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LEGAL FYI: Reflecting on a Positive Year in Scotland’s Tech Sector

Callum Sinclair



As 2019 kicks-off, Callum Sinclair from Burness Paull reflects on how Scotland’s technology ecosystem has grown over the past 12 months. 

As most of us head back to our desks this week and get started on our 2019 priorities, I have been reflecting on the rate of growth in Scotland’s tech sector over the past 12 months – and it’s a positive story.

There has been some really exciting activity around equity investment in startups, with strong support from investors attracted to the tech sector. In particular, we have seen an appetite to invest in companies who demonstrate disruptive or innovative technologies and a clear route to market. This is great news, and a trend we anticipate will continue in 2019.

A Supportive Ecosystem


Scotland benefits from a very supportive ecosystem for start-ups, and we have seen some exciting stories emerge from incubators such as CodeBase in Edinburgh, Tontine in Glasgow, and Tech X at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and Elevator in Aberdeen.

Startups and emerging tech businesses like Playerdata, Comcarde, DSA Practice, Spiritus, Antrigulum, Wallet.Services, Curious Chip, E-Bar, The Property Angel and LiberEat all have a bright future ahead I’m sure. Our established tech giants, like Skyscanner or C-Trip, continue to perform well – fuelling the virtuous cycle of talent and investment in the eco-system.

Fintech has been a standout area of Scotland’s technology landscape of late. From companies such as LendingCrowd providing innovative investment platforms to socially-conscious Sustainably making it easier to donate to charity, Scottish fintechs are making their mark on our everyday business and personal lives.

Working closely with FinTech Scotland, we are seeing the progress Scotland is making in its quest to become a fintech centre of excellence. Business is firmly behind this objective, as are our forward-thinking universities (Napier and Strathclyde have both launched Fintech Masters) and innovation centres such as the Data Lab.

Recommended: Scottish Fintech Sector Continues to Flourish

Which brings us neatly on to the workforce of the future, and how developments in the tech sector are affecting businesses across wider Corporate Scotland – effectively making every business a tech business. There is no doubt technology is rapidly changing the way people work, both in terms of the types of roles available and how and where people are carrying them out; for example, an increase in remote working or taking on freelance work on a per-job transformation 2019 banner

Technology is also having an impact on HR policy such as recruitment, online privacy issues and the potential impact of tech on employees’ mental health and wellbeing. We produced a paper looking at these issues and more titled “Future Chemistry: getting the elements right for the workforce of tomorrow” which can be found here.

Looking closer to home in the legal sector, we have also witnessed a rapid change in how we can use technology to provide efficiencies to our clients. Our Innovation Manager continues to look at ways to implement the latest technology across our business; including the use of AI and automation to streamline repetitive tasks such as data search or simple document production.

Areas of our business ranging from Corporate Finance and Property to Private Capital have all benefited from bespoke projects to use technology to add value to our offering.

While this all briefly highlights an interesting year, we are looking forward to seeing what the next 12-months brings and to keeping you updated on some of the trends and issues through our monthly LEGAL.FYI column. I hope you find the topics of interest and please get in touch if there are any issues you’d like to discuss.

Callum Sinclair, Partner and Head of Technology, Burness Paull

Callum Sinclair

Head of Technology and Commercial, Burness Paull

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