Techscaler Launches its First Annual Report

Lily ruaah,
 11 April 2024

Our research often finds Edinburgh as a top tech hub in the UK, but the reality is that there are tech clusters all across Scotland with renowned companies such as TauRx and ENOUGH, and Meallmore based in Aberdeen, Glasgow and the Highlands (in that order).

Scottish high-growth companies attracted £5.49b in equity investment from 2014 to 2023. In 2022 alone, these companies secured a record-breaking £979m in equity investment through 424 deals.

The surge in equity deals during 2021 and 2022 could be attributed to various factors, including government incentives, decreased interest rates, and more activity in the tech sector spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend signals a positive year for the Scottish tech economy, with government-backed initiatives such as CodeBase’s Techscaler playing a pivotal role in driving this growth.

We recently partnered with Techscaler to bring you the first-ever Techscaler Annual Report.

What is Techscaler?

Techscaler was introduced in November 2022 as a direct outcome of the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review (STER) authored by Mark Logan, Chief Entrepreneurial Advisor to the Scottish Government.

This nationwide initiative is dedicated to bolstering the Scottish tech landscape, emphasising startup education, community engagement, mentorship, workspace provision, and fostering a network of ecosystem collaborations.

At its heart, Techscaler aims to make Scotland the best place in the world for founders to launch and grow a tech startup. At CodeBase, we’ve been privileged to propel this groundbreaking ecosystem-building programme into existence for the Scottish Government. We can’t wait to build on this foundation in year two.

Headline facts

In this report, we looked at how Techscaler supported Scottish startups in its first year of running.

Highlights of Techscaler’s year:

Techscaler Annual Report

Techscaler supported over 500 Scottish tech startups in 2023, with 11 Techscaler hubs launched across the country. Discover Scotland’s tech landscape. 

The Scottish tech landscape

Throughout the past decade, Scotland’s business landscape has boomed. Company incorporations surged in Q1 2023, reaching 10,942 new companies, marking a notable 26.5% increase compared to a decade prior. Scotland is home to 6.49% of the UK’s 48k high-growth companies, a total of 3,111 businesses. As you can see below, in contrast to Wales and Northern Ireland, the Scottish tech ecosystem has already shown huge support for tech companies.

According to the new report, high-growth companies also witnessed a substantial rise, increasing from 2,543 in Q1 2014 to 3,606 in Q4 2023, which is a significant 41.8% growth rate.

Particularly within the high-growth tech sector, the expansion was even more remarkable, soaring by 66.7%. However, the sector’s rapid growth began to stabilise around 2018 — but the introduction of Techscaler could combat that, with the goal of potentially closing the gap with England and driving even greater success in the Scottish tech landscape.

Tech by region

Edinburgh and the Lothians stand out as the primary destinations for high-growth tech companies in Scotland, boasting 350 headquarters within the region.

Edinburgh’s reputation is underscored by its robust business support and the presence of esteemed academic institutions like the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University. Following closely is Glasgow and the West, with 260 high-growth tech companies, reflecting the population density and abundant talent pool in Scotland’s largest city.

Tech by sector

In Scotland’s dynamic high-growth tech sector, SaaS reigns supreme, boasting a robust presence with 173 companies. The mobile app sector also holds a significant percentage, with 136 companies. This comes as no surprise with the widespread adoption of smartphones for both the consumer and businesses.

Interestingly, while the pharmaceuticals sector ranks lower in terms of numbers compared to digital sectors like SaaS, it has secured the highest equity investment, amounting to £487m. This substantial investment underscores the capital-intensive nature and high-value potential in the life science sector.

However, despite the increasing number of enterprises spurred by environmental advocacy and policy incentives, the clean energy generation field hasn’t received as much investment as we may have predicted. Investment levels in this emerging sector have yet to match those seen in other, more established (and less capital-intensive) segments of Scotland’s tech ecosystem.

The report digs deeper into the Scottish tech landscape, comparing it to other international locations, exploring investment into tech, and looking at growth and employment.

Learn more

Techscaler is a completely free programme accessed via a membership application. It can be tailored to the development stage, helping founders and their teams from ideation to early stage, growth stage, scaling, and beyond.

The programme helped over 500 startups in 2023 and enrolled 2,500 new members. To find out more information, visit the Techscaler website, or to find out more on Scottish tech companies, read Scotland’s Top Tech Startups.

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