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DATA


Te world at their fingertips


How three start-ups are seeking to create value from Scotland’s property and mapping data BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


In the fast-paced world of tech start-ups, growth – and the speed of it - is everything. From lightbulb moment to sketching a product outline, to prototyping it and se- curing investment, success is ulti- mately determined by how quickly founders can build and scale their ideas into a viable product that the market demands. Tere are no guarantees of success, which is why entrepreneurs invariably need every bit of support they can muster, financial and more. When I visit Meadowbank House in Edinburgh, the high


windows of its light and airy central atrium reception area are in stark contrast to the building’s unprepossessing and brutalist 70s exterior, which at first glance might be the last place you’d ex- pect to find a grouping of some of Scotland’s most promising prop- tech and geospatial technologists. Nevertheless Registers of


Scotland (RoS), without whose records of property ownership homes and buildings in Scotland could not be bought or sold se- curely, is hoping to provide some of that wraparound support to Scotland’s data-driven innovation (DDI) community, having just


20 | FUTURESCOT | AUTUMN 2019


embarked on a collaboration proj- ect with Ordnance Survey (OS); at the end of October the organi- sation formally unveiled the first Scottish version of ‘Geovation’, an accelerator scheme which has been running in London since 2015, creating more than 200 new jobs and raising £23.3 million in investment funding. RoS published its corporate


plan in April this year and one of its four strategic objectives is all about data, and the organisation’s desire to be much more innova- tive with it, to create greater economic and social value. To that end, getting Geovation Scot- land off the ground in a little over six months, with some real-life innovators to fill a new open-plan office space, replete with some ‘mushroom stools’ (unfortunately kept in the dark for my visit), is an impressively quick turnaround of some higher order goals into


some impacts on the ground. Before I meet the founders,


I’m given an overview of how the 12-month programme will run. Although the companies have just moved into the space, with the paint barely dry on the walls, a lot of prep work has already gone into creating the new incubator. Lyndsey Dougan, Geovation Scotland’s de- livery lead, has led the process thus far, engaging with a nationwide community of property and geo- spatial technologists and launching a ‘call’ for applicants in August. More than 30 ‘high-quality’ applica- tions were received and eventually whittled down to six, and then finally three, based on a pitch to an expert panel convened by RoS. “It was not quite Dragon’s Den


but it did have that feel,” says Dou- gan, who will work with the three companies – Folarity, AboveBoard and Walks and Waterfalls – towards the next big test of their reflexes, a


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