How Glasgow has been a launchpad for Swipii’s success
November 19, 2015
Over the years, Glasgow has produced its fair share of start-ups and innovative businesses. Swipii, the award winning loyalty program created by two University of Strathclyde graduates is just one example. Here, Andrew Bruce, Swipii’s Marketing Manager, looks at how Glasgow has been the launchpad for the company’s success…
Glasgow has always been a city of innovation and enterprise. An important city in the Scottish Enlightenment and a vital centre of the Industrial Revolution, Glasgow became one of the wealthiest and most important cities in Europe and the British Empire. The mills may have gone, the shipyards closed and the factories silent, but Glasgow is remaking itself as a world-class destination punching well above its weight.
Our start-up, Swipii, launched in the summer of 2014 in Glasgow. Our co-founders Chitresh from Raipur in India and Louis from Paris met whilst studying at the University of Strathclyde, attracted to the city by its reputable business school and low cost-of-living. During their year of study they came up with the idea of an iPad-based CRM and marketing platform for independent retailers. They managed to secure investment from a renowned local tech investor to develop their idea.
When you scratch below the surface Glasgow has a wealth of support opportunities for new businesses. Early in our development we were able to take advantage of the Start Up Grant, the Glasgow New Business Fund and the Commonwealth Graduate Fund from Glasgow City Council which helped us launch, move into our own office and take on our first employees. Even once we moved beyond the early stages of our company, Scottish Enterprise was great in supporting us for the next stage of our growth. Another huge help to us was the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, we won £10,000 after being chosen as their ‘Best New Venture’ which was one of the first big validations of our idea and really gave us a great kick-start.
Although Glasgow lacks a central incubator as prominent as Codebase in Edinburgh, we have a strong network of incubators, including DEG, based in The Hub at Pacific Quay – the one which we were accepted into – as well as new collaborative spaces such as RookieOven and The Whisky Bond. Glasgow also has a strong education sector with the University of Strathclyde being named Entrepreneurial University of the Year and runs a good support programme through the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network. We have a lot of skilled talent coming out of our universities, and labour and property costs are lower here than in other cities, yet we still have a high standard of living.
Swipii operates in the hyper-local retail space and the trends we have seen is the slow return of focus on local entities. City economies and identities are becoming stronger, people are looking more critically at their immediate communities and Glasgow is ahead of the curve in building a base for this coming change – things are heading in a positive direction and there’s many reasons for businesses to set up in the city.
The people of Glasgow are also a boost for businesses setting up here. Glaswegians can be a sceptical bunch – honest feedback really helped us hone both our product and our business acumen. “If you can sell in Glasgow, you can sell anywhere” is an actual quote of what we were told by a London investor! However, Glaswegians are also keen to give people a fair go, and to try new things. Although it might not seem apparent (we’re a self-deprecating bunch), there are few other cities with as much civic pride as Glasgow and people really champion businesses born here. All of this together has given us the launchpad to grow rapidly to over 135,000 users of our product in less than a year and we’re excited about what the future holds for both Swipii and Glasgow as a creative hub for business.
Andrew Bruce is Marketing Manager at Swipii, the award winning and easy-to-use loyalty program you can find and use at all your local businesses with a single card or phone app. Like them on Facebook Swipii , follow on Twitter @Swipiicard or follow on LinkedIn Swipii Labs. For more information, contact Andrew via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 343 8169.
Image source courtesy of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise