Five Scottish '˜foals' tipped to achieve unicorn status

AN INVESTMENT bank specialising in technology has identified five Scottish businesses in the sector that it sees as having the potential to expand rapidly this year and follow in the footsteps of high-profile Scottish success stories.

Campbell: companies have some tremendous potential. Picture: Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin

GP Bullhound has deemed the shortlisted businesses “foals” as they could eventually grow to the unicorn status – classified as private companies valued at more than $1 billion – held by Skyscanner and FanDuel.

Hugh Campbell, managing partner of GP Bullhound, told Scotland on Sunday that the five “trem­endous” companies that were selected focus on product-led rather than services businesses as the latter sector was perceived as harder to scale.

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They comprise online accounting software provider FreeAgent, Oracle specialist Inoapps, “wrap” investment platform provider Nucleus, fleet finance and management provider Fleet ­Alliance and learning tec­h­nology services busin­ess ­Atlas Knowledge.

Campbell predicted that these businesses could reach unicorn status within five to ten years, and have “some incredible potential”.

He added: “They are set to break through this year, attracting investment, creating jobs and driving growth in Scotland. How­ever, for the sector to take the next step and break out onto the global stage, we need to highlight the success stories of the region.”

Campbell flagged the skills shortage and lack of specialist local venture capital, saying the firms are likely to need to “shop” outside Scotland to access the capital required for leverage. However, he praised Skyscanner and FanDuel as providing role models, and said the outlook for Scotland over the next ten years is “very positive”.