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Hindsight, as they say, is a wonderful thing.

As we move into the third decade of the century, it seems an ideal time to reflect on the last 20 years; a time of rapid change and discussion over the future of the economy, politics and the environment. 

However, there is also much to be said for foresight and we believe there are many exciting entrepreneurial opportunities that lie ahead.

There has never been a better time to try something new, because the best time is always NOW. 

If you have a new or existing business with potential for scalability, why not get in touch to find out how Elevator’s suite of Accelerators can launch you into the new decade? We’ve worked with some of Scotland’s most exciting entrepreneurs across a range of sectors and we’re looking for our next success story. Sound like you? APPLY TODAY!

Political and economic uncertainty presents challenges to all of Scotland’s existing or potential business owners; it is inescapable. The good news? Successful entrepreneurs aren’t always the ones who solve the problems they face. They often adapt or pivot. Every once in a while, they throw the rulebook away and disrupt an industry, entirely. 

Check out our shortlist of some of the World’s most successful and disruptive companies, all of which did not exist 20 years ago. (Naturally we’ve included some Scottish success stories in there too because, well, we’re biased).

One commonality among them is that the leaders of these companies have shown the ability to spot an opportunity and had the bravery to take advantage of it…


Scottish company Skyscanner has been helping people – worldwide, to get across the globe since it launched in 2002. 100million of us per month to be precise. It was one of the first companies to offer a comparison site for passenger flights, facilitating bookings by automatically searching airlines for the cheapest option and presenting them to users quickly and clearly. The easy-to-use platform is widely adopted among those aged 16-34 and has grown its annual revenues to over £250million. Anyone for some frugal flying?


Predictable, we know. But you cannot underestimate how disruptive this company has been since it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. (Whether the impact has been positive or not is another matter!) Initially launched as a platform for students at Harvard University to ‘network’, it now has 2.45 billion users worldwide - around a third of the global population. It is one of the best examples of a ‘non-generator’ media company, which puts minimal focus on the production or creation of media and instead encourages user generated content. The Company’s total assets are more than $97billion, which in GDP* terms means that if it were a country it would the 90th richest in the world.
*Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period.

Dating apps had been around for a while before Tinder came onto the scene in 2012. What sets it apart is a gamified ‘double opt-in’ platform allowing users to connect using an innovative ‘swipe motion’ user interface. Combined with a Facebook plugin, which populates user profiles using existing Facebook profile information, adoption of the platform accelerated rapidly and clearly demonstrated the power of a well-designed user experience. Interestingly, former Tinder Vice-President, Whitney Wolfe Herd, went on to launch another dating behemoth – Bumble – which is now valued at over $1billion!

It is not unusual for Scottish alcoholic drinks brands to be internationally successful. We’ve been exporting the world’s best whisky for centuries! What is unique about Aberdeenshire-based brewery, BrewDog, is its ‘punk’ attitude to marketing. Founders James Watt and Martin Dickie felt that the beer industry had gone stale and was primed for disruption. They were right! Launched in 2007, armed with little more than a desire for great tasting beer, the duo sent shockwaves across the UK market using a unique product portfolio and a marketing strategy which welcomed controversy. Since, they have taken the Company global and seen its revenue soar to over £180million. Cheers to that!

The most recently launched business on our list is Kylie Cosmetics, founded by American media personality, Kylie Jenner. Since 2015, Kylie Cosmetics has grown to an estimated worth of $900million and Jenner is widely considered to be the youngest ‘self-made’ billionaire, ever. That accolade is disputed by some, but what cannot be debated is Jenner’s clever use of social media to promote her brand and product portfolio. Jenner is the definition of the term ‘social media influencer’ and in an industry dominated by multinational conglomerates, she broke the mould by spearheading her own cosmetics empire that will likely become a 'unicorn’ business in 2020.

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