ONE of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing technology companies, UserTesting, is to open its first international office in Edinburgh in a move that is expected to employ more than 100 in three years.

The San Francisco-based firm said it is blazing a tech trail in Scotland after firms like Skyscanner and Tesco Bank contacted it in the US.

The venture capital-backed company says it believes other US firms will follow its lead and secure a European base in Edinburgh to utilise the talent pool around the growing tech sector.

UserTesting has over $100 million in venture capital backing including from Accel and OpenVie, and revenue is expected to reach $100m this year. Growing by over 30 per cent year on year, its European and UK clients also include, Trainline, Thomas Cook and Experian.

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It has a network of testers, or panellists, who, for a small fee, road-test companies’ apps and provide detailed feedback to make up a video of their reactions and responses which then become part of a customer satisfaction map.

Andy MacMillan, the American chief executive of UserTesting, said: “We are a high growth venture-backed technology company.

“What the business is around is this idea of helping companies get what we call human insight.

“We describe human insight as the ability to hear and see and feel what your customers experience when they use your products or services.

“If you think of the trend right now around big data, lots of companies are going through digital transformation, banks are moving to mobile apps and people are shopping on their phones, and we collect a lot of data about what people do.

“But along with data what we think is missing is that people still need to talk with their customers, they need to understand maybe the experiences of people that come from a different background or a different demographic than they are."

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He said: “What we do is we help companies do that in scale, so if you are a technology team building a mobile app maybe you want to see what it’s like for folks that are retired to use your device or maybe you want to connect with newlywed mothers, and find out what it’s like for them to use your mobile app and we can connect you with those folks and help you run a test and get feedback on the experience.

“You will get a 10 or 15-minute video of the target audience, so maybe you want 10 people who bank at a competitor who have a checking account who make at least a certain amount who are interesting in doing online banking. What you get back is a video where you are actually seeing the person’s screen, they are narrating the experience.

“You get that back as a video and you can share that around your company.

“You can imagine having your engineering team or your marketing team watching a series of clips or videos and saying ‘now I am building empathy with our customers and understand what their needs are, I understand what they like or don’t like about our experience’.”

The business already has about 10% of its customer base in Europe, and of that, about 60% is in the UK.

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Mr MacMillan said: “We have big brands like Trainline and Skyscanner and Thomas Cook and folks like that are already customers who were basically finding us on their own and calling us up in the US and becoming customers over the phone. What we really want to do is be closer to those customers.”

Its Human Insight Platform will be further developed in its first international base, Bruce Hunter, UserTesting’s regional vice president, Europe, who is Scots, said.

He added the Edinburgh move signals a shift from a “reactive to proactive” approach, adding: “There’s huge opportunity for us to grow fast.”

They said the US tech community is being quietly drawn to Scotland. Mr MacMillan said: “That is our expectation, that we are early on a trend and this is going to be a major tech centre, both Edinburgh and Glasgow, the whole corridor.”