Edinburgh's Cortex Worldwide looks to be 'next big thing to come out of Scottish tech scene'

Alexandra Walker, Peter Proud, Jerry Barton and Doug Cunningham. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Alexandra Walker, Peter Proud, Jerry Barton and Doug Cunningham. Picture: Stewart Attwood
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An Edinburgh-based digital technology company whose client base includes Microsoft Education has marked its fifth year in business by recording double-digit revenue growth and upping its headcount.

Cortex Worldwide can count a number of major UK and international clients among its customer base and is set to announce a series of business wins, including one of the UK’s leading banks, as well as high-profile board appointments during the first half of 2020.

The firm, which secured a management buyout from advertising giant WPP in 2017, is led by chief executive and founder Peter Proud, formerly a senior executive at Accenture and Microsoft, and the company’s board includes John Waddell, the former boss of Scottish angel investment group Archangels.

It has developed a cloud-based web management content platform that enables clients to “create, deploy, analyse and optimise” their digital assets.

Proud said: “We are now moving rapidly from a technology services company to a ‘cloud-native’ global software business. We have a fantastic team, a best-of-breed product and some exciting new client wins to announce over the next few weeks and months.

“Overall, we’ve got big ambitions and have set our sights on being one of the next big things to come out of the Scottish tech scene.”

The firm, whose headcount has grown to 35 at its Edinburgh headquarters, has also attracted venture capital interest from the US over the last few months and is currently planning to launch offices in New York and London. It is undergoing a major rebrand exercise that the company is aiming to roll out during the second quarter.

Investors

Proud said: “While the business continues to be self-funded and we think that’s the right approach at this point in time, we’re not ruling out venture capital involvement with the right investors if that enables us to really step up our growth trajectory.

“The offices we are actively planning for New York and London mean we will be closer to our growing customer base in the US and Europe.”

He added: “While our values and culture have remained constant, we are rebranding to better reflect how we help our clients drive digital transformation with a product that is now making a big impression with CIOs [chief information officers], CMOs [chief marketing officers] and senior management teams at large corporates in the UK, Europe and the US.”

During 2019, Cortex became carbon neutral following an extensive exercise that involved changing suppliers, offsetting emissions and implementing waste management processes.

Proud added: “We have incorporated high standards of ethics and sustainability into the business from day one.

“Not only do we believe that’s simply the right thing to do in our day and age, but translating these kind of core values into practice is becoming a bona fide requirement if you want to be a global technology company whose overall proposition appeals to a range of stakeholders including clients, employees and partners.”

In 2018, Cortex Worldwide won Scottish Apprentice Employer of the Year.

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