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Movers & Shakers – December 2017

Brian Baglow


DIGIT Movers and Shakers December 2017

It’s DIGIT’s astonishingly authoritative, increasingly comprehensive and thoroughly fascinating column, chronicling the comings and goings, movements and growings, the expandings, rebrandings and general awesomeness of Scotland’s digital technology sector (December 2017 edition).


Ex Touch Bionics CEO Joins BioFilm as CEO

Ian Stevens, CEO BioFilmBioFilm Limited, a world-leading provider of thin dissolvable film technologies, today announced the appointment of Ian Stevens as CEO, replacing Trevor Morgan who is retiring. Ian was formerly the CEO of Scottish life science companies Touch Bionics and Mpathy Medical.

“We are delighted to welcome Ian to BioFilm at this exciting stage in its development and look forward to him helping the company continue the growth achieved to date by Trevor Morgan and his management team.” said Peter Shotter, BioFilm chairman.


Dr Alisdair ForbesMercia Technologies Appoints Dr Alistair Forbes as head of its Software & the Internet

National investment group Mercia Technologies PLC has appointed Dr Alistair Forbes as head of its Software & the Internet sector to lead its specialist investment team, which focuses on areas including artificial intelligence, cyber security, advertising technology and software as a service (SAAS).

Alistair has over 20 years’ experience in this sector and brings extensive technical and business leadership knowledge to the Mercia team. He has created, built and sold start-up software businesses, helping them to develop and execute their growth strategies, as well as taking general management roles in large organisations.

Matt Mead,Chief Investment Officer of Mercia Technologies PLC, said: “We are delighted to welcome Alistair to the team as he has considerable experience in the software industry and has been an active board member for a number of early-stage companies. With Alistair’s impressive expertise and insight, he will be a great asset to the team and we look forward to seeing how he can support Mercia with its continued growth as one of the leading investment companies in the UK.”

Alex Snow, Deputy Chairman, ExscientiaExscientia Appoints Alex Snow as Deputy Chairman

Exscientia, the Dundee company at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Alex Snow to its Board of Directors as Deputy Chairman. He brings significant strategic development and financial experience to the board. Alex is an experienced investor, banker and entrepreneur, having previously founded Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) and raised more than £600 million to commercialise world-leading science originating at Oxford University.

Prior to OSI, Alex spent 20 years in investment banking and fund management, most recently as CEO of the hedge fund Lansdowne Partners. He was also the founder and CEO of Evolution Group, a UK investment banking and securities firm, which was sold to Investec Bank for £232 million in 2011.

Alex is a former professional rugby player with Harlequins and England and was educated at Harrow School and St Andrew’s University.

Andrew Hopkins, Chairman and CEO of Exscientia, said: “We are delighted to welcome Alex to Exscientia. Alex brings deep investor knowledge and unique entrepreneurial skills to the Board. He has a passion for translating-cutting edge science into long-term, tangible value. The deep and active commitment Alex has shown to the Company and the energy he brings to the role of Deputy Chairman will bring immense value. We are confident that his extensive experience in the investment community and wide networks will be invaluable in supporting the Company’s strate for growth. We have made great progress in 2017, having announced collaborations with GSK, Sanofi and a significant investment from Evotec; with Alex joining us, we look forward to an exciting year in 2018.”

Graeme Faulds, Bad DinosaurBad Dinosaur Appoints Graeme Faulds as Advisor

Graeme Faulds, Co-founder of TopQ Software and Director of Private Equity Solutions at eVestment, joins fast-growing Edinburgh software agency Bad Dinosaur as an advisor.

Graeme joins Bad Dinosaur during a period of growth, having expanded from a one person operation to a team of five full-time staff in less than nine months. His role within Bad Dinosaur will be to advise its directors Kyle Whittington and Russ Peterson on strategy, operations and other business matters.

Russ Peterson, Director, said: “We’re ecstatic to have Graeme on board. Not only does this validate our success so far, but also brings invaluable experience to steer us through our next stage of growth. We have big plans for the future and we can’t wait to get to work with Graeme.”

Ziyen Inc LogoZiyen Appoints Greg Simpson to Lead New Aberdeen Office

Ziyen Inc., a Scottish-American software and energy company, has appointed Greg Simpson as Head of Business Development for Ziyen UK’s new branch office in Aberdeen Scotland. Greg is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive internal and external sales and marketing operational plan with a goal to increase revenues and profits.

Greg has over 5 years’ experience working with a leading UK e-procurement company, assisting to develop and sell their business intelligence services and he already has a proven track record in setting up external Business Development teams, having developed a successful remote sales operation in the business district in London.

Greg Simpson said: “Setting up the Aberdeen office provides the ideal platform to develop the software division of the company, Ziyen Intelligence. We will be working closely with our chosen development partner to deliver our Ziyen IQ APP to market in early 2018, whilst enhancing our existing procurement portals in the meantime. The development of these products is crucial to our growth strategy and will help deliver value to our shareholders.”

Dave Kelly, 2i TestingDave Kelly Appointed to Managing Director at 2i Testing

2i the specialist in delivering software testing services for organisations ranging in size from emerging SMEs in the public sector to international finance houses has appointed Dave Kelly to the position of Managing Director.

Dave to DIGIT: “I’m absolutely thrilled to take up the role of Managing Director for 2i. As an organisation, we’ve been through some changes over the last few years as we adapt to the pace of change in our industry but we’re brilliantly positioned to help our current and future clients adapt to these changes. We’re all very excited at the opportunities we see ahead of us in 2018 and beyond.”


Andrew Hopkins, CEO, ExscientiaExScientia Opens Cambridge Office

Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company Exscientia is delighted to announce the opening of its new offices in central Oxford. In response to the Company’s rapid growth over the last 12 months, Exscientia’s new offices will provide international clients and collaborators with excellent access to the company. In addition, its close proximity to leading academic research institutions in Oxford University will enable opportunities for new collaborations to be fostered. This development parallels the planned expansion of Exscientia’s Dundee offices, another of the UK’s leading scientific centres of excellence.

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia, said: “Opening an Oxford office allows us to have a home at the centre of UK biotech creativity.”

“Our new offices have been carefully designed to foster a creative environment for team members. The expansion of Exscientia at Oxford and Dundee is part of our plan to recruit highly talented personnel to drive our mission to improve the way new medicines are discovered by application of artificial intelligence.”



Net Talent LogoNetTalent Moves into new larger Glasgow office

2017 has been the most successful year in Net Talent’s history, in terms of results and in terms of wins with new and existing key clients. To capitalise on this success, Net Talent has taken the opportunity to expand its operation with a brand new office in the heart of Glasgow – allowing the company to further enhance its capability in the West of Scotland. Ryan Watson will spearhead this part of the business, with full support from CEO Yvonne Moffat and Sales Director Derek Gibb.

DI4D Opens Hollywood Office 

Facial capture company Dimensional Imaging (DI4D), has completed a major expansion into the United States. CEO and co-founder, Colin Urquhart has relocated to Los Angeles to lead the US expansion from the Company’s new office in Playa Vista, at the center of ‘MoCap Gulch’. DI4D has become the leading provider of facial performance capture for visual effects (VFX) in movies, video games and virtual reality, as well as for advanced research applications. Opening the office in Los Angeles CA, in addition to its headquarters in Glasgow UK, allows DI4D to more effectively serve the markets in both North America and Europe.

Colin Urquhart, CEO and co-founder of DI4D said: “A large and growing number of DI4D’s customers and projects are based in North America and in Los Angeles in particular. I am therefore delighted to at last have a permanent presence here so that we can now offer them the same high level of service as we provide our European customers. DI4D’s recent work on high profile movies, such as BLADE RUNNER 2049, has made the decision to move to LA very easy – and the fact that I have relocated here from Scotland with my young family demonstrates our level of commitment to this market.”

Organised Health Secures London Office

Glasgow-based digital health startup Organised Health, which is building the UK’s first end-to-end digital pharmacy, has today secured its new London premises at Containerville in Shoreditch, London, ahead of their brand and service launch coming in early 2018. This converted shipping container site hosts some of the most exciting and fastest growing startups in the UK.

Ahead of its London launch in late January, Organised Health CEO, Nadeem Sarwar had this to say, “We are delighted to have everything signed and confirmed on our first London office. It’s set to be an incredibly exciting time as we continue to grow and scale going into 2018 and we believe this move allows us to make a real difference to people’s lives across the UK.”


Odos Imaging logoRockwell Buys Edinburgh Imaging Firm ODOS

Rockwell Automation has acquired Edinburgh-based 3D time-of-flight company Odos Imaging. Rockwell Automation will add the Scottish firm’s technology to its sensing products for use in automotive and general assembly, packaging and material handling, and logistics.

Founded in 2010, Odos Imaging, won the Vision Award in 2014 at the Vision show in Stuttgart for its time-of-flight technology. Its cameras provide megapixel resolution, making it suitable for industrial imaging applications.

“We are delighted to be joining Rockwell Automation and continue the development of 3D imaging solutions for industrial applications,” said Chris Yates, CEO of Odos Imaging. “Rockwell Automation is a company we have long admired for its ongoing commitment to innovation and substantial domain expertise. We very much look forward to playing our part in the ongoing strategy and helping to achieve the vision of a productive and sustainable future.”

Rockwell Automation, with headquarters in Milwaukee, USA, employs approximately 22,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

CortexCortex Completes Management Buyout

Digital solutions company Cortex Worldwide, has completed a management buyout for an undisclosed seven-figure sum, from a multi-billion dollar global corporation.

The newly independent company will remain headquartered in Edinburgh. According to Founder and CEO Peter Proud, Cortex is “debt free, cash positive and is now a wholly-owned Scottish company with no institutional investors.”

The company plans to remain investor-free with growth plans focusing on increasing sales and global revenues, rather than pursuing external investment. Cortex claims that 95% of its revenue is already from international clients and will be working jointly with Microsoft as a gold partner, to provide MS Azure Cloud-based services.

Scotland’s access to new talent and growing reputation as a leading tech hub played a large part in the decision to locate the new company in Edinburgh, according to Proud. “I’ve spent most of my working life and career travelling, so the opportunity to come home and establish a business in Scotland was very attractive.

“Scotland’s position as a pioneer and technology leader has really gained traction in the last few years with some fantastic businesses gaining international recognition. Combine that with the talent pipeline from the major universities and the close-knit tech community and it was too good an opportunity to pass up.”


Evelyn Walker, CEO, Scottish EdgeEvelyn MacDonald Third Sector CEO of the Year

Evelyn McDonald, the CEO of Scottish Edge was awarded the Third Sector CEO of the year at the first Scottish Diversity Awards.

Go Evelyn!



Lauren Gemmell TechWomen50 AwardsLauren Gemmell Hits The First Ever Tech Women 50 Awards

Lauren Gemmell, Manager of Software Development in the Amazon Development Centre Edinburgh, was named a winner of the inaugural TechWomen50. The award honours inspirational women in the IT industry and promotes successful and influential females that help create a new generation of role models in tech. Over 500 individuals were submitted for the awards, over 15,000 public votes were received for the 100 shortlisted nominees and the final 50 winners were judged by a panel of 20 independent industry experts.

Lauren was selected for impressive work creating her own software engineering team as part of Amazon Registry Services, which at the time was a new product offering for Amazon. Building the team from scratch, Lauren is now responsible for running a team of over 17 engineers working both at the Edinburgh Development Centre and Amazon’s global headquarters in Seattle, U.S.

For the past four years, she’s led Amazon’s Women in Engineering Group (AWE) at the Edinburgh Development Centre, an internal group which supports female engineers through mentoring, networking and identifying new opportunities in the business.

Lauren is also a mentor for one of the company’s Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary participants, providing her with advice on how to pursue her career in tech. She also leads Amazon Early Insights Scheme, a community outreach programme in Scotland designed to encourage more young girls to take up STEM subjects.

Lauren said: “The TechWomen50 Awards show that women in the tech industry are now being recognised for their success which I think is fantastic. I hope this award will encourage more women to enter the world of tech as well as inspire those at the beginning of their careers such as the young girls I mentor through the Early Insights programme and Amazon’s Women in Innovation Bursary.”





That’s it for 2017. If you have any updates for Movers & Shakers, if your company is hiring, expanding, rebranding, relocating – or picking up glamorous awards, let us know:

See you in 2018 – DIGIT

Movers and shakers

Brian Baglow


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