NOT only has Codebase grown since its inception in March 2014 to become the UK’s largest technology incubator, but the Edinburgh facility is now also ranked as the fastest growing hub of its kind in Europe.
Intrigued to find out more, The Business Journal caught up with founder and managing director Jamie Coleman – the man behind the community which works to build, nurture and grow the next generation of tech superstars.
Q: What is Codebase?
A: CodeBase opened in March 2014 and has already grown to be the UK's largest tech incubator as well as the fastest growing in Europe. We are entirely focussed on building software product companies which use the web to reach their customers. This software core is the heart of growth in all industries, from medical companies to security, education and more. Our mission is to build the next billion dollar tech companies out of Scotland.
Q: How did you get the idea off the ground?
A: By taking a huge chance on Edinburgh as a great place to build technology businesses – and by bringing together an incredible community of entrepreneurs.
Q: What was your motivation?
A: We may not have the deep pockets of Silicon Valley but we do have the talent and the determination in Scotland to succeed. My motivation is to build incredible companies that change the world.
Q: What were – and perhaps still are – the biggest challenges?
A: The two largest challenges are digital skills and investment capital. A recent ScotlandIS report suggests that we are roughly 5,000 jobs a year short just to stay standing. We need more people to join our industry. The investment landscape is very tough and there are real challenges finding the sort of smart money required to grow and scale big tech companies. At CodeBase, we hope to solve both of those issues.
Q: Is there anything you would do differently?
A: Scaling a business this fast has had extreme challenges. If I was to do anything differently, I would have spent more time educating the public about the amazing work that is happening within these tech startups. I think that people would be amazed to know about the level of invention happening in the country just now.
Q: What advice would you give to other businesses?
A: A business plan is just a business guess. Don't build in a vacuum. Instead, get out the door and rapidly test your ideas with customers. The faster you can find real product market fit, the less money you will waste creating your idea.