The tech sector in Edinburgh now accounts for 1 in 8 businesses, and according to the 2016 Tech Nation report, Edinburgh is the largest technology cluster outside London in terms of productivity.
One of the drivers of this success is the advantage of a self-generating talent pool. Every year the two Universities produce another 1,200 computing graduates, and the intensive coding course offered by the CodeClan digital skills academy produces 20 new coders every 16 weeks. With human resources frequently being the limiting factor for tech expansion, for companies, clusters, and countries alike, overcoming this barrier to growth is crucial. Over 46% of Edinburgh’s workforce is degree educated – more than any other city in the UK. In total, more than 150,000 working age graduates live in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh has a legacy of creativity, and the digital economy is very much a present and future component of this innovative city.
“Creative space is a hot topic, with an ever increasing need for pop-ups, incubators and co-working spaces,” explains Janine Matheson, director of Creative Edinburgh. “Throughout 2015, we were working with businesses across the city to offer ‘Hotdesk Hangouts’ – opportunities for our individual and freelance members to co-work and network for the day in places such as corporate boardrooms. The boundary between the tech scene and creative scene is increasingly blurred.”
The largest technology incubator in the UK is not in London, it’s Codebase, housed in Argyle House, a quarter of a million square foot building in the heart of Edinburgh. Inside are more than 60 tech companies.
GetCommerce is one of those companies, and has established itself as one of Scotland’s preeminent developers of e-commerce websites using Magento software. Since joining the first wave of CodeBase tenants in early 2013, GetCommerce has grown to employ eight people servicing an expanding client base.
Other high growth companies in Edinburgh include Intelligent Point of Sale, whose cloud-based application allows bars, restaurants and clubs to control and track sales and stock in real time. They more than doubled their client base last year, with revenues already exceeding £1 million after just two years of trading.
And then there is Skyscanner, valued at £1 billion in a recent funding round.
December 2014 saw StartEDIN formed as a tech collective to internationally promote Edinburgh as a tech community.
James Varga of fintech company miiCard was one of the founding partners, stating “Edinburgh is uniquely positioned as one of the best start-up destinations – that includes strong research, serious investment, cultural heritage, and a fantastic lifestyle with an outdoor environment on the doorstep.”
American software giants Apple, Bloomberg and Dell are among the firms establishing themselves in Edinburgh. In one of the largest office pre-lettings of recent years, New-York based fantasy sports firm FanDuel took 5,400m2 for its technology division within the flagship Quartermile 4 development, just minutes away from the University’s of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics.
The city’s popularity as a place to work stems from its renowned quality of life. Key attractions of the city include its stunning architecture (the city is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites); compact layout (one-third of commuters walk or cycle to work); efficient public transport (Edinburgh Trams was named ‘operator of the year’ at the 2015 Light Rail Awards); and excellent recreation opportunities (the city boasts four Michelin- Starred restaurants).
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you and your business establish, relocate or expand within the city region,or would simply like more information about what Edinburgh has to offer, get in touch with Invest Edinburgh!