Digital sector urged to '˜think big and move fast'

Key players from Scotland's digital technologies industry will gather in Edinburgh tomorrow to discuss what it takes to build a global business while staying agile.

ScotlandIS chief executive Polly Purvis. Picture: Chris Watt

The annual ScotSoft conference, hosted by trade body ScotlandIS, will see two panels of experts answer questions and share their advice and encouragement with an audience of chief executives, decision makers and developers from across the private and public sectors.

Keynote speaker Rob Jones, co-founder of fantasy sports firm FanDuel, will set out his thoughts on scaling up a global business, while Cloud Foundry chief executive Sam Ramji is due to speak about “continuous innovation and digital platforms” and Google’s Adam Stewart will explore “innovative disruption” at the event, being held at Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

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Kate Ho, senior product manager at Edinburgh-based accounting software specialist FreeAgent, will chair the question-and-answer sessions, joined by industry figures including Administrate chief executive John Peebles, Smarter Grid Solutions chairman Gerry Docherty and Gavin Dutch, the founder and former chief executive of app developer Kotikan – acquired last year by FanDuel – who also co-founded Yavi, a communications platform for shift workers.

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ScotlandIS chief executive Polly Purvis said: “We have a thriving start-up community in Scotland and many of the more established businesses based here have real potential to succeed on the global stage.

“Entrepreneurs can learn a great deal from each other, and those who have trodden the same path before them so I’m delighted that we will be welcoming the likes of Rob Jones, Gavin Dutch, Gerry Docherty and John Peebles to our stage, who between them have set up and grown a number of successful businesses.”

Purvis added: “There are big questions about how we secure the future of Scotland’s digital technologies industry. How do we feel, for example, about acquisitions by overseas businesses? As an industry are we doing enough to make sure we have a strong talent pipeline, particularly in light of Brexit? Do we have access to sufficient growth capital?

“It’s vital that we discuss these issues as an industry so I hope that this will be the start of an energetic debate and one that looks at these questions from many different viewpoints.”

Along with its global forum, ScotSoft 2016 will feature a public sector briefing and a dedicated developers’ conference, while an evening event will bring the annual young software engineer of the year awards and a dinner featuring Olympic track cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy as a special guest.