There is an impressive tech ecosystem in most countries across the world today. Not all these ecosystems are as strong as London, New York, Singapore, or San Francisco though. After the pandemic global tech trends changed. Dramatically. London is still a leading tech hub, but cities like Edinburgh are climbing the rankings. One of the firms that hails from Edinburgh is Stellar Omada, a leading services provider to financial services.
Stellar Omada was in the news recently. BGF, backed by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and Standard Chartered, completed a £4.5m investment into the Edinburgh-headquartered firm. Some of the other tech startups that have called Edinburgh home include Skyscanner, FanDuel and FreeAgent.
Stellar Omada is known as the fastest-growing technology services business in Scotland. The core business is digital transformation, testing services, and programme delivery for clients in the financial services sector. These clients include leading banks, pension funds and investment managers. Additionally, the firm is known for its investment in skills development. In 2023, the ‘Stellar Academy’ will help over 100 young people increase their skills and practical experience in digital and technology.
This growth has been supported by non-executive chair Royston Hoggarth, who works closely with Colin Frame, CEO and Founder. Following on from the investment from BGF, Richard Pugh will join the board of Stellar Omada from BGF. A board already supported by financial services veterans Mark Smith and Russell Saunders. Positioning the company in a good place for future success.
To get a better feel of the culture at Stellar Omada, we spoke to Stuart Gilchrist. Stuart used to be a keen stock car racing enthusiast, where he met Colin many years earlier. Their friendship is one of the many reasons that Stuart decided to join Colin at Stellar Omada.
A little bit about why Stellar Omada is so different.
According to the Scottish Financial News Stellar Omada has been on a growth trajectory since it was founded in 2018. Each year the company has recorded growing revenues. It is also growing its headcount at an impressive rate too. That was 2022. 2023 is shaping up to be another successful year, Stuart assured us.
Stuart shared how one of the important objectives is to ensure testers at the team possess at least an ISTQB qualification, the leading software testing certification scheme worldwide. This is because the company is always striving to be compliant as well as ensuring continuous improvement, he added.
“Our strengths lie in all areas of testing,” Stuart explained. “And our change practice.” The latter which is an area of further development for the company as the needs of the market when it comes to cloud migration or business transformation increase. Trusted transformation partner is a better term, Stuart added.
Another area of growth, Stuart suggested, was in ‘dev resource’ as there is a challenge in Scotland to find talent. Azure and DevOps are popular areas that Stuart is seeing today.
Stellar Omada’s client-base is almost 99% financial services today, but tomorrow may see the company diversify into other innovative sectors too, Stuart shared.
The Culture at Stellar Omada
Stuart has known Colin, the CEO of Stellar Omada since they were both much younger. In fact, they first met through their common passion for motor racing. At the time, Stuart mentored Colin. Which led later in life to Colin reaching out to Stuart to join him in IT.
After a short period of contemplation, Stuart agreed and has been working with Colin ever since. “About 10 years now.” he added.
“It’s about the ethos at Stellar,” Stuart explained. “And how Colin runs the company. It’s about giving people opportunities. A chance to adapt and prove yourself.”
“Refreshingly frank,” is another description of the CEO.
Another thing that Stellar Omada is known for in the local market is its link with Hearts Football Club, but more importantly the Innovation Centre that the firm runs at Hearts Football Club. In May this year the firm announced it’s commitment to the Young Person’s Guarantee. By investing in innovation and developing young talent, the firm wants to introduce youngsters to the world of tech by getting them involved in exciting projects.
There will be more initiatives like this into 2024, Stuart added.
Stuart was on the client-side till about a year ago. Today he is working directly with Colin on some of the most important projects in the company. People engagements and project support are just some of the tasks that he is working on.
We hope to revisit the promising Scottish tech firm soon as the team prepares to scale up for 2024.
Author: Andy Samu