DIGIT Movers and Shakers: September 2017 (Pt. 1)
Owing to the success (and size) of last month’s edition, DIGIT has decided to bring you not one, but TWO monthly instalments of Movers and Shakers! From now on, we will be bringing you everything you need to know about Scotland’s tech sector at the middle AND end of the month – don’t say we don’t spoil you…
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: NEW HIRES
CodeClan has appointed senior software developer Kenny Millar as its new head of Course Delivery. Millar, a former Amazon Development Manager, will play a key role in the development and implementation of the curriculum at CodeClan, and will oversee the organisation and resources of the instructional team.
Adam Bannon, acting CEO of CodeClan, said: “It is a coup for CodeClan to bring someone with Kenny’s reputation and experience on board. His background of working with some of the leading companies in the tech sector and introducing products to the market will be of benefit to our instructional team and students. We are working hard to provide a stream of talent to Scotland’s digital and tech sectors. By bringing in the highest quality of staff, we are providing students with access to experts who can pass on their industry knowledge.”
PwC’s SCALE: Edinburgh initiative has announced that an iomart Group chair and an ex-Standard Life digital expert will be joining as mentor executives. Ian Ritchie, chairman of the cloud services provider iomart, and digital strategist Sorcha Lorimer will bring their expertise to the 10-week programme.
SCALE: Edinburgh is a partnership between CodeBase and PwC that aims to provide the ‘missing link’ between corporates looking to innovate and companies looking to scale by providing access to decision makers and influencers within PwC and other large organisations.
Commenting on his appointment, Ritchie said: “It’s promising to see programmes like SCALE, which recognise that problems for firms don’t end once they’ve just passed the start-up stage. If anything, it’s that next stage which is even more important, where access to a wider range of expertise can be critical to their future.
“There’s been a lot of recognition of late around the issues scale-ups face, so it’s good to see CodeBase and PwC getting involved here as there will be some interesting perspectives that both can bring – along with insight from the likes of myself and the other executives.”
Douglas Shand, Head of Innovation for PwC in Scotland, added: “Ian and Sorcha are great examples of what SCALE is about. It’s not about people from PwC or CodeBase coming in and selling their services or talking about themselves, it’s a truly collaborative engagement effort that aims to identify the main issues scale-ups need to solve to get to the next level of growth and success.”
The first 10 out of 300 recruits for Computershare’s new Edinburgh-based Global Technology Centre were enrolled this month. Launching the project, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, welcomed the decision as “fantastic news for Edinburgh’s economy” and a reflection of the fact that Scotland possesses “the skills and expertise to attract and retain global companies.”
Stuart Irving, Global CEO and President at Computershare, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome these enthusiastic and talented new recruits to Computershare as our Global Technology Centre grows and develops in Edinburgh.
“Once fully operational, the centre will employ hundreds of people, and its staff will interact with colleagues around the world, playing a vital role in Computershare’s provision of a diverse range of financial services to over 16,000 clients.”
Speaking to DIGIT, Richard said “Excited to getting onboard with FreeAgent after 12 years with Curo/Vebnet. Heading up Information Security across all streams within FreeAgent, ensuring best security practice in all that we do. First task getting up to speed with progress in making sure we are GDPR compliant.”
Aberdeen-based Digital Marketing agency Wired have opened a London office in an effort to tap into the UK capital’s market potential. Lee Brandie, managing director at Wired Studio, said:
“The London contract wins cemented the need for a permanent presence in the city. The Covent Garden office gives us a central hub where we can further this expansion and support our clients on the ground. London is the gateway to accessing global brands and is also a key location for us as we prepare to launch our own marketing software in 2018. We are excited to have expanded the business nationally, which will also result in further job creation.”
Edinburgh-based professional services firm EY is expanding their presence in the capital by moving into a 32,000 sqft. office area on the third floor of Atria One, part of the Atria Development. The EY currently employs over 1000 people across Scotland, with four offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness.
Sue Dawe, head of financial services in Scotland for EY, said: “As well as employing talented people, we’re committed to providing a great working environment. The new office is part of EY’s global “EY@Work” transformation, which provides modern office space supported by the latest technology, design and environmental standards.
“The office in Atria One will be designed around how people work, not where they sit, and provides a variety of flexible spaces designed for activity-based working. Employees will be able to choose which space to use based on the task they are doing that day, from desk based working to collaborative ‘zones’ to share ideas.”
Genetics specialists Synpromics expanded their facilities into the Roslin Innovation Centre to to meet increasing global demand for its gene control technology. They were the first company to move into the custom-built centre based at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush campus.
David Venables, CEO of Synpromics, explained, “Our move to Roslin is the result of two incredibly successful years for the company. In 2017 alone, we’ve signed gene therapy deals with a large, orphan disease pharma company and most recently with a US biotech specialising in gene editing and developing rare disease gene therapies. We’ve also signed bioprocessing deals with a top-10 pharma company and a global CDMO. Currently, the company has over ten active commercial gene therapy programmes and five bioprocessing programmes underway.
Over that time Synpromics’ team has grown by over 100% and is one of our greatest assets. We look forward to working in our new high tech facilities as we continue to build the company for the future.”
Michael Welch OBE, Paul Jarman-Williams, and Nick Freer have founded Edinburgh-based Full Circle, an advisory firm positioned to help high growth firms with funding, scale, and exit. It will back and support ambitious early to later stage ventures, working alongside executive teams and existing advisers to promote strategic growth and achieve exits.
Commenting on the company, Welch said: “Having gone through the process of engaging with venture capitalists with a view to funding my own business and then ultimately selling it to Michelin, I realised there was a gap in the market for a firm like Full Circle and that was the genesis of what we are announcing today. To have guys like Paul and Nick who have been there and done it in legal and PR terms around major M&A deals and funding rounds means we have a breadth of skills in one offering that we know is going to be of great appeal to high growth companies that are planning their next phase of growth including transformational transactions.”
This month we said goodbye to cyber-security specialist Payfont after the firm collapsed into administration following struggles with internal “distractions.” Founded 14 years ago by chief executive David Lanc, the firm was developing technology designed to protect users digital identities and online data.
In a statement released to the media, Lanc said: “We are deeply disappointed to announce that the company is going into voluntary administration. We are doing this before we run out of working capital. My sincere thanks go to the incredible Payfont team who have worked tirelessly to build our world-leading technology. Unfortunately, Payfont, as we know it today, will no longer exist. We had assembled a highly talented and specialist computer engineering team with sought-after skills. I wish the team well and hope to work with this fantastic band of brothers and sisters again.”