The case for Edinburgh: FreeAgent
FreeAgent provides cloud accounting software for freelancers, contractors, micro-businesses and their accountants. SME spoke to CEO and co-founder Ed Molyneux about why he chose to set up in Edinburgh…
I started FreeAgent about the same time as I moved up to Scotland from London with my young family. I fairly quickly brought my co-founders Olly Headey and Roan Lavery on board, and although Olly still lived in London we considered ourselves an Edinburgh company because two of the three of us were here. Once we were up and running though, Olly did move up to join us.
In the very beginning we did occasionally wonder if we should have chosen London instead but I’m very glad we didn’t. Even back then Edinburgh was fast establishing itself as a thriving tech hub with many really impressive, successful businesses based here and host of great talent emerging from local universities. We’re delighted to have benefitted from that, but now it’s great that we’re also contributing to growing the momentum of Edinburgh’s technology ecosystem.
Because we’re not competing with the kind of high-churn, high-buzz Silicon Roundabout companies that we would be if we were in London, we’ve been able to encourage really talented people to move to Edinburgh and to hang on to them for longer. That’s really been one of the key reasons for our success.
A good city for start-ups must have solid infrastructure. You need to have access to reliable, high-speed broadband, obviously, and good transport links are also vital, otherwise you’ll struggle to attract potential investors. As a capital city with a busy international airport and a major railway hub, Edinburgh’s been a great location for us.
Lastly, Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From our office windows we have fantastic views of Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat, and there are quite a few who have joined our team whose decision to move north has been swayed by the city’s many virtues.