It’s official. The Scottish technology sector is booming. 2021 saw a record level of investment into Scotland’s start-up and scale-up technology companies. It was estimated that the total amount was in the region of £650 million.
A good deal of this investment is in the health technology sector. Digital health start-up, Current Health was acquired by a US electronics retailer for $400 million in October.
The original seed capital for Current Health came from the Edinburgh based investment company Par Equity. Par Equity has announced that they plan to invest twenty per cent of its £25 million investment pot into Scotland’s burgeoning health tech and life sciences sector this year.
Europe’s first oncology biotech accelerator called Cumulus Oncology has recently received funding of £5.6 million and is now being chaired by Dr Russell Greig who cut his teeth at GlaxoSmithKline.
While health tech is the buzzword in Scottish tech investment at the moment, this is far from the only sector that is creating excitement. A company called Net AI features at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress. This spin-out from Edinburgh University aims to improve the efficiencies of 5G network providers. It was one of the companies selected for last year’s EIE21 investor readiness programme. Net AI will be hoping that it can join some of the other names that have led the way in Scottish tech and become players on the global stage.
Edinburgh based Rockstar might not at first appear to be a household name. However, anyone with a passion for video games will be all too aware of Grand Theft Auto, GTA. The game originally hit the Xbox 360 and PlayStation back in 2013. The game has sold over 150 million copies in total and is reported to have made in excess of $6 billion. Earlier this year Rockstar studio announced that there will be a new version of the game released later this year. The company is reported to have said that its goal is to always move significantly beyond what was previously delivered. This would suggest some technological advances in gameplay. This will be welcomed by fans as a remastered collection that they released for newer consoles was badly received due to a high number of bugs and glitches.
It is also this new advances in gaming technology that has, in part, been driving the progress of online casinos throughout the world’s regulated markets. The best RTP slots in the UK now have rich graphics and are developed using HTML5 technology, which allows the games to run smoothly on all devices. AI and VR are also being incorporated into iGaming platforms with live dealer games now being offered on many platforms. It is again Scottish based technology that drives the big names in the online gambling market. FanDuel, the fantasy sports platform has a worldwide presence and started up in Scotland. The company merged with Paddy Power Betfair in 2018.
In 2020, FanDuel co-founder, Nigel Eccles secured a seven-figure investment for Flick, a sports-focused live chat app. Flick is headquartered in New York but has an office and engineers in Edinburgh. Eccles is said to believe that it could be even more successful than FanDuel. Football is currently Flick’s most popular sport, covering soccer and NFL. Its priorities include boosting its global appeal and reach by adding rugby and cricket to the platform.
Scotland’s other enormous tech success story is, of course, SkyScanner. The platform fundamentally changed the way in which we purchase our holidays. The company started back in 2003 as a simple way to compare flight prices. It now describes itself as a metasearch engine and travel agency. It is still based in Edinburgh and is available in thirty languages. It is used by over one hundred million people every month. As well as flights the platform enables travellers to book accommodation and car hire. It makes its money when a user clicks on any of the offers. SkyScanner was acquired by Ctrip in 2016 and now employs over one thousand people.
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