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Open Letter to the Scottish Government

27/04/20 14:00

More than 50 CEO's and founders signed an open letter to the Scottish Government, calling for better support for Scotland's tech startups.


To:
Kate Forbes; Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Scottish Government
Fiona Hyslop; Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Scottish Government
Steve Dunlop; Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise
Linda Hanna, Managing Director of Scottish Economic Development, Scottish Enterprise

Friday 24 April, 2020

Tech startups have been a rapidly growing part of the Scottish economy in recent years, and will be increasingly important in the future.  However, many of Scotland’s tech companies, and the thousands of high value jobs they provide, are under immediate existential threat due to the economic shock from the Covid-19 pandemic. As founders and executives of some of Scotland’s leading tech companies, we are deeply concerned that the current interventions, from both the Scottish and UK governments, will not adequately address the unique needs of high growth Scottish tech companies. 

Tech startups will be crucial not only in helping the Scottish economy bounce back quickly from this pandemic, but by nature of their fast growth have the unique ability to quickly create a large number of high value jobs, increasing our capacity to export globally and boosting our economy. 

Scotland’s tech economy has grown significantly in the past ten years, but it remains a relatively nascent and fragile ecosystem, with a very limited local venture capital fund presence, meaning a heavy reliance on angel investors in the early years of a company's development. 

Like all investors right now, the angel investor community tells us they have significantly reduced capacity which cannot meet the sheer scale of the funding challenges this crisis has created.

High growth startups are often initially loss making, and as such cannot benefit from many of the emergency measures currently available. They also need to keep developing their products and services for future revenue growth, so the current furlough scheme is at best a limited option. For most of Scotland’s tech companies, the only plausible mechanisms are equity or grant support.    

In order to protect Scotland’s tech economy, and to make sure the maximum number of startups survive and grow, extremely rapid intervention is needed from the public sector, firstly to stabilise the situation, then to support near-term recovery. The Scottish Government needs to act now to protect Scotland’s entrepreneurial future so we do not lose a generation of high growth startups to COVID-19. As tech business leaders, we stand ready to work with Scottish Government and other ecosystem stakeholders on how best this support should be shaped to protect our economy.

Signed:

Add Jam - Michael Hayes
Administrate - John Peebles, CEO
Airts - Andrew Bone, CEO
Amiqus - Callum Murray CEO
Appointedd - Leah Hutcheon, CEO
Blackford Analysis - Ben Panter, CEO
Boundary - Robin Knox, CEO, and Paul Walton, CTO
Care Sourcer - Andrew Parfery, CEO
CensorPic - Hannah Mercer, CEO
CereProc - Paul Welham, CEO
Coach Logic - Andy Muir
CodeClan - Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, CEO
Cognitive Geology - Luke Johnson, CEO
Cortex - Peter Proud CEO
Criton - Julie Grieve, CEO
Current Health - Christopher McCann, CEO, and Stewart Whiting, CTO
Cyan Forensics - Ian Stevenson
Desana - Michael Cockburn, CEO, Steve Jeans, COO, and Ro Ramtohul, CTO
Flick - Nigel Eccles, CEO, and Rob Jones, CPO
Float - Colin Hewitt, CEO
FreeAgent - Ed Molyneux, CEO, and Roan Lavery, CPO
Intelligent Growth Solutions - David Farquhar, CEO
itison - Oli Norman, CEO
Mallzee - Cally Russell, CEO, and Callum Stuart, COO
Monax - Casey Kuhlman, CEO
PlayerData - Roy Hotrabhvanon, CEO
Prodsight - Tadas Labudis, CEO
Relaymed - Neil Farish, CEO
Relish - Lesley Eccles, CEO
ShareIn - Jude Cook, CEO
Sharktower - Craig Mackay, CEO
SnapDragon Monitoring - Rachel Jones, CEO
Speech Graphics - Gregor Hofer, CEO
Stampede - Patrick Clover, CEO
Streamba - Steven Calder, CEO
Sustainably - Loral Quinn, CEO, and Eishel Quinn, CPO
Topolytics - Michael Groves, CEO
TravelNest - Doug Stephenson, CEO
Trickle Data Insights - Paul Reid, CEO
TriscribeR - Kenny Fraser, CEO
Turing Fest - Brian Corcoran, CEO
Wallet.Services - Peter Ferry, CEO
With Jack - Ashley Baxter

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