A GLOBAL people development business based in Dundee is seeking new acquisition opportunities after growing operating profits almost 50 per cent last year to more than £14m.

Insights Learning & Development was founded in 1993 by former merchant banker Andy Lothian and his father Andi Lothian, a former showbiz agent for stars including The Beatles and Eric Clapton.

In 2017, the company bought Stirling-based mobile app developer Dogfish Mobile, also a family firm, started in 2009. Now rebranded as Vidatec, the business is focused on developing apps that can make a difference in areas including health, wellbeing and working culture.

“How can we make technology additive in ways that improve people’s lives rather than getting in the way?” asked Andy Lothian, Insights Group chief executive. “That’s quite an exciting adjacency for our core business. We are looking at ways to find other adjacencies that we can acquire to add to the group.”

Insights employs almost 600 employees in 18 countries, including Turkey, Ukraine, Norway, Germany, France, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Last year the company opened new offices in Australia and India and is also growing its Asian business from its base in Singapore.

“North America is also incredibly exciting,” Mr Lothian added. “I think there’s a thirst for the things that we do and there’s huge potential in the US.”

In the last financial year, the group grew operating profits 47% from £9.8m to £14.4m, on turnover up 29% from £53.5m to £68.9m. Mr Lothian said revenue growth for the business was more than double the industry standard growth rate of around 11%. Internationally, Insights said it was averaging more than 40% year-on-year growth.

Andy Lothian will be one of the speakers at this year’s Entrepreneurial Scotland Annual Summit. Now in its 24th year, the event at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire is the nation’s ‘go to’ gathering for entrepreneurs and disruptors.

Asked about his view of politics in the UK and US, Mr Lothian said that, in a world of disruption, part of the solution was rediscovering that we’re human beings.

“I think politics could do with more of that and I’d love to see more respectful human politics,” he added. “Politics can sometimes be a distraction for entrepreneurs. What they need to be doing is getting on and delivering value for their customers. People ask me what I think about Brexit or Scottish independence. But as an organisation, we have to be prepared for anything that the political world throws at us. I would love to see our politics discovering humanity more.”

Insights’ client list features global brands including Microsoft, Nike and Heineken and public sector agencies looking to improve teamwork, communication, leadership and productivity.

Mr Lothian was born in Dundee and holds a number of key civic roles, including being chair for ten years of Dundee Heritage Trust, which looks after Captain Scott’s ship, the Discovery, and has been a key protagonist in the city’s waterfront regeneration.

“The V&A is the achievement that’s held up as a talisman,” Mr Lothian said. “But that’s only the beginning. It’s amazing what’s possible if a group of committed citizens get together to create a new future.”

There are challenges including deprivation, addiction issues and long-term unemployment. But Mr Lothian says he is an eternal optimist who strives towards positive change.

“And the same applies to Scotland,” he added. “There’s that Scottish zeitgeist of – don’t get above yourself. Let’s look for all the reasons it won’t happen. There’s a lot of that in Scotland, but there’s a lot of aspiration too.

“So I’m very excited about what’s possible for our organisation and for Scotland. And I’m excited about what’s possible for the world as this issue of disruption begins to galvanise us as human beings.”

Entrepreneurial Scotland is chaired by Colin Robertson, the chief executive of Falkirk-based bus builder, Alexander Dennis, and has a community of around 5,000 people. Its vision is to help Scotland become the most entrepreneurial society in the world.