The Granite City hosts a variety of interesting startups and is rapidly becoming a hub for tech innovation.
While Aberdeen is famous for being the hub for Britain’s oil and gas sector, the city is now redefining itself as a haven for technology companies and continues to build a reputation as a great city to do business.
Just like Edinburgh and Glasgow, Aberdeen hosts many exciting young startups focusing on a range of areas, including Marine technology and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
And the city is growing. The recent Aberdeen City Deal is helping to broaden the city’s economic base with investment in projects supporting food, drink and agriculture, life sciences, tourism, digital and entrepreneurship in the wake of Covid-19.
Right at the heart of this growth is digital technology. A recent Regional Economic Strategy published by Aberdeenshire council said that, despite coronavirus, its vision is to “take account of changing economic drivers”, including climate change, becoming Net Zero and the increasing pace of technology.
“These drivers have not changed despite the pandemic (indeed the case is even stronger),” the council said.
Published last week, Mark Logan’s Tech Ecosystem Review suggested the creation of a nationwide network of ‘tech scaler’ and recommended these be housed in six cities across Scotland, “for example Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, and Inverness.”
It’s good to champion Scottish startups and the country’s vibrant technology sector, and Aberdeen has a big selection to choose from. Here are nine of the coolest technology companies Aberdeen has to offer.
Specialising in the development and operation of innovative robotic systems, Innovair is one of the most exciting technology companies in Aberdeen.
The robotics tech company was the brainchild of co-founders Andrew Johnston, Stuart Lawson and Jamie Watt.
Founded in September 2015, the company now employs around six staff members and is using cutting edge technology to help visualise environments, maintain asset integrity and help engineers’ complete tasks without putting people at risk.
Innovair says their tech helps customers “make fast, effective decisions in relation to their high-value assets,” and using data to increasing efficiency to reduce health and safety risk.
Although based in Scotland, the firm has plans to expand into Europe, the Middle East and North America being approved for a loan through the Scottish Growth Fund.
Specialising in the “next generation” of antimicrobial therapies, NovaBiotics is doing fascinating things in the world of biotechnology. The company designs and develops anti-infectives for diseases that are difficult to treat and currently have an unmet medical need.
NovaBiotics was founded in 2004 by Dr Deborah O’Neil and operates from sites in Aberdeen, Dublin and Boston. The company was awarded £1.8 million in Small Business Research Innovation-Innovate UK in grant funding in May 2019 to advance its antifungal drug candidate, Novamycin.
O’Neil commented on the funding: “This award allows us to accelerate the next key stage of Novamycin’s development towards being a much-needed solution to life-threatening fungal infections against which the limited number of existing therapies are ineffective.”
The business world is enormous, filtering it down to usable information can be a time consuming and complex issue. That is where DeepMiner comes in.
DeepMiner collates business-related information into an easy-to-use platform, giving users a more direct and deeper search than one would usually expect from a service such as Google.
Because the search function is catered specifically for businesses, all unnecessary information is filtered out so a user can find what they are looking for much easier and quicker than through traditional means.
Co-founded in 2017 by CEO Duncan Hart and CTO Áine Uí Ghiollagáin, DeepMiner was born out of a will to change how information is searched for on the internet. The company says it aims to bring a “new perspective in this era of increasing information overload.”
Headquartered in Aberdeen, the team consists of data scientists, computer scientists and developers. DeepMiner has developed an innovative artificial intelligence (AI) search that uses machine learning to create a humanistic search function.
Founded in 2006, Intelligent Plant is an award-winning, Aberdeen-based software engineering company. The company’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) portal uses real-time data to allow for performance monitoring of equipment and processes.
The company’s team consists of engineers and computer scientists that work together to provide innovative and tailored solutions to their global client base.
“We don’t just provide the Industrial App Store, we provide a whole range of products and services to allow other stakeholders to use the platform efficiently too as part of their business delivery model,” the company says on its website.
Intelligent Plant was founded by Steve Aitken and has been part of a series of initiatives including partnering with CNOOC subsidiary Nexen to prevent offshore equipment failure in 2018.
CodeTheCity is doing fascinating things with data. The registered charity is a civic hacking initiative which hosts a series of activities, including hack weekends, data meetups, Python User Group and Young Coders Club. These are all designed to get people more interested and involved in learning code and understanding data.
Founded in 2014, the firm’s mantra is that “a world where everyone understands at least a little of how to use code and data, is a better place.”
The company has been working on a series of interesting projects, including an initiative with Air Aberdeen which uses sensors to measure air quality across the city and the surrounding area.
CodeTheCity is also working with 57 North Hack Lab, Aberdeen University and community groups to deliver a network of community-built, and hosted, air quality sensors which will generate open data which anyone can use to monitor the quality of the air in Aberdeen.
As well as this, the CodeTheCity has been using open data to track Covid-19 in Scotland, helping the government to get a hold on its masses of data. The open data was curated by Code the City CEO Ian Watt, with multiple applications now tracking cases across the country using up-to-date government data.
Computer software company Proteus is best known for its Proetus OS, an operating system that allows users to increase efficiency, reduce fixed costs and drive a company’s performance.
The firm says its software was designed “to help companies manage tight budgets and low margins.”
Proteus OS combines work management systems with access to rated talent and pays as you go access to engineering software into one platform.
The software also has an app that allows a user to work from home. The system would be particularly useful during coronavirus pandemic.
“Proteus changes the way you work. Proteus manages your business. Proteus improves your margin. Proteus makes you more efficient. Proteus enables your team to work from anywhere. Proteus connects,” the company says on its LinkedIn.
The company was founded in 2017 and currently hires around 56 staff based all around the world.
Our first cybersecurity company on the list, Nimbus Blue, provides management support to help companies defend themselves again cyber attacks and protect their data.
The company says that the role of IT “is to drive growth, compliance, security and productivity across all aspects of a business.”
On that vein, Nimbus aids companies to make “conscious, strategic IT decisions” to help them achieve business goals without fear of data breaches. The organisation has now helped more than 100 companies improve how they work by enhancing IT management capabilities.
Nimbus was founded by David Tawse, who has previous experience as a software engineer with Millstream Associates and Director at Computame Limited before establishing Nimbus Blue in 2010. Nimbus now has a small team of just five.
In a blog on the Nimbus Blue website, Tawse said: “When we started, there weren’t many cloud specialists in Aberdeen. My motivation was to take advantage of the cloud, which was really coming of age in the business-to-business world.”
The firm also provides companies with IT to help businesses to keep IT “aligned” with their goals.
io IT Services
Small and medium-sized businesses (SME’s) need all the help they can get to build their brand and put themselves on the map, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
io IT Services is a technology support startup designed to do just that. The firm provides consultancy and strategy support to SME’s across Scotland.
Rather than just offering support to business, they offer management of IT services. “Your business deserves comprehensive IT Support, Management and Strategy whether you have one employee or thousands,” io says.
The firm was founded by David McCreary in 2019, and after a successful first six months, the company has moved the Balmoral Hub building in Aberdeen, as well as hiring new director Nick Pickering.
Animus is an up-and-coming technology startup focused on helping organisations to capture, share and rapidly exploit information and data.
The company offers a range of services to help businesses thrive using their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud business platform. Animus says what sets it’s technology apart from other similar ones on the market is its “holistic, integrated, connected and scalable environment” approach.
Animus is run by directors Peter Taylor and Giles Thompson and headquartered in the outskirts of Aberdeen city centre.
Taylor boasts experience as Director at geo-intelligence firm Inosys, as well as holding a Bachelor of Engineering. Thompson is also a director at Inosys but also held director positions at oil and energy company Synergy and Elements Consulting.