Edinburgh and Glasgow often steal the limelight in the Scottish technology sector, which is understandable; they’re Scotland’s two largest cities.
There’s more to Scottish tech than just the Central Belt, though. Across the country, littered throughout towns and cities such as Dundee, Aberdeen or Stirling, a range of dynamic young technology companies are helping elevate Scotland onto the global tech stage.
Dundee, nestled along the banks of the Firth of Tay, has a rich history of innovation. As with many places in Scotland, and indeed the UK, the city expanded rapidly during the 19th century; growing from a small fishing town into a manufacturing powerhouse that fuelled Britain’s industrial revolution.
The latter years of the 20th century saw the steady decline of Dundee’s manufacturing industry but, while much of this industry has disappeared from the city, in recent years it has reinvented itself and grown to become an important hub within the ever-expanding tech ecosystem.
Exciting tech startups, a burgeoning life sciences sector, strong videogames industry and famous centres of research such as the University of Dundee and Abertay University are setting the city apart from its national counterparts.
DIGIT has compiled a list of some of Dundee’s most exciting technology companies, which we think you should keep an eye on.
GoRoadie has helped over 800 learners get on the road in Dundee alone! GoRoadie allows learners to search, compare and book driving instructors online through their phone!
— GoRoadie (@goroadie) February 26, 2019
GoRoadie connects driving instructors with their bread and butter; aspiring learners seeking to hit the road.
Founded by Michael Carr and Barry White, the company officially launched in September of 2018 with the aim of connecting learners with their ideal driving instructor. The GoRoadie platform also provides instructors with tools to ease their day-to-day operations and stay on top of the hustle and bustle of instructing.
Since its 2018 launch, the company has expanded from Dundee to offer its services in a number of cities throughout the UK, such as Aberdeen, Glasgow and London. It boasts around 40,000 instructors located across Britain and has helped hundreds of students so far.
The founders have grand aspirations for GoRoadie looking forward, with international expansion a key ambition, so this is definitely a startup you want to look out for.
Our secure searchable platform builds broker choice, visibility, and earnings while helping our insurer platform partners to optimise their sales and distribution. Find out how we are unlocking data and transforming broker and insurer relationships https://t.co/MtjhzHKvwB pic.twitter.com/NDWNYkXvBz
— Broker Insights (@brokerinsights) November 11, 2019
Broker Insights, an insurtech company founded in 2018, offers a searchable platform for the commercial insurance market. The company’s platform helps to connect leading insurance providers, including Zurich, AXA and Hiscox, with brokers holding policies for businesses and organisations across the UK.
Founded by ex-Aviva directors Fraser Edmond and Iain Crole, the company is backed by two of Scotland’s most well-known entrepreneurs, Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns.
So far in its journey, the company has raised eyebrows across the technology sector and was named in the Oxbow Partners InsurTech Impact 25 report this year. Last year also saw the company scoop the prestigious Scottish EDGE award, seeing off competition from 250 applicants.
In April 2019, the firm reached a significant milestone when it announced it holds more than £250 million of policies on its platform – a number which has since likely increased.
MyWay Digital Health
On #WorldDiabetesDay we’re proud to be making a difference to patients with #diabetes through our award-winning, online self-management platform @MyDiabetesMyWay. #WDD2019 @docdebbie @sc0ttgc @innovateuk @UoDEnterprise @ScotEntNews @Unlock_Ambition @EntrepScot @NHSAccelerator pic.twitter.com/VzI8g0uYWB
— MyWay Digital Health (@MyWayDigital) November 14, 2019
Healthtech company MyWay Digital Health spun out from the University of Dundee in 2017 and aims to improve care for people living with diabetes.
The company specialises in developing platforms that assist in patient self-management while boosting health benefits and reducing the cost of treatment.
MyWay’s flagship platform, MyDiabetesMyWay, offers users a range of information materials, personalised health reports and online communication with healthcare specialists. Automated support helps patients better-manage diabetes through the platform, which also offers remote glucose monitoring.
Previously, the company has secured funding from both Scottish EDGE and Converge Challenge, and in May this year it won the Emerging Digital Technology Business of the Year prize at the ScotlandIS Digital Technology Awards.
— Just Venue (@JustVenueUK) April 3, 2019
Just Venue has one significant goal – to connect venues with event hosts or organisers and simplify communication between the two parties.
Founded by entrepreneur Jamie Shankland, the tech startup appears to have drawn much inspiration from similar community-based platforms, such as Uber or Airbnb; both of which are now a staple aspect of our daily commutes or travel experiences.
The Just Venue platform offers users a comprehensive database of locations, each categorised and listed based on their size, type and particular features. Individual spaces are also given a specific profile offering prospective event hosts or organisers images, reviews and information on bookings.
In 2018, the company received £50,000 in Scottish EDGE funding.
Just Venue continues to expand its database and, while it may have all started in Dundee, the platform hosts venues located in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. Some notable clients include Hilton, Holiday Inn and the National Trust for Scotland.
Make sure to send us screenshots of your adventures with the Super Retro texture pack – we can’t wait to see what retro-arcade 8-bit awesomeness you create.#Minecraft #MinecraftMarketplace #4JStudios #SuperRetro #Retro #Arcade pic.twitter.com/QfA6dfeqQD
— 4J Studios (@4JStudios) November 14, 2019
Established in 2005 by Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns and Frank Arnot, 4J Studios is an award-winning game development studio.
When discussing creative industries in Dundee, one would be hard-pressed to meet many that haven’t heard of 4J Studios and its founders.
The company has grown significantly since launch 14 years ago and has developed a number of world-renowned titles, including Minecraft for handheld devices and consoles.
Minecraft was originally published by Mojang, a Swedish dev studio. However, its meteoric rise has, in part, been down to the success of the title on consoles. In May 2019, 4J Studios announced more than 176 million copies of the title had been sold globally – making it the best-selling videogame of all time.
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Virtual nursing assistants
Mobile disease diagnosis
Let’s explore how emerging technologies are driving a revolution in healthcare: https://t.co/5hMYmOxR3p #Healthcare #DigitalHealth #EmergingTech pic.twitter.com/fifuIzoyYf
— Waracle (@WaracleUK) November 26, 2019
Waracle is one of the largest app developers in the UK and arguably the in-vogue posterchild of the Dundee tech scene going by recent successes.
Since its 2008 launch, the company has grown rapidly and employs more than 50 staff in Dundee, with upwards of 100 located at offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, with the latter office location opening last year.
The firm was acquired by Edinburgh-based firm Exception in 2016 but operates autonomously as part of the Exception Group. In May 2019, Waracle acquired Dundee-based augmented reality (AR) startup, Mozenix.
Waracle has also invested in mobile app software company, Kumulous, as well as Edinburgh-based blockchain startup Wallet Services.
Do you have a strong enough use case to support the development of a mobile AR POC or prototype?
— Mozenix (@MozenixUK) March 20, 2019
Launched in 2018 by Michael Romilly and Michael Brown, Mozenix specialises augmented reality (AR) mobile app development.
Before it was acquired by Waracle, of which Romilly was a co-founder, the firm completed a host of successful AR projects, including a smartphone app which helped oil & gas firm Return to Scene identify assets more efficiently.
The company also worked closely on a similar project with Clydesdale Bank to enable users to convert price tags into foreign currencies.
Human Resources Intelligence
Our lovely client @abimawhirt of @dundee_angus has given us some great #feedback about their experience with #Haribot, so lovely to hear! Our mission is to make a difference for #employees and #HRteams 😀 pic.twitter.com/wuMORcdb6Z
— Human Resources Intelligence (@HR_Intel) May 7, 2019
Human Resources Intelligence provides HR technologies and services to businesses spanning a range of sizes. The firm was founded by Louise Rogers, an HR generalist and chartered fellow CIPD, in December 2017.
The company’s flagship product, the HaRi-Bot HR chatbot uses artificial intelligence (AI) to answer users’ questions on a range of HR queries.
HaRi-Bot is programmed to know a client firm’s HR policies and, thereafter, offer specific answers on policies. If particular questions cannot be answered by the bot, a user is referred to a human member of staff capable of offering similar advice.
One client, Dundee and Angus College, has been using the chatbot as part of its day-to-day operations.
It’s been a useful couple of days at #GartnerIO. Key takeaway is that despite the continuing velocity of change in technology the actual route to growth is harnessing people, adapting strategy to customer need and embracing technology at pace. pic.twitter.com/Y6FhQFn6Pi
— brightsolid (@brightsolid) November 26, 2019
Brightsolid is a managed hybrid cloud services company, providing enterprise-class technology and IT solutions across the UK.
The DC Thomson-owned firm was founded in 1995, and over the last two decades has grown to become a highly-trusted partner in delivering end-to-end IT transformation.
2019 has been an exciting year for Brightsolid, with the firm named as a supplier on the UK Government’s GCloud 11 framework for the third consecutive year. Similarly, the Dundee company was announced as a cloud services supplier for the Scottish Government earlier this year.
A number of new appointments have been made at Brightsolid throughout 2019, adding further strength and experience to the firm as it gears up to broaden its go-to-market strategy to provide hybrid cloud managed services.