6th annual Scottish Startup Survey reveals resilient tech companies in the face of economic headwinds

The 6th annual Scottish Startup Survey has revealed that the nation's tech companies are in a resilient mood

THE 6th annual Scottish Startup Survey has revealed that the nation’s tech companies are in a resilient mood in the face of concerns around economic headwinds.  While 89 percent of survey respondents said they are concerned by the global economic outlook, 88 percent said their startup had grown in 2022, although 68 percent said Brexit had slowed growth. 

While 93 percent of respondents said Scotland is a good place to launch a startup, 88 percent of startups are targeting investors outside Scotland.  London and Rest of the UK (46 percent), followed by North America (30 percent), and Europe (21 percent) are the most targeted investor regions. 

Run by the EIE Investor Readiness Programme at the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre in association with the Freer Consultancy, the survey sample included the current EIE22 cohort, EIE alumni companies, and a number of other early to later stage startups from across Scotland.

Other findings included: 

  • Scottish tech founders are targeting venture capital and angel firms in near equal measure (83 percent versus 80 percent).
  • 71 percent of startups say they have come out of the pandemic in a stronger position to achieve growth. 
  • Almost half of startups, 48 percent, are back in the office while retaining hybrid or remote working, 33 percent are remote working, with only 19 percent fully back in the office. 
  • 87 percent of startups have allowed their employees to decide where they want to work from. 
  • 69 percent of startups have found it difficult to hire talent over the last 12 months.
  • 76 percent of respondents said engineers and developers were the hardest roles to fill
  • 67 percent of startups are targeting talent pools outside Scotland.
  • 81 percent of respondents said the Scottish Government-commissioned Logan and Stewart reports are positives for the evolution of Scotland’s technology ecosystem. 
  • 55 percent of startup leaders think that Scotland’s tech ecosystem is in a stronger position compared to a year ago.

Karen Wood, Director of Enterprise at EIE, Bayes Centre, said: “EIE is Scotland’s leading tech investor programme, punctuated by our annual showcase that is designed to build stronger connections between our brightest lights in the startup firmament, and investors in the UK and across the globe.  This year’s startup survey informs these audiences and other stakeholders, giving them a snapshot of sentiment from tech founders here.” 

Nick Freer, Founding Director, Freer Consultancy, said: “Now in its sixth year, our hope is that the findings are instructive and provide insight for both the Scottish tech ecosystem and investors, and other interested parties from tech hubs outside Scotland.  One of this year’s more revealing findings is that, alongside targeting homegrown investors, so many of our startups are looking for investment outside Scotland.  And, that matches what we’ve seen in recent times, in terms of an increasing number of rest of the UK and international investors backing startups based here.” 

Michael Moore, Director General, British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA), said: “Scotland’s tech scene is increasingly vibrant and this survey also highlights its resilience as economic conditions change. The results are very encouraging and show that the EIE programme is developing a strong portfolio of businesses, founded in Scotland, but with a global outlook.”

Last month, the EIE team revealed that keynote speakers at this year’s annual tech investor conference on Thursday 6th October include Scotland’s Chief Entrepreneur Mark Logan, Women in Enterprise Review Chair Ana Stewart, and newly appointed techUK President Sheila Flavell CBE.

The EIE Investor Readiness Programme delivered by the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre has helped over 540 companies raise more than £1.1 billion since 2008.  

For more information on EIE22, including sponsors and partners, and to buy tickets for this year’s conference, please visit: https://www.eie-invest.com/

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