10 Scottish startups making a name for themselves
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Scotland has some hidden surprises going on up north

With thriving startup scenes in Edinburgh and Glasgow, there’s good reason to look beyond London and the Silicon Roundabout. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of Scottish unicorns Skyscanner and FanDuel, we run down 10 Scottish startups doing exciting things.

Administrate 

Image credit: Administrate

Image credit: Administrate

Administrate provides software that helps training providers and departments deliver great e-learning and courses for their students and staff. The platform manages the entire training process, seeking to streamline processes from course scheduling to CRM and finances.

Founded in 2010, Administrate is Scotland’s fastest growing startup, and is run by CEO John Peebles (previously of Sentry Data Systems). The company raised $2.5 million in a December 2015 round led by Archangels, and rolled out a four day working week in May of this year for its 50+ employees.

Celtic Renewables

Working to produce next-gen biofuels from byproducts of other processes, Celtic Renewables has developed a method to produce bio-butanol from the scotch whisky fermentation process.

Founded in 2011 by Professor Martin Tangney, Celtic Renewables was highly commended in this year’s European Awards for the Environment, after winning Emerging Business of the Year at the 2015 Scottish Business Awards. The company has raised $2 million in venture capital and received a UK government grant of £11 million to set up its facility.

ZoneFox

In the growing cyber security industry is Edinburgh’s ZoneFox, which has built an advanced user behavior analytics platform (ZoneFox AI). Their solution allows companies to identify attempts to steal information. Some of their successes have gained public attention, including the story of how an engineering firm was able to stop an attempted intellectual property theft worth £10 million.

Founded in 2012 by Jamie Graves, who started the company following his PhD research project. ZoneFox raised almost $1 million in seed funding at the end of last year, and is based at incubator CodeBase.

pureLiFi 

Image credit: pureLiFi

Image credit: pureLiFi

Developing a WiFi alternative using LED light to send data between devices (LiFi – geddit?), pureLiFi are creating high-speed and secure data networks using visual light communication (VLC).

Coming from research at Edinburgh University, the company was founded in 2012 by Dr Mostafa Afgani and Professor Harald Haas, and has now raised over $25 million in funding. Their initial product Li-Flame has now evolved into the faster, smaller, and more secure LiFi-X.

TVSquared

Image credit: TVSquared

Image credit: TVSquared

Delivering analytics for TV advertisers, TVSquared provides same-day performance insights and optimization opportunities, allowing better targeting of customers and increased sales. The company has already seen success in the US market, and has opened offices in New York and Los Angeles.

Founded in 2012 by Calum Smeaton and Hew Bruce-Gardyne, TVSquared was named a 2015 Northern Tech Awards Rising Star, and raised $3 million in seed funding this August from West Coast Capital.

QikServe

Image credit: QikServe

Image credit: QikServe

The self-labelled “waiter in your pocket”, QikServe wants you to order and pay for food and drinks from its app. The app can be used in a growing number of venues from restaurants to hospitals, offering the opportunity for vendors to capture valuable consumer data.

Founded in 2011 by Daniel Rodgers and Ronnie Forbes, the company has raised over $1.5 million in funding. Earlier this year they partnered with Oracle to integrate their technology into Oracle Hospitality’s point of sale platform.

Money Dashboard

Image credit: Money Dashboard

Image credit: Money Dashboard

An online personal financial management service, with Money Dashboard it’s pretty much all in the name. Pitched as a personal financial assistant, Money Dashboard gives users an overview of all their financial accounts with simple visuals, also incorporating a budget planner.

Founded in 2008 by Gavin Littlejohn, Money Dashboard raised $3.7 million in Series A funding in January 2015, and reports over 100,000 users.

Mallzee

Image credit: Mallzee

Image credit: Mallzee

Mallzee is a mobile app with the modest ambition of changing the way we shop. A pocket personal shopper, Mallzee allows users to scroll through (millions of) items of clothing from hundreds of brands, saving the ones they like, shopping in an aggregated checkout and getting alerts when saved items go on sale.

The company was founded in 2012 by Cally Russell, and raised a £2.5 million Series A funding round in July 2015. That was after Russell turned down an offer of £75,000 for 15% equity from Peter Jones on Dragons’ Den.

snap40

Image credit: snap40

Image credit: snap40

Making waves in the health tech scene, snap40 uses a piece of wearable technology to monitor patients and catch deteriorating health. Using machine learning and risk analysis in real time, snap40 notifies healthcare staff allowing them to intervene earlier than they otherwise would and leaving room for preventative action.

The company was founded in 2014 by Christopher McCann and secured Scotland’s largest ever seed funding round of £2 million in October 2016. The money will be used to grow the team, run clinical trials and move into the EU and US markets.

Swipii

Image credit: Swipii

Image credit: Swipii

Aiming to give the power of big brand programs to small businesses, Swipii is an automated marketing suite for independent retailers. Personalized loyalty programmes, email marketing, tracked data and customer acquisition are all part of the package for businesses.

Glasgow-based Swipii was founded in 2014 by Louis Schena and Chitresh Sharma. They raised $2.5 million in funding last month, which will be used to help them increase from 1,000 to 4,500 merchants in 2017.

Request from the editor

Notice anybody missing from this list that should have made it on? Let us know in the comments and maybe get added to our next local ecosystem list

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Mia Rafalowicz-Campbell

About Mia Rafalowicz-Campbell


Traveller and city-lover, Mia has written on topics that range from music to food to quantum computing. Turning her hand to innovation and the startup scene, she is particularly tickled by GreenTech.

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