THE founders of Scotland’s first privately funded tech company incubator are unveiling plans to raise more than £7 million in seed funding for promising start-ups.
TechCube, based at the former Royal (Dick) Veterinary College in Edinburgh, will be almost at full capacity when it holds its official launch event on Thursday.
The incubator centre has attracted 17 tenants and its management has said it has received expressions of interest from “dozens” more firms.
Companies that have taken up residence include Scottish fantasy sports start-up FanDuel and cloud computing comparison service PlanForCloud.
The incubator is backed by Robert McDowell, who acquired the Dick Vet building from Edinburgh University for £4m in 2010.
Jamie Coleman, managing director of TechCube, declined to confirm the amount McDowell has invested to develop the building but said it was a “pittance” compared to similar projects due to the significant amount of work that has involved volunteers from the tech community.
The tech hub forms the anchor of what has been dubbed “Silicon Bridges” – a north-south corridor through the city that includes Amazon’s Scottish head office on North Bridge and has at its heart Edinburgh University’s School of Informatics.
Coleman said: “Scotland has never had a Skype and we’ve never had a Facebook.
“But we have the best informatics university in Europe and we now have some really impressive companies like FanDuel and Skyscanner. There’s definitely a feeling we have really got something.”
He added that he would reveal futher details of the seed fund, which would aim to support 100 companies over two years, in January.
Investors, including venture capital firms, have welcomed the launch of the building.
Calum Paterson, managing partner of Scottish Equity Partners, said TechCube will be a “catalyst” for the sector.
Paterson said: “Scotland has produced some great start-ups over the years – from Wolfson, MTEM and IndigoVision to Craneware, Aridhia and Skyscanner. It is very exciting to feel that buzz building again in the technology sector.
“TechCube will provide space for a new generation of entrepreneurs to grow and I very much hope it will be a catalyst for establishing Scotland as a world-class hub for technology start-ups.”
The incubator covers more than 20,000 square feet of grade-A commercial offices.