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February 16, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:14pm

Scotland’s tech sector nets record investment, as Edinburgh produces first Unicorns

News: Skyscanner was the first $1 billion company to emerge from the country.

By Alexander Sword

Scotland’s tech sector has seen record fundraising in a year in which it produced its first ‘unicorns‘.

According to research from FTI Consulting, the sector raised over £85 million in risk capital in 2014. It also produced its first two firms with valuations of over $1 billion.

Edinburgh was a particular centre for this activity, creating 44 university spin-outs and start-ups in the year and becoming the largest start-up hub in the UK outside London.

Skyscanner, the flight comparison website, became the first company to attain a $1 billion valuation in January 2015. FanDuel, a web-based fantasy sports game, reached unicorn status in July 2015.

The country has a range of initiatives to boost its tech sector, including the work being done by ScotlandIS, the trade body for the ICT industry. For example, in July CodeClan, a coding school for software developers, was launched in the country.

There are also incubators such as CodeBase, based in Edinburgh, which houses some of the city’s tech start-ups.

Neil Francis, director of international operations at Scottish Development International (SDI), said: "Scotland’s innovative technology sector has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is benefitting from, not only a very active risk capital market, but a unique set of science and innovation assets clustered around its capital, Edinburgh.

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"It is now widely recognised as one of the UK’s most successful technology start-up communities and thanks to the strength of the region’s higher education sector and business environment for start-ups, continues to produce, nurture fast growing digital companies with true global potential.

"We’ve been working close with the sector in Scotland to help support with across a wide range of areas including access to finance, commercialisation and internationalisation."


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