Entrepreneurial Edinburgh – 5 Successful Startups From Scotland’s Capital

From the elegant geometry of the New Town to the volcanic splendour of the castle, Edinburgh’s an iconic city that sparks the imagination.

And it’s been an influential intellectual centre since the days of David Hume and Adam Smith.

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

But it’s also steadily built a reputation as a business hub for established commercial enterprises and budding business moguls.

London-bound businesspeople catching early morning flights are now joined by colleagues setting off on networking trips to New York and Dubai, with a huge new extension being built to meet increasing demand.

If you want a taste of entrepreneurial Edinburgh, here are five successful startups from Scotland’s capital city.

1. Skyscanner

Skyscanner website screenshot

When Gareth Williams founded travel search engine Skyscanner in Edinburgh in 2003, he can’t have foreseen that his fledgling firm would inspire a generation of entrepreneurs in its home town and beyond.

But it stacked up 50 million monthly users before being sold to Chinese travel giant Ctrip in 2016 for a cool £1.4 billion.

Skyscanner is still headquartered in Edinburgh and Gareth now spends some of his hard-earned cash backing promising businesses around Scotland.

2. Topolytics

Topolytics website screenshot

Real-time environmental monitoring and reporting platform Topolytics was founded in Edinburgh by Michael Groves and Will Egerton-King in 2013.

It’s since attracted a host of public and private sector organisations searching for reliable waste management tracking software that optimises the safe and efficient movement of commercial and industrial waste for recycling and disposal.

Backed by partners like The University of Edinburgh and Zero Waste Scotland, it’s won plaudits from TEDx and TechRepublic for its eco-conscious credentials.


FINDRA website screenshot

Female cyclist Alex Feechan launched bikewear brand FINDRA in 2014 and the Edinburgh outfitter now sells stylish and technical garments to customers around the world.

So if you’re hitting the open road on a dream cycling holiday, be sure to stock up on some of Alex’s awesome designs first.

The firm uses Merino wool from New Zealand that’s spun in Italy before being turned into clothing in the UK — a truly international operation.

4. Red Bus Bistro

Red Bus Bistro website screnshot

Alison Simpson launched Red Bus Bistro in 2016 with the aim of offering Edinburgh and Glasgow customers wonderful afternoon teas and cocktails on wheels.

If you’ve been looking for an alternative Edinburgh sightseeing tour, the search stops here.

Guests travel round town at a genteel pace on a vintage Routemaster bus while bonding over delicious scones, cakes and hot and cold beverages.

And this quirky business donates half of it’s profits to charity, so you’ll be doing a good turn while taking tiffin.

5. Looking4Parking

Looking4Parking website screenshot

Edinburgh Airport plays host to an eclectic range of retailers, from Scottish niche knitwear specialist Brora and Looking4Parking’s convenient and cost-effective service to high street stalwart Next.

These diverse businesses prove that Edinburgh still punches above its weight when it comes to inspirational and innovative commercial concepts for everything from transformative tech to cool clothing and catering.

These four successful startups from Scotland’s capital might convince you to take the plunge with your own entrepreneurial plans.

What’s your favourite Edinburgh business? Share your thoughts in the comments section.