Writing rights and wrongs – press release 101

August 25th, 2015



We all know how tough it can be to sit down to a blank sheet of paper and magic up a gripping, newsworthy story that will appeal to the press.

Trust us when we say that our whole team has, at some point or another, faced that crushing writers block that feels like you are hitting your head against a brick wall, or that pesky afternoon ‘lull’ in which your concentration quietly snoozes in the corner while you desperately try to string something meaningful together.

As a PR company, writing is part of our day job and fortunately for us, this has meant we have had years of practice to hone our craft, and fortunately for you, we want to share some hints and tips that we have picked up along the way.

Remember the five w’s. Yes, this goes back to our old school days spent in English, but is still a rule of thumb when it comes to writing. Try and lock down all five w’s – who, what, when, where and why – right at the start. Do this and you will have your readers’ attention from the get go. Failing to acknowledge these until mid-way through (or worse, at the end) can lead to a frustrated reader, which lets face it, no one wants!

Keep it short and sharp. We appreciate this can be really difficult when writing about a complicated subject, but if it’s possible, avoid waffle. Big long paragraphs will only turn a reader off. Keep it concise, with each paragraph consisting of 3-5 lines and only a few sentences. Plus, let’s not pretend that we haven’t all grimaced when opening a wordy 5-page document in the past!

Make it newsworthy. It’s funny what some people believe is newsworthy and what isn’t. But ultimately, if you take the time to write a release, you really need to stop and think about the best way to make the story appeal to a journalist. No one wants wasted manpower, which is what those few hours will be if you write a release that has no real story. Find a news hook and you will have your readers hooked!

Remember to proofread. Yes, it seems like an obvious one but you will be surprised at the amount of people who have succumbed to a grammatical slip up with an apostrophe or comma, or by those who have been tripped up by a spelling error, for which, there really should be no excuse (we hold our hands up to this too!)

Never underestimate the power of a quote. Pretty much any press release you see will consist of a quote. Quotes are a great way of putting forward what a client thinks about the topic, and often, a quote from someone high up will engage readers. If you look carefully, you will see many articles in newspapers feature quotes heavily, there is a reason for that!

Know your audience. It sounds a silly one but if you have a business story, write it for the business pages, if it’s consumer, put a consumer or human-interest spin on it and if it’s a blog post, it’s usually OK to write less formally. So remember, tailor your writing to the story and the audience.

Any finally, we love that writing is part of our day job, so remember, do as we do and enjoy it!

Victoria Henry, July 2015

Music, Comedy, Tragedy and Flasks – it must be the Festival.

August 3rd, 2015



Love it or be annoyed by it, Edinburgh has three – yes – three – world famous festivals starting on Friday 7 August. International, Fringe and Book. With literally thousands of events happening seemingly in the space of a few hours, and sometimes miles apart, what should the discerning cat trouble themselves to see?

It’s a tough job but our man Lee has trawled through the programmes, lists and mountains of virtual guides to recommend five things to see this year. Here’s what he has to say:

1. Starting off-piste with a concert that isn’t part of any of the festivals named above, our top pick is The Flaming Lips, who are taking over the wonderful Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens on 27 August. The Oklahoma psychedelic space warriors land for an open air show beneath the Castle. If you’ve ever seen the band live before you’ll know that this setting has just got to add to the surreal entertainment factor of their show. If you haven’t seen them before then brace yourself for dancing inflatables, puppets, glitter bombs, fake blood, Wayne walking out into the crowd in a giant ball and much more. Oh and they also play amazing music, drawing material from a 30 year back catalogue including their ‘Pet Sounds for the 90’s’ masterpiece ‘The Soft Bulletin’. http://flaminglips.com/tour
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Aridhia and Vancis join forces to bring combined cloud collaboration services to Netherlands medical research sector

August 1st, 2015



Aridhia, the pioneering Scottish clinical and translational informatics company, has announced a partnership in the Netherlands which it says will unite two of Europe’s leading providers of services to healthcare organisations, and expand Aridhia’s service to the country.

Following the success of Aridhia’s Research as a Service and translational informatics platform in the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme, and other European healthcare projects, Aridhia’s collaboration with Vancis is seen as a strong endorsement of the strength of the Netherlands’ research sector.
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SEP expands infrastructure team

July 27th, 2015

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Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) has further expanded its infrastructure team with the appointment of Romain Keyen as Associate and Adam Delaney as Director of Finance.

Romain Keyen is based in SEP’s London office and will focus on originating and executing new energy infrastructure investments. He previously worked with BNP Paribas Clean Energy and Glennmont Partners where he was responsible for the acquisition of clean energy assets across Europe.
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Meet Vickie, Hot Tin Roof’s newest cat.

July 22nd, 2015

As Victoria is the youngest cat and the most recent to join Hot Tin Roof we decided to ask her what makes Vickie tick?

Here’s what she said:

How did you end up working at Hot Tin Roof and how long have you been here?

I am the newest recruit at Hot Tin Roof, having only been with the company for 2 months. Hot Tin Roof had been on my radar for a while, so when I saw they were looking for an Account Executive, I was delighted and had to apply!

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Shot Scope Scores Investment to Manufacture Wearable Tech for Golfers in Scotland

July 19th, 2015



Scottish start-up Shot Scope announced today that it has received investment of £415,000 to launch its wearable performance tracking technology for golfers to the US and UK markets.

Business angel syndicate Equity Gap led the deal and was joined by two other investors, the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise – and the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture capital fund, Old College Capital.

Shot Scope will use the investment to build its team, complete product development and start manufacturing ahead of launch in January 2016 at the global golf industry’s annual gathering, the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida.

Shot Scope David Hunter 1


Aimed at golfers of all levels who want to improve their performance, Shot Scope’s patent pending technology automatically collects scoring and statistical data as a golfer plays. On completion of a round, data is uploaded to the Shot Scope website or mobile app where statistics, analytics and maps detailing every shot are displayed in a graphical user interface.

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Aquila Insight scoops key players from Co-operative and Acxiom as it scales up for growth

July 12th, 2015



The UK’s fastest growing data analytics company, Aquila Insight, today announced appointments in two newly created senior roles as it gears up for further rapid expansion in the second half of 2015.

Neil Carden joins from the Co-operative Group as director of business development, with Matt Hollingsworth leaving data specialists Acxiom to take a leading role as general manager of Aquila Insight’s growing London office.

Carden is a consumer and commercial heavyweight who has seen first-hand the power of evidence based decision making in a retail setting. As Insight Director at the Co-operative Group he developed its customer proposition through customer research and analysis, customer targeting and the measurement of marketing effectiveness.

Prior to joining the Co-operative Group, Carden held senior roles at a number of major companies including KPMG where he worked with UK banks to make investment decisions and deliver technical and culture change programmes. And at MasterCard he was responsible for the development of its consulting, information products and managed services businesses in the UK and Ireland as well as creating and leading its information and analytics proposition in Europe.

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CodeClan Scotland’s first digital software skills academy to open its doors in September

July 11th, 2015

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An ambitious plan to create Scotland’s first dedicated software skills academy is revealed today. Its aim is to produce wave after wave of software developers ready for work every 10 weeks, with the first cohort graduating in February 2016.

CodeClan, a coding school for web and mobile software development, is based on the success of the new breed of immersive academies around the world including Flatiron School in New York, Makers in London and Stackademy in Berlin.

The aim is to create a new generation of software developers that will allow Scotland’s vibrant digital sector to flourish and drive the economy. CodeClan will draw on an untapped resource of talented individuals who have an aptitude for coding but need a route into the industry.

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Funding boost for language app: Babbel raises $22 million

July 10th, 2015

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Global online language learning market leader completes Series C round and secures SEP as new investor

July 8th 2015, New York/Berlin – Babbel, the leading app for language learning, today announces the successful completion of $22 million investment round to drive further growth. The round is led by Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and supported by existing investors Reed Elsevier Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), and VC Fonds Technology Berlin managed by IBB Bet.

The investment will add momentum to the company’s impressive growth, while ensuring the continuation of its cutting-edge product development. Babbel has been profitable since 2011, with its mobile app now seeing up to 120,000 downloads per day. As the highest grossing language-learning app in both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, Babbel operates a subscription-based business model with a clear focus on consumers outside the realm of formal education. With its recently released app for Apple Watch, the company presents a strong vision for the future of language learning.



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Aridhia announces revolutionary mini-app technology to accelerate clinical application development following RStudio collaboration

July 10th, 2015



Aridhia enhances AnalytiXagility data innovation platform with rapid prototyping technology from the leading “R” language tools provider RStudio to accelerate the translation of precision medicine and biomedical research into clinical practice.

Aridhia, the pioneering clinical and translational informatics company, today announced a revolutionary “mini-app” rapid development solution specifically for clinical applications. The solution integrates the RStudio Shiny web application framework and Shiny Server Pro secure, performant application deployment platform to enhance AnalytiXagility’s collaborative workspaces.

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FanDuel Four Time Winners as ScotlandIS honours Scotland’s digital stars

June 18th, 2015

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ScotlandIS, the trade body for the digital technologies industry, today announced the winners of the fifth annual Digital Technology Awards.

The cream of Scotland’s digital technology companies attended the sold out event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 18 June, which celebrated the continuing success of the sector.

The big winners on the night were FanDuel who scooped four awards including the much-coveted Digital Technology Business of the Year gong, beating off competition from Edge Testing Solutions, Kotikan and Cooper Software to do so.

FanDuel were recognised for their exponential growth and success since starting in 2009. The Edinburgh based online fantasy sports technology business, which trades largely in North America, now has 225 employees in Scotland and the US. FanDuel also took the prize for Best B2C Technology Product/Service and Investment Deal of the Year, and were joint winners in the Outstanding Marketing Performance by a Tech company on the night.

Polly Purvis, Lesley Eccles and FanDuel team

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Aridhia’s Data Science Platform Used in €6 Million EU Project

June 17th, 2015



Aridhia’s data science platform AnalytiXagility has been chosen to underpin a €6 million oral healthcare innovation project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and the funding win demonstrates huge confidence in Aridhia’s data analytics capability.

During the four-year project, known as ADVOCATE, the Edinburgh-based company will work with 10 partners spanning academia, healthcare and industry across six EU states, to deliver an innovative, evidence-based oral healthcare model which optimises oral health and wellbeing.

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Investment of £1.2 million for renewable energy business Sunamp

May 22nd, 2015

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Sunamp Ltd, the renewable energy and heat storage business, announced today that it has received over £1.2 million of investment from private equity investors, in a two stage round led by Par Equity and Equity Gap. Investors include former SSE Chief Executive, Ian Marchant.

Sunamp designs and produces innovative heat storage batteries that help overcome the issue of energy wastage by storing excess energy as heat for later use. The company, which is based in East Lothian, was founded by successful technology entrepreneur, Andrew Bissell, and to date has been funded by a mixture of grants, loans and private investment.

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Abcodia secures funding of £5.25 million ($8m) to launch the ROCA® test for the early detection of ovarian cancer

May 18th, 2015

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• Two new investors, Cambridge Innovative Capital and Scottish Equity Partners join existing investors Albion Ventures and UCLB

• The investment enables the launch of the ROCA® test in US and UK in 2015, as well as the establishment of a US presence

Abcodia today announced that it has raised £5.25 million funding from existing and new investors to bring the world’s most sensitive and specific ovarian cancer screening test, ROCA® to market.

The financing was co-led by Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) and Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), who join existing investors Albion Ventures and UCL Business. Dr Robert Tansley, from CIC and Jan Rutherford, from SEP have been appointed to Abcodia’s Board.

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Alphabet Babies receives six figure investment to launch new literacy programme for early years learning

May 17th, 2015



Glasgow based start-up Alphabet Babies has received investment from business angel syndicate Equity Gap and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, which it will use to launch a second strand of its successful literacy and language learning programme, this time aimed at parents.

The original product, which has already been successfully taken to market, provides nurseries with learning programmes for 0-2 and 3-5 year olds. Using the investment of £104,000, Alphabet Babies will complete and launch a product for parents of young children wishing to experience fun learning times with their child at home.

Alphabet Babies 4 medium


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Digital Technology Award Entries Reflect Bouyancy of Scottish Digital Technologies Sector

May 13th, 2015

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Scotland has a thriving digital technologies industry, which is predicted to enjoy strong growth again this year. This vibrancy is reflected in the record number of entries received for the DigiTech Awards 2015 and the finalists are announced below, with well-known names and promising start-ups included in the shortlist.

ScotlandIS, the trade association championing the digital technologies industry are organisers of the awards. Delighted with the increased response to this year’s call for applications, Polly Purvis CEO of ScotlandIS, said: “Scotland’s digital technologies industry continues to grow year on year. Our latest industry survey findings show that nearly 87% of technology companies anticipate growth this coming year, with over 65% advising they are forecasting growth of over 10%. A buoyant industry in a buoyant mood indeed.”

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Graduates in demand with Scottish digital technologies industry set for further growth in 2015

May 11th, 2015

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New research from ScotlandIS is forecasting strong growth for the digital technologies industry in Scotland, with 83% of organisations planning to increase staff numbers and 86% of businesses expecting sales to rise in the coming year.

And there is good news for computer science students approaching their final exams, with high demand for graduates and 74% of organisations expecting to recruit in 2015.

The annual survey of 150 organisations, carried out on behalf of ScotlandIS by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, also found that Scottish businesses are undertaking a significant amount of international activity, with Europe, USA and Canada seen as the most attractive overseas markets for the second year running.

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Aridhia’s Chris Roche takes over as CEO

April 28th, 2015



Aridhia’s Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Chris Roche as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), succeeding co-founder David Sibbald, who takes up the role of Executive Chairman at the pioneering health informatics company.

“During this critical time of growth, there is no better person to lead Aridhia than Chris Roche,” says David Sibbald. “Chris is a proven leader with a deep understanding of data science, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His ability to rapidly scale data businesses and corporate experience is precisely what Aridhia needs as we enter our next chapter of innovation and growth.”

Roche joined the company in 2014 as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and over the last 12 months has brought a new commercial focus to the company as Aridhia transformed to a SaaS based business model.

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LEWIS to help Dynamic Earth show off its fun side

April 21st, 2015


Top visitor attraction Dynamic Earth has appointed Edinburgh design and digital agency LEWIS to deliver a full brand refresh and a 12-month marketing campaign to promote its fun and interactive features.

The win further strengthens LEWIS’s portfolio of tourism and leisure clients, which already includes, the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

The marketing campaign, which kicked-off at Easter and will run until the end of the year, will feature print, outdoor, radio and transvision advertising at Waverley Station. Campaign branding will also be featured on 10 taxis and a fleet of Lothian Buses during the summer months.

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Aquila Insight In the News

April 10th, 2015



Aquila Insight is a data analytics consultancy focused on extracting the maximum value from data and translating it into solutions that answer today’s big business questions. Aquila empowers its clients to make data-driven decisions by providing tools and support that enable them to measure, understand and utilise big data to their advantage.

What are you doing to narrow the skills gap?, Computing, 30 July 2015

Business cases emerge from growing pains of Hadoop 1.0, Computer Weekly, 21 July 2015

Aquila Insight appoints former Co-operative and Acxiom duo, DBM Today, 17 July 2015

Aquila Insight scoops key players from Co-operative and Acxiom as it scales up for growth, Edinburgh Science Triangle, 15 July 2015

Aquila Insight scoops livewires, Compute Scotland, 14 July 2015

Aquila Insight scales up for growth, Direct Commerce, 14 July 2015

Aquila Insight hires Co-op’s insight director, Research, 13 July 2015

Aquila makes key moves, The Herald, 13 July 2015

Carden takes new role at Aquila, The Herald, 13 July 2015

Data Analytics firm Aquila aims to boost London Staff, Scotland on Sunday, 12 July 2015

1 to Watch, Invest Edinburgh, 1 July 2015

Analytics firm Aquila Insight ‘to double’ sales,The Scotland on Sunday, 28 June 2015

Edinburgh entrepreneurs enjoy the buzz of working in city technology hothouse, The Herald, 15 June 2015

What Apple Pay means for British banks (and why it’s all about customer engagement), Wallblog, 11 June 2015

Rising Stars, Insider, 10 April 2015

Data attribution special, Marketing Week, 19 March 2015

West Lothian Chamber is leaving nothing to chance with ‘The Gaffer’

April 9th, 2015

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Cricketing legend Alec Stewart has been confirmed as keynote speaker at West Lothian Chamber’s Spring Dinner to be held on Thursday 30 April, in the Norton House Hotel, Edinburgh.

Affectionately known as the ‘gaffer’ of English cricket, Alec Stewart OBE, is the most capped England cricketer of all time.

He is an inspirational and charismatic after dinner speaker as Linda Scott, CEO of West Lothian Chamber explains: “Alec’s vast experience and the respect he commands in the sporting world will be hugely motivational for our members. Business leaders have long drawn inspiration from their sporting heroes and we are excited to have Alec join us and look forward to learning from him.”

With natural comic timing Alec will deliver a motivational speech entitled ‘Leaving Nothing to Chance’ which mirrors his approach of preparation and dedication.

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We are hiring – PR and Social Media Account Executive (full time)

April 7th, 2015

Creative thinker, plain talker, great writer, media junkie, good fun, massive energy. Is this you?

Hot Tin Roof is a dynamic, ambitious and independent PR agency. Fast and furious, we create iconic reputations for pioneering UK companies. We have a powerful reputation for getting results offline and online for our clients.

Creative, intelligent and determined, we run our campaigns with skill, imagination and honesty. Our absolute loyalty to our clients, the energy and the gritty single-mindedness with which we tackle every campaign is the secret to our success.

We are currently looking to hire a PR Account Executive who wants to fast track their career in an independent agency environment.

We want someone who will hit the ground running and is hungry to learn new things. You will be resourceful, creative and proactive.

For a more information or a job description email [email protected].

And to apply just send your CV (with your favourite film, book and icon) to [email protected] by Friday 17 April 2015. Interviews will take place on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 April 2015.

Cyberhawk appoints new Chief Financial Officer

March 29th, 2015

World leader in remote aerial inspection and survey, Cyberhawk Innovations, has appointed David McIntyre as Chief Financial Officer.

An experienced CFO and chartered accountant, David has held a number of positions in listed, multinational and start-up companies prior to his appointment at Cyberhawk. Most recently David was Finance Director for Maintenance Management Limited, a Private equity-backed business service company, where he helped to significantly increase shareholder value. David has also held posts as Director of Finance and Operations for Diageo/United Distillers, CFO – EMEA & Asia Pacific for Dialog Corporation (part of Thomson Reuters Group) and Group Financial Controller for Kwik-Fit Group.

David joins the senior management team at Cyberhawk at a time of substantial global growth and international expansion, following a £1.3 million investment from Scottish Equity Partners and the Scottish Investment Bank 18 months ago.

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West Lothian Chamber of Commerce launches campaign to help young people #getajob

March 24th, 2015

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West Lothian Chamber of Commerce today launched a new initiative to support 18-24 year olds in developing the skills necessary to succeed in interviews and secure employment.

Called #getajob, the joint initiative is being run by the West Lothian Chamber of Commerce, West Lothian College, the Department for Work and Pensions and JobCentre Plus.

The two-week programme has been introduced to improve interview and employability skills in West Lothian, and will work with groups of young people to improve their chances of success in job interviews. In a series of workshops over the first week, participants will tackle the main barriers to employment, assess their professional skills and develop their own personal brand. Following this, they will undergo an interview with a West Lothian employer and will then undertake work experience on site with the business.

Following the programme, participants will be assigned an employment mentor from the business community within our Chamber membership who will maintain regular contact to ensure ongoing aftercare.

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Aridhia sets its sights on US market with Craneware partnership

March 11th, 2015



Aridhia Informatics, the Edinburgh-based health informatics company, has announced a strategic partnership with fellow Scottish health tech pioneer Craneware as it targets the US market for the first time.

The partnership will enable Aridhia, which has healthcare clients throughout the UK, Australia and Kuwait, to offer its core services – collaborative analytics platform, data science services and app development capability – to Craneware’s extensive US client base. It represents a major opportunity for both parties to work together to help US healthcare organisations benefit from the acceleration and commercialisation of informatics solutions that focus on patient outcomes. A growing number of medical insurers are moving away from fee-for-service towards performance-based reimbursement and this is driving the requirement for informatics solutions.

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Cyberhawk Extends Global Footprint

March 11th, 2015

Following a £1.3 million investment from Scottish Equity Partners and the Scottish Investment Bank 18 months ago, Livingston-based Cyberhawk Innovations, is extending its global footprint with the appointment of two new Sales Managers in Asia and the Middle East. Chen Choon How, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has been appointed to grow the customer base in the Oil and Gas and Utilities sectors in South East Asia, while Ajay Sethi, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, has been recruited for the same role in the Middle East.

Cyberhawk is the world leader in industrial inspection and survey using Remotely Operated Aerial Vehicles (ROAVs) and has led the development of the industrial ROAV service industry, including achieving over 25 world firsts since 2008, including the first ever industrial ROAV inspection. Combining ROAVs, highly skilled pilots and engineering experts, the company provides close up inspections of hard to reach and live structures, in a manner that is faster, safer and more cost effective than ever before. Cyberhawk has completed projects for the “big six” Energy companies in the UK and all six Oil and Gas supermajors, conducting inspections and surveys on electricity networks, power stations, oil and gas sites and wind farms throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia & Africa.

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Angel investment will create new jobs and international trade for Spoonfed

February 22nd, 2015



Equity Gap announced today a £250K investment in catering software company Spoonfed. Based in Livingston, the startup will use the investment, which is co-funded by the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, to create new jobs and accelerate the internationalisation of their automated catering software.

Spoonfed launched in 2013 and already boasts a customer base that stretches across the UK, from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow to Birmingham, Manchester, and London, including high street bakery chains, independent sandwich retailers, outside catering businesses as well as institutional caterers such as universities and colleges.

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SEP Announces Promotions

February 9th, 2015

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Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) has announced three promotions in its investment team.

Gordon Beveridge and Tony Robison will both take up the role of Director. Angus Conroy has been promoted to Senior Analyst.
Gordon Beveridge, based in SEP’s London office, is one of SEP’s most experienced investment executives, and has a particular focus on IT software and services businesses.

Tony Robison plays a key role in SEP’s energy investments. He has over 20 years commercial and financial experience, having held senior management and board positions in a number of high growth, technology companies.
Angus Conroy has been with SEP for the last 3 years and his promotion reflects his increasing responsibilities within deal execution and support.

Calum Paterson, Managing Partner of SEP, said: “Our people, culture and values are integral to the excellent partnerships that we form with the entrepreneurs and management teams in the companies we invest in. I am delighted to announce these promotions, which underline the strength and depth of our investment team.”

Aridhia secures place on G-Cloud 6 framework

February 3rd, 2015



World-leading health informatics company Aridhia has successfully been awarded a place on the UK Government’s G-Cloud procurement portal for a second term, making its analytics platform, data science services, and app development capability widely accessible to healthcare providers and research collaborations.

The G-Cloud framework enables healthcare organisations such as NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to procure cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) systems and applications on a monthly subscription basis. This enables users to access Aridhia’s platform – AnalytiXagility – without the need for costly infrastructure investment and lengthy installation time.

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Hot PRedictions: The trends that will shape PR in 2015

January 5th, 2015


The first day back at work in January is the time for doing some forward planning. As well as updating our content calendars and project plans we’ve also been thinking about what might happen in our ever-changing industry over the coming year.

Having narrowed it down to four important areas, here are our top predictions:

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