(PDF, 252 KB)
The shield bearers
Metaforic faced the perennial challenge of any small company with big ambitions: how to get access to major players, and the chance to demonstrate its potentially revolutionary products.
With support from Scottish Development International (SDI), the company is gaining international recognition and now counts giants such as Nintendo among its customers.
Metaforic develops and markets security and IP protection products based on revolutionary new anti-tamper technology. The innovations are designed to protect software applications in a variety of markets, and on a wide range of platforms.
Metaforic was founded in Scotland in 2006 by entrepreneur Andrew McLennan, IP and IT law specialist Linda MacKellar, and technologist and security specialist Neil Stewart.
A spin-out from the Scottish Enterprise-backed Intermediate Technology Institute, the company had developed technology designed to offer protection in an age of computer hacking, data theft and software piracy. Two key products formed the foundation of the firm’s offering.
MetaFortress protects software applications against subversion, piracy and other forms of abuse. MetaSure offers secure storage.
By the time it became an account-managed company with Scottish Enterprise, Metaforic’s main challenge was to raise its profile in the global market.
Application software, scientific computing and embedded devices were among the potential markets identified.
As it gained customers in Europe and the US, Metaforic sought to expand its reach by tapping in to the knowledge and expertise of SDI’s overseas offices, and to its extensive networks such as Enterprise Europe Scotland, GlobalScot and Interactive Scotland. “Our focus with Metaforic has been trying to provide the opportunity for them to be in the right places at the right times, in order to meet key players and create awareness,” explains Ian Morris, International Senior Executive at SDI.
“Their technology has really wide-ranging capability and can potentially be applied in any number of sectors and geographies – part of their, and our, challenge is to help focus their limited resources on a few key markets, rather than try to spear every fish in the sea.”
“The company founders had a background in the video games market, so we knew quite a few people in that field who we needed to reach,” says Douglas Kinloch, Vice President for Business Development. “But we were keen to get support in entering other markets such as defence and software applications.”
SDI offered support for the company to join various overseas market trips, including a trade mission to Japan. Douglas Kinloch visited Japan regularly throughout 2009, seeking to establish Metaforic in the country’s huge market for embedded software.
These efforts paid off as the firm secured key Japanese clients, notably Nintendo. It now has a permanent sales force in Tokyo alongside its major bases in California and Glasgow.
Bolstered by a second round of £5 million investment in 2011, Metaforic continues its advance into new territories.
Most recently senior executives have joined the SDI presence at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco.
“These are exhibitions where we would not necessarily have needed or been able to take our own booth,” says Douglas Kinloch, “but the opportunity to get a lot of our existing customers and prospects in one place at one time is invaluable.”
Metaforic has also recently made contact with members of the GlobalScot network, including Telefonica’s Mike Short, with the aim of securing advice on navigating major blue-chip companies in target markets. Further SDI support is pending, with a particular emphasis on the Asia Pacific region.
“We were one of the few companies who went to China with SDI in 2011,” says Douglas Kinloch. “Their Beijing team secured meetings for us with most of the people we wanted to target, and this has helped us engage in China more quickly than we would otherwise have been able to.”
Having grown its worldwide staff complement to 35, the company is looking to SE and SDI for support in its ambitious growth targets. “The overseas marketing support will continue to be extremely valuable, as is the strategic advice from SE as we need it,” says Douglas Kinloch.
Ian Morris, International Senior Executive, SDI said: “Metaforic have revolutionary products and a very strong management team who have themselves invested in the future of the company. We’re excited and optimistic about their potential.”
Douglas Kinloch, Vice President Business Development, Metaforic said: “We’ve had very good, active help from SDI. Their logistical support and door-opening capability have been invaluable to our overseas marketing effort.”
Find out how we can help you to access international markets
If you require this publication in an alternative format and/or language please contact us to discuss your needs. You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to view this document.
Download Adobe Reader