THE name was chosen to reflect the bold step into the unknown its founder took in setting up his own business. With each passing year, however, the decision by entrepreneur Andrew Dobbie to establish Glasgow digital agency MadeBrave in 2012 would appear to owe at least as much to leadership and commercial acumen than courage alone.

Not that the circumstances Mr Dobbie found himself in when he launched the firm should be taken lightly. After all, the one-time creative director of Midgibyte Creations recalled in a previous interview with The Herald that he had just £1,000 in the bank and a newborn to feed when he brought MadeBrave into the world.

But its success since has arguably surpassed even his most optimistic forecasts.

The most recent accounts for MadeBrave, whose 100-plus clients range from Beam Suntory to IBM, saw it turn over £1.1 million, up 15 per cent on the previous year. This year it expects to lift that to at least £1.5m and the signs are there is plenty of more growth to come, not least because of its burgeoning activity in the drinks industry.

Mr Dobbie, a self-confessed whisky enthusiast, said Scotch is proving to be fertile territory for MadeBrave, now based at The Albus in Glasgow’s east end. Noting that its most recent client wins include Hunter Laing, the luxury whisky blender and bottler now developing its first distillery at Ardnahoe on Islay, Mr Dobbie said: “I’ve just created a new start-up

– I’m going to be building an app for whisky collectors. We’re very interested in the drinks industry

– we understand it and get it, and the team work well in it.”

Meantime, a partnership with Google, initially involving Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government, has led to MadeBrave developing a growing digital training arm, after each initial session it held with the tech giant at the Mitchell Library was over-subscribed. The MadeBrave-hosted talks were the most attended of the Google Digital Garage series in

the UK, which Mr Dobbie feels

is a major vote of confidence in the city’s “digital community”.

More events with Google are planned and Lloyds Banking Group has agreed to run similar events in partnership with the internet giant. “It has also led on to us working with SCDI (Scottish Council for Development and Industry) to train their members,” Mr Dobbie said. “It’s definitely opening a new stream of revenue for our business. The training and workshops is something I didn’t predict at the beginning of MadeBrave, but it’s going to be a big part of this year coming.”

He added: “It’s done great things for us, having that association with Google. Seeing brands like Google spending time in Scotland is good for us as well. It is definitely good for the industry and it will only help attract more of the same with other brands looking as well.”

Mr Dobbie is enthused by the general buoyancy of the tech scene in Scotland, highlighting the strength of the talent and ideas coming through.

“Scotland is a really great place for a creative or tech business to start and thrive,” he said. “There is a lot good support as well from government bodies [such as] Scottish Enterprise and the infrastructure we have here really helps in that start-up environment.”

He shares the concerns expressed by others in the tech industry, though, that a “hard Brexit” and an end to the free movement of labour across the EU could present difficulties to some in the sector in Scotland.

Larger companies with specialisms, such as animation, may be affected, he said, because they have to bring in talent from the EU. This is simply because the skills do not exist in sufficient numbers here. “We don’t see the effect of that quite the same,” Mr Dobbie said. “There’s plenty of designers [and] account managers. Generally, people always struggle to find developers. If this barrier is there where it makes it harder to pull in that the kind of talent, it will have an impact on the digital economy here.”

Yet Mr Dobbie has his eyes fixed firmly beyond Scotland too. He recently set up a bridgehead for MadeBrave in London to take advantage of the opportunities the city has to offer, and give it the headroom to grow.

He is currently spending two to three days per week in the office, which will be the major focus for MadeBrave this year. “When you get to a certain team size here in Scotland, it makes sense to start looking south of the Border as well,” he said. “There’s more opportunity [in London]. It just makes sense to widen the net a little. We do already work with clients in London. We’ve established a strong brand here, we now want to do the same south of the Border.”

Despite his agency’s relentless ascent – its headcount is poised to expand to 30 following its successful Seven Jobs In Seven Days campaign – you won’t find him working at the weekends. That is time devoted to his five-year-old son.

Time is also set aside for the brother he only discovered he had when he was 24. Mr Dobbie, who was adopted at birth, has since struck up a close bond with Ryan O’Rorke, with whom he shares a birth mother. Mr O’Rorke owns the online food discovery business Flavourly and the two mentor each other. “We get on great now – you would think we had always known each other from birth,” Mr Dobbie said. “It has been a really nice addition to life.”