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DIGIT Movers and Shakers September 2018

Ross Kelly

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DIGIT Movers and Shakers September 2018

The September edition of DIGIT Movers and Shakers features all the recruitment, expansions and awards in the Scottish digital technology sector. 

Announcements from LendingCrowd, Nationwide, SHE Software and more!

Recruitment


LendingCrowd

Sir Sandy Crombie, former CEO of Standard Life and senior independent director at Royal Bank of Scotland, has joined the LendingCrowd as chairman.

Commenting on the announcement, he said: “LendingCrowd has made impressive strides in a relatively short space of time, supporting the growth ambitions of hundreds of businesses. This is an exciting time for the business and I look forward to working with Stuart and the rest of the team as the platform scales and delivers even more benefits to SMEs, which are the backbone of both the Scottish and UK economies.”

Stuart Lunn LendingCrowd Sir Sandy CrombieSir Sandy joined Standard Life in 1966 as a trainee actuary and was appointed as chief executive of Standard Life Investments in 1994. He became group chief executive of Standard Life in 2004 and retired from his post in 2009. Sir Sandy is also the chairman of award-winning Scottish civil justice startup, Amiqus.

He also received a knighthood in 2009 for services to the insurance industry in Scotland.

Stuart Lunn, Founder and CEO of LendingCrowd, said: “Attracting such an experienced and highly-rated individual as Sir Sandy is a validation of our approach to building a long-term, sustainable model capable of being scaled in a high-growth sector.

“We have a strong focus on financial processes, regulation and compliance, and Sir Sandy will bring invaluable knowledge and expertise around these issues and in supporting our strategic aims. LendingCrowd is all about creating opportunities, creating jobs and creating futures. Sir Sandy recognises this, as well as the hard work that the team has put in over the past four years in building a sustainable, scaleable, business.”


Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide Building Society has named Patrick Eltridge as the bank’s new Chief Operating Officer. Eltridge joins the building society from Royal Bank of Scotland, where he has served as Chief Information Officer since March 2015.

Eltridge brings with him a wealth of expertise in technology development and operations, resilience and transformation. He is expected to join in February 2019, subject to regulatory approval, and will become a member of the Society’s Executive Committee.

Joe Garner, Nationwide Chief Executive, said: “I’m thrilled that Patrick has agreed to join us at what is an important time for Nationwide Building Society. He is a hugely experienced and successful executive whose wide-ranging expertise will prove invaluable as we create a more simple, agile and innovative Society that remains steadfastly focused on delivering legendary service to our members.”

During his time at RBS, he is credited with delivering one of the most difficult IT and operational resilience improvement programmes ever undertaken in the financial services sector.


Bright Purple

Bright Purple has announced that Magnus Wikstrom has been appointed to a Team Leader role. Wikstrom has spent three years with the Edinburgh-headquartered technology and change recruiters.

With more than 12 years of experience in IT recruitment, Bright Purple commented that he has brought a “wealth of unique experience” to the business. While he is a seasoned 360 recruiter with a distinguished track record of success in “niche markets”, Wikstrom has also been a pivotal figure in the company’s ongoing operational improvements.

Commenting on the announcement, Managing Director Paul Curry said: “I am delighted that Magnus will be using his depth of experience to lead and guide his own team whilst continuing to be a role model for all in the business which we have grown to more than 20 over the past two years.

Wikstrom joins the Bright Purple management team alongside Sales Manager, Kane Webster, and Jamie Rose, who relocated to Edinburgh from Aberdeen in 2017.


CityFibre

CityFibre has appointed a new development manager as it prepares to begin work on a landmark digital infrastructure project in two Scottish cities.Elaine Doherty CityFibre

Elaine Doherty will spearhead the £110 million project to bring ‘gold standard’ internet connectivity to homes and businesses in Stirling and Edinburgh. Doherty has more than 25 years experience in the telecommunications industry and has played a crucial role in delivering some of Scotland’s first internet services for businesses.

She has previously held senior leadership roles at Motorola, Logica and most recently served as director of marketing, sales and IT for Rabbie’s Trail Burners.

Speaking on the appointment, Doherty said: “Digital infrastructure is going to play a crucial role in growing Scotland’s economy so I am delighted to be joining an organisation that is doing everything it can to transform cities up and down the country.”

CityFibre’s Commercial Director, Rob Hamlin, said Doherty “ticked all the boxes” of what the company was looking for during the recruitment process.

“Our ‘fibre-to-the-premises’ programme is going to be a game-changer,” Hamlin said. “And nobody is better placed than Elaine to drive home that message and help people to discover more about the impact this investment will have on the city’s digital future.”


ScotlandIS

Frances Sneddon has taken over as chairwoman at ScotlandIS, a trade association that champions Scotland’s digital technologies industry.

Sneddon has been a ScotlandIS board member since 2013 and had been working as deputy chairwoman of the association from 2016.

She takes over from Graeme Gordon, IFB CEO, who had been in the post since 2016.

ScotlandIS chief executive, Polly Purvis, said Gordon had been “a fabulous chairman”, while Sneddon thanked him for “his incredible hard work over the past two years” and for his leadership, adding that she had “big boots to fill”.

Speaking at the association’s ScotSoft 2018 event recently, Sneddon said: “I’m honoured to take on the role of chair of ScotlandIS. I love tech and I love this sector, and being part of this wonderful community that ScotlandIS has helped build.

“I couldn’t be more excited to take on this role, and I’m delighted to have a chance to give back to this community just a little bit of what it’s given to me.”


Entrepreneurial Scotland

Colin Robertson has been appointed as the new Chair of Entrepreneurial Scotland (ES) and will take over from Chris van der Kuyl of 4J Studios.

Colin Robertson ADL Entrepreneurial Scotland

Robertson is the Chief Executive of Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), one of the world’s leading bus and coach manufacturing companies and has been at the company since 2007. He was previously Executive Vice-President of Operations at the Terex Corporation in Connecticut.

Announcing the appointment, ES Chief Executive Sandy Kennedy said: “Colin has successfully grown ADL into a truly international business with facilities in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand.

“His global track record will help ES continue to develop networks around the world that can help in businesses in Scotland to scale and grow.

“We are truly indebted to Chris for all his work as a passionate ambassador for ES, his enthusiasm, energy and entrepreneurial spirit in supporting Scotland’s next generation of ambitious leaders is an example to all.”


Nalytics

Search and discovery tech company, Nalytics, has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Mac Exon-Taylor as Business Development Director.

Exon-Taylor has more than 25 years of sales, consulting and management experience and has a proven track record of delivering growth for a broad range of companies and startups. This appointment could prove invaluable for Nalytics, providing expertise in search and content management technology and services.

David Rivett, Chief Operating Officer of Nalytics, commented: “We are delighted Mac has joined the Nalytics team to help us reach our business goals and objectives for the next phase of Nalytics evolution.

“He joins the Company at a crucial time as we accelerate growth across a number of industry sectors and increase our customer base worldwide.”

Exon-Taylor said: “It is an exciting time to join Nalytics. Its indexing methodology for navigating unstructured data and enhanced cognitive AI capabilities are pioneering in this industry.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead and manage the commercial activities and strategy for the company, and I’m looking forward to working with such an innovative Team.”


EnteroBiotix

EnteroBiotix has appointed senior biotechnology executive, Dr James Clark, as CEO. Company founder Dr James McIIroy will also move to the role of Chief Business Officer in order to support the new CEO and accommodate NHS hospital requirements to complete his medical training as a clinician.EnteroBiotix Scotland Tech

Dr Clark brings more than 20 years of biotechnology and biopharmaceutical drug discovery, development and commercialisation experience to EnteroBiotix.

He has previously served as Chief Technical Officer at Enterome, one of Europe’s leading microbiome companies, and most recently as Vice-President of clinical laboratory operations at Inivata.

Dr Clark, said: “EnteroBiotix is one the most exciting early stage biopharmaceutical startups in the UK, and is attracting significant investor interest.  It’s a great time to lead the company and I look forward to working with James and the rest of the team as we enter the next phase of growth.”


Expansions


SHE Software

Matthew Elson SHE Software Scotland TechSHE Software is continuing its expansion, doubling the size of its international team and moving into new custom-designed premises.

The company has seen its headcount across its UK, US and New Zealand offices increase significantly over the past 12 months, and recent hires have expanded its global team from 42 to 87, with 31 jobs based at SHE Software’s Scottish headquarters in East Kilbride.

Recruitment drives have secured new talent in positions across Software Development, Business Development, Marketing and Project Management, and several new teams and departments have also been introduced. The firm has also seen significant success in growing its customer base, securing several new contracts.

Matthew Elson, CEO of SHE Software, said: “We are really excited about our new space, which is designed to reflect our open, collaborative culture. Our expanded global team reinforces our commitment to our customer base while meeting the growing market demand for our services.
Chris Rydings SHE Software Edinburgh

“The new space will also provide us with the room we need to increase our staff headcount to 200 over the next 24 months and maintain the 60% annual compound growth we have seen over the past three years.”

SHE has also strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of Chris Rydings as Chief Technology Officer.

Rydings will spearhead the firm’s global development and engineering teams, bringing with him an extensive track record of IT service management, development operations and a strong commercial acumen.

Speaking on the announcement, Rydings said: “The work that Matthew (Elson) and the team are doing really does have the potential to save lives in the workplace and I am thrilled to be joining SHE Software at such an exciting time.”


Modulr

Modulr Edinburgh FintechHigh-growth UK payments fintech, Modulr, has opened a new office in Edinburgh to capitalise on the capital’s flourishing fintech scene and grow its software engineering, customer support, risk and compliance, and finance teams.

Modulr recently completed its latest funding round led by venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, which brought the total investment in the company to £10.5 million since its launch in January 2016. The investment in Edinburgh is enabling key additional capacity and capability to support Modulr’s significant growth.

Modulr favoured Edinburgh over a host of other technology hubs in Europe, highlighting its “excellent talent pool” and valuable support from industry and government bodies, such as Fintech Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

It also noted that Edinburgh is the UK’s second largest financial services hub, with the number of people employed in the various finance sectors growing by 6.6% in the past year – from 151,000 to 161,000.

Myles Stephenson, CEO of Modulr, commented: “As a technology business, building high quality and scaleable software engineering, risk and compliance, customer support and finance teams is critical to our current and future growth. Following our strong initial success, we identified the need to scale and we set about looking for a location with a strong talent pool and pipeline.”

Modulr has processed more than £4.2 billion in business payments in its first two years, and transaction volumes have been growing by an average of 11% month-on-month.

Stephen Ingledew, CEO of FinTech Scotland, says Modulr has chosen the perfect city to operate in, underlining the capital’s “unmatched financial services heritage.”

He added: “Edinburgh is a burgeoning hub for talented software developers. Combine this with the city’s unmatched financial services heritage, and we have a recipe for success for ambitious fintech leaders like Modulr.”


Edge Testing

Edge Testing, , one of the Tech Track 100

Edge Testing Solutions announced four new major contracts in September as the company continues its rapid growth.

The contracts cover a broad range of software testing services for a number of leading organisations and are valued at more than £17.5 million. These contracts include The Student Loans Company and a new client in the gas and electricity sector.

Further client wins include a power generation equipment supplier, which Edge Testing initially worked with on a project basis before being selected to provide a specialist testing team to work across various projects and technologies. The final contract win is with a consumer credit reporting agency, with Edge Testing supporting a global review of QA for its decision analytics products.

All testing services for the new clients will be undertaken both onsite and remotely from Edge Testing’s Glasgow and Birmingham Digital Test Hubs. Edge Testing launched its first Digital Test Hub in Scotland in 2013, with the second opening last year in the Midlands.

Opening a third Digital Test Hub signals Edge Testing’s continued growth and expansion across the UK, and the four new client wins are among a number of new developments that have taken place in 2018, including the appointment of Sharon Hamilton as Managing Director.

Hamilton commented: “Edge Testing is going from strength to strength, and these new contracts are testament to the strong technical skills and sector experience our growing team delivers.

“Adding these four new contracts to our portfolio means our forecast for 2018 is on target. To support further growth, we will be growing our DevOps practice, and promoting our Edge Academy offering.”


Awards


Young Software Engineer of the Year

A promising student from the University of Dundee has scooped the top prize at this year’s Young Software Engineer of the Year Awards. The winning project combined artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve early dementia diagnosis.

Young Software Engineer of the Year AwardsCan Gafuroglu’s research, titled ‘Joint prediction and Classification of Brain Image Evolution Trajectories from Baseline with Application to Early Dementia Diagnosis’, was hailed as “exceptional” by the judges.

As the overall winner of the award, Gafuroglu received a cheque for £2,500 from Sopra Steria and a trophy presented by ScotlandIS.

Originally from Turkey, Gafuroglu studied at the University of St Andrews before embarking on a Computer Science degree at the University of Dundee.

There have been a number of research studies into the onset of dementia. However, they are often dependent on multiple data points that are difficult to collect – as they involve checking the patient over a period of time to analyse the subtle brain changes that occur as time progresses.

Health professionals have to balance the time delays involved in collecting this greater level of data with the need for early diagnosis and treatment.

Gafuroglu’s project uses machine learning to “extrapolate and enhance” more limited observations. His project brings together a range of existing datasets both longitudinal and cross-sectional to enhance the ‘learning’ from individual observations.

The program learns how to predict the developmental trajectory of a brain from a single acquisition timepoint, classifying the predicted trajectory as either ‘healthy’ or ‘demented’.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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