baking a tasty startup scene in Scotland

What’s on in Scotland

By · Event

Been quiet on here (sorry about that) but thought it would be worth rounding up some the events happening over the coming weeks. First up one this weekend in Glasgow.

The Whisky Bond Summer Party

whisky-bond-party
When: Saturday 30th August 2pm onwards
Cost: Free
Link: www.thewhiskybond.co.uk/summer-party/
I think we can get away with still saying it’s summer. The Whisky Bond is quickly establishing itself as a hub for arts and creatives but they are also engaging the tech community. The building is already home to Dynamically Loaded and IC Mobile Lab and at the Summer Party they have a few tech focused workshops through the day such as a session on soldering with the Arduino and a session called Contribute which aims to get people contributing to Open Source projects.

Ignite Office Hours

ignite-100-logo

When: Friday 5th August
Cost: Free
Link: http://doodle.com/c52yqyyuantvuwmp
Paul Smith (@paul_a_smith) from the Ignite Accelerator in Newcastle is coming to Glasgow to run an office hours session through the afternoon on the 5th of September. Limited spaces available but free, you just need to book a slot on the Doodle. Great opportunity to get a grilling and advice from Paul.

Product Forge September

productforge_2_banner
When: Friday 19th – Sunday 21st of September
Cost: free – £100
Link: http://productforge.io
Product Forge weekends are an opportunity for you to develop your career through practical experience. The events brings together entrepreneurially minded designers, developers and product managers. Participants form small cross-functional teams who work on a product concept over a weekend. Anyone is free to pitch an idea and everyone receives mentoring, meals and 24 hour access to the venue.

Also remember the September RookieOven Meetup is this Monday, 1st of September, in Arches Cafe from 6.30. We’ll be on the top floor on the couches as usual.

Anythings I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

Where is the heart of the Glasgow tech community?

By · Glasgow

I’ve been letting RookieOven slide. Sure the Meetups are still running every month and I try post regularly to Facebook  and Twitter but I’ve not been posting content or keeping the site up to date. But there’s nothing better to light a fire under you than an invite to a Royal Reception for the UK Tech Industry.

2014-06-10 11.40.45

So last Monday I along with 350 others from across the UK went to Buckingham Palace by invitation of the Queen. Hugely exciting, a great honour, totally unexpected and most of all inspirational. Meeting amazingly talented people from communities around the UK was great but I felt at a bit of a loss when describing the Glasgow tech scene. So for example with the likes of Ignite in Newcastle, the huge crowd from Cardiff with the ICE centre and the Tech Britain team from Manchester there was a sense of community in all these places. But what about Glasgow? What does our tech community have? Where is out heart?

Why do we need it?

Other communities clearly have a central hub, especially our neighbours in Edinburgh. These days you have not only the Appleton Tower but also the two great communities of TechCube and CodeBase. All three are within a 20 minute walk of each other. In Glasgow however I feel this is lacking, but firstly is this kind of focal point even important to have?

Well I would say definitely it is for a few reasons:

  • Drawing people in: Firstly a central hub can act as a great draw to outsiders. Secondly and most importantly a visitor stopping off, in say Edinburgh, for a day or two can hit the area around CodeBase, TechCube and the Appleton Tower and immerse themselves in the local tech scene. You could easily squeeze in a visit to 10 or more top quality startups.
  • The chance meeting: In some places there is such a density of talent that you can’t help but bump into others in your field of work. These chance meetings are powerful. Idea’s spark, introductions get made and customers can be found.
  • Support: One of my main drivers for starting the RookieOven blog and meetup was to provide a peer support network for founders. Missing a sale, struggling to find customers or chasing funding there’s no better support than those who have been there and bought the tshirt. With a community hub this network is more natural and not confined to the monthly meetups.
  • Hiring: Finding talent is hard. Companies across the country are struggling to fill design and development positions. I believe having a central hub would act as a melting pot, bringing together the talent and the employers and allowing them to develop relationships which can turn into successful partnerships/employment. Currently companies are reaching out far and wide, would it not be easier to reach out to your front door?

What do we have

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 13.44.56

Glasgow from the Tech Britain Map.

Ok so hopefully we agree it’s important to have a community so what does Glasgow currently have? Let’s start with the incubators and coworking spaces. We have the Hillington Innovation Centre, in Hillington. Yip Hillington. Granted close to the M8 and the airport but hardly convenient. Well how about closer to the city centre, there’s ‘ESpark’ but they are based away in the Gorbals, hard to reach unless by taxi and in my opinion poorly suited to the needs of tech startups. Then we have the incubators and working spaces offered by Digital Enterprise Glasgow but they are spread throughout the city with no real core.

CitizenM is a great venue and has successfully hosted Culture Hack and Startup Weekend. It has a great mix of talented people who regularly work there but it’s fully booked up. The South Block likewise is to my understanding full.

The startups and Infrastructure

So where are the businesses based? Again it’s all over the place.  We have companies doing good stuff in the all corners of the city. For example there’s Twig in the west end, Emerge Adapt in the south side, IC Mobile in the north, then the Open Glasgow project working out the east end of the city and many more throughout.

We also have Glasgow University, University of Strathclyde, The Art School and Glasgow Caledonian all in the city and the University of the West of Scotland just outside. I don’t have hard stats but I would guess that’s easily over 40,000 students in the area. And granted not all going to be studying CS but I bet a large proportion will have skills required for tech business (marketing, accounts, legal, design, research etc).

So we clearly have the businesses capable of delivering. We produce the talent here. It just seems a bit blotchy across the city. Having companies closer together would facilitate the chance meeting, mean an investor could visit two or three companies in one afternoon and talent looking

Can’t forget the events

Then we have events; a look at the Google Campus Calendar shows an insane number of upcoming events. Glasgow is home to a fair few events itself as shown on the excellent Open Tech Calendar but they take place all across it. While I feel the meetups can happen anywhere; especially the ones in the style of RookieOven, Lean Agile Glasgow or Refresh they just need somewhere with a well stocked bar in all honesty. It’s the events of a bigger scale, hackathons and conferences that need a consistent reliable home, where would they be in Glasgow? CitizenM has proven good for hack events as has The Whisky Bond but others have also been used with varying success.

So my reason for this post is really to see if these are the rambling of someone with their head in the clouds or if the rest of the community genuinely shares my beliefs and frustrations. What do you think the Glasgow community needs and more importantly what steps do we need to take to get there?

As always appreciate your comments or if you would rather feel free to email me – michael@rookieoven.com.

Events in Scotland 2014

By · Event

I thought it would be useful to do a quick roundup of some of the interesting events taking place across the Scottish tech community in the coming months. These are just a few of the event in the community if you think there’s anything I’ve missed add it to the comments or drop me an email.

Engage Invest Exploit 2014

eie14

8th May 2014
http://eie14.com
Tickets – Free

The long running talent showcase by Informatics Ventures is back for 2014. Bigger in scale and in partnership with the Edinburgh BioQuarter and Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, EIE will put some of the countries best startups and more established tech businesses in contact with investors, mentors and press.

The keynote speaker this year is Julie Meyer MBE, one of the Dragons on the online version of BBC’s Dragons Den.

Edinburgh Publishing Conference – ‘Disruption in Publishing’

Edinburgh-Publishing-Conference

20th June 2014
http://edinpubconf.net
Tickets – £99/149 (early bird until end of April 2014)

Following the success of last year’s Edinburgh Publishing Conference it returns in 2014 with a brilliant line up of speakers. Pick of the bunch for me are:

  • Cory Doctorow: award-winning writer, journalist, activist. His talk at O’Reilly’s 2013 “Tools of Change” conference was one of the highlights, and we’re delighted to have him as our main speaker.
  • Ian Ritchie CBE: Ian is well known in the Scottish tech community with International Computers Limited and Office Workstations Limited. Ian will be telling a short story about information, connectivity and learning from mistakes.
  • Rachel Willmer: founder of the ebook search site, Luzme and is a well known attendee of TechMeetups (and the odd RookieOven Meetup). With a host of domain experience it will be interesting to hear what Rachel has to say about disruption in the publishing industry.

The event in in June and if you’re quick you can get yourself an early bird ticket for £99.

Crossover Edinburgh Events

crossover-edinburgh

5th – 8th June 2014
http://2014.crossoveredinburgh.com/
Tickets – various

A bunch of events organised by Edinburgh based startup Insight Arcade aimed more towards HR and training professionals.

Throughout the event there will be discussions on how learning technology is affecting workforce skills development. Improve your learning and development programs and drive efficiencies through the crossover of technology and best practice.

The event includes Product Forge a weekend of design, development and innovation with the objective of prototyping new learning technology products.

Whether you have an idea already or would simply like to spend a rewarding weekend meeting new people and developing your skills, join us for a weekend of networking and collaboration.

UX Scotland

ScotlandUX

19th/20th June 2014
http://uxscotland.net
Tickets: £195-£390

Another event returning for 2014 is UX Scotland. Once again taking place in Edinburgh and UX Scotland is ideal for those working in UX, Service Design and Digital communities. The two day event has a programme full of talks and workshops.

SOTR – Scotch on the Rocks

SOTR-logo

5/6th June 2014
http://www.sotr.eu/
Tickets: £155 + VAT (currently sold out and on waiting list)

Scotch on the Rocks is an annual gathering of web technologists organised by Glasgow based Fuzzy Orange. SOTR brings together some of the brightest minds from across the globe. Focusing on development, best practices and human experience, Scotch on the Rocks has built a reputation as a must attend event.

So that’s just a few of the events coming up in the short term. There’s also many great events for particular user groups in the community such as:

Also worth once again highlighting Open Tech Calendar and the StartupDigest Scotland which will both keep you up-to-date with events taking place across the Scottish community.

Trip to San Francisco for young Scottish based founders

By · California Pitching

This summer We Are The Future are taking  5 young entrepreneurs to San Francisco from 21st to 27th July. The aim being to inspire, educate and accelerate the entrepreneurs taking part in the trip.

SUS San Fran

The 7 day trip includes the flights and accommodation paid for and an opportunity to meet some of the best known Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, HP and Ebay. The 5 entrepreneurs will be staying at Startup Basecamp in the centre of San Francisco.

The full itinerary planned by We Are The Future is:

  • Day 1: Arrive, rest and acclimatisation. Attendance at reception event including dinner with UKTI and SDI.
  • Day 2: US and Scottish Start-Ups. Meetings and tours are planned with US entrepreneurs and Scottish entrepreneurs based in San Francisco.
  • Day 3: What’s it like to be a Start Up. Visits are planned to leading incubators to provide a flavour of what it is like to be a US Start-Up, as well as exclusive access to the CEO of Bebo in an open questions session at their HQ.
  • Day 4: It’s all about the Pitch. Meetings with VC’s to get tips and advice about what US investors look for in a start-up
  • Day 5: Silicon Valley. We have organised visits to some of the worlds largest organisations, including Apple and Hewlett Packard.
  • Day 6: Scottish Start-Up Summit in San Francisco. Pulling the week together with the Start-Up Summit in the heart of San Francisco.
  • Day 7: Fly Home

The competition closes on 28th April at 1pm and the only criteria to enter the competition is:

  • Under 30 years old (by 26th July 2014)
  • Trading for less than 18 months (by 26th July 2014)
  • Business Registered in Scotland (by 26th July 2014)
  • One applicant per business (not necessarily the founder, but preferable)

To enter you simply need to record a 30 second video for consideration. This video should answer “How would you benefit from attending the “Scottish Start-Up Summit in San Francisco?”.

Will you be entering? If so, best of luck.

The Scottish startup community and crowdfunding

By · Event Startup Talk

Recently Kickstarter announced the had facilitated $1 Billion in pledges to projects from startups to charities in over 224 countries around the world. So I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the Scottish based companies using the platform to kickstart their products and what else is happening in the crowdfunding space in Scotland.

Lupo

Lupo

The Lupo ‘smart tag’ is a piece of wearable tech that has several useful use cases. Out the box Lupo along with it’s companion app on smartphones will allow you to track and locate the Lupo tag with the classic example being finding your keys.

Lupo is empowered through an SDK open to developers to extend the functionality of the device. Some proposed use cases of the SDK are using the Lupo as a motion controller for games and media or using it to auto lock computers when you step away from them.

The team behind Lupo are based in Glasgow in the Strathclyde University Incubator and founder says “We are confident that the benefits of the Lupo extend far beyond simple ‘lost and found’ as it has significant feature and performance advantages over Bluetooth item finders. The combined range of features offered by the Lupo in one single device coupled with the SDK option makes it a very compelling proposition both for consumers and developers and we look forward to introducing it first to the Kickstarter community.”

The funding  goal for Lupo on Kickstarter is £20,000.

Cycle Hack

Cycle Hack Logo

Founder of the well known service design consultancy Snook based in Glasgow, Sarah Drummond along with Johanna Holton is organising a hack event which is focused around one of their hobbies – cycling. As hack events go it’s largely the same as most, get a ticket (priced at at £10), go on the Friday for a pitch, get fed and watered as you power through the weekend and display your product on the Sunday night.

Where the Cycle Hack differs is with what Sarah and Johanna are doing with Kickstarter. The crowdfund is being used to fund an ‘Open Source Catalogue’. This open source catalogue is envisioned to empower cyclists around the world by providing 2D and 3D renders, 3d printing models, code, documentation and other outputs of the hack.

The funding  goal for Cycle Hack on Kickstarter is £5,000.

ShareIn

ShareIn Logo

So Kickstarter is without doubt the largest crowdfunding platform out there just now but there are plenty more, Indiegogo, Crowdcube etc but there are also some local services such as BloomVC and the recently launched ShareIn.

ShareIn is baed in Edinburgh and is focused on crowdfunding for British technology and health focussed companies. Billed as “TED with an invest button” as it specifically aims to provide equity investment from £40,000 to £1m for inspirational UK companies looking to change the world through innovation, engineering and science.

Unlike other equity crowdfunding platforms, ShareIn offers investors a best-of-breed share structure, where every share carries voting rights and establishes professional, fair legal arrangements between the shareholder and the investee company, without forcing the use of a middle-man and the associated fees.

ShareIn also sets itself apart by focussing closely on company valuations, asking companies to justify their valuation to potential investors in an extensive section containing data on actual money spent to date and the estimated costs to replicate the company to its current state. In addition, ShareIn provides investors with a secondary market for their shares, providing a bulletin board to allow investors to sell their shares.

Avenues such as Kickstarter and ShareIn give Scottish startups the ability to raise capital outside of traditional methods. This is allowing idea’s perceived as too niche or perhaps to risky to shine and reach not only audience but also advocates. It’s a strong proposition.

Have you backed a crowdfund project? Maybe now is the right time to start.

Open Glasgow Hackathons

By · Event Glasgow

In 2013 Glasgow beat 29 other UK cities to win the Technology Strategy Board Future City Demonstrator competition. This awarded the city £24 million to showcase how other UK cities can become smarter, more efficient and perhaps most importantly more open. As part of the project the city is running a series of Hackathons called ‘Future Hacks’.

Future Hack

The Future Hacks take the format adopted by the likes of Startup Weekend and Launch48 – pitch on the Friday, work over the weekend and pitch to win on the Sunday. The teams use the 48 hours to form teams, validate their idea, find customers and build something meaningful. Food and drinks included and experts on hand to help you.

The Future Hacks differs from most hacks (and is applicable to startups) because there is a £20,000 cash prize for the winner. It’s effectively a launch pad for your idea, a sizable stack of seed money. A comparative example is spending a few days to write a funding proposal, business plan or even producing a deck for an investor pitch in all these scenarios you’re up against a host of other startups.

At the very worst the Future Hack weekends are an opportunity to validate the idea, work with domain experts and by the Monday morning have a stack of experience, contact book full or talented people and a product as a showcase of your talent. At best you walk away with all the above plus a meaningful amount of money to take forward into a sustainable business.

Glasgow Future Hack Public Safety

Future Hack One – Public Safety

South Block, February 2014
The first Future Hack actually took place in February of this year around the theme of public safety. There were 11 teams with a mix of participants from designers, developers, marketers to domain experts from the public sector. With the core principle of ‘Open’ many of the teams open sourced their work and made it available for others to extend and work on.

Future Hack Two – Energy

Whisky Bond, March 2014
The second hack (taking place this weekend) is around the theme of energy. Modern life is fuelling massive energy consumption. From transport, to manufacture and industry to our homes and media we are using more and more energy each  year. We are reliant on finite supplies of energy and costs are increasing so a lot of good can come from a weekend of talented people hacking together new products and ideas.

Future Hack Three – Health

TBA, April 2014
Health is a topic which affects all of us and health issues are increasingly found in the public spotlight. Rise of diabetes and obesity, the ageing population, the over use of antibiotics. What can we as a technically able community do to provide services and products to empower citizens and the NHS to provide better health care, better preventative measures?

Future Hack Four – Transport

TBA, May 2014
A hack that will be also touch many Glasgow citizens is transport. Those who sit on the M8 stuck in yet another traffic jam, or those using our public transport infrastructure and no to forget the cyclists dodging pot holes and buses. This is a means to produce products which can directly impact your ability traverse the city. Make the journey shorter? Quicker? More enjoyable?

The hacks are all free to attend and open to all, not just designers and developers. For more information on the Future Hacks and the Open Glasgow project follow the @openglasgow Twitter or check out the Open Glasgow homepage.

For disclosure: I’m currently working as part of the Open Glasgow team on the Active Travel demonstrator.

What’s happening in the Scottish tech community for Christmas?

By · Christmas Community Event

We’ve had the first snow fall of the winter and it’s just a little over two weeks until Christmas. Workplaces across the country will be heading out on Christmas nights outs but what about the startups of Scotland? Well Colin Hewitt of Float has put together an amazing line up for Scotland Startup Christmas Party which will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday the 12th December.

Startup Party

Tickets are £25 and for that you’l be treated to food, drinks and excellent entertainment. Plus you’ll of course be mingling with the best of the Scottish tech community. The likes of Kotikan, Float, Insight Arcade, Mallzee, FreeAgent and more will be there.

Glasgow Tech Community Christmas Meetup

In Glasgow there will be gathering of the Scottish tech community at the Christmas market on Wednesday 18th. With there being no Refresh, RookieOven Meetup or TechMeetup in December this is a good opportunity to meet up with peers across the Glasgow tech community for a final banter of 2013.

From 6.30 at the Christmas Market let’s get together to celebrate successes in 2013 and look ahead to what we will be doing in 2014.

Lessons from Organising an Event

By · Event Glasgow

So a week ago we had the first RookieOven Galleries event in Glasgow. They day worked out pretty well and we had good fun but I thought it would be worthwhile collating some feedback and my own views to share with the community what worked with the event and what didn’t. Hopefully it will help others.

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What Worked

The Venue

The CCA in Glasgow was great. The staff were on hand to help with set up and the audio visual side of things. It left the organising team (David, Stewart and I) little to do other than register attendees and get the speakers hooked up.

We were in the CCA cinema which opens out onto the cafe/bar where their great selection of beers was thoroughly enjoyed in the networking session.

The Speakers & Sponsors

sponsors logo

We were very grateful to our three sponsors, FreeAgent, Boyd Digital and Twig World who not only helped cover the venue and bar costs for the event but also came along on the day to support us. All three companies helped to facilitate discussion and were eager to share knowledge and experience.

We struck gold with the speakers. Colin, Aaron and Brian all gave talks with advice that was distinctly different from the typical event focused on career advice. Colin kicked the event off by sharing his and a frank overview of the realities of ‘Startup Life’.

This was followed by Aaron who looked at the theme of working in startups from the side of an employee and highlighted what they should be looking for in a tech company. As Aaron stressed it’s a two way street and the employer should be trying to woo you as much as you should be trying to woo them.

Brian brought the day to a close with a wide ranging talk which touched on the Scottish startup eco-system. One of the attendees, Kenny Fraser, enjoyed the talk saying “Brian had some excellent insights into how startups build teams and recruit at different stages of their development.  He also showed some quality thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of the technology industry in Scotland.  I especially liked his point that we all nee to focus on solving real world problems”.

All three talks kicked off debate which engaged the audience. The debates and conversation spilled over to the networking.

The Beer & Networking

I was keen to ensure the best of the monthly RookieOven Meetups would carry over into the Galleries events and that’s the laid back and open atmosphere. I’m happy that in the post talks networking we had guys like David GauldMichael Carruthers, Colin Boyd and Alasdair Gunn mixing with young founders and student.

The atmosphere allowed some great conversations to flow with input from those with experience and knowledge being shared not only from the more experience attendees but also from the other direction. In all I would say we succeeded with our goal here.

Getting the word out

We managed to get the word out in a short amount of time (roughly 3 weeks before the day) to not only quite a lot of people but also to interest a varied bunch of people to sign up and attend. to be honest I feel this was more down to luck than anything in particular we tried.

Although I have to say the likes of Tadas Labudis and Allan Lloyds spreading the word through their mailing lists (SIE and StartupDigest respectively) were most definitely a huge aid.

I also found the RookieOven Facebook page to be a great place to promote the event but thats hardly ground breaking.

What Didn’t Work

Social Media on the day

On the day we had little to no engagement on social media. We didn’t have a hashtag, we didn’t do a good enough job connecting attendees online as well as off and we didn’t follow up particularly well (this post is a going up a whole week after the event).

I think the errors are pretty clear and easy to rectify. They might appear obvious now but they were an oversight and we will be sure to try something to improve this next time round.

Free Ticket Hypothesis

Free events are great; clearly. They cost nothing so there’s no pain in signing up. But equally there’s no pain in not turning up. We had 1/3 of our expected attendees on the day.

We are clearly identifying the fact it was a free event caused the number of attendees on the day to be s low. Although that assumption may be wrong (Time of the Year? Day of week? Time of day? are all valid reasons for this), we feel it’s the most likely candidate and the easier one to validate against by introducing a small fee. £5 a ticket sound fair?

Structure

I think the last bit we were poor on is down to me. I had the attitude let’s suck it and see.

The event was free. It was out first time. Expectations were low. But i think that’s a poor excuse for how poorly we scheduled the day and how poorly I communicated what was actually happening.

It wasn’t great but it wasn’t a deal breaker as, I feel, we all had a good time and got a lot out of the day. However for next time we will definitely try have to up our game here.

What Next

The next step for RookieOven Galleries is to run another event in 3 or 4 months time. We have identified several themes we would love to explore (some of the based of your feedback):

  • Failcon type – Have you failed? Stand up and shout about it. Share it with the community so we can learn off of your failures.
  • Demo Day – 10 minutes to pitch your product to your peers. No investors, just a room of could be advocates who could possibly become your best sales team.
  • Engaging Education – the talent coming out of our Universities is key to the community. What are they currently failing to teach students to make them successful in the tech community?
  • CoFounder Dating – can we help marry up product talent (developers, designers etc) with business talent (finance, marketing etc)?

That’s a few suggestions what would you chose or what would you add?

Great startup and tech events to end 2013

By · Edinburgh Event Glasgow

Earlier this year I highlighted some top events taking place across Scotland and it seemed to go down pretty well so I figured worth highlighting what Scottish startup and tech events are coming up in the closing weeks of 2013.

Startup Summit 2013

SUS13

Date: 20th November

Returning to Edinburgh for its second running and once again taking place during Global Entreprenuer Week, Startup Summit is the UK’s largest national, not-for-profit event for entrepreneurs. It features a varied, interactive, day-long schedule: inspiring speakers, workshops, presentations, network opportunities. The venue is Edinburgh’s prestigious Assembly Rooms and as of writing there a few hours left to secure your ticket.
Around 500 young entrepreneurs will attend. They’ll hear from a wide range of inspiring expert speakers but who share one attribute: massive business success. Their fields include marketing, retail, technology, food, film and media, recruitment, and entertainment.

Life’s a Pitch Bill Joos

Date: 20th November (Glasgow) 21st November (Edinburgh)

Just go book your place on one of these workshops immediately. Excellent workshop with a former sales executive and ex-VC who knows what the perfect deck should contain and how you should be delivering it. Bill Joos has been running these workshops with Informatics Ventures for several years and the quality is consistently high.

There are main workshop sessions in both Glasgow and Edinburgh and likewise a smaller taster session in the evening in both cities.

STV Tech Talks

Date: 22nd November

The 4th STV Tech Talks focuses on Javascript with Phil Leggeter talking Building front-end JavaScript apps that scale and Stuart Memo talking The Amazing Sounds of JavaScript. There will be free beer and pizza and a chance to meet/network with other developers.

RookieOven Edinburgh

RookieOven Edinburgh Meetup

Date: 2nd December

To my shame we’ve never ran a RookieOven Meetup in Edinburgh but I’m pleased to announce we will be having out first Edinburgh Meetup on the 2nd of December. Huge thanks to Allan Lloyds of Insight Arcade/Startup Digest and Callum Stuart of Mallzee for helping get the Edinburgh Meetup off the ground. The Meetup will follow the same format as the Glasgow Meetup. Grab a beer and chat with your peers following only two simple rules. No Sales! No Stealth!

Startup Christmas Parties

There will almost certainly be another excellent Edinburgh Startups Christmas Party and if there’s interest (this is where I would appreciate your feedback, or if you’re in a position to your support) there is also likely to be  a Glasgow Startup Christmas Party. Dates and venues to be confirmed but will be sharing on this site and on our Facebook and Twitter when we find out.

Anything I’ve missed out? Let me know in the comments or tweet RookieOven and it can be added in.

Find your gadgets with SmartTAG

By · Glasgow Startup Spotlight

When one of his close friends lost her iPhone in a taxi while in Glasgow Raj Sark decided to do something to reduce the risk of losing expensive gadgets. This led him to think if there was a way to not lose portable gadgets by monitoring them in the context of a wireless personal area network. Raj developed the idea into what would become SmartTAG.

SmartTAG iOS

At this stage, 2009, the concept had been validated but the technology was some way behind; battery life drain and cost were simply far too high for the idea to be practical. However with the adoption of Bluetooth 4.0 with the launch of the iPhone 4S in autumn 2011 the technology had reached a level where the concept could be converted into reality.

The company has been well received winning multiple awards and even being supported by Nokia (6 months of Incubation support in Copenhagen). In January 2013 a seed investment from Gabriel Syndicate brought SmartTAG from Copenhagen back to Glasgow where it all started. By summer 2013 SmartTAG team won a second round of funding from the TSB to help them invest in further R&D.

Following this the team started detailed product design of a keyfob device which is now manufacture ready and the team are preparing for a Christmas launch of the SmartTAG keyfob which can be attached to valuable belongings. In the meantime the team have been proactive in getting an App Store presence have have launched SmartTAG on iOS for device location between devices.

The iOS app (Store link) has three modes:

  • Anti Theft: Sends a notification to your iPhone when your 2nd device is moved or touched.
  • Proximity Mode: Alerts you when either device moves outside of the user defined proximity zone.
  • Finder: Allows you to ring your devices

The current SmartTAG app (which is free and currently only on iOS) must be installed and running on both devices as well as them being synced through bluetooth. This initial app is aimed at gaining insight into user needs so the team would appreciate downloads and feedback to be fed back to them.

Personally think it’s a good way to secure our expensive devices which also house pretty much all our personal information. I look forward to using the SmartTAG keyfob when it is launched later this year.