It’s not all haggis, kilts and bagpipes in bonnie Scotland; over the past ten years the country’s digital scene has experienced a huge boom, with some of Britain’s most exciting start-ups coming from North of the border.
It’s not certain whether the burgeoning digital scene is aided by the annual influx of the best and bright students, entrepreneurial spirit, or twice daily flights to New York from Edinburgh, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Without further ado, the most exciting SME’s to come out of Scotland.
As one of the most important social media and tech news sources in the world it’s easy to forget the humble beginnings of Mashable. Although now based in New York and San Francisco, Mashable was launched in 2005 from the Aberdeenshire bedroom of Pete Cashmore.
Cashmore and his blog have gone on to win several accolades, including being named as one of Time magazine’s best 25 blogs of 2009 and INQ Mobile’s most influential Briton.
Edinburgh based flight search engine and comparison site Skyscanner has been answering the prayers of exasperated travellers since 2001. Using the web or mobile app interface, bargain hunters can search for flights based on price and location. My personal favourite is being able to look at how prices vary across a month or year or across different airports; making it far easier to plan a budget holiday. For example, at the time of writing I can see that, according to their NY flights page, London is the cheapest to fly from with Birmingham a close second.
Recent innovations from Skyscanner include the ability to search for flights without leaving Facebook (by posting a message to their Facebook wall), and the acquisition of Zoombu– a door-to-door travel service.
Brave New Talent
If you speak to anyone in the recruitment industry, they’re likely to tell you that social media is changing everything; from the way that candidates search for jobs, to the way headhunters search for employees. Most people think of LinkedIn when they think of social recruitment, but BraveNewTalent hopes to change that.
BraveNewTalent focuses on democratising the job market by connecting talented individuals with the organisations they hope to work for. The site aims to change the way that people look at employment; rather than the organisations hunting in the marketplace for talent, the talent should come to them.
FreeAgent is an intuitive online accounting software programme specifically designed to make finance easy for small businesses and freelancers. In 2010 the startup won the ‘Best SME Accounting Software’ at the Software Satisfaction Awards; voted by the product users themselves, and beating established brands such as Accountz, Kashflow and Xero.
FreeAgent’s onsite blog is also useful for those who are unfamiliar with UK tax laws, offering jargon free help and advice.
Of course this list isn’t exhaustive; I haven’t even touched on the plethora of digital and full service agencies, or niche financial websites.
An entrepereneur at heart, James writes about startups, especially those within the technology sector around the world.