Five early-stage tech companies from Scotland announced in Tech Nation’s ‘Rising Stars’ competition
Tech Nation has today announced the 5 Scotland Regional Winners of its fourth Rising Stars competition, which recognises the brightest and best early-stage tech scaleups from every area of the UK.
This year’s Scotland Regional Winners are Kythera AI, Letting Cloud, PolyDigi Tech, Gigged.AI and Know-it. These companies, which hail from Edinburgh and Glasgow - Scotland’s two largest tech hubs - are working to transform a range of different industries, including AI, cybersecurity, HRtech, proptech and fintech.
In total, 55 fast-growing tech companies from across the UK have been named this year’s Regional Winners - 5 within each UK region.
The Regional Winners have been selected by a panel of over 50 judges (industry experts with extensive experience in starting and scaling tech businesses) based on their value proposition, competitive advantage, market traction, team experience and potential to scale.
The 5 early-stage tech companies have an average of 8 employees, and are notably all either B2B or B2B2C companies.
According to data from Tech Nation, Scotland is now home to 4 tech ‘unicorns’ (companies valued at over $1bn), up from 3 in 2020, and has received $549mn in VC investment funding this year, as of November 2021 (a 56% increase on the $352mn received in 2020).
Tech job creation is also growing rapidly in Scotland, rising by 111% in the past year (from 34,636 tech roles in 2020 to 74,048 in H1 of 2021).
An impressive 69% of the 55 Regional Winners are generating revenue, and 38% have at least one female founder. 27% of the Regional Finalists are Pre-Seed, 29% have no previous rounds of funding, and 36% are Seed funded. As for what’s next, 49% of the Regional Finalists are looking for Seed Funding, while 34% are looking to raise Series A.
Going forward, these 5 promising, fast-growth Scottish early-stage tech companies will continue to be supported by the UK tech ecosystem as they are inducted into the Tech Nation alumni network. This will allow the companies national recognition, greater access to networking opportunities and more opportunities to learn from other early-stage tech businesses going through a similar scaling journey.
Grant MacCusker, CEO and founder of Letting Cloud, said: “It is great to see so many local companies being represented in the Rising Stars competition 2021. Every founder and team work hard to create success in their business and it shows the bar has been raised again with the names that are in the semi finals.”
Rich Wilson, CEO and founder of Gigged.AI, added: “Gigged.AI is delighted to be a Tech Nation Rising Stars 4.0 Scotland Regional Winner. Previous winners have gone on to achieve global success and we are excited by the platform this will give the company to scale. Our AI-powered talent marketplaces are poised to disrupt how companies source and on-board talent.”
Monika Ohashi, CIO at Polydigi Tech, commented: “Our mission at Polydigi Tech is to help businesses combat the ever-changing fraud, and that’s why we developed the world’s first identity authentication solution that can effectively end phishing and OTP (one-time-passcode) scams technically.
“We can’t express how excited we are to be chosen as the Rising Stars 4.0 Scotland Regional Winner. We hope with this recognition and the help from Tech Nation we can take a big step to the next stage. After Polydigi Tech relocated to Edinburgh in 2019, we have been supported in many ways by Scottish Development International and local FinTech communities such as FinTech Scotland since we started our journey here. This helped immensely in establishing our presence here.”
Joy Thurston, operations coordinator at Kythera AI, said: “We’re delighted to be a Rising Stars Regional Winner at what’s already a crucial and exciting time for us as we expand into new markets and grow our team.
“Our innovative AI tools make an enormous difference to game design, and we are working on new ways to bring life to all our virtual worlds and change the way we look at games entirely. We’re committed to leading the field in game AI and setting an example in supporting the fulfillment and wellbeing of our staff.
“We’re grateful to be recognised for this and for the opportunities this award presents. We have experienced wonderful support so far from the Scottish government, in the form of an innovation grant which allowed us to establish our product.
“As well as this, the Scottish tech sector as a community has been an enormous help to us. As tenants of Codebase Edinburgh, we gain valuable access to networking and training events as well as connections with other local tech firms.”
Darcey Quigley, founder and CEO of Know-it, added: “It is a great honour to be representing Scotland in such a prestigious awards competition. We hope this will help raise awareness of the £61 billion late payment problem currently impacting UK SMEs. With the recent launch of our innovative credit management fintech platform “Know-it”, we aim to reduce the amount of money outstanding to SMEs by helping facilitate the chasing and collection of this money, whilst mitigating future credit risk, reducing debtor days and helping boost cashflow!”