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DIGIT Movers and Shakers | August 2021

Ross Kelly

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In the August edition of DIGIT’s Movers and Shakers column, we explore the top recruitment and awards news from Scotland’s digital technology sector.

Recruitment News

 

Forrit

Forrit has appointed its newest graduate apprentices, bringing the total number in the firm’s cohort to 14.

The three individuals, who will study part-time at university while working as apprentice web developers, include Conor Nash, Michael Brown and Wesley Groeneweg.

The trio will work towards a BSc (Hons) in Software Development at Edinburgh Napier University.

Now in its seventh year, Forrit is also celebrating the graduation of its first wave of graduate apprentices, with Mark Mackay, Rowan Whitton, Monica Richardson, Adam McKenzie and Anna Holko successfully securing their degrees in various tech and cyber security related courses from Edinburgh Napier University.

Peter Proud, CEO at Forrit, said: “Apprenticeships are a fundamental part of how we work at Forrit and key to our long-term success. Our programme not only trains up the next generation of talent, but the individuals who participate are also crucial to helping us benefit from the latest thinking and processes, which can only strengthen our business and support we provide our customers.

“The recent graduate apprentices have made a fantastic contribution to the business already, and their diverse backgrounds – including one who is a decorated RAF veteran – has let us tap into an under-valued talent pool.”

The latest graduates will continue to work across various roles within Forrit. The company is committed to working with apprentices to train up the next generation of talent in Scotland’s tech industry, with more than 20% of its workforce having joined the business via its apprenticeship scheme.


Celestia UK

Celestia UK announced the appointment of its new CEO Malachy Devlin in August.

Devlin joins the Edinburgh and Oxford-based satellite communications company to build the business and its reputation as the premier provider of high throughput multi-beam scanning antenna systems.

Devlin brings over 25 years senior level technical and leadership experience to the position, having held roles in international technology companies in market sectors ranging from satellite, 5G, aerospace and defence, to software defined radio and IoT.

As co-founder of several investor backed high-growth companies, he is a proven technology leader with particular success in bringing innovative products to market.

He joins Celestia UK from the Scotland 5G Centre, where he was Operations Director and oversaw the successful creation and development of the organisation charged with embracing the global potential of 5G connectivity.

Previously, roles included COO of AAC Clyde Space, a market-leader in New Space solutions and services for government, commercial and educational organisations, and Senior VP & CTO of Nallatech (now part Molex LLC), a market leader in FPGA accelerators.

After gaining a BEng in Electronic and Microprocessor Engineering at Strathclyde University, he went on to complete a PhD in Signal Processing. He holds a MSc in Corporate Leadership from Edinburgh Napier University. A Chartered Engineer, Devlin is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

José Alonso, President of Celestia Technologies Group said, “Malachy brings a unique mix of skills to the business – technical, operational and entrepreneurial – which not only means we can capitalise on growth opportunities and develop customer-centric solutions, but also do it more quickly.

“In the fast-paced technical world that we inhabit, these capabilities, alongside Malachy’s experience from several high-growth companies, will be all-important in helping us get and stay ahead.”

Malachy added: “I am excited to be joining Celestia UK at this time and to have the opportunity to lead the company through its next growth phase.

“The technical solutions for increased global connectivity being developed by Celestia UK are highly innovative and game-changing for satellite communications.

“As CEO working with an extremely capable team, I am relishing the challenge of bringing our transformative technology solutions to market.”


Robotical

Robotical has appointed a Head of North America to spearhead market development of its STEM learning solution, Marty the Robot.

Instrumental in micro:bit’s growth internationally, Hal Speed will help Robotical refine its educational offering, augment channel partnerships and build awareness among key audiences.

Robotical has sold over 7,000 Marty units since 2017, growing distribution to 65 countries via resellers and direct sales and the company is now looking to increase its US presence and gain solid market traction.

Commenting on the announcement, Robotical founder Dr Sandy Enoch said: “North America is an untapped market for us and the opportunities are huge albeit complex.

“The landscape varies dramatically to the UK, not only is it vast in terms of geography, the curriculum is also set out at a state level so reaching the decision makers takes connections and knowhow. It’s important for us to have someone who is both well recognised and well respected within the STEM education sphere to drive the awareness we need first of all and then get us in front of the right people.”

Dr Enoch added: “We had known of Hal for his great work and commitment to levelling the playing field for the introduction and uptake of computer science in schools in the US. With his background, knowledge and expertise, he’s the ideal person to help us optimise our offering and get a strong foothold within the North American market.”

Boasting a career in tech that spans over 20 years, Speed has led sales and marketing strategies for both start-ups and household names including Texas Instruments, AMD and Dell.

Along with other writers, Hal authored the K-12 Computer Science Framework, used by curriculum standard writers such as CSTA and state and national education departments and agencies.

Speed said: “It’s imperative that children at a young age have the opportunity to learn computational thinking and coding, and Marty provides a fun and engaging way to introduce these concepts.

“Robotical is focused on making it easy for educators to introduce STEM with instructional materials aligned with national curriculum standards, and a sequence of learning starting with pre-readers and progressing to advanced robotics concepts. I’m delighted to join Robotical and ignite a passion for learning with Marty across North America.”


Clark Communications

PR, digital and design agency Clark has further boosted its tech credentials by adding The Data Lab to its tech client roster.

The win, which followed a competitive pitch process, will see Clark.tech provide public relations services to the innovation centre.

The agency will work in partnership with Quantum Communications, which will provide public affairs services to The Data Lab following the joint tender.

Lesley Brydon, Managing Director of Clark, said: “This win further reinforces our strength and position in the market for supporting innovative technology organisations. The Data Lab has long established a positive reputation for championing the use of data and AI within businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“We believe that this commands attention from stakeholders not only in Scotland but across the UK. The team will be working closely with the innovation centre to do just that, as well as support wider events and strategies.”

To underpin this continued growth, Clark has recruited David Martin and Hannah Walker to join the business as Account Director and Account Executive, respectively.

David brings a decade’s worth of experience in the UK tech sector, having worked with several global technology companies, including Microsoft, Casio, Acxiom and Three Mobile. Both new hires will be key to helping Clark.tech continue to grow.

Clark has also welcomed Stephanie Fulton as Senior Account Manager. Stephanie brings considerable business to business expertise following several years working in the oil and gas sector, having joined the business from the Net Zero Technology Centre in Aberdeen.

Brydon added: “Clark is going from strength-to-strength, and we’re delighted to welcome David, Stephanie and Hannah to the team.

“All three have fantastic experience and will play a crucial role in our ongoing growth as we look to support more of Scotland’s leading businesses and public sector organisations to gain the recognition they deserve.”


Awards and Announcements

 

Capito

Capito has been named as a finalist of the Digital Technology Leaders Awards by Computing Magazine, shortlisted in the Best Place to Work in Digital – SMEs category.

Computing Magazine’s Digital Technology Leaders Awards recognise the achievements of the people and companies who are really making it happen at the coal face of the digital technology stack: from website design and coding to UX and project management, from scrum masters and product managers, all the way up to the CDO.

Mark Gibson, Capito’s Managing Director, said: “Our staff are our most valued resource and we aim to be an employer of choice in the IT space.

“We actively encourage our team to introduce new ideas that make Capito a great place to work and are thrilled to have our efforts officially recognised by making the shortlist.

“I would also like to congratulate all of the other finalists and look forward to celebrating with them at the live awards ceremony in October. Please keep your fingers crossed for us.”


Flo Health

Team members at Flo health participated in a coding competition in August, hosted by Barrier Networks and Secure Code Warrior.

Dzmitry Hancharou took first prize at the competition, winning a Nintendo Switch. Meanwhile, Siarhei Rusak and Aliaksei Lazitski secured second and third place respectively.

In a post on LinkedIn, the firm said: “A big congratulations to the winners, and cheers to everyone who participated – hopefully everyone put those Python skills to good use, and learned a bit more about writing security-minded code along the way.

“Thanks again to everyone who joined, you all help make Flo more secure!”


Zumo

Scottish crypto wallet and payments platform, Zumo, has announced that its customer base grew from 500 to 50,000 between August 2020 and August 2021 – a hundred-fold increase over the course of the year.

Backed by early investors including Murray Capital, Coldplay’s Guy Berryman and the Scottish Investment Bank, Zumo has had a busy year that included the launches of a new virtual Visa debit card offering cash-to-cryptocurrency payment and ZumoKit – a B2b crypto-as-a-service solution.

The last year has also seen Zumo double their workforce, with key strategic hires and appointments including Chief Operating Officer Dagmara Aldridge, Chief Technology Officer Tim Sabanov, and Non-Executive Director Andy Downes.

Nick Jones, Zumo CEO, commented: “With a global outlook, and breadth of product offering covering both mainstream consumer and business needs, we believe ourselves well placed to capitalise on unprecedented and growing consumer and institutional interest in digital assets and decentralised applications.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original story here.


Partnerships

 

National Manufacturing Institute Scotland

The pharmaceuticals, food and chemicals sectors could be the beneficiaries of a new partnership which is seeking to digitise as much of Scottish industry as possible in the push towards net zero.

National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), North Ayrshire Council and the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), have come together with ambitions to not only build the new research centre in Ayrshire, but to launch a series of specialist courses, set to take place this autumn.

The roll-out of these courses, delivered in conjunction with the NMIS Manufacturing Skills Academy, will help Scottish companies to improve their productivity by upskilling their processes and workforces.

The NMIS – Operated by the University of Strathclyde – is an industry-supported group of R&D, innovation and skills facilities, backed by a litany of partners throughout Scotland.

Speaking about the new partnership, NMIS Chief Executive John Reid said: “The industries that make up the process manufacturing sector are of crucial importance to the country’s future prosperity, particularly as we tackle the climate emergency and recover from the pandemic.

“This partnership is the basis for ensuring that the companies within these industries have readily-available support to help them reap the benefits of data-driven manufacturing such as an increase in productivity and reduction in waste and carbon.

“Starting with offering courses through our Manufacturing Skills Academy, we are aiming to build a solid foundation to help future-proof these key industries.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original story here.


Fife College

The Children’s University (CU) Scotland and Fife College are partnering to give around 700 Fife kids access a range of new STEM learning opportunities.

A partnership project supported by funding from The Robertson Trust has developed a “comprehensive learning programme” which has enabled kids from all backgrounds to engage.

Work in the first twelve months of the two-year project has focussed on providing learning-at-home opportunities, with the college providing access to online activities during the pandemic.

The activities include an online engineering club that offers children the opportunity to engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects through at-home activities.

Kids will also gain access to Wonderbox, CU Scotland’s offline resource which will support children’s learning and wellbeing with free, easy-to-use activities.

Commenting on the new collaboration, Iain Hawker, Assistant Principal at Fife College, said: “We are so proud of our first year of partnership work with Children’s University Scotland.

“The year presented many challenges due to the pandemic. However, by working together we were able to provide young people from across Fife, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, with access to fun and exciting learning activities which could be done safely from home.

Want to find out more? Check out the original story here.


Forth Point

Forth Point announced a partnership with AI-driven analytics business intelligence platform, Sisense, in August.

The partnership will allow businesses to build custom analytics solutions using AI & ML and embed them in their internal and public- facing apps and workflows – so people can infuse the insights when and where they need them.

As a result, businesses should be able to interpret and properly leverage actionable intelligence to make better decisions and be successful in their use of data to deliver change in their business.

Marta Portugal, Director of Data Science for Forth Point commented: “Our joint effort to enable more data-led decision making is really exciting. Sisense allows businesses to access insight as and when they need it, without interrupting workflows or the need to login to yet another system or tool.

“Working with Sisense enables the embedding of analytics across workflows making it every time easier to be data led, regardless of the environment you operate in.”

Asaf Tsur, RVP EMEA at Sisense added: “We’re excited to partner with such an innovative data science and engineering consultancy such as Forth Point. This partnership will accelerate the adoption of analytics, and give users the ability to up level the insights they receive within their workflows when they need them.

“The combination of our technologies offers customers an enhanced experience and ability to power actionable intelligence that can truly be embedded anywhere.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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