Why Edinburgh is the Up and Coming Tech Hub of the UK
The UK has cemented its position as a global tech leader and there’s no doubt that most people associate London with one of the world’s top tech ecosystems. You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking this; with 51,690 digital tech businesses calling London home and a £64.1 billion digital tech turnover, it’s pretty clear to see why London is a frontrunner for the UK tech space. However, there is a lot to be said about the progression of technology enterprises in Scotland and their contribution to the global ecosystem. In case you’ve missed the news, we would like to introduce you to the tantalisingly exciting tech world of Edinburgh - the capital of Scotland (and soon to becoming the tech capital of the world). If you’re interested in becoming a part of an incredibly exhilarating movement to transform the world of technology whilst living in the land of the Scots, then listen up.
Over the last few years, Edinburgh has certainly put its stamp on the tech world and is becoming one of the UK’s fastest growing tech ecosystems. Recent reports show that Edinburgh employs more than 48,000 people in the digital tech sector, who make an average salary of £42,500 - almost 15% higher than the overall average salary in the city. Not only this, but 4% of Edinburgh’s working population are active in digital technology, which is only 2% lower than London’s 6%.
To highlight the rapid developments, Edinburgh jobs in digital technology increased over 3 times the UK average between 2014 and 2017, and boasted a £1.14 billion tech business turnover in 2017. Also, taking into account adjusted living costs, the report has also named the Scottish capital the best place in the UK to work as an analyst for spending power, while its neighbouring city, Glasgow, was named the top for Project Managers. With these extremely exciting statistics, Edinburgh is showing no signs of slowing down in its success within the tech sphere.
Home of the Unicorns
Edinburgh has been the birthplace of a variety of major multinational companies and unicorns that have gone on to conquer the tech world. Here’s a couple of them that you may recognise:
- Skyscanner – this international online travel agency started in a bedroom in Edinburgh and now has 10 offices worldwide with 100 million active monthly users. The CEO, Gareth Williams, attributes the success to the supportive community, world-class computer science department from the University of Edinburgh, and even said if it were founded in an extremely tech-heavy city like Silicon Valley he’s not sure it would have been successful.
- FanDuel – this fantasy sports site started as a news prediction platform that was founded in Edinburgh with around seven employees. The company managed to secure fresh investment and expand globally in the last 10 years, with its two biggest offices still in Edinburgh, where engineers represent the majority employees there.
Lesley Eccles, co-founder of FanDuel, values Edinburgh as a tech space:
“We started FanDuel in Edinburgh in 2009 at a time when there was very little in the way of a tech ecosystem. We were inspired by Silicon Valley and wanted to recreate that environment in Scotland, where we lived. The best way to do that is to build a successful tech business. Now with FanDuel and Skyscanner plus a myriad of other tech companies, the city is transformed into a hub of tech talent, second only to London in the UK. I didn't hesitate in my decision to build my second company there too.”
Edinburgh was such a successful starting place for FanDuel, Lesley is now building her new business, Relish (the number one relationship training app), here and we’re looking forward to seeing it thrive within the supportive community!
It’s not just the startups that are noticing the opportunities in Edinburgh, large companies are also flocking to build tech forces here. Food delivery service Deliveroo has recently acquired Scottish software development firm, Cultivate, and plans to employ 50 more people in the Edinburgh office within three years. The acquisition comes from the awareness of tech talent in the Scottish capital and the company has really taken advantage of this to build world-class software. (If Deliveroo is taking advantage of your city’s tech talent, it’s got to be doing something right!)
The city has produced some major innovative global players and is a highly attractive place for new and established businesses looking to take advantage of the tech support and network it has to offer. In fact, the Scottish capital was named the UK’s best city to launch a startup in 2017, so if you’re feeling entrepreneurial, Edinburgh is definitely the place to be.
Edinburgh boasts a likeness to London with its lively atmosphere and modern city landscapes without the treacherous underground commute (plus you have the added benefit of an internationally renowned castle on your doorstep). Edinburgh’s winding streets and iconic landmarks creates a beautiful and surreal vista of modern innovations mixed with historical offerings that really does give you the best of both worlds. From a business perspective, the key strength the capital has is the helpful tech community and support offered. Mairi McCallum from Flick talks about the sense of community felt in Edinburgh; particularly at CodeBase, the UK’s largest technology incubator:
“There has been a lot of successes with companies here raising quite a lot of money, and you feel like it’s a win for everybody. It feels like the community here isn’t competitive, everybody is rooting for everybody else and helping one another.”
If this hasn’t yet convinced you, Edinburgh is also home to world renowned Universities developing ground-breaking research. The University of Edinburgh’s acclaimed School of Informatics generates many highly skilled graduates ready to work immediately, as well as undertaking innovate research such as the recent developments in AI exploration.
Edinburgh is certainly running the race for the world’s top tech ecosystems - and it’s running in the fast lane - so why not join the race today?