Technology and engineering
California-based Xilinx has invested £4.9 million in its Edinburgh R&D centre to explore opportunities related to 5G.
The company set up in Edinburgh in 1993 after acquiring a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh called Algotronix. It was Xilinx’s first R&D venture outside the US.
Dr Colin Carruthers, director of Xilinx Scotland, said, “Scotland has a long history of invention and innovation, and it is a privilege to be able to help architect the communication platforms of the future.”
HSBC chose Scotland to establish a UK centre for its global risk and compliance operations, adding around 500 new roles to its 4500 headcount here.
Risk and compliance is an area of growing and critical importance to the global banking sector. As a result, HSBC wanted to create a UK centre of excellence to handle these functions.
The company said: "All four of our global businesses operate in Scotland, the retail bank, private bank, corporate bank and investment bank. Several support operations for our investment bank are also based in Scotland."
Fintech / financial technology
London-based Previse saw Scotland as an ideal location to grow its operations. The B2B payment decisions firm launched its first instant payments programme for a number of multinational buyers from its Glasgow office.
With Scotland being the UK’s largest financial centre after London, it proved to be the best complementary location to the UK capital. Scotland draws on a wealth of fintech and financial services talent.
David Brown, Previse co-founder and chief product officer, said, "Scotland has become a thriving centre for UK financial technology, making it an ideal place for us. We are looking forward to further strengthening our ties with the Scottish business community as well as Scottish academia."
Global business services
Rooney and Nimmo
Allan Rooney, a Scot in New York, set up his own legal firm. Now with partner John Nimmo, a Scot in Scotland, they run Rooney Nimmo, a successful corporate law firm on both sides of the Atlantic.
Their knowledge means they are able to offer advice to Scottish and UK companies looking to expand into the US market. They can also support US companies that are investing in Scotland, the UK and Europe.
Allan said, “There is tremendous potential in Scotland because of the level of skills available. Its education system produces a remarkable number of skilled people, and currently those skills are relatively affordable to the US market.”
Aerospace and space
Skilled talent, access to risk capital and the support we offer to innovative companies are among the top reasons that Spire chose to set up in Scotland.
Spire is a Californian satellite-powered data company. It collects unique data from satellite constellations, pulls it down through a network of ground stations and sells the data as a service through an API.
Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire, said, “In terms of character, work ethic and passion for what they do, we have found the people that we have been able to attract in Scotland to be absolutely world-class.”
When Richard and Douglas Hare decided to create a new company to develop games for mobile and social network platforms, the brothers were based in California. But when it came to finding a base for their new company, they realised that Scotland had everything they needed.
From its Dundee base, Outplay has been able to collaborate with global partners on games such as Angry Birds Pop.
Douglas Hare, CEO of Outplay, said, "There were really very few places in the world that had experience doing social network games or mobile games, both of which were being done in Dundee."
Masdar, a renewable energy company from Abu Dhabi, invested £52.5 million in Hywind Scotland, a 30MW floating offshore wind farm on the north east coast of Scotland.
Hywind Scotland consists of five 6MW floating wind turbines anchored to the seabed. The investment means that Masdar’s UK electricity generating capacity is now 1.06GW.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, chief executive officer of Masdar, said, "Hywind Scotland represents the next stage in the evolution of the offshore wind industry."
Chemical sciences and industrial biotechnology
Global healthcare company GSK’s link to Scotland dates back to 1952, when it opened a manufacturing plant in Montrose. It followed with a site in Irvine 20 years later.
The Irvine plant produces active ingredients which are used in two of the company’s leading antibiotics. On the east coast, the Montrose plant makes a range of active ingredients that are used to treat conditions such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory diseases, hypertension, flu and dermatological disease.
The company said, “GSK benefits through investment support. The Scottish economy benefits through the jobs and services created by a large business. The people of Scotland and beyond benefit from the availability of world-class medicines made right here in Scotland.”
Software & IT
US software firm Cherwell is benefiting from top talent coming out of Scotland’s universities to expand its R&D operations in the heart of Europe.
Since opening its R&D centre in Dundee, Cherwell has demonstrated a commitment to diversifying its workforce and has been actively working with local universities to develop a stronger recruiting pipeline for women into engineering.
"Scotland was on our list of various opportunities around the world. But it quickly rose to the top because of the high level of technology there, its knowledge economy and culture and the backing from educational institutions,” said Helen Duckett, Cherwell’s VP of Operations
Global Business Services
In 2018, London-based customer contact firm VeriCall faced a business challenge – one that fast-growing startups often experience – it wanted to find a location that could offer access to talent and ongoing support to meet its growth ambitions. Scotland’s Fife region was the perfect fit to locate to and scale up its business.
Adam Taylor, CEO of VeriCall said: "Having reached our first anniversary in Scotland, the growth of our business in that time has reinforced that Fife was the correct decision for our new location."
Back in 2012, German tech company Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft created its first UK research centre, the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP), at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
Fraunhofer’s investment in Scotland is taking quantum to another level. The centre is now leading an ambitious £10 million project to drive the development of faster, thumbnail-sized technology using quantum physics.
“There's not much in quantum that doesn't need photons or doesn't need lasers,” says Simon Andrews, Executive Director at Fraunhofer UK Research. “Scotland's got a fantastic academic base in lasers and photonics. It also has a terrific cluster of photonics companies."