Putting Edinburgh Tech Scene on the World Map

By December 3, 2014


We all take where we live for granted. I recall living 32 miles from London and really not thinking that much about it. Or visiting Edinburgh, as I did every year for our annual “escape the clutches of the English” holiday, and walking past historic monuments and buildings without even a second glance. Now that I am thousands of miles away, I realize how great those cities are.

Today is an exciting day. Especially since I am very involved in the vibrant startup ecosystem here in St. Louis, USA. Today, Edinburgh launches an effort to let people know just how much is going on in the impressive, dynamic and successful tech and digital community.

Edinburgh can boast a wealth of resources from world leading research and academia, a strong local investment network through to a strong support body and infrastructure, all buzzing with a vibrant assortment of startup and established tech companies. But unfortunately this is all still a well-kept secret.

StartEDIN launches today, December 3rd, as a tech collective within Edinburgh. Its function is to promote the city’s thriving and vibrant community and launch it on a national and international stage. It will bring together all those involved in this flourishing technical ecosystem under one umbrella and with the weight and investment of its membership it will lead the marketing and future growth of this dynamic economy. Today’s event, hosted by the City of Edinburgh Council, will celebrate the start of this new collective which will act as an umbrella body for Edinburgh’s digital and tech community and which will firmly and pro-actively support it.

“Edinburgh needs to create a brand that as a community we can all get behind and help promote what is simply a fantastic place to live, work and develop your tech business potential” said James Varga of miiCard, a founding partner of StartEDIN and speaking at the event. “Edinburgh is uniquely positioned as one of the best startup destinations – that includes strong research, serious investment, cultural heritage, and a fantastic lifestyle with an outdoor environment on your door step.” On a side note, Varga’s MiiCard US HQ is in St. Louis.

The UK Office of National Statistics recently ranked Edinburgh as the “Happiest City in the UK” and Money Super Market’s Quality of living Index ranked it as the second best place to live. The city is recognised as having the strongest economy in Britain after London and The Financial Times fDi Magazine voted Edinburgh the top Medium Sized European City for Foreign Direct Investment.

“But we need to get recognition for all this” said FanDuel CTO Robin Spira who will be speaking at the launch, “and importantly we need to be better at attracting the best tech skills to ensure the growth and development of this dynamic community.” FanDuel, the online fantasy sports provider which owns 65% of the daily fantasy sports market in the US, has its engineering roots in Edinburgh and is recruiting top tech talent following a $70 million private equity funding.

Overcast Labs, an early stage startup developing highly efficient data centre infrastructure, is one tech company which sees the great benefits of being in Edinburgh. “After exploring cities including Los Angles, Portland, Seattle, London and Stockholm, we found the best mix of talent, culture and lifestyle in Edinburgh” said Tyler Foster, Co-Founder and CEO who will also be speaking at the launch. “Since deciding to base the company here, we’ve found the tech and business communities in Edinburgh to be remarkably supportive.”

“One of the biggest challenges facing our tech scene is recruitment of top quality staff” says Huw Martin, also a founder of StartEDIN. “From SkyScanner and Amazon to the dynamic entrepreneurial new ventures, finding top talent is really a challenge and that’s because Edinburgh isn’t recognised as the brilliant and contemporary centre for technology that it is.”

For centuries Scotland and Edinburgh have been at the forefront of innovation and technology and this continues today in what is one the most contemporary and cosmopolitan cities in Europe to live. StartEDIN is a collective of those who want to make a difference.

Mark Sutherland

Mark I. Sutherland is an award-winning communicator and published author. Originally from the United Kingdom, he lives and works in the St. Louis area as the Chief Communications Officer of Elasticity and the President of Dunrobin Publishing. He has four published books and writes for the UK Weekly Telegraph and other publications. He also wears his kilt as often as possible and enjoys haggis and Scotch. He is married with four children.