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Case Studies

Challenge 1: How Can We Improve Air Quality In Urban Areas?

Company: AirNode

Challenge Sponsor: SEPA

How did you hear about CivTech®?

I was googling for Air Quality modelling opportunities and CivTech® came up!

Why did you decide to apply for a CivTech® Challenge?

It was quite a technical challenge. It gave me opportunities within the public sector, the chance to find a very large client for my business, and access to decision makers in the area. It seemed an attractive enough proposition for me to relocate up from London. 

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

Guaranteed long-term viability of a product for my company.

Were those expectations met? If not why?

So far.

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

Demo day and being based alongside 8 other start-ups, exchanging ideas. The workshops, especially the one-to-one follow-up sessions.

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

Start-ups working inside Government.  

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

More commercial awareness, better at public speaking and nurturing opportunities.

Did you have any additional contracts / business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

Not yet, but I'm working on feasibility studies for different local authorities. Also working on other grants.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

Highlight tasks to a detailed level; evaluate all of the things you need to do to achieve the solution; and assess whether you have all the skills within your team.

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

It has allowed me to have a client that could contribute knowledge and experience to adapt the product to a higher-quality output.



Challenge 2: How can we make our flood forecasting information better used by a wider audience?

Company: RiverTrack Ltd

Challenge Sponsor: SEPA

How did you hear about CivTech®?

From presentations by the CivTech® team at several Edinburgh-based technology meet-ups, and then through social media, and the web.

Why did you decide to apply for a CivTech® Challenge?

Having seen the presentation at two separate events. The first time I read through the challenge details, I wasn't sure it was a good fit. The second time, I realised the air quality sensor + LoRa radio project I was working on at the time could also be applied to the community flood information challenge.

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

Working in a co-working space with the other teams; business mentoring and workshops; access to domain experts; and financial support to bring the concept design to a live pilot stage, with possible future support, if successful.

Were those expectations met? If not why?

Yes, although the co-working space and workshops took a little time to bed in, as some of the more established teams had existing office space, staff, and clients to organise.

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

Reaching the stage where the first sensors were ready to be deployed at live pilot sites, and start collecting data. So many things have to come together at the right time to make that happen smoothly.

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

The CivTech® Accelerator is a great way to bring innovation into the public sector, and allow young companies to access a sector usually off-limits.

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

Being able to work directly with SEPA, my challenge sponsor, has been of huge benefit in developing RiverTrack. I can't thank them enough for their support. The CivTech team have also been very supportive, and has invited many different domain experts through the doors that have helped shape the business.

Did you have any additional contracts / business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

Yes, CivTech® has led to a number of new business opportunities, and markets over the next 3 to 6 months.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

It's a great opportunity - what are you waiting for?

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

The high-quality mentoring, networking, and funding support has allowed RiverTrack to develop a robust, innovative, affordable product, and bring in expertise to grow the team and business.



Challenge 3: How can we get health and social care data and analysis to the widest possible audience?

Company: Symphonic Software


Challenge Sponsor: NHS NSS


How did you hear about CivTech®?

We had been talking to some government agencies who were getting excited about the CivTech® programme.

Why did you decide to apply for a CivTech® Challenge?

We strongly believed that we had a solution to some big government issues, and CivTech® was a great route to get a faster track on some specific challenges.

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

We weren't sure, as a pilot iteration, exactly how CivTech® was going to work out, but we were committed to making it a success for CivTech®, sponsor and ourselves.

Were those expectations met? If not why?

CivTech® has been a hugely positive experience for Symphonic, and the programme and the contacts gained have both been very useful in supporting our development.

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

The chance of working with a supportive and open-minded challenge sponsor has been great. In addition, the activities around company development have been thought-provoking and challenging (in the right way!).

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

It is refreshing to see CivTech® driving innovation in engaging SMEs with the public sector. I would advise any ambitious SMEs to consider how they can become involved.

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

We have gained a second public sector engagement, and have started a number of further discussions, purely through the buzz generated by CivTech® and the refining of our message.

Did you have any additional contracts/ business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

Yes. We have completed a proof of concept with Digital Directorate.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

Go for it. The environment is challenging but very supportive - it is an environment set up for success.

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

Our profile has improved, and our understanding of public sector has been deepened.



Challenge 4: How can we make our data publications more accessible and appealing?

Company: Wallscope


Challenge Sponsor: NHS NSS


How did you hear about CivTech®?

Tech meet-up at Codebase.

Why did you decide to apply for a CivTech® Challenge?

The challenge we applied for suited our technology solution.

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

More exposure for our solutions and networking.

Were those expectations met? If not why?

Yes, completely and the follow-on projects are accumulating.

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

The odd knowledgeable person who helped us with advice and encouragement!

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

A great opportunity for SMEs to enter a world normally off-limits to them and a shared experience of effective innovation.

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

Contacts to government agencies we would never have been able to make and even international exposure.

Did you have any additional contracts/ business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

Yes currently with Historic Environment Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, with more to follow.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

Make sure your solution can be practically applied to the challenge. Think big!

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

We have engaged with many different people from the academic, business and public sector and seen a growth in our own business, with the ability to employ extra staff. We fully expect the growth to continue for the foreseeable future.



Challenge 5: How can we use technology to design smart roads?

Company: X Design


Challenge Sponsor: Transport Scotland


How did you hear about CivTech®?

Invited to discuss by Alexander Holt and the team as as a digital company in Edinburgh.

Why did you decide to apply for a CivTech® Challenge?

We wanted to become a product company and this provided an opportunity blended neatly with the chance to do actual societal good.

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

We didn't have a lot of expectations, as it was so new. We generally hoped for a structure that would facilitate the creation of a product - and the involvement of the public sector.

Were those expectations met? If not why?

It was, in fact, much more structured than we had imagined, with far more content and support that anticipated. Also the general exposure to the public sector was much higher than anticipated.

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

The single best experience was the exposure to a group of people absolutely dedicated to getting things done. This is no small thing - it provided real momentum and drive for our own ambitions.

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

A combination of peers and mentors all together in a very tightly-focused network designed for start-up success.

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

Increased opportunities and attention through our experience in PR, speaking engagements and general interest. We had an easier recruitment process as well.

Did you have any additional contracts/ business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

We won some additional public sector work! Worth approximately £40k - with the strong possibility of additional work.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

Be prepared to make this your main focus. Have a plan for success.

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

We have now created a new company employing additional people and brought new skills and resources into the business. We strongly believe in what we have made with CivTech® and think it can become its own multi-million pound business.



Challenge 6: How Can We Promote Tourist Destinations Along the A9?

Company: Learn To Love Digital 


Sponsor: Transport Scotland


How did you hear about CivTech®?

Recommended by a friend.

Why did you decide to apply?

The challenges were meaningful and the solutions have the potential to improve the world through technical innovation. We really liked how the challenges were posed, the open videos and the start-up feel of the CivTech® Wiki, which felt like a new, open and fresh face for engaging with the public sector.  We felt the challenges and CivTech® team were genuinely open to new ideas and to working with a startup. So, we went for it.

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

We thought the relationship would be very positive. A huge amount of care was afforded to us from the start, i.e. once we had registered, we were asked to ensure we had everything we needed and if we had any queries. Little things like that set our expectations high. 

Were those expectations met? If not why?

Our high expectations were met and exceeded by the CivTech® team. The team are hugely experienced and shared their knowledge with us. They supported us through times when things were not going our way. They provided support and useful contacts along the journey. We got much more than we expected from any Accelerator or team. They are ace!

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

The realisation that we can make our enterprise work. A combination of positive experiences, encouragement, user testing, promotional support and maths!

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

A glimpse into how future societal and public sector problems will be solved!

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

Brand guidance, public speaking experience, usability mentoring, business mentoring, legal mentoring, presentation training, video-ing, social media, sound recording. The list is pretty long... 

Did you have any additional contracts/ business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

Yes - Transport Scotland confirmed. Also, promising meetings with Stirling City, Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Visitperthshire, to name a few.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

Go for it. Be brave and let your thinking do the talking!

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

CivTech® launched our business!



Wildcard Challenge: Using Tech to Enable Safer, Smoother Services


Company: Wallet.services


How did you hear about CivTech®?

During the Estonia visit to Edinburgh University and the Scottish Government.

Why did you decide to apply for a CivTech® Challenge?

We believed it was a good use case and wanted develop technology for Scotland.

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

To get a deeper understanding of how our technology could be applied within Government; the access to resources and people provided by the Accelerator that we couldn't achieve by ourselves.

Were those expectations met? If not why?

Yes, absolutely. 

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

Getting involved with government teams and learning about the practicalities of how things are delivered.  The Accelerator workshops were all good and we got a lot out of them.

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

SG looking to start-ups to innovate and accelerate the country's digital capability.

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

Meeting other interesting start-ups and companies. The connections with industry. A broadening of horizons of the Scottish digital landscape.

Did you have any additional contracts/ business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

Yes, still working on them.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

Make the most of the facilities and workshops and use the studio visits to widen your network.

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

It has allowed us to take the model and show it on a global stage.



Wildcard Challenge: Supporting homeless and low-income populations


Company: StreetChange


How did you hear about CivTech®?

From the CivTech® team. 

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

That it would provide the opportunity to accelerate our business growth.

Were those expectations met? If not why?

Yes.

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

Meeting Gareth Williams on the day he sold Skyscanner was special.

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

Challenging, but very beneficial to both the business and my own personal growth.

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

An opportunity to network with some incredible people.

Did you have any additional contracts/ business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

Financial Support from the John Lewis Foundation.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

Say hello to every visitor in the room. You never know what it could lead to...

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

The support has allowed us to form partnerships and take the platform to market.



Wildcard Challenge: Cyber security

Company: Diddo Ltd

How did you hear about CivTech®?

Through a friend. 

Why did you decide to apply for 

Two colleagues and I knew we could fulfil the requirements of the CivTech® challenge. We wanted to start our own company, but didn't really know how to go about it. This presented a perfect opportunity.

What were your expectations of working with CivTech®?

We didn't know what to expect. We knew it was a pilot project.

Were those expectations met? If not why?

Those expectations were met and exceeded.

What was the best experience in the Accelerator?

There is no single best part. It was an incredible experience. All of the different parts together made it great. Highlights included mentoring, workshops and fireside chats.

How would you describe the CivTech® Accelerator?

Ground-breaking. World leading. Innovative. Nothing short of Incredible.

What 'added benefits' did you experience through the CivTech® Accelerator?

The sheer exposure the companies get, and the rapid rate they acquire it (3 months) is amazing. In silo, this would take years to achieve.

Did you have any additional contracts/ business opportunities that occurred via CivTech®?

Several. In fact the majority of them. Diddo as a product is going to market as a result of connections made through CivTech®.

What advice would you give to future teams who are thinking of applying?

Do it. Don't question it. Just do it.

How has CivTech® furthered your business?

CivTech® not only futhered our business. CivTech® created our business.

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