What are the opportunities and challenges for digital tech founders in Edinburgh?

Kane Fulton, May 1, 2019 2 min read

What does Edinburgh have to offer ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs? We asked the following stakeholders and business leaders to find out. For granular data on Edinburgh’s digital tech ecosystem – including its companies (and founders), accelerators, and workspaces – see Data Commons.

Calum Forsyth, founder and CEO, Seed Haus, says:

The UK in general is a great place to raise investment – Edinburgh’s proximity to London is useful and we have great engineering talent across the city. What Edinburgh has lacked, in recent years, is a globally recognised tech edge (or USP), which is why I’m pleased to see a united effort to double down on the goal of building out Edinburgh as the data capital of Europe.

Christian Jantzen, of futuristic.vc, recently tweeted something that resonated with me. To paraphrase him, most European capitals are wrestling with two parallel tech ecosystems. The ‘Old World’ (politics/public sector, corporates, angels from traditional business backgrounds) is trying to engage with entrepreneurs, whereas the ‘New World’ actually gets “it”. Edinburgh is no different and, in my opinion, is over-indexed towards the Old World approach to entrepreneurship. This is changing but it will be a process, not a single event.

Stuart Lunn, founder and CEO at LendingCrowd, says:

LendingCrowd is a fintech business that operates a marketplace for SME lending. The platform’s sole focus is the UK SME market, with a strong sense of purpose to help alleviate market failure in the provision of funding to SMEs. LendingCrowd is UK-focused, with a split of 80% of borrowers and retail investors being based in England and Wales, with the remainder in Scotland.

Being based in Edinburgh continues to have several advantages. We have access to a large vibrant pool of financial services employees, including credit specialists. Additionally, we have access to technology expertise due to financial institutions, universities, and the developing ecosystem of digital and fintech companies, supported by initiatives such as FinTech Scotland.

Additionally, there are considerably lower set-up and operating costs than achievable in London, not to mention favourable local public body support, such as Scottish Enterprise, which has supported the company. Finally, it’s a beautiful city and area, making it easier to attract and retain staff, and it’s a place that we are truly proud to call home.

Nick Guy, founder, No Logo Media, says:

We help brands with no logos. Social media creators (aka influencers) with huge followings are the new brands of our time, but they often need help with the commercial side of their work.

Edinburgh and more broadly, Scotland have historically been places of innovation. Edinburgh is small enough to create a sense of community but large enough to be able to make things happen. We are based out of the RBS Accelerator at their global headquarters – an incredible place to work.

We are thematically focused as opposed to geographically. We primarily work in the food & drink space; we help people consume food in a new way. In particular, we work within the plant-based world. Plant-based living is hugely on the rise and we currently work with influencers in the UK, Europe and Australia.