Tech City Contender: Glasgow
With 70% of London tech startups struggling to grow, weΓÇÖve been looking at regional alternatives for launching your startup. This week itΓÇÖs the turn of Glasgow ΓÇô the home of a vibrant and diverse startup scene.
Glasgow has long been known for its engineering industry which is still an important part of the cityΓÇÖs economy. Today, youΓÇÖll also find financial firms like the Royal Bank of Scotland alongside energy firms like Scottish Power. But the city is also attracting a growing number of tech companies looking to take advantage of a location which boasts broadcast and digital media companies like STV, and high-growth tech startups like Skyscanner.
And while Glasgow doesnΓÇÖt have the same kind of single ΓÇ£hubΓÇ¥ for tech companies which weΓÇÖve seen in locations like Birmingham (Innovation Birmingham Campus) or Shoreditch (Tech City), it is still attracting a wide variety of tech-based startups. With ┬ú24m in funding now secured to turn Glasgow into a Future Cities Demonstrator, the city is now firmly on the technology and innovation map.
WhoΓÇÖs based here?
Glasgow is home to a wide variety of tech firms, spanning health tech, specialist search engines and social networks to name a few. Gaming and animation also have a strong presence within the cityΓÇÖs tech scene.
While there are too many to name them all, notable tech startups based in Glasgow include:
- Skyscanner ΓÇô the flight search engine has its HQ in Edinburgh but also has offices in Glasgow
- Kiltr ΓÇô aka ΓÇ£LinkedIn for ScotsΓÇ¥ according to The Next Web
- Taragenyx ΓÇô medical technologies company, started out at a Glasgow tech incubator
- HuzuTech ΓÇô online social gaming platform development
- Teamtrackr ΓÇô based at the Glasgow Hatchery, provides fan engagement apps for professional sports teams and sponsors
- My1login ΓÇô password management business based in Glasgow and Palo Alto, has secured ┬ú1m seed investment
- M Squared Lasers ΓÇô developer and manufacturer of next generation lasers, recently named one of the UKΓÇÖs fifty fastest growing tech companies by Deloitte
- Muvizu ΓÇô developer of 3D animation software.
Digital Enterprise Glasgow is an incubator facility which provides business development support, marketing advice and funding advice, alongside business space. Funded by Glasgow City Council, there are a total of six incubator spaces across the city, five of which can be found at local educational institutions such as Strathclyde University and the City of Glasgow College. The University of GlasgowΓÇÖs startup facility is known as the CIDS Incubator.
Other business growth support can be accessed via the Scottish Institute for Enterprise which provides support to Scottish startups, particularly those run by students and graduates. Entrepreneurial Spark whose Glasgow startup space is known as The Hatchery, provides intensive business support to entrepreneurs who have completed successful applications for the programme.
GlasgowΓÇÖs tech community: learning and networking
Tech events hosted in Glasgow span everything from regular meetups to annual or ad-hoc conferences. YouΓÇÖll also find networking events and groups catering to a variety of tech and business interests.
The annual Startup Weekend Glasgow is a great opportunity to network with both other startups and business experts within the cityΓÇÖs small business scene and should provide tech founders with the opportunity to learn from others.
RookieOven, which provides support for the Scottish tech community, also hosts events in Glasgow which are well worth a visit. Meanwhile, for those interested in developing their knowledge of UX, signing up for the UX Book Club could be an invaluable way to boost their learning.
For more informal networking, look out for Refresh Glasgow which is a pub meetup for designers, developers and anyone else who works on the web.
GlasgowΓÇÖs tech and business talent pool
- University of Glasgow: Courses taught here include Computing Science, Digital Media & Information Studies, Electronic and Software Engineering, plus Mobile Software Engineering. A variety of business-related qualifications are also taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
- University of Strathclyde: The business school offers a wide variety of qualifications from accounting to management, while tech-based courses include Computer Science (offered with Law, Electronic Systems, or International Study). Graduates of its Product Design and Innovation degree may also be of interest to startup businesses.
- Glasgow Caledonian University: With an emphasis on computer gaming, startups should look out for graduates of courses such as 3D Computer Animation, Audio Technology with Multimedia, Computer Games (Software Development), and Graphic Design for Digital Media. The university also offers a variety of business courses.
- City of Glasgow College: Offers foundation degrees in software development, computer animation, computer art and design, along with a variety of foundation level business qualifications.
The big picture: the future for Glasgow
Earlier this year, Glasgow secured ┬ú24m in funding as a Future Cities Demonstrator. The city was selected by the Technology Strategy Board from a pool of thirty applicants, including London, Manchester and Birmingham, to be the sole recipient of the award.
By implementing modern technology in an innovative way, the scheme aims to boost GlasgowΓÇÖs appeal as a modern business destination, as well as providing social benefits for inhabitants of the city. It will also serve as an example, demonstrating how modern technology can be used to enhance boost cities across the UK.
The funding is set to improve the tech infrastructure across Glasgow, as well as positioning the city as a national leader for technology and innovation. Smart startups will be looking at ways they can take advantage of this boost to the city.
Where is the best place in the UK for launching a startup? London or the regions? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Catch up with our Tech City Contenders series here: