After six years of behind-the-scenes preparation, Glasgow-based mobile and web technology company SwarmOnline was launched in 2011 from the living room of founder and managing director Andrew Duncan.
Since then the firm has expanded rapidly, to the point where it is forecasting a 20 per cent jump in turnover to £2 million for its next financial year, amid an upturn in work for its list of blue-chip clients that includes life and pensions group Aegon, Clydesdale Bank and Panasonic.
To cope with its ambitious growth plans, SwarmOnline last month opened a new office in Edinburgh that has space for 20 staff as it gears up to roll out a range of additional products covering the credit union, energy and homes markets.
Duncan, says: “We are changing our strategic focus from purely providing a consultancy service to product development and our new base in the capital is an important statement of our ambitions.
“The Edinburgh office will play an important role in our growth story. We currently have six staff based here, but aim to increase our headcount to 16. It is important that Scotland continues to produce talented software developers to allow companies such as ours to expand into new international markets.”
He adds: “SwarmOnline represents the Scottish tech scene on the global stage and we have a burgeoning international reputation.”
After finishing secondary at the High School of Glasgow, Duncan went on to study business management at Glasgow University. During that time he worked both in retailing for O2 and for property management specialist Redpath Bruce.
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He got his first full-time job upon graduation, landing a post as system analyst and developer for NHS Education for Scotland. During that time, he helped build a system to manage continuing professional development for doctors and dentists. Throughout it all, SwarmOnline was quietly running along in the background, having been born as an idea for a computer backup system that Duncan conceived for a university competition in 2005.
The expansion of SwarmOnline’s presence in the capital comes after the firm, headquartered at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, last year acquired Edinburgh-based digital agency Open Platform for an undisclosed sum to expand in the area of oil and gas as well as the financial technology – or fintech – field.
Duncan, who last year received the Outstanding Contribution by a Young Business Leader accolade at the Inspiring City Awards in Glasgow, explains: “The offerings of the two companies are very closely aligned and we both have particular expertise in building web-based systems for internal employees as well as consumer-facing systems.
“We are experts at building apps across multiple platforms and build hardware in-house for the energy sector. Open Platform is well known in the oil and gas sector and this will be a focus for the new business going forward.”