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Grant set to help Scottish IT company fast forward growth

A Scottish IT start-up has been awarded a £220k grant to create 24 jobs over the next 18 months.

Odro Ltd, which has been helped by Business Gateway Lanarkshire, secured the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) award from Scottish Enterprise and is now actively seeking new sales and marketing personnel to join its strong team.

Director Bill Scouller, who set up the online video conferencing and business collaboration platform four years ago, believes the investment will help his firm increase its turnover by 700% to £800k and its current client base of 30 businesses to 400 over the next 12 months.

He said: “Our aim is to be turning over £2m in two years’ time and the RSA grant helps us get into a position where that is going to be more than achievable. No matter how brilliant your idea, it is tough starting an IT business, and without advice from Business Gateway and the funding and support from Scottish Enterprise we would not have survived.

“Our Business Gateway adviser’s knowledge, advice and contacts have helped us realign our strategy, take on new premises and staff and secure essential funding. He also pointed us towards Scottish Enterprise. The support we have had has been second to none, and would not have been available to us anywhere else but in Scotland.”

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said: “I am delighted that Scottish Enterprise, together with Business Gateway, have been able to support Odro Ltd as they grow and expand their base in Glasgow and take on new staff. This is an excellent example of a company looking at innovative ways for how they can expand, building on their expertise in the use of video technology, and I wish them all the best for the future."

Our Business Gateway adviser’s knowledge, advice and contacts have helped us realign our strategy, take on new premises and staff and secure essential funding.

Paul McIlvenny, Business Gateway, said: “Bill has set up a company that is scalable, has international appeal and, as far as possible, aims to recruit young graduates to help drive the business forward. Over the past year, he has received website development support, assistance with Intellectual Property rights, advice on sources of funding and we have also signposted him to other oganisations that can help the business grow.”

Adrian Gillespie, Managing Director of Growth Companies, Innovation and Infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise said: “We are delighted to support Odro Ltd as it expands its Glasgow base and that our investment will help the company create more jobs in Scotland. This marks an exciting time for the business, with the landmark move to new premises and the global opportunities ahead.”

Having set up Odro in 2012 from his home in West Lothian, Bill, the former Chief Executive of Glasgow Solicitor’s Property Centre, initially designed the software to help with dispute resolution. However, its full potential became clear after a law firm, which specialised in personal injury claims, asked to use it to ‘meet’ with clients unable to travel.

In the meantime, Bill knew he had to create a dynamic team to achieve growth and Marc Beeby, Technical Director formally joined the business together with Ryan McCabe who joined as Managing Director.

Realising the technology could solve a raft of communication problems, Bill began speaking to companies across all sectors who quickly saw the benefits of the application. Now, clients, which include Cambridge University Press, Leading Figures, and French Duncan, use Odro’s technology to speak with clients and employees throughout the UK - and across the globe – on a daily basis.

In September, the company moved from its base in Strathclyde Business Centre, Motherwell, into Glasgow’s Templeton Building, giving it the space needed to accommodate its projected growth.

Bill said: “Realising the software had wider applications, and that it could help businesses collaborate, reduce costs, save time and lower their carbon footprint was the Eureka moment. Unlike commercial video conferencing apps we are a business product, offering unparalleled security and quality. There is no plug-in or download, all people have to do is click on the virtual meeting room that is integrated onto our client’s website and away they go. It’s immediate and simple.

“Up until now, businesses have been slow to adopt video due to unreliability, but because we are constantly monitoring bandwidth even if the connection goes down the audio remains until we can bring the video back up, offering consistent, reliable meetings at a touch of a button.”

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