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Before COVID-19 struck, many professional services firms were split into geographic or sector-based teams. Once everyone was forced to work from home, these companies began to see the benefits of moving work and resource between different teams, no matter where individuals were based.

This is good news for Edinburgh-based Dayshape, which has built an AI-powered platform for optimising project planning and resource management. “Companies have realised that it’s crazy to have one team overwhelmed with work while another, in a different location, has nothing on,” says Dayshape founder Andrew Bone. “Even smaller teams, who used to work purely on a regional level, are now being brought onto the platform because companies want them to work as part of the larger talent pool.”

Dayshape, formerly Airts, was the fastest-growing company in Scotland last year, and has taken the top spot for the region in 2020 too. “We have seen some good growth within existing customers,” Bone says. “We have expanded into other countries, and we are seeing growing interest from US firms.”

Dayshape secured one of its biggest ever deals just after lockdown was announced in the UK. “We were worried that the customer would get cold feet but that didn’t happen,” says Bone. “Resource managers were never more in demand than during lockdown, when staffing needs suddenly changed.”

To cope with the increased demand, Dayshape has almost doubled the size of its team over the past year to 45 people. Dayshape now has the processes and structure in place to cope with multiple customer implementations at once, he adds: “We did four in October.”

Historically, finding top talent within the local area had been a challenge; Dayshape faces competition from other fast-growth technology firms. This year, Bone tweaked the Dayshape recruitment model. “Our attitudes have changed,” he says. “We have hired people based around the UK, and are open to have more remote workers for other roles too.”

As headcount rises, Bone and his co-founder Dr Alastair Andrew have to work hard to maintain the company culture. “It all comes quite naturally when you’re in an office,” says Bone. “But now we can’t have team drinks and all that good stuff. So, the best thing about this year is how little we’ve changed, in terms of culture.”

When new people join Dayshape, they are given a buddy, explains Bone. “That role has now been formalised and is less about showing people where the kitchen is and more about checking in a few times a week.” The company has also introduced a ‘Virtual Donut’ initiative through its communication app, Slack. “It randomly pairs you with someone else in the company and you have a half-hour coffee together,” explains Bone. “It simulates the whole ‘bumping into each other in the kitchen’ thing.”

Bone has big plans for 2021. “We’re considering raising investment next year to feed the growth and we’re getting a lot of approaches from private equity at the moment,” reveals Bone. “We have an ambition to hit £200m valuation by 2025, which means doubling revenue every single year.”