4 reasons why Edinburgh is a great place for tech
Did you know that Edinburgh secured more investment than any other UK tech cluster outside of London in 2016?
Scotland’s capital was also named “Entrepreneurial City of the Year” at the 2016 Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
In short, it’s a pretty good place to do business, especially for technology companies. Here’s why:
A thriving tech scene
Edinburgh is home to more than 25,000 people working in the digital sector, which adds £513 million to the economy each year. Around 360 start-up digital companies are launched in the city every year, and about 17% of those have ‘high growth’ potential.
Edinburgh also has a strong tech community, with plenty of working spaces, meetups and events that can put you in touch with the movers and shakers of the Scottish tech industry.
Find out about Edinburgh's tech hubs
Access to top tech talent
Edinburgh’s universities provide tech companies with a skilled talent pool to draw from.
The University of Edinburgh is one of the top 10 universities for computer science and information systems in the UK. Its School of Informatics has produced more world-leading research than any other UK university computing department.
The university is also home to the EPPC, one of Europe’s leading supercomputing centres, and a new £40 million data technology institute is set to open next year.
The University of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt University and Edinburgh Napier University all offer MSc programmes in data science, as well as courses in areas like artificial intelligence, cyber security and digital forensics.
Edinburgh also hosts the CodeClan digital skills and coding academy, which offers a range of software development courses and helps employers get access to skilled developers.
Unicorns thrive there – the tech kind, that is
Two of the city’s most famous start-ups are its ‘unicorns' - tech businesses valued at more than 1 billion USD.
Flight comparison website Skyscanner, which has had over 40 million downloads of its app and has nearly 800 employees, was acquired by China’s Ctrip last year for £1.4 billion.
"As a city, Edinburgh is a very desirable place to live - it is compact, with so much green space and a continuous schedule of events, festivals and more. Plus there is a growing community of many fellow software engineers," says Gareth Williams, co-founder of Skyscanner.
Edinburgh’s other tech unicorn is fantasy sports site FanDuel, which is the second largest daily fantasy sports company in the industry.
And there are plenty of other Edinburgh tech companies with unicorn ambitions of their own. FreeAgent, which provides online accounting packages for small businesses and sole traders, joined the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) last year, raising nearly £11 million in the process. It followed in the footsteps of fellow Edinburgh-based technology companies IndigoVision, which produces digital security camera systems, and Craneware, which makes billing software for hospitals in the United States.
Big opportunities for big companies
Some of the biggest global players have chosen to set up in Edinburgh. It’s where online retailer Amazon opened up its first development centre outside North America, where Dell is working on network security, and where Xilinx invested nearly £5 million in its wireless communications research centre.
Find out what's happening in tech in Scotland