Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category


It has been a very long time since I returned to Edinburgh for something other than a wedding, birthday party, or long overdue Snax breakfast.

But I am definitely missing the wonderful city and excited to be coming back for a Hackathon this weekend Bela is organising, and there are some final tickets left if you would also like to come join in.

The weekend is finance-themed and I’ll be sharing some thoughts on Friday as well, but everyone is welcome to join whether you come from a business/marketing/finance background, developers of course, designers always, or data scientists too. Fantastic sponsors and prizes, not that winning is always the point of these things but it is a nice bonus.

Looking forward to catching up with many folks from the community and I hope to see some new and old faces there!


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Edinburgh Apps has been running for two years, and aims to involve start-ups and students, designers and developers, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers in creating new ideas to benefit Edinburgh and the people who live here. The challenge pits teams and individuals against each other in a challenge to come up with innovative new ways to use data available from the council and its partners, in a way that brings value and new thinking to the city. Edinburgh Apps was the first event of its kind when it launched in 2013, and this year the contest returns with five challenges to intrigue participants. They focus on themes around health, sports and culture, which has engaged a number of participants working on their ideas.


The more stickies, the better the innovation. Fact.

This year’s Edinburgh apps launched on September 5 with a bustling icebreaker. Last weekend marked the midway of this year’s challenge, and for two days on October 4 and 5 teams and individuals worked on a variety of challenges and ideas. After a pitching event in the morning, participants gathered in thein the stunning Informatics Forum to hear from the council as departments involved detailed some of the thoughts behind this year’s challenges. The health focus was on managing behaviour and staying safe after addressing drug, addiction and abuse issues, and accessing information for patients with deteriorating illnesses like MS or dementia. The culture and sports department focused on getting people more physically active, and how to experience the many monuments and museums in the city in a new and better way.


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CodeBase is the newest tech incubator in Edinburgh, and over 40 start-ups are based on the top floors of Argyle House. The building is an easily recognisable example of 60s brutalist architecture, and has housed a variety of tenants over the last 50 years. Now it is home to cutting-edge technology and innovative businesses in a range of industries who continue to make Edinburgh a proud city of innovation. CodeBase hosts a range of events, from technology training and business networking to art events and coffee mornings. Have a look at upcoming events here, or see what the CodeBase community is up to.

The biggest resource of any tech incubator is the people and businesses who work there. We’ve pulled together an overview with most of the existing tenants in CodeBase – as new companies join all the time, check out the CodeBase tenants on their website to see the latest additions. But first, check out our introduction to the many startups in Edinburgh’s CodeBase.


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Running everyday in Dec 2013

This coming month (Dec 2013), myself and some of the Project Ginsberg team is undertaking the Macrothon. The rules are:

You have to run either 5k or for 25mins (whichever is quickest), everyday during December (including Christmas Day!)

If you miss one day, you’re out. Pretty tough, especially considering its 4pm and its dark already in Scotland.

Day 1 starts tomorrow. 

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Startup Weekend Glasgow 2013

On an October Sunday night in rainy Glasgow, 11 teams of budding entrepreneurs, developers and creatives gathered in The Lighthouse to present the outcome of 54 hours of hard work: the results of Startup Weekend Glasgow 2013. 

Organised by Allan Lloyds and his team, the event took place over the weekend of 25-27th October and saw more than 100 people gather at SocietyM, a co-working space in the centre of Glasgow. Jennifer Tough managed the PR and social media, keeping us updated through the blog and Twitter as the weekend unfolded. 

The weekend kicked off on Friday night with introductions, a run-down of the event format, guest speakers and pitches on the theme of #cleanweb. The delegates then formed small teams and moved on to developing the most popular ideas into viable startups. SocietyM seems like the ideal venue for an event like Startup Weekend; well designed, open plan areas along with smaller meeting rooms for each team to have their own space, and comfy places to relax and reflect.

The teams continued refining their startups throughout the day on Saturday. Mentors from various disciplines were on hand to provide the teams with direction and advice, and a well-timed chance visit from Red Bull (and probably lots of adrenaline) kept everyone going until Sunday night when it was time to pack up and move to The Lighthouse to give their final presentations to the audience, and to a panel of judges with extensive experience in entrepreneurship and cleantech. 

Everyone we spoke to on Sunday night mentioned the same thing as their highlight: the energy of all the participants. The teams whose presentations really stood out were those with lots of passion and a real conviction behind their idea. Of course, there’s only so much that can be done in a couple of days, but the format of Startup Weekend encourages the teams to push through those periods of low energy we all experience. It was great to see how friendships formed under the pressure of the weekend; groups of strangers on Friday night appeared as old friends on Sunday.

Standout pitches came from EnergySaveAR (an app which suggests energy-saving alternatives to household items), who won tickets to the Dublin Web Summit, and Cloudlet, who describe their idea as “carbon-efficient computing for startups and enterprise”. Here’s a full list of all the startups:

Lend Some Sugar – an online lending community

Psych.ed – “improving the social environment for everyone” through online community and education

ScranClan – a social dining app which aims to cut food waste

Unspike – “reducing peak demand for cost and carbon savings”

Podstay – budget accommodation pods

Greenbills – energy comparison website

Know Your Food – connect consumers with producers without the corporate middleman

EnergySaveAR – an app which calculates the energy use of household products and suggests alternatives

HowGreenIs – see which companies are committed to cutting environmental impact – and those who aren’t

Cloudlet – carbon efficient web hosting for startups and enterprises

Co.mute – earn points through daily activites with rewards for green habits

Hopefully we’ll hear more from these teams in the near future!

If you were there, let us know about your experience. Has Startup Weekend changed your outlook on the startup scene? Are you inspired to take your idea to the next level?

For a full list of those involved and an overview of all the happenings over the weekend, take a look at http://glasgow.startupweekend.org/

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Startupcafe was originally set up as a blog for the Edinburgh Startup Community back in 2009. Since then, the community has grown and evolved at a rate that none of us could really imagine. 

In turn, the Startupcafe team has grown and moved on too:

  • Jess is now one of the core team members down in London for TechStars London.
  • Bela is living the life in Singapore.
  • Thomas is working as a business development manager in London.
  • Hilary is one of the Product Managers at Skyscanner and also runs Product Tank Edinburgh. 
  • And I’ve gone on to start Interface3 and Tigerface Games

So, we’re looking for a new generation of bloggers for the cafe.

We’re not looking for people that have tons of experience (although if you do, that’s awesome too!) but we’re looking for people who want to help grow the startup community in Edinburgh by highlighting events, or writing about new people to the community. Attitude matters more than experience for us. 

So if you’re interested in helping us grow startupcafe, then please get in touch over at kate@startupcafe.co.uk!

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Are you working on a project which involves raising young people’s digital skills? NESTA and the Nominet Trust are looking to fund you!

Hot off the heels from their first round investments back in March, the second round of funding is being released and there is £250k available. So far, their impressive portfolio include Code Club and Coder Dojo, with the latter having a branch in Edinburgh.

If you’re interested, there are a number workshops, with the closest being Glasgow on Tues 22nd Oct. If that’s too far, then fear not, there are two web chats on Friday 11th Oct, and Thurs 7th Nov.

Any questions, please contact education@nesta.org.uk

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Glasgow’s training house, TRC Media is creating a special edition of their popular programme – Cross Creative. The programme lasts for 9 months and is for people based in the digital and/or creative industries. This time round, Carol Sinclair, has decided to run a special ‘female’ edition alongside their usual course, and is looking for people to apply. Having been on the programme back in 2011-12, it was one of the best courses I’ve been on – so it comes highly recommended!

More details here

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Tim Willis from Flexpansion is looking for anyone that wants to partner with them to deliver specialist text applications on android. See below for details!

Do you know anyone using tablets or smartphones for work, or supplying software to people who are? Would they like to type all their specialised writing twice as fast, using an app that takes a couple of
minutes to learn? An Edinburgh-based company is seeking FREE TRIAL users for a premium, bespoke version of their revolutionary word prediction app that not only completes words from their first few
letters, but also converts any reasonable abbreviation into full – ‘qkly xpndg txt spk’. There’s no need to memorise any shortcuts, or train the app first, and it rapidly learns your usage. (more…)

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Startup success story Skyscanner, has come on board as sponsor for SW Edinburgh!

The  Edinburgh based, flight search company started up officially back in 2001, and has grown to become the number one flight search engine in Europe.  In 2011 they opened a Singapore office to grow in the Asia-Pacific market and they offer flight searches in more than 27 different languages.  You can read their story here.

So what will SW Edinburgh entail? On 16-18th November 2012, entrepreneurial developers, designers and marketers will come together to pitch business ideas, form teams and produce product prototypes and business plans which they’ll then present to the rest of the event participants and a specially selected judging panel.   (more…)

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