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DIGIT Movers and Shakers: November 2017

Andrew Hamilton

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movers shakers november 2017

It’s the end of November, and what better way to spend the long nights than with your favourite news tech site DIGIT? Right on cue, here’s the latest edition of our much-loved Movers & Shakers series, covering the month’s biggest tech-based moves (and, presumably, shakes…?)

This month has seen a number of new appointments, with industry veteran Susanne Godfrey moving to Anderson Strathern, a new batch of hopeful data scientists slotted in to the Data Lab’s placement  and several Scottish firms moving down south (or even further afield) as the nation continues to flex its tech talent.

NEW APPOINTMENTS

Ritchie Somerville

movers & shakers novemberRitchie Somerville has left his position as Innovation and Futures Manager of ICT Solutions for Edinburgh City Council to join the University of Edinburgh. Somerville will take up the role of Director of Data Innovation at the University.

Somerville already has existing ties to Ed Uni, collaborating with the University’s IoT Initiative through its informal Coordination Group. Currently, the IoT Initiative is  developing a pilot smart city network using LoRaWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology, a potentially major infrastructure improvement for the University of Edinburgh.

 

Neil McEvoy

movers & shakers novemberNeil McEvoy has been appointed Managing Director of ‘digital change’ programme provider NotBinary. McEvoy will bring to the role two decades of experience in international business building, and is also noted as one of the pioneers of the web hosting business.

McEvoy will bring this expertise to NotBinary’s service, which centres on implementing digital change for companies wishing to modernise their offerings. McEvoy has also been involved in a number of partnerships particularly focussed on digital transformation, including a joint venture with Microsoft to launch one of Europe’s early pure play ASPs and founding the Cloud Best Practice Network in Canada.

Neil said of his appointment: “It’s great to be back home and really exciting to be part of The Scottish Government’s vision to be a Digital world leader by 2020. I believe that NotBinary has an important role in realising that vision – across the entire Scottish Digital Economy.

“To bring the digital action plan to life Scotland needs to bring together the best ideas, people and platforms. I really believe that those who own the digital agenda in Scotland will benefit from our modern, fresh and highly experienced talent – that’s what makes NotBinary pretty unique. Whether it be migration away from legacy systems to a cloud-first approach or digitally transforming customer experience, there isn’t much that, collectively, we haven’t had hands-on experience of. Which isn’t surprising when you’re combining the early pioneers of the G cloud procurement framework, one of the authors of the UK’s first published cloud strategy and the architect behind a highly successful Local Government as a Platform model.”

 

Exchange Communications

movers & shakers novemberTelecomms solutions provider Exchange Communications (EC) has welcomed the first three participants to a new workplace scheme amongst the firm. The scheme is being offered as part of a collaborative partnership between the City of Glasgow College, and could see the students placed at EC offices in Glasgow, Aberdeen and London.

The initiative signals a strengthening of the ties between EC and the College. Exchange Communications already sponsors the College’s Computer Networking HND, providing guest speakers and donations of equipment to the course.

The three awarded students – Mike McGregor, Aidan Cheung, and Xander Parle – were the first to be selected among their peers.

Exchange Communications’ Managing Director Tom Sime said: “Students can tap into our decades of telecommunications experience across the world. With this exciting new relationship we are uniting industry and education. It’s a win-win for all involved.”

Roy Gardner, Executive Director, Corporate Development & Innovation at City of Glasgow College said: “Exchange Communications has a strong reputation for innovative communication products and this partnership will accelerate practical learning, helping our students prepare for future careers in computer networking as well as providing valuable insight to Exchange’s work with clients around the globe.”

 

The Data Lab

movers & shakers novemberFollowing the success of last year’s Data Lab MSc. Placement Programme, MBN Solutions have announced that they will again partner with the scheme for the 2017/2018 MSc. intake.

The Data Lab MSc is a collaborative programme staged between innovation centre The Data Lab and 11 Scottish universities. The initiative aims to promote earlier industry involvement through data-specific placements and employability training, for example.

Last year’s cohort were placed at industry bodies including Aquila Insight, STV, Aggreko, Morgan Stanley, NHS, Glasgow City Council and Virgin Money for 10-12 weeks. This year’s programme has grown to 130 funded students, up 40 places from last year alone.

Michael Young, CEO of MBN Solutions, said: “Scotland has some of the most talented and skilled data practitioners in the world and this Programme will ensure they are available, first and foremost, to Scottish businesses. Working in partnership with The Data Lab allows us to help find the most appropriate and effective placements for these rising data stars in environments where their skills can make a transformational difference”.

Joshua Ryan-Saha, Data Lab Skills Programme Manager, said: “A group of 130 elite MSc data scientists will be tasked with solving real-life issues and generating economic impact to Scotland through data analysis. The budding data post graduates will be charged with using datasets unique to Scotland to develop new insights, ideas, products, services or processes that will deliver social or economic benefit”.

 

Anderson Strathern

movers & shakers novemberSolicitors Anderson Strathern has appointed Susanne Godfrey as Finance Director from her previous position as a director of one of the auditor’s sales teams. Godfrey will work closely with Managing Partner Murray McCall and the firm’s board as it enters its next phase of growth.

Godfrey has spent 17 years at PwC, where she advised corporates, finance directors, chief financial officers and their stakeholders across the UK. According to Anderson Strathern, Godfey will use her extensive experience in high-profile transactions to work with the firm’s finance team and its larger growth and investment strategy.

Ms Godfrey said: “It’s a great time to be joining Anderson Strathern, with a growing finance team and ambitious growth plans for 2018 and the years ahead. I look forward to working with the firm’s managing partner and chair, helping the team grow the business and playing my part in driving longer term financial strategy.”

Mr McCall added: “Susanne’s decision to join us is a reflection of the firm’s success in building a strong management resource. A high calibre industry expert like Susanne will be invaluable as we plan our next phase of growth.

“We’re also firmly of the view that bringing senior commercial business expertise into the firm will pay dividends for us in the medium and longer term.”

 

Edge Testing

movers & shakers novemberEdge Testing, one of the UK’s fastest-growing and largest independent software companies, has grown its workforce by 10. The new recruits will expand the firm’s Midlands presence in England, to bolster the firm’s second UK Digital Test Hub based in Birmingham. According to Edge Testing, the Test Hubs were founded to facilitate a low cost, on demand testing service supplied from within the UK.

Similarly to NotBinary, Edge Testing aims to implement digital transformation strategies for companies who are planning or are undergoing making changes to their systems. Now in its 10th year, the firm has expanded its services to cover devices including desktops, laptops, tablets, touchscreens and smartphones. With the increase in staff, Edge is edging closer to an overall staff count of 250 personnel (based across its offices in Scotland and English offices in Birmingham and London), by the end of the year.

Nadia McKay, Testing Services Director at Edge Testing, said: “We have found a wealth of talent in the Midlands region, and our growing Birmingham team provides a pool of testers to work on clients locally. Testing is a dynamic and challenging career for anyone interested in IT, and we encourage candidates with a positive attitude to learning new skills and a desire to improve software quality to approach us. With a number of companies looking for testing services, we are just beginning our quest to spearhead the growth of testing expertise in the Midlands region.

 

Cathcart Associates

movers & shakers novemberTechnology recruiter Cathcart Associates has announced three senior-level promotions within its Scotland and North of England divisions. The promotions follows the growth plans of the business, both in its Manchester office and the creation of a graduate scheme for recruits.

The new promotions are as follows:

  • Stuart Manderson has been promoted to Sales Manager, covering the whole UK IT aspect of the business – this role involves setting consultant targets, recruiting new trainees and the reviewing of all of the UK-based IT staff
  • Murray Simpson has been made Scotland Team Leader, putting him in charge of sourcing and placing of senior IT professionals while leading the team of recruiters in Scotland
  • Liam Wilson has been promoted to Senior Consultant for the north of England, and will be responsible for fostering relationships with clients in the area, as well as continuing to be Cathcart’s specialist in the fields of business intelligence, data science and artificial intelligence

Gordon Kaye, Founder and Director at Cathcart Associates, said: “Scotland and Manchester are hotbeds for growth and development in the tech industry right now and we are seeing this reflected directly in demand for our services. We are very pleased to announce the promotion of three members of our team who have delivered outstanding results in terms of the service we offer our clients and candidates and who have the skills and commitment to support the growth of the business.”

 

EXPANDING/REBRANDING

Tag Digital

movers & shakers novemberPay-per-click advertising firm Tag Digital has begun setting up a US-based office in Los Angeles. Founded in Milngavie (East Dunbartonshire) in 2011 by partners Craig and Laura Davidson, the firm now sports offices in both Glasgow and London.

The team now runs digital advertising programmes in 46 countries, meaning that exporting has become a key part of the business model. Co-Founder Laura told DIGIT: “We run campaigns across search, social, video & display.  Our clients include UBM, Messe Frankfurt, New Scientist, Shortlist Media and many more in that space.

“In terms of trends – our focus has moved to video, more mobile specific campaign as well as other formats on social like instagram stories or full screen canvas

“The big trends for us is around user behaviour towards events – so we know people who register in the last 2 weeks before an event are most likely to go so we weight our budget so spend more in the final stages of the campaign.

“Also we work on many large scale events in the US – hence the move to come out here for a while, to service our existing clients and also opening up new projects with organisers, publishers and suppliers to the events industry in North America.

Tag Digital has also just been named as one of 20 businesses accepted on to the inaugural Scale Up Scotland programme run by The Hunter Foundation & Entrepreneurial Scotland, designed to scale companies up to £50 million turnover.

 

Co-founder Craig added: “Tag Digital continues to go from strength to strength. Our plans for the west coast of the United States in the final quarter of this year and the other work secured in the Middle East and US for 2018 will further extend our reach.

“Refining our offering to focus on PPC advertising has helped us to export our services to the world. This is something only 6% of Scottish companies do. Scale Up Scotland will provide valuable direction as we take this exciting next step and continue to establish ourselves as a truly global business.”

 

NEW FACILITIES

BioClavis

movers & shakers novemberCalifornia-based molecular profiling company BioSpyder has announced the creation of 43 jobs in Glasgow to staff the HQ of its first spinout, BioClavis.

The move has been supported by a £4.5 millionSeek & Solve’ grant from Scottish Enterprise, which could last as long at 36 months. The S&S scheme is only awarded to ‘transformational’ research and development projects.

Operating out of the Clinical Innovation Zone at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, BioClavis will adapt BioSpyder’s TempO-Seq gene technology, capable of analysing ‘customisable’ aspects of our genes. The firm hopes to discover new aspects of gene-make up and create new products.

The announcement came during Economy Secretary Keith Brown’s visit to the US and Canada, where he is promoting Scotland to the North American business community. Mr Brown said: “This is an exciting time for life sciences businesses in Scotland.

“The sector is strong and continuing to grow – providing employment for over 37,000 people. This Government has worked hard to enhance Scotland’s growing reputation as a global centre of excellence for clinical research. This announcement is evidence of this and I’m delighted that Biospyder has chosen to base its new spinout, Bioclavis, in Scotland, where it will take forward a new project in precision medicine with our health service and universities.”

Joel McComb, CEO of BioSpyder and BioClavis said: “We’re very excited to build on the success we’ve had in other molecular profiling applications and bring this novel method to bear on discovery and deployment of next generation genomic diagnostics. We determined Glasgow to be the ideal location for this initiative based in large part on the support and close working relationships with ScottishEnterprise, NHS and the University.”

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton

PR & Content Executive at Hutchinson Networks

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