Ten Scottish digital and science start-ups to watch in 2020 (Michael Freeley,

Biscuit Tin

Named after the old biscuit tin every family once stored important documentation in, Biscuit Tin is a secure digital vault which can hold important items such as wills, life insurance documents, account details, memories and post life wishes. These are then released to nominated loved ones in the event of a death.

Founder and CEO Sheila Hogan started the business following the trauma of having to deal with the aftermath of her own parents’ deaths. It prompted her to investigate whether there was a way, in this new digital age, that wishes could be captured and managed to ease the burden on loved ones left behind.

Hogan says: “Our vision is for Biscuit Tin to become the UK’s most trusted digital legacy leader, with 5% of UK digital savvy over 35-year-olds using a Biscuit Tin account within the next five years.”

Based in CodeBase in Edinburgh, Cyan Forensics’s digital analysis tool can find terrorist handbooks or child sexual abuse material on devices within minutes, minimising forensic analysts’ time and allowing police to make decisions quickly and confidently. It can also help social media companies and cloud providers to find and block harmful content.


The two-year-old company recently secured a further £1.3 million from a consortium of investors which will be used to target new markets in Northern Europe. CEO Ian Stevenson says: “We’re excited to have the funds to deliver the next stage in our significant growth plan.”


Good-Loop is an online advertising company with a difference. The Edinburgh-based firm turns advertising money into charitable donations with technology that delivers a positive user experience and guarantees the highest quality of impressions for brands. Every time a user chooses to engage with a Good-Loop managed ad they can opt to give 50% of the revenue to a charity of their choice. The company currently operates in the UK and EU markets and works with major brands including Unilever, Kit-Kat, and Coca-Coca.

MIME Technologies

Inverness-based medical technology firm MIME Technologies has developed a product which can track an aircraft passenger’s vital signs while communicating with clinicians based on the ground. While many airline carriers currently have voice support to doctors on the ground, the limited data available often compromises the ability to provide first-class care.

The company, a spin-out from the University of Aberdeen, recently raised £255,000 of investment to accelerate customer growth and create operational and technical jobs. MIME has carried out successful field trials with a global aviation company and is in discussions with several commercial and business jet customers.


Heriot-Watt University’s Natantis has developed an innovative device which revolutionises the way blood samples are prepared for use in cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring. The new technology allows invasive and impractical tissue biopsies to be replaced with a much simpler form of testing, known as liquid biopsies, a market estimated to value $5-6 billion by 2022.

The Natantis team, which hopes to spin-out into a commercial venture in 2020, recently received £574,500 from Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spin-out Programme (HGSP).


Part of Scotland’s growing trend in ‘tech for good’ start-ups, Gavin Neate was inspired to create Neatebox after noticing how blind people were using technology while he was working as a guide dog trainer. Neate says: “We are focused on using digital technology to improve the opportunities available to an increasingly knowledgeable and engaged disabled population.”

In 2017, Neatebox launched Welcome, an app that allows people with a disability to communicate any special needs they have before they arrive at a business, such as a shop, restaurant or entertainment venue. The app has been downloaded by thousands of users in the UK and Ireland to date and is now targeting a global audience of 13 million disabled people worldwide.


Established in 2018 by Dave Hughes, CTO, and Richard Cooper, CEO, as a spin-out from the University of the West of Scotland, Novosound’s patented technology eliminates limitations associated with existing ultrasound sensor solutions. Most commonly associated with maternity wards and other hospital departments, ultrasound imaging is also widely applicable in industrial settings as a safe Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) technique for revealing below-surface deformities, cracks or corrosion. Novosound raised £3.3 million in investment this year to target a global market estimated at $35 billion.


Soar was founded in 2017 by Scottish entrepreneur Andrew Duncan after he was approached by a number of credit unions to build them a mobile banking app. Researching this market further, it became apparent that this sort of technology was lacking across the ethical sector generally.

The Soar platform provides credit unions with an affordable way to join the smartphone revolution safely and securely through mobile technology and an advisor portal that supports back-office operations. The company’s growth plans focus on empowering ethical financial institutions to compete more effectively in the financial services market against retail banks, loan sharks and payday lenders.


Symphonic’s authorisation software enables organisations to securely share sensitive information by managing access to data and services. The identity and access management market is growing rapidly and forecast to be worth in excess of £17 billion by 2022.

“Symphonic’s solution enables financial institutions to manage the new, complex access patterns resulting from open banking while delivering the right balance between security and customer experience,” says the firm.

The Edinburgh-based company recently secured an undisclosed investment from private equity house Maven Capital Partners, joining existing shareholders Par Equity and the Scottish Investment Bank. The funding will be used to scale the business, targeting growth in retail banking and new markets.


A modern equivalent to the 80s iconic Filofax, Twasme is a mobile application from Berwickshire software house Equibuddy that allows users to store the key information they need in one convenient place. The app lets you easily capture and quickly sort images, notes, PDFs, calendar entries and lists, making access to your most relevant information fast and frustration free, even when offline. You can also securely share items with selected family and friends, keeping them up to speed with whatever it is you need. Twasme is now available to download via the App Store and Google Play.

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