Meet the Rising Stars semi-finalists: Scotland’s top three startups

Esme Caulfield, December 14, 2018 4 min read

We recently announced that 33 startups have made it through to the Semi-Final of Rising Stars – the competition that helps takes early-stage tech businesses to the next level. From Dundee to Pontypridd, Brighton to Ballyclare, our semi-finalists represent the UK’s most innovative and exciting tech startups. In this series, we’ll find out more about the companies that have made it through, and where they’ve come from.

First up are our Scottish semi-finalists, Edinburgh-based All 4 Games and No Logo Media, and Dundee’s GoRoadie. Scotland is a true tech powerhouse, boasting creativity, innovation, collaboration and a whole lot of talent. In fact, its three biggest tech hubs, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow, saw a combined digital tech turnover of approximately £2.4bn in 2017, and offered around 21,300 jobs in digital tech, as shown in the Tech Nation Report 2018.

Edinburgh’s finest

Scotland’s capital really is a haven for startups, so it’s no wonder that our two Edinburgh-based semi-finalists have had a successful start. Home to hundreds of digital tech businesses, the UK’s largest tech incubator, CodeBase, and CivTech, the country-wide initiative that helps startups with public sector challenges, the city also has a big reputation when it comes to education, with six universities and a huge talent pool.

All 4 Games: Giving game developers a platform

With the mobile games market valued at around $50bn (and growing), award-winning digital entertainment company All 4 Games has tapped into the increasing popularity of using revenue-generating advertising in free-to-play games, offering publishing support to game developers across the globe.

Having made an agreement with broadcaster Channel 4, the company markets games during advertising breaks within TV shows, providing developers with expert feedback and assistance, all without them having to make any sacrifices, like giving up their IP or control. In return, developers use All 4 Games’ advertising services to serve in-game adverts.

The business model allows the company to operate successfully across more games than any traditional publisher could. And, with around 1,500 new games submitted to mobile app stores each day, the opportunity for growth is huge. All 4 Games is working on virtual models and platforms to further enhance the service in the future, catering to broader markets and customers to eventually become the ‘ultimate self-serve indie publishing hub’ for developers around the world.

To find out more, watch All 4 Games’ video pitch for the Rising Stars competition below, or follow them on Twitter – @All_4_Games.

No Logo Media: Listen to your world

Imagine being able to gather real opinions from any group of interest, anywhere in the world and all within 24 hours. Creative marketing agency No Logo Media is making this a reality through its proprietary influencer research marketplace, Sphere. Born in November 2017, the company is fundamentally changing how market research is carried out.

Until now, social media influencers have mainly been used to promote brands, but Sphere reverses the conversation, using influencers on platforms like Instagram to gather real opinions on behalf of organisations by using polls and surveys. Using Sphere’s three tools, SpherePoll, SphereDeep & SphereExpert, organisations can tap into specific niches of consumers or large global audiences to learn almost anything, affordably and at unprecedented scale and speed.

No Logo Media currently targets startups, research agencies and large brands. So far, it’s gathered around 45,000 opinions and worked with brands like Waitrose, T2 Tea and WelleCo, with its communities able to reach approximately 2.7 million people in different regions around the world. To top it off, the company has just been selected to join the latest cohort of the RBS Accelerator Programme at its global headquarters, and has been featured by global research industry body ESOMAR.

Watch No Logo Media’s video pitch below, or follow them on Twitter – @nologosphere.

Disruption in Dundee

Heading north to Dundee, and home to our final Scottish semi-finalist, GoRoadie. Ripe with creativity, the city is known for its exceptional tech talent, and expertise in mobile apps, games development and more – thanks in part to the renowned computer science and gaming courses offered by its universities. Exciting co-working spaces, investment in smart city solutions and an appetite for innovation also help to keep Dundee, and its businesses, ahead of the game.

GoRoadie: Driving made personal

Launched in January 2017, GoRoadie helps connect learner drivers with driving instructors. Built by a small team of two, the GoRoadie platform allows drivers to find, compare and book instructors in their area, searching by location and filters, like price and manual/automatic gearbox. They can also view instructor profiles to read reviews, see photos, and check pricing and availability, before requesting their first lesson. Additional tools for drivers and instructors are in the pipeline too, such as an online community where instructors can connect, swap students and organise events, and a progress tracker to help drivers pass faster.

Following a successful launch in Dundee, it’s actively expanding to its second city, Glasgow, with the aim of operating in new locations around the UK before scaling the service nationally and internationally.

The company is an alumni of the Elevator UK accelerator programme and a member of Societay, a collaborative platform bringing together people from different sectors and backgrounds in and around Dundee.

To find out more, follow them on Twitter – @goroadie.


The Rising Stars Semi-Final will take place on 16–17 January 2019 at Barclays Eagle Labs in Manchester, where the semi-finalists will receive pitch training before presenting to our expert judging panel. Only 20 of these companies will make it through to the Grand Final at London’s Rich Mix on 5 March 2019.

Stay updated on the Rising Stars competition by signing up to our newsletter below, or following @TechNation on Twitter.

We’d like to thank our Rising Stars sponsors, Microsoft, Bing, BDO Drive and TLT LLP.

Scotland, Rising Stars, Early Stage