Exasol targeting start-ups with Scots base plan

Aaron Auld is keen to return to his roots in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
Aaron Auld is keen to return to his roots in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
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The Scots boss of a German data analytics firm that works with clients including Sony Music and Candy Crush Saga developer King Digital is mulling a base in Scotland to target the country’s burgeoning start-up scene.

Aaron Auld, a former lawyer who was promoted to the role of chairman and chief executive of Exasol two years ago, told The Scotsman that he was keen to build a presence for the privately-owned group in his home country, having last year opened an office in London.

Exasol, based in Nuremberg, employs about 70 staff, including five in London, from where it has been rolling out its services to British and Irish firms.

Auld, who grew up in Glasgow and Perth before embarking on a career as a defence lawyer in Germany, said: “London was the most important place for me to go after Germany, but I would love to get a foot in the door in Scotland.”

Exasol specialises in “big data”, enabling clients to delve into the mountains of information generated by their business in a bid to identify trends and improve their bottom line. King Digital made some tweaks to its Candy Crush Saga game after using the firm’s database and realising that many players were getting stuck on a certain level, causing them to get frustrated and switch off.

Exasol – which also has an office in San Francisco – has yet to decide on a location for its Scottish operation, but Auld said the firm, founded in 2000, would probably opt for Edinburgh “as the start-up scene is a bit stronger there than it is in Glasgow”.

He added: “We’re looking at start-ups because we have an offer for them that’s been very popular in Germany. It’s very cheap – we basically just cover our costs – so start-ups can use our infrastructure and database to perform their own analytics. We like working with start-ups because we want them to grow and we can grow with them.”

In July, Edinburgh analytics firm Barrachd was bought by outsourcing group Capita for an undisclosed sum. Aquila Insight, another player in the sector based in the city, recently said it was seeking to double the size of its 12-strong team in London.