As I See It: Terry Murden
Almost drowned out among the noise surrounding the coronavirus was some positive news on the technology front that will sustain the belief that once the crisis is over there will be an economy left for us to build on.
A report from Tech Nation revealed that investment into Scotland’s tech sector was up by an impressive 67% to £200m in 2019, confirming that it is one of the fastest growing industries in the country.
Of course, any data relating to periods before the beginning of this month now has to be treated as merely of historic interest. The disruption caused by the virus means all statistical analysis has to rewind to a new – and low – starting point.
At least there are signs that in spite of the health crisis, life in techland goes on. Three companies developing new software applications this week announced big milestones – cash back firm Swipii raised private equity backing, point of sale company ePOS Hybrid smashed its crowdfunding target, and Machine Labs achieved a listing on Shopify.
These are not just meaningful developments, they have become typical of the thriving tech scene in Scotland and it is encouraging that they are still out there, developing new ideas and taking risks.
However, it has to be admitted that the shadow of the virus is hanging over everyone and is likely to be cast wider in the coming weeks as the economy goes into hibernation. A concern will be that promising startups will have the rug pulled from under them as orders dry up and activity generally grinds to a halt.
The companies mentioned above are exposed to vulnerable sectors – in one case hospitality and leisure, and the other to retail. It doesn’t make their hopes of scaling up their businesses any easier and it will put the country’s much-vaunted ecosystem fully to the test.