience working in technology and is particularly interested in getting more women in Scottish tech.
With lots of start-up and early stage investment opportunities available in Scotland, it can be difficult to just pick one, but Edinburgh’s Archangels is certainly one of the best known early stage funders.
As the oldest business angel syndicate in Scotland, Archangels invests in early stage technology and life sciences companies and its portfolio includes the likes of Administrate, Touch Bionics and Bloxx.
So if you’re a start-up looking to secure funding, stay in touch with @Archangelnvest
GARETH WILLIAMS, CEO OF SKYSCANNER
We can’t put a list of Scotland’s technology influencers without mentioning the country’s original unicorn, Skyscanner. One of the earliest tech disrupters out there (Skyscanner launched in 2003, so LONG before the likes of Uber and Airbnb came along), the tech company is one of Scotland’s greatest success stories.
Like so many entrepreneurs that followed him, Gareth’s invention came off the back of a frustration with how things were. A keen skier, he hated dealing with the tedious process of searching multiple airline and travel agent websites to find the best flight prices. And Skyscanner was born.
Fast forward 15 years and he has sold his company for £1.4bn but still maintains that start-up culture across all global offices.
A regular guest speaker and always willing to give up his time to provide advice to other budding entrepreneurs, @gareth_o is certainly one to follow.
GILLIAN DOCHERTY, CEO OF DATALAB
The Data Lab’s core mission is to generate significant economic, social and scientific value from big data. It enables industry, public sector and world-class university researchers to innovate and develop new data science capabilities in a collaborative environment.
CEO Gillian has over 22 years’ experience working in the IT sector and is responsible for delivering the strategic vision set out by The Data Lab Board, the aim of which is to create over 250 new jobs and to generate more than £100 million to Scotland’s economy.
Follow Gillian on @GillianDoc
ED MOLYNEUX, CEO AND FOUNDER OF FREEAGENT
Another of Scotland’s technology success stories, FreeAgent provides accountancy software for small businesses across the UK. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Ed recently listed FreeAgent on AIM in order to fuel future business growth.
All 112 employees are granted share options and when asked what makes a great leader, he said: ‘The writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” And that sums up my approach too. We have a host of exceptionally talented individuals in our team at FreeAgent, none of whom we hired because they wanted to be told what to do.’
For more pearls of start-up wisdom and advice on how to start and scale a business, follow Ed on @edmolyneux
Scotland’s technology sector is exploding with talent and disruptive new tech businesses are emerging all the time. This list of top technology influencers in Scotland is by no means exhaustive and as Scotland’s technology sector continues to grow and develop, this list will develop all the time. And as keen tech enthusiasts, we can’t wait to see who’s coming next.
If you run a technology business and you’re looking for technology PR and marketing support or if you think you should be included in our next list of influencers, we would love to have a chat. Catch us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 (0)131 526 3190.