Software investment

BGF invests £2.3m in data firm Optima

Alan Crawley
Alan Crawley: expansion plans

Optima Partners, the Edinburgh-based data science consultancy, has received a £2.3m investment from BGF.

The funding will help the nine-year-old firm scale its software and take its 44-strong payroll to 100.

It has achieved 55% year-on-year growth, delivering £5.75m in full year revenue at the end of June.

Karen Thomas-Bland has been appointed non-executive chairman. Her former roles include partner of strategy and transformation at IBM Global; executive director of strategy & transformation at KPMG; and providing buy side investment assessment for Accenture and EY.

Optima has additional offices in London and Bristol and offers design-led customer and digital transformation services to clients across the customer, carbon and health sectors.

Using machine learning, the company identifies opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of customer engagement, marketing and servicing to maximise client return on investment.

Alan Crawley, chief executive, said: “BGF’s investment will help us scale our business, allowing us to serve more customers. Enhancing the application of advanced data sciences, alongside the practical application of AI and machine learning, are other key pillars in our growth and expansion plans.

“Karen’s appointment as our Non-Executive chair will be of great value given her considerable consulting and data science expertise. We are grateful for BGF facilitating the appointment through its Talent Network

Euan Baxter, investor at BGF, said: “Optima Partners uses data and machine learning in a way that can revolutionise marketing and customer experience, and this investment from BGF is designed to help the business achieve further scale.

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“Rooted in Edinburgh as a centre of data excellence, the company has built on strong academic foundations to prove its credentials through innovative work with some of the biggest names in financial services, energy and pharmaceuticals.”

Optima Partners has long-standing ties with academia with an office at the University of Edinburgh and strong links in the business school and medical genetics.

Ms Thomas-Bland added: “Optima Partners’ approach combines key elements of my previous consulting and data science expertise, so as soon as I was introduced via BGF’s Talent Network, it felt like a natural fit.”

It leads a consortium including academic colleagues and a leading pharmaceutical business driving innovation through advanced mathematics and software development in early phase drug discovery.

BGF’s investment in Optima Partners follows a record year in Scotland, having invested close to £60 million in 2021 in a diverse range of sectors, from technology to healthcare to consumer goods.

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