Why Scottish Start-Ups Succeed: A Love Letter to the Unicorns

A Simple 3 Step Guide

Built on a volcano…maybe not the wisest idea!

Edinburgh Castle was built on a volcano. An inactive one. But still, quite why anyone thought this was a good idea is up for debate — one can only assume that planning permission and building control wasn’t quite as big a deal back in the Iron Age. Given that we haven’t seen trails of molten kilts and ginger wigs flowing through the streets of the city, there’s not been an eruption. But for business, there certainly has been. Here’s 3 reasons why Scottish businesses are causing a stir;

1) We’re Stubborn

How we feel on Monday morning

A “never say die” type of thought has found itself at the heart of Edinburgh start-ups, and nowhere more so than in the technology sector — where only the bravest and most stubborn will dare venture against the behemoths of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and all other branded electronic goods. And yet, Edinburgh has become the home of our own technology giants, including some of the most disruptive, prominent and valuable companies. Booked a holiday through Skyscanner lately? Played Grand Theft Auto? Watched Sky? Maybe you did all three on a secure Dell computer? If you did, chances are, someone in Edinburgh played a part in your experience.

There’s a term to describe many of these companies. And somewhat aptly, considering they’re the national animal of Scotland — it’s the Unicorn (We’re not making that up, honest!).

2) Good Projects, Good Funding

Our spirit animal?

A Unicorn, is regarded as a private company valued at $1bn or more. In Edinburgh, there’s a number of businesses who have either achieved this status, or have the potential to join them — and the spotlight is shining brighter than ever. Companies like SoDash, providing a highly advanced social media platform with detailed analytics, are just the tip of the iceberg — Edinburgh is the place to be. Indeed, the technological volcano hasn’t only erupted across Edinburgh — it’s booming across Scotland. Head further north, and healthcare technology is booming in Dundee, as VFT recently secured £10million funding for it’s medical device innovations. Indeed, not so long ago Dundee University received a £2.2 million grant for it’s dialysis research. Clearly, the “City of Discovery” continues to live up to it’s name.

3) Pedigree

Alexander Graham Bell, Inventor of the telephone

In many ways, we shouldn’t be surprised that the country that gave us the telephone and the TV continues to innovate. Yet, when more and more businesses head to Palo Alto instead of Peterhead, we have to wonder why? With so much technological innovation in the Scottish economy, aren’t we set to become the future-proof? Given that Moore’s law is increasingly set to expire, the next set of advancements in technology are increasingly unlikely to come from power — it will come from precision. The scalpel, instead of the sledgehammer. And with the finely-tuned innovative companies that continue to blossom across our landscape, we’re excited for what comes next. Home is where the heart is, and technology’s heart is in Scotland.

Have you got a thought about where the place to be for start-ups is? Is your business growing faster than you’d thought? Or have you got an interesting story to tell? We would be keen to have a chat!

Comment or e-mail me at ryan@sodash.com, or visit www.sodash.com to learn more about what we’re up to!

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