Fintech is alive and well in Scotland, with Edinburgh leading the charge
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.
It’s not just the burgeoning startup scene and growing infrastructure that makes Edinburgh an attractive proposition for entrepreneurs and their kin. The city is fondly referred to as one of the most liveable cities in Europe. The average cost of renting, say, a 1 bed flat in Edinburgh comes in at £525, compared to £1,430 in the English capital. Not exactly insignificant. With a population of 500,000, Indeed, those looking to attract the ambitious and tech-savvy to the city are calling it ‘The Level of Living Capital’, to reflect the comparably low cost of living compared to its counterparts further south.
Edinburgh is, after all, the second largest financial centre in the UK, giving fintech startups a solid financial infrastructure to work with. They’re calling it a boom. We spoke to four companies who are lifting off. Oh, and they’re hiring.
Money Dashboard has a growing reputation in Britain, having recently been featured by The Guardian, whilst miiCard has been described as ‘pioneers of the online passport’. Float is a member of CodeBase, the technology incubator claiming to be the largest in the UK and one of the fastest growing in Europe, and Nucleus have recently hit £10bn worth of assets under administration.
Words from James Varga, CEO
We have a big vision: to create a layer of trust in the internet that doesn’t currently exist. Through our B2C product, miiCard and our B2B product, DirectID, banks and their customers can share trusted data in a completely safe way. In seconds rather than days.
The concept of a trusted digital identity is the brainchild of Canadian entrepreneur and technology expert James Varga, who wanted to solve the disconnect between people’s real and online identities. In 2009, he created an online identity system as credible as a passport or driving license. miiCard (My Internet Identity) was born.
Today we create trust online in over 32 countries, across 5 continents and to a potential audience of 500 million customers.
Our mission is to create trust online. Why? Just imagine the limitless potential for growth once the barrier this uncertainty creates has been removed!
The best of all worlds: the fun of a startup and the security of a properly funded and successful business.
What we are looking for in an ideal employee is creativity, dynamism, openness and collaboration. A self-starter and a go-getter.
We make every effort to help somebody relocate to Edinburgh. We also have offices in London, New York and Sydney, so depending on the role relocation may not be necessary.
Words from Stuart Geard, Managing Director
Nucleus is a multi award-winning investment wrap platform that allows people to hold their pension, Isas and other investments all in one place. The platform is built on next generation technology, backed by excellent service and driven by financial advisers.
Nucleus was created in 2006 by a group of seven advisers who saw that pensions and investment products weren’t as flexible as they could be. They set up Nucleus – an open architecture wrap with an unlimited choice of assets that took the control away from the life companies and put the adviser in charge.
Our mission is to use transparency and technology to empower advisers to create exceptional financial solution for each and every client.
It’s important for us that people feel valued and empowered to make a difference, so we’ve created a culture where everyone feels at home, relaxed and confident to be themselves and able to do their best work. There’s no clocking in and no micromanagement. We pretty much celebrate everything we can, from pancake day to Halloween to key business milestones. We also cultivate ambition by providing opportunities for constant learning and development.
Cultural fit is as important as skills and experience for us. Nucleus is a fast-paced, ever changing environment. It’s also small, so our ideal team member won’t be afraid to get stuck in, take responsibility and make their job their own.
We also help with relocation. We want to attract the best talent to come and work here so if this means a move then we’ll support this.
Words from Steve Tigar, CEO
Money Dashboard shows consumers how they are using their money by pulling in data from all of their bank and credit card accounts onto one platform and then analysing it for them. We’re a Personal Financial Performance tool.
We were founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Gavin Littlejohn. Since then we’ve grown to be the largest UK provider of these tools.
Most people don’t know exactly where their money goes. What are they are spending on utilities, groceries, or going out? And where are they spending it? We help our users understand these things, so they can make better financial decisions. This includes helping them onto better products if they are paying over the odds.
We’ve got a a highly collaborative team and a very flexible approach to problem solving and design. We publically recogonise and celebrate our successes, both team and individual, on a weekly basis. Our location helps too; Edinburgh’s a great city.
We hire for behaviours with an emphasis on ownership. We want team members who actively seek out and rectify issues as they find them. A collaborative attitude is also key, as is a desire to innovate; our product is unique to the market place.
Words from Colin Hewitt, CEO & Founder
Float is an online budgeting and forecasting tool for small businesses. Float connects to the businesses accounting software and bank accounts to quickly predict the future cash balance in the business over time.
Float’s founder Colin Hewitt ran a digital agency and was managing the forecast and budget with a spreadsheet. It was painstaking to keep it in sync with the bank and accounting software, and even though cloud accounting has come a long way – forecasting and budgeting still lags pretty far behind. We launched the product really early, and learned that simplification and automation were the keys that were needed in order to unlock this element of planning for most small business owners.
Our mission is to help businesses become better at managing their finances, specifically cashflow, budgeting and forecasting. It’s often far too late that businesses realise they are going to run out of cash, or there is a constant anxiety about it as they are without a detailed cashflow report. We help business owners sleep better at night.
It’s great working as part of small team, where you’re seeing so much progress every day. Currently we’re a team of 10 people, we’re part of CodeBase which is great, and generally we’ve got a really smart team that love what they do, which keeps everyone on their toes!
Curiosity and humility are two things we value highly, combined with an energy to serve our customers. That’s really all we ask for. Everyone is unique and hopefully surprising!
We cover interview costs for all applicants, and we’ll also provide lots of local knowledge about how to get set up in terms of accommodation.
For further information, please visit InvestInEdinburgh.
This article was first published on The Fintech Times.