A strengthening ecosystem: Why the latest investment in Skyscanner is such big news for Edinburgh

(This is more a personal post than an Attacat post (though there is more of a link than might first seem obvious))

I don’t move in investment circles so I’m not qualified to comment on the finer details of one of Silicon Valley’s most respected (if not most respected) venture capital firms having taken a stake in Edinburgh’s Skyscanner, but hopefully that doesn’t disqualify me from being excited about this for Edinburgh’s business community and Scotland’s economy as a whole.

A 0.8 billion dollar valuation! That’s massive! That’s almost what Facebook paid for Intstagram. I’m pretty sure Twitter is only valued at about 12 times that.

Now Sequoia‘s investment surely must signal an IPO in due course. And that’s the pay day. Given that they will be looking for stella returns, will that be a five billion dollar event? Who knows but it’s good money however you look at it.  And that’s when the founders, all past investors and no doubt many employees will be able to turn their paper wealth into real money.

Scottish Equity Partners (one of the major earlier investors) may end up with a billion pounds in the bank. Wow! In Scotland.

The staff will become a new generation of millionaires eyeing up property in Heriot Row. Surely they will number in the many of 10s.

A good proportion of this money will surely be recycled into more tech start-ups and that’s the real excitement in my eyes. There will be people in Edinburgh with a real interest in Silicon Valley-esque businesses, with a proven track record and money. Hooray.

Skyscanner have succeeded in busting the myth that it can’t be done in Edinburgh. Sequoia stated that Skyscanner is “one of the best technology companies ever to come out of Europe”.  That’s the sort of comment that those not involved in Edinburgh’s start-up scene would expect to be lavished on a London or Berlin start-up, not an Edinburgh one.

In terms of attracting and retaining talent to Edinburgh that has to be good news. Even before the big payout comes it has to bring attention to those other companies in Edinburgh that are also doing well; the likes of Freeagent, Blipfoto, Administrate and Fanduel and the next generation like Floatapp, Inkybee, Stipso and many more.

The cache of Scottish investors has also just gone up a notch. I assume that Scottish Equity Partners will be building relationships with Sequoia and the doors to others Silicon Valley investors will be opening. Likewise, hopefully Sequoia will be looking at other Scottish investors (Parequity and the like). Suddenly having Scottish investors will be seen as desirable rather than signalling a lack of ambition.

Doors are opening and Edinburgh’s ecosystem is building. Skyscanner, I thank you.

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2 thoughts on “A strengthening ecosystem: Why the latest investment in Skyscanner is such big news for Edinburgh”

  1. Nice post, Tim. We can only dream of a 0.8 billion dollar valuation but let’s hope the ripples do create a more positive attitude to tech investing in Scotland. Onwards and upwards!

    • Attacat Tim says:

      Hi Hugh

      Somehow I suspect Skyscanner didn’t think that 0.8b was worth dreaming about either. But isn’t dreaming the first step?

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