Scottish 'internet of things' accelerator adds more firms and unveils new hires

A venture designed to produce Scottish internet of things (IoT) companies capable of scaling and competing on a global level has added two more businesses to its company cohort.

The addition of Vanora Robots and Aquaponics Garden takes Filament STAC’s cohort to 14.

Vanora designs and manufactures robots aimed at improving health and safety efficiencies including air and surface sanitation, while Aquaponics Garden is Scotland’s first aquaponic vertical farming technology company.

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Filament STAC is an industry-government partnership aimed at producing Scottish IoT companies capable of scaling and competing on the global stage. It has a three-year target to create more than 25 IoT companies supporting some 750 jobs, reporting revenue in the region of £750 million, and cohort companies raising investment in excess of £100m.

Martin MacDonald (STAC), Victoria Fullarton (Toto) and David White (BGR). Picture: Stewart Attwood
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The venture is supported by Scottish Enterprise, Censis (Scotland’s innovation centre for sensing, imaging and IoT technologies), and Glasgow-headquartered product design firm Filament. STAC’s local partners in Scotland include Anderson Anderson & Brown, Burness Paull, Scintilla, Arceptive, Soben and Integrated Graphene.

Filament STAC has also strengthened its executive team with a number of key hires. Nick Noble, formerly a senior marketing executive at IBM Watson and Salesforce, has come on board as business development and marketing mentor.

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Martin MacDonald, who previously held a series of senior positions in sales and business development at Honeywell and Dialog Semi, has been hired as an executive mentor, while Aileen Biagi, a product development specialist and longstanding lecturer in product design engineering at Glasgow School of Art, has joined the venture as product development mentor.

Chief executive Paul Wilson said: “It’s great to see STAC really take off as we move into the second quarter of our first year of operations. We are really pleased to have Vanora and Aquaponics Garden join the cohort, and it’s also great news to have Nick, Martin, and Aileen on board.”

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Among recent cohort successes, University of Strathclyde cybersecurity spin-out Lupovis secured a £615,000 pre-seed investment at the end of 2021, co-led by Techstart Ventures and Nauta Capital, while wearable device start-up Toto Sleep’s founder Victoria Fullarton secured £150,000 from businesswomen Sara Davies on BBC’s Dragons’ Den series in January and is now taking pre-orders.

Meanwhile, fitness specialist BGR is preparing to ship orders to more than 50 countries worldwide.

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Wilson added: “BGR is a great example of the strength of our industry partners being harnessed for our STAC companies. Burness Paull, Scintilla, and Anderson Anderson Brown have all supported BGR around international compliance, with Twilio helping to accelerate new product development.”

David White, chief executive and founder of BGR, said: “STAC has been transformational for BGR, essentially around the calibre of the industry partners and how we have been able to draw on their expertise to fulfil international shipments.”

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STAC’s international partners are: San Francisco-based customer engagement platform Twilio; design, global manufacturing, supply chain and aftermarket services specialist Plexus Corp; chip giant Intel Corporation; Keysight, a major test and measurement company for IoT devices; and Fortune 500, Colorado-based electronics group Arrow Electronics.

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