US tech group launches European HQ in Edinburgh

Bruce Hunter (left) and Andy MacMillan are launching the firms new site. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Bruce Hunter (left) and Andy MacMillan are launching the firms new site. Picture: Stewart Attwood
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A US tech company is to planning to create 100-plus jobs in Edinburgh with the launch of regional headquarters in the city, as it targets rapid expansion across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

UserTesting, whose clients include Skyscanner, Tesco Bank, Booking.com and Thomas Cook, has unveiled its new base at Fountainbridge, marking the group’s first international office and adding to sites in San Francisco and Atlanta.

The Edinburgh hub will serve as UserTesting’s headquarters for the EMEA region as it seeks to better support existing clients, win new business and drive product-development, citing access to technical expertise as a key reason for choosing the city.

It currently has nine staff in Scotland, with plans to grow headcount to 30 by the end of 2019 and to more than 100 within three years.

Chief executive Andy MacMillan told The Scotsman he is looking to build a “significant” part of the firm’s product from Edinburgh. He said: “What really impressed us was the access to talent that’s coming out of universities from a computer science perspective.

“I think that we’re really at the early stages of the opportunity in Edinburgh overall in the tech scene and it’s a pretty unique and special place for us to build our European headquarters.”

He added that UserTesting’s board members have also expressed an interest in bringing other portfolio companies to the city on the back of its move.

The California-headquartered group currently has more than 1,200 clients worldwide, with around 130 of these based in Europe.

Its flagship “human insights platform” helps clients provide a better user experience for customers by facilitating direct user feedback on products and services.

UserTesting forecasts it will hit £100 million in global recurring revenue next year.

MacMillan said: “We are growing by 30 to 40 per cent a year. We expect our European business to grow even faster than that, given that we haven’t really made the investment to market the service here previously.”

The group has appointed technology sales leader Bruce Hunter regional vice president of its European arm, to be based in Edinburgh. Hunter has led teams in more than 30 countries, while working with a number of high-growth US companies.

Most recently he has acted as adviser to several Scottish-founded software start-ups, including ethical advertising company Good-Loop, and led global sales operations for translation software firm Lingo24.

Hunter said: “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help European companies build better products and experiences through human insight and empathy to make faster and smarter business decisions. This is an amazing time to be working in technology in Edinburgh”

Fergus Kennedy, previously chief technology officer at cloud hosting provider Pulsant, will head up the engineering team.

The establishment of a European office follows a year of growth for UserTesting, which has 325 employees worldwide, including the expansion of its US presence in California and the addition of new global customers.