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DIGIT Deal Roundup Column | September 2021

David Paul


Digit Deal Roundup
The September 2021 edition of the DIGIT deal roundup has arrived! This month sees funding and deals from Coastr, Shot Scope, 2i, and Scottish Enterprise.

Investment and Funding


Scottish tech startup Coastr secured £1.4 million in funding in September through London-based investment platform, GroVentive.

Following the investment, the firm said it plans to launch additional products for 2022, including on-demand fleet insurance, integrated vehicle financing and connectivity to major booking platforms.

The funding boost follows a positive 12 months for the firm, which has enjoyed a fivefold increase in its customer base while doubling headcount to 35 staff.

Over the next two years, the company is also targeting expansion across the UK and Europe, and its technology is being trialled internationally.

Commenting on the funding, CEO and founder Biswajit Kundu Roy said: “Our vision is to enable vehicle hire operators and help the end customer cut through queues and paperwork to avail a seamless rental experience that is suited for the 21st century.

“We are empowering vehicle hire operators by helping them transform their businesses through data-driven decision-making and delivering a truly digital experience to their customers.”

Bruno Pannetier, Chief Investment Officer at GroVentive, commented: “We are excited to have provided such significant investment into an extremely exciting business and we are looking forward to supporting Biswajit and his team on their high-growth plans over the next few years.”

The firm opened a second office in Bangalore earlier this year, from which it plans to grow its operational and technology teams.

Want to read more? See the full article here.

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish entrepreneurs gained £36m in investments through Scottish Enterprise’s ‘Unlocking Ambition’ programme in September.

The programme, launched in 2018, has so far helped 107 Scottish entrepreneurs from 79 firms generate millions of pounds of new direct investment.

Firms have gained £7.4m revenue growth, including £3.9m in international turnover growth, creating almost 150 jobs across Scotland.

Over the next three years, those involved with Unlocking Ambition are projected to cumulatively reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions by up to 7,468 tonnes.

Unlocking Ambition has gained a further 38 new entrepreneurs who Scottish Enterprise said were chosen, “for their individual potential, the quality of their ideas, ability to scale and their contribution to the Scottish economy from sustainable growth through investment, innovation and exporting”.

Commenting on the news, Director of Growth Investments at Scottish Enterprise, Kerry Sharp, said: “These are fantastic achievements that demonstrate what supporting entrepreneurs through a high value, tailored programme can produce.

“Scottish Enterprise is proud of its role in helping deliver such positive results which have an impact on people and regions across Scotland. A £5.6m commitment that has so far returned £36m of direct investment to date represents incredibly great value for taxpayers’ money, even before we see the results from the latest group of entrepreneurs.

Sharp added: “Last week I was delighted to help welcome the new cohort to the Unlocking Ambition community when Unlocking Ambition 3 kicked off. It was great to see the diversity in the cohort – across sectors, nationalities, gender and regions of Scotland.

“I very much look forward to seeing their continued success as they grow and scale up their businesses, creating even greater opportunities for green economy growth right across the country.”

Want to read more? See the full article here.

Wobble Genomics and Eos Advisory

University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute spin-out Wobble Genomics raised £1.2m last month following an investment round led by Eos Advisory.

Founded by CEO Richard Kuo in April 2021, the RNA sequencing specialist has developed a range of hardware and software tools that give scientists and clinicians a more detailed picture of underlying biology.

The firm said the investment will support the expansion of its team, drive sales and demonstrate its ability to improve clinical outcomes.

St Andrews-based Eos led the investment round alongside the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund, Old College Capital.

The funding boost will also form part of a £2.15m seed-round which includes a deeptech venture capital firm and a small number of private investors.

Richard Kuo, CEO and founder of Wobble Genomics commented: “There is a huge global market of scientists and clinicians who would buy our products as part of their sequencing work.

“On top of this, we plan to target a higher value market by leveraging our existing technologies with the overall aim of being the first global company to build a picture of disease states that are encoded in RNA.”

Andrew McNeill, Managing Partner, Eos Advisory, said: “Richard is already a globally respected researcher in RNA sequencing, and now has the ability to build a team to commercialise novel approaches that address the big issues and understanding of this exciting field of life science.

“The importance of RNA sequencing and its role in enabling clinicians to understand disease has only just been recognised over the last couple of years.

McNeill added: “This investment sits at the heart of what Eos works for – backing the very latest and most promising innovations that have the potential to have a positive impact globally.”

Wobble Genomics is the first investment from the newly raised Eos EIS Innovation Fund, which invested alongside the Eos Syndicate.

This funding round also marks an important evolution for the St Andrews-based firm, which has had a successful year that saw mycoprotein supplier, Enough, secure a global deal with Unilever and a £42m Series B investment round.

Andrew McNeill added: “Our firm’s focus is on impact investment in Scottish science, engineering and technology innovation, whilst bringing inward investment that allows local companies to scale into global markets faster.”

Want to read more? See the full article here.

The Open University

£1m of funding was set aside for the Open University in September to help SMEs in Scotland with essential upskilling.

The cash injection comes as part of Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund – a bid to help SMEs address key skill gaps and adapt to new flexible ways of working. Applications for FWDF 2021-22: Phase 2, launch today.

SMEs are being advised to apply as soon as possible, as access to the fund will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

The OU offers a flexible digital delivery model that allows individuals to develop skills around existing business and personal commitments.

Training can be delivered to both staff and volunteers of these organisations. Eligibility can be checked on the OU website.

Marie Hendry, the Deputy Director of External Engagement and Partnerships at The OU in Scotland, said: “This funding provides a great opportunity for those small and medium-sized enterprises that are the lifeblood of the Scottish economy to develop their existing workforce.”

“We know that Scotland’s SMEs have been particularly affected by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and these organisations and their people will play a crucial role in Scotland’s recovery.

“Our tailored training plans will help SMEs to upskill and retrain their existing workforce to maximise the opportunities to restart and recover.”

Courses offered reflect the skill priorities for Scotland. These include short courses, microcredentials, undergraduate and postgraduate modules in leadership and business; digital and IT; health and social care; and green economy.

Suzanne McQuade, the Business Relationships Manager at The Open University in Scotland, has said: “Individuals can access our innovative online training in the workplace or from home at a time to suit while accommodating ongoing business operations.

“We’d encourage any SME across the private, public and third sector to get in touch to discuss the delivery of a development programme that is tailored to the needs of their organisation”

This adaptive model gives employers the opportunity to future-proof and invest in their workforce. Directors of SMEs across Scotland have already shown support for the programme.

Maria Bell, the Managing Director of Mesomorphic Ltd., commented, “As a SME working with The Open University in Scotland to develop our workforce, we really benefit from the university’s experience with distance learning.”

“It is ideal for rural businesses looking to provide flexible upskilling and reskilling opportunities to staff within their local community.”

Want to read more? See the full article here.

Scottish Science

Scottish scientists will use a £16.5m grant by the UK Government to develop their research ideas into products and services for global development.

The funding is part of the UK government’s pledge to increase public spending on research and development by £22 billion by 2025.

Scotland’s most promising researchers will be able to fund equipment and wages to carry out their work, with the hopes that they will become a new generation of science leaders.

Iain Stewart, the UK Government Minister for Scotland, said, “Scottish scientists have long been pioneers of innovation and this investment will encourage a new generation of trailblazers to keep that tradition going.”

The investment comes as part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships scheme.

Over the next three years the scheme will receive £900m in investment by Westminster.

UKRI Chief Executive Dame Ottoline Leyser said, “The new Fellows announced today will have the support and freedom they need to pursue their research and innovation ideas, delivering new knowledge and understanding and tackling some of the greatest challenges of our time.”

This aims to put the UK on track to reach 2.4% of GDP being spent on research and development across the UK economy by 2027.

Across the UK, nearly 100 projects are being supported, including cutting edge projects on global disease and climate issues.

The Future Leaders Fellowships scheme lets universities apply for up to £1.5m to support the research and innovation leaders of the future.

Each fellowship lasts between four and seven years. Awardees will each receive between £400,000 and £1.5m over an initial four year period.

Want to read more? See the full article here.



Software testing specialist 2i has landed a £20m Scottish Government contract to help deliver social security across the country.

Leaders at the Edinburgh-based company will deliver testing and quality assurance at Social Security Scotland to support the introduction of new benefits.

Additionally, the money will help to propel the 200-strong firm to its next stage of growth. The involvement of 2i will run for at least two years.

Commenting on the news, 2i managing director Dave Kelly said: “Being at the very heart of such a landmark change in Scotland’s benefits system is something to be incredibly proud of.

“Of course, it is a huge endorsement for our team – for their technical skills, outstanding track record and ability to deliver major digital projects on time and on budget.

“However, it’s also our aim to leave a lasting legacy that Social Security Scotland can build upon for the future. That is something which is incredibly motivating for us.”

Social Security Scotland delivers 11 benefits and, when fully operational, will deliver 17 benefits supporting 1.8m children and adults. The rollout is underpinned by legislation which positions social security as a human right in Scotland.

In 2018, 2i won its first contract with Social Security Scotland and helped to ensure testing and quality assurance of payments.

Kelly added: “We are thrilled to be chosen to continue our work with Social Security Scotland and help it to create a modern benefits system that embodies dignity, fairness and respect for citizens.

“These benefits are being introduced to help and support the most vulnerable in our society and delivering them with comprehensive risk and assurance processes is vital.”

The company has enjoyed significant year-on-year growth from 2016 where it was making a loss on a £4.7m-a-year turnover. Turnover at 2i is now more than £13m and an ambitious growth strategy means it is likely to top £20m in the next financial year.

Growth means the firm is now regularly competing with global players, including household names like IBM, Cap Gemini and Deloitte.

As well as its headquarters in Edinburgh, it has also opened offices in Glasgow and London and now has 200 staff based across the UK.

Want to read more? See the full article here.

Shot Scope

deal roundup

GPS tracking watch manufacturer Shot Scope announced it will become part of the T-Mobile Accelerator Program that is ‘fuelling’ 5G innovation in wellness tech.

Shot Scope joins a group of companies that will work directly with technology and business leaders at T-Mobile as they build, test and bring to market new products and services that unleash the potential of T-Mobile 5G.

All participants in the program are building breakthrough innovations in personal health wearables and applications, from smart glasses for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, to fitness devices and smart apparel that enhance athletic performance.

The fall program runs through early November 2021 and will culminate in a Demo Day where participants showcase their accomplishments.

John Saw, EVP of Advanced & Emerging Technologies at T-Mobile commented: “Consumers are increasingly interested in new ways that technology can improve their well-being, whether it’s better performance on the sports field or deeper diagnostics to monitor a health concern.

“With 5G we are beginning to see a vast array of new devices and services that give us better insight into our own health and can dramatically improve our quality of life.”

David Hunter, CEO, Shot Scope added: “Artificial Intelligence in a smart golf watch is a game-changer as the multi-function V3 provides golfers with real-time game tracking data like never before.

“Given our success with the V3, we are thrilled to partner with T-Mobile and now bring 5G technology to our golfers.

“Shot Scope technology has been used by tens of thousands of golfers worldwide recording over 100 million shots, and our data shows that amateur golfers improve by three strokes thanks to the unique fusion of accurate distance information and automatic performance tracking technology.”

The Scottish Government

Work has begun to extend super-fast broadband connections to rural Scottish areas through a new Government programme.

Tens of thousands of rural and island homes and businesses are set to gain access to fast and reliable broadband over next few months.

A £384m investment is being provided through the Reaching 100% programme (R100) which will be put towards the building of full fibre connections from September 2021 around Oban, Argyll and Bute, as well as Portlethen and Newtonhill in Aberdeenshire.

Full-fibre broadband, capable of one gigabit per second download speeds, will be delivered by the R100 North contract, which is more than 30 times faster than the original commitment to deliver 30 megabits per second.

The Scottish Government’s announcement comes months after the £3.75m investment boost to improve digital connectivity and mobile coverage in Scotland’s rural communities.

Commenting on the news, Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “Accessing fast and reliable broadband has never been so important and for our more rural communities that is becoming increasingly vital.

“That is why the Scottish Government is making substantial investments in digital infrastructure to ensure all of Scotland has equal access to high speed internet.

“The Reaching 100% programme is going significantly beyond our original commitment to provide superfast broadband and will now deliver the UK’s fastest and most reliable broadband for many businesses and homes.”

Chair of Scotland’s Openreach Board Katie Milligan added: “As delivery partner, we’re designing a network that maxes full fibre for the North of Scotland.

“We are pleased to have worked so closely with the Scottish Government to ensure homes and businesses will make the move straight to the UK’s fastest, most reliable gigabit-capable broadband.

“The arrival of ultrafast broadband will be a game-changer, placing rural residents and remote islanders firmly in the internet fast lane. They will see a huge difference for life and work generally, but future-proof connectivity will also boost fragile rural economies and address sustainability issues like depopulation.”

Want to read more? See the full article here.

Orbital Marine Power

Scottish tech developer Orbital Marine Power will head the FORWARD-2030 EU tidal project worth €26.7 million (£22.7m).

The aim of the project – set to run from 2021 to 2025 – is to accelerate commercial deployment of floating tidal energy, while developing a “multi-vector energy system” in the future, Orbital said.

With €20.5m (£17.4m) funding from the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the new system will combine floating tidal energy, wind generation, grid export, battery storage and green hydrogen production.

The company will install the latest version of its Orbital turbine, which will be integrated with a hydrogen production facility and battery storage.

Commenting on the award, Oliver Wragg, Orbital’s Commercial Director said: “This endorsement of the Orbital technology by the European Commission is a huge vote of confidence in our capability to deliver commercially viable tidal energy.

“We now have a focused and highly experienced consortium dedicated to the delivery of tidal energy and committed to accelerating its future uptake. This alignment of interest sets FORWARD-2030 on course to have a meaningful impact as we build towards large scale commercially viable tidal energy projects.

“Orbital has consistently delivered step changes in cost reduction for the tidal energy sector and the FORWARD-2030 project will enable us to take that next step.”

Rob Flynn, Commercial Manager of EMEC said: “FORWARD-2030 will show what the energy system of the future looks like by combining offshore renewable generation, with onshore wind and EMEC’s onshore hydrogen and storage facilities – all done in the novel context of an island grid.

“The project represents a major step forward for the commercialisation of tidal energy and we are delighted it has received this significant stamp of approval from the European Commission.”

Want to read more? See the full article here.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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