Scots innovators come together to boost tech firms

From left, Stephen Coleman, Gareth Williams, Lesley Eccles and Jamie Coleman. Picture: Jane Barlow

From left, Stephen Coleman, Gareth Williams, Lesley Eccles and Jamie Coleman. Picture: Jane Barlow

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SCOTLAND’S leading gathering for technology and innovation is returning from last year’s hiatus on a wave of rising momentum within the ­sector.

Next month’s Turing Festival – named after Alan Turing, the founder of modern computing – has major backing for the first time from its home-grown companies. Travel search engine Skyscanner and fantasy sports site FanDuel are main sponsors of the three-day event in Edinburgh, and are also among the speakers.

Both breached the billion-dollar valuation barrier in rec­ent months, providing a focal point for the sector’s growth since the last Turing Festival in 2013. The event was downgraded last year when its organiser, technology incubator CodeBase, was itself in a burst of rapid expansion.

CodeBase’s co-founder, Stephen Coleman, said 2015 should be the “biggest and best yet”, with a focus on helping more technology start-ups grow into billion-dollar firms.

“It feels like the whole tech ecosystem in Edinburgh is really scaling up,” he said.

The first day on 21 August will focus on marketing skills, with speakers from HubSpot, Moz, NewsCred and Unbounce assembled by festival partner Stipso.

Fintech is in the spotlight on day three with a blockchain workshop.

Skyscanner’s Gareth Williams and FanDuel’s Lesley Ecc­les feature on the penultimate day, when they speak on “Billion Dollar Scale-Ups”. They will be joined by representatives from DueDil and Zendesk.

“Every great tech community needs a focal point during the year where entrepreneurs, founders and creatives come together to discuss emerging technologies and trends – that’s what Turing has become for Scotland,” Williams said.

The event, first held in 2011, is seeking to seal Edinburgh’s place as a centre of tech innovation not just in Scotland, but world-wide.

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