The fintech industry in Scotland is growing. According to several reports, the number of fintech SMEs in the country has reached more than 80—three times more than previous years.
The increasing number is made up mostly by new local start-ups, along with existing companies that have moved north of the border from England.
But why the sudden growth? Scottish Development International trade and investment specialist, Graham Hatton told Compelo that Scotland’s access to the UK market is one driving factor. The great quality of life, as well as the supportive business environment, and the country’s world-class universities are a few more reasons. There’s also no denying the fact that Scotland is teeming with professionals who have vast experience in tech and finance. “During 2018, a number of rapidly growing start-ups from London chose to open offices in Scotland, such as Previse and Modulr Finance,” he said.
FinTech Scotland who released the report, said the trend will continue well into 2019 and that there will be more international firms in the country. “Our work with FinTech Scotland is helping to boost Scotland’s international reputation and firms from North America and Asia are starting to understand the benefits of locating in Scotland,” said Hatton.
FinTech Scotland was established just over a year ago, with the hopes of becoming one of the top five global fintech centres. It’s a joint venture between public and private sectors, the government, Scottish Financial Enterprise, and the University of Edinburgh. In an interview with Holyrood, Fintech Scotland chief executive Stephen Ingledew said they are hoping that their progressive, collaborative, and inclusive approach would catapult Scotland into being one of the major fintech centres in the world. “It has been a privilege over this last twelve months to lead the FinTech Scotland team and galvanise the broad range of support from across Scotland to support the growth of innovative fintech enterprises,” he said.
This just proves that the country is keeping up with the changing times, which is quickly shifting to a data-based business model. In fact, the recent public investments in Edinburgh and southeast Scotland are proof that data is key to the country’s economic growth. The Scotsman calls data the key to Scotland’s growth as “the ability to collect and analyse data underpins one of the central strands of the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal – a desire to transform the region into a digital powerhouse.” It’s no surprise that more and more industries and corporations are utilising data, with UK companies taking advantage of how it can improve productivity. Fleet companies in particular have been able to use it to increase efficiency in the transport sector. A feature by Verizon Connect details how GPS tracking software allows fleet companies to create a digital audit trail on one web-based server. This ensures that the companies stay compliant, and can easily adjust their practices based on the data gathered. Most of these technologies have already been around for quite some time. However, they have become more effective because of the ability of modern technology to process large amounts of data.
Our January article on Fintech Scotland reported on some of the company’s enabling roles, which include connecting fintech firms to large financial services in order to develop new connections. Close collaborations and increased visibility in digital platforms have also helped make it possible for Scotland to become a leading fintech country in Europe.
Article written by Jen Brooke for highgrowth.scot