US tech firm recruiting in Scotland after funding boost

A tech boss based in California says he is “excited” to be building a presence in his native Scotland as his firm prepares for significant expansion after securing an eight-figure funding boost.

Mr Taylor said his long-term aim is to split his time between Glasgow and California. Picture: contributed.

Finbarr Taylor is the chief executive and co-founder of Shogun, which says it aims to make it easy to build and optimise online stores to help merchants create “exceptional” ecommerce experiences.

It has just raised $35 million (£26m) in fresh funding and is now looking to double its workforce globally in the next year – with Scotland a key area of focus. Mr Taylor explained that Shogun works with more than 17,000 businesses, ranging from small firms to Fortune 500 companies.

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"Collectively we're helping them to drive millions of dollars a day in sales using our software,” said the Glasgow-born, Dumfries-raised entrepreneur. Shogun has two products – Shogun Page Builder, a “drag and drop” web page builder embedded in Shopify, BigCommerce and other ecommerce platforms, and Shogun Frontend, which enables business to create fast next-generation progressive web application storefronts.

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It has just raised $35m in Series B funding led by Accel with participation from VMG, Initialized and Y Combinator, coming after it closed a $10m Series A in February of this year led by Initialized. The latter’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who also co-founded Reddit, previously deemed Shogun to be “solving a big problem in a fast-growing market segment”.

Altogether Shogun has to date raised $47m, while its business grew by 182 per cent over the last year alone. Mr Taylor said the latest capital boost enables the firm to scale its research and development (R&D) and Go To Market teams, i.e., design, engineering, product, and sales, marketing, customer success.

It is recruiting senior executives to lead these departments, with the firm already boasting 80 staff around the world in total. Mr Taylor, a former employee of Y Combinator, stressed that Shogun has a “particular” focus on building R&D in Scotland.

Building

"We've just hired the first software engineer in Glasgow, and a second engineer in Stirling is on trial. We're looking to hire up to eight more in the next six to 12 months. These are high-paying jobs and I'm excited to be building a presence in Scotland.”

Mr Taylor studied computer science at the University of Strathclyde and after graduating moved to California with the aim of starting his own company. He and Nick Raushenbush founded Shogun in 2015.

The Scottish businessman in 2018, when the firm had nearly 25 staff altogether, outlined plans to increase Shogun’s focus on and grow headcount in Scotland to capitalise on its highly skilled workforce and growing ecosystem. He also said at the time that he would like to see everyone with an ecommerce store using the firm’s offering.

Emarketer has forecast that in the UK alone, consumers will spend £141.3 billion online over the course of 2020, up about 35 per cent from 2019. “This significant increase will see ecommerce account for more than 30 per cent of total retail sales in the UK for the first time,” it added.

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