Social network Kiltr handed £1m to target Scots around the globe

KILTR, a fledging Scottish social networking firm, has secured funding believed to total around £1 million as interest in the internet phenomenon which has spawned successes such as Facebook and Twitter continues.

The start-up company, which aims to connect businessmen and women with Scottish heritage from around the world, has attracted the second round funding from a group of backers led by Par Equity, the Edinburgh-based venture capital firm.

The funding round, which is due to complete by March, will also see Kiltr's founders Brian Hughes Halferty and Stewart Fraser contribute personal funds to the project.

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The pair met while they were students at Glasgow Caledonian University and came up with the idea of Kiltr to help Scots around the globe to attract funding, gain vital contacts and grow their businesses.

Investors gathered in Glasgow last week to formally launch the "next generation" internet-based initiative.

Rob Lowe, a Par Equity advisory panel member and Kiltr's non-executive chairman, said: "We are absolutely hooked by this new professional networking service and are looking for great things from it.

"Its key is how it will assist professionals, entrepreneurs, companies, organisations, clubs and societies who are Scots or have an affinity to Scotland to accelerate their success across the globe."

Kiltr's objective is to leverage Scotland's unique cultural heritage linked to its entrepreneurial spirit by building on the success of an online global phenomenon that has produced the likes of YouTube and LinkedIn.

Alan Bain, president emeritus of the American Scottish Foundation, flew in from his New York Madison Avenue "Scotland House" base for the meeting.

To date around 30 per cent of those signing up to Kiltr live in the US together with significant numbers from China and India.

Bain said: "I've been dealing with Scots and the diaspora in America for 20 years and I can truly say that the market is crying out for an initiative like Kiltr - one that is not controlled by government to the point where its usefulness is rendered ineffective, rather, an independent organisation. Its aim should be to break down barriers helping Scots really appreciate the power of networking and take full advantage of the potency of the diaspora by engaging much more effectively."

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Lowe added that Par Equity has been "really taken" by the founders. "They are both passionate Scotsmen, are building a world-class product, and just as importantly, a great Scottish company. They remain firmly focused on harnessing the power of social networking technology to help shape Scotland's future international success."

Other interested parties include Edinburgh's Informatics Ventures, Corporate Connections International, Inspiring Scotland, Young Company Finance and GlobalScot.

Halferty said: "We are providing the technology tools to enable a Kiltr membership across the globe that's growing in numbers daily, to tap into the knowledge, experience and potential opportunity that exists in this network."

Last year Kiltr received six figures in start-up finance from Par Equity, Barwell and the Scottish Seed Fund to allow its evolution from prototype to public beta launch. A senior technology sector source said: "The significance of such an innovative social networking venture getting off the ground, and one coming out of Scotland at that is borne out by the seven figures attached to the post-development funding involved.