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From founder’s bedroom to £700m auction for Fife software firm

Horisk founder Brian Horisk.
Horisk founder Brian Horisk.

A Fife software development consultancy set up in its founder’s bedroom continues to thrive two decades on.

Horisk Leslie Development specialises in developing databases, websites, web applications and mobile apps.

Managing director Brian Horisk had previously worked in IT in publishing and manufacturing before starting the business in 2001.

Mr Horisk, who stays at Torr of Forret, Cupar, reflected on taking the plunge.

He said: “My initial goal was only to make a living – not build a company.

“Taking on our first employee was far more nerve-wracking but once we’d done it once, it became much easier.”

Mr Horisk’s business partner, Iain Leslie, joined in 2004.

‘We punch above our weight,’ says Fife software boss

Now, the team also includes three full-time staff as well as a couple of associates.

Horisk Leslie Development currently has around 30 customers at home and abroad.

The managing director said: “When I started the business, I didn’t imagine gaining the type of customers we currently have.

“We’re a relatively-small company in this sector, but we punch above our weight.

“We’ve been able to prove organisations can trust us not only to deliver their projects, but also maintain them.

“Our customers are increasingly large public-sector organisations – such as Crown Estate Scotland.”

Horisk Leslie developed the web-based bid scoring, analysis and process management platform for the £700m ScotWind seabed rights allocation process.

ScotWind is the mechanism that allows developers to secure areas of seabed for wind farms.

Scottish Procurement and Historic Environment Scotland are also customers.

Brian said: “We work with universities, including the University of St Andrews, Scottish SPCA and private companies. But we still work with local businesses and some of the small companies we started with.”

Future opportunities for Horisk Leslie

Mr Horisk said there is a lot of potential for the business to grow.

He added: “Lots of companies are relying on antiquated systems or cobbled-together spreadsheets – which work, but are inefficient and lead to lots of re-keying and potential for error.”

He said his firm could replace that system with a one which would be more modern and tailored to the firm’s needs.

It would be more user friendly and give management a much better overview of what’s going on.

Brian Horisk hopes his Fife software firm can attract new customers across the UK.

He said there is also scope to widen the firm’s geographical reach too.

“We’ve mostly concentrated on Scottish customers,” he said.

“Now clients are used to working remotely there’s no reason we can’t do the same job throughout the rest of the UK.”

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