Comment: Putting down local roots to secure global growth

We are perfectly placed to grow as Glasgow has become a hotbed of tech talent, says Kerr. Picture: contributed.
We are perfectly placed to grow as Glasgow has become a hotbed of tech talent, says Kerr. Picture: contributed.
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Setting up your own business requires a huge leap of faith.

Deciding the best place to locate your venture to allow it to grow and attract the right talent requires careful consideration.

I launched my digital technology ­business, Raven Controls, in 2017. I had previously worked in Glasgow’s East End as a police officer before working in the counter terrorism planning team – then setting up in business as a security consultant for a number of internationally recognised stadia and venues.

I spotted an urgent need for improved issue records and management in the events sector and developed software that aims to vastly improve communication and situational awareness of issues arising, and their timely resolution. The business has really taken off, and to date, our technology has been used for issue ­management across a number of high-profile events, including golf’s Ryder Cup and the multi-sport European Championships 2018 in Glasgow.

As the business grew, it was important that we chose the right place to put down roots – allowing us to grow sustainably, and to attract the right talent.

I had been previously aware of Clyde Gateway’s business support and facilities. We worked with design company MadeBrave and really liked their offices at the Albus building in Glasgow’s Bridgeton.

As soon as we visited Clyde Gateway’s nearby Red Tree Magenta business suites we knew it would be the perfect place for us. Much more than your typical commercial office space, the Red Tree Magenta building is ultra-modern, with lots of opportunities to collaborate and network with other business and with great amenities. Our team loves the Nespresso lounge, the outdoor terrace and the availability of boardroom spaces and meeting rooms whenever you need them.

We’re located just a few miles from the city centre and our Grade A office space benefits from free parking, great public transport links and a host of extra amenities. We’re also conveniently located for some of our clients; such as the Scottish Exhibition Centre and Celtic FC, and for transport links across the UK and beyond. But much more than that, it is a great location to attract talent into the business.

Under the direction of our chief technology officer, Gavin Dutch, who was founder of Kotikan that grew to become Scotland’s largest mobile app development agency of the time, we are growing our own in-house software development team.

We are perfectly placed to do this as Glasgow has become a hotbed of technology talent and we are seeing impressive software engineers emerge. We currently have six members of staff and the company is in the High Growth ventures unit within ­Scottish Enterprise.

Now, after securing investment from ­Scottish Edge and from business angels, we are looking to double our headcount in the next 12 months and have ambitious plans to grow the business on a worldwide stage.

The beauty of our cloud-based software is that users can access, deploy and monitor the platform without geographical boundaries.

Following the success of our software being used at last year’s Ryder Cup in Paris, we are now gearing up to expand in overseas ­markets.

While our main goal is to provide a global leading product for the events and venues market, our scalable software product offers further opportunities to explore within shopping centres, airports, local authorities and much more.

We place our new office base at the heart of our growth plans and we hope to have a number of global satellite offices to complement this. It’s an exciting journey ahead and we think we’ve chosen the perfect place to call home to build a successful global business in the future.

Ian Kerr is founder and managing director of Raven Controls.