ADMINISTRATE, the fast-growing Edinburgh software firm, has prised a sought-after industry expert from FanDuel to become its chief technology officer, while warning that a vote to leave the European Union would be a devastating blow for Scottish start-ups.

The company, whose training management solution is used by companies such as learndirect and PwC, has landed a major coup by recruiting Andrew Williams from FanDuel.

Mr Williams was the co-founder of Kotikan, the Edinburgh-based mobile apps developer acquired by FanDuel last year. He helped build Kotikan, whose clients included Skyscanner, Standard Life and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, into a £2.4 million turnover business employing more than 60 before the buyout last July.

Mr William’s appointment comes as Administrate targets adding 15 engineers to its 40-strong headcount this year as it seeks to build on the growth it is seeing in the UK, US and other international markets.

Mr Williams is the latest big technology hitter to join Administrate since it began revamping its senior executive team since the start of the year, following a third fund-raising round in December. Derek Gardner, the former head of finance at Edinburgh-based Skyscanner, joined as chief financial officer in January. Administrate, whose backers include the Archangels angel investment syndicate and Scottish Investment Bank, also brought in Troy Michels, formerly chief technology officer at South Florida-based healthcare technology firm Sentry Data.

Chief executive John Peebles said: “We’ve been really excited by the entire executive team we have managed to recruit since the beginning of January, which is off the back of the funding round that we did in December.

“We knew we needed to bring in additional experience, particularly on the tech and product side but really across the business to help us grow, because we are growing very quickly. Andrew in particular was somebody we felt that, locally, when you look out across Scotland, I can’t imagine a better CTO to come on board at the company.

“It was a very difficult recruitment. He had a lot of suitors, all of which were much more attractive than me. But I think he felt the opportunity we have here, and our mission of making customers’ lives better and building an amazing place to work, was something… he wanted to further.”

Mr Peebles’ described the Administrate solution as a tool to help companies “track, define and deliver” the training they give employees, or the training it provides to clients.

The company, which spun out of a Fort William training business around five years ago, has more than 270 customers in 30 countries, and recently opened an office in Montana in the US. All but two of its 40 staff are based in Edinburgh.

Mr Peebles said being part of the European Union had brought the company many benefits in its early days, including grants from Europe and freedom to hire staff, and fears a Brexit is likely to deny other start-ups those advantages.

Noting that the firm is “thrilled” by the fact it has 13 nationalities on its books, including many from within the EU, Mr Peebles said: “It’s a relief when we don’t have to go through a complex, expensive and frankly scary visa process that we have to do with some.

“Half of our workforce is foreign. The wonderful thing about Scotland is that we can attract these people to Edinburgh and Scotland in general.

“We get huge support from Scottish Enterprise and SDI (Scottish Development International) and a lot of that is European money, and people forget about that. I just think when you look at the bare facts of the challenges that face most start-ups – it’s people, investment, support and a market you can play in efficiently, and that’s about to be taken away by this vote. I think it can really damage companies in ways that are hard to understand.”