This is Dayshape’s third consecutive year in the Technology Fast 50 rankings, and its third year as Scotland’s fastest-growing company.
Edinburgh-based Dayshape, formerly Airts, has built an AI-powered platform for optimising project planning and resource management. Founded in 2013 by Andrew Bone and Dr Alastair Andrew, it works with some of the biggest professional services firms in the world to manage people and projects.
To date, most of Dayshape’s growth has been achieved by increasing uptake within existing clients. Bone explains: “We will start with a client in one country and then we’ll expand across all territories and departments.”
Dayshape’s international expansion is particularly focused on the US, and Dayshape has started to hire overseas to support this growth. “Dayshape was selected by a mid-sized US firm earlier this year,” says Bone. “We still haven’t met them – we did the whole deal remotely - so I’m excited to see what a team based out there can do.”
The fast-growth firm is now moving to target smaller practices too. “We’ve worked hard on our implementation process,” says Bone. “We can’t afford to have massive implementations for every new customer and making the process more efficient makes it economically viable to work with smaller customers. What used to take us up to nine months now takes three.”
The main barrier to adoption of the AI aspects of Dayshape’s platform is human psychology, Bone reveals. People can be uncomfortable with automation, and afraid of the impact it could have on their role in future. “We have created functionality that helps build trust,” he explains. “Rather than expecting users to delegate full control to the system, we now give them the option to start small and build trust in the system gradually.”
“The success of a Dayshape implementation is all about winning hearts and minds,” he continues. “People will find ways to work around new systems if they feel forced to use them, so it’s vital that we engage users in the right way so that adoption is high and our customers get the maximum value from their investment.”
Dayshape, like many technology companies, has moved to a virtual-first working model. Just a quarter of the company’s 60 staff are in the Edinburgh office on any given day. “Being predominantly virtual has benefits as we can broaden our search for talent,” Bone says. Everyone in the company has share options, one of the measures Dayshape has implemented this year to retain staff and give everyone a vested interest in the success of the company. “We try to treat people really well,” adds Bone. “We are proud to say that we usually offer someone a raise before they come asking for one.”
Last year, Bone forecasted that Dayshape would hit a valuation of £200m by 2025. Has the enduring impact of the pandemic changed his view? “We lost at least 9 months of business development as our primary market focused on the immediate challenges of COVID. So we could still get there but it’s more challenging,” he admits. “However, in the long term the move to remote working is a positive as it creates more of a need for resource management products such as Dayshape.”