By Fiona Rintoul

Formerly known as Dogfish Mobile, Vidatec, the mobile app and web development company behind the popular Couch to 5K app, has come a long way in the past two and half years. The catalyst was the decision by Dundee-based Insights Group, which made this year’s Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 in 141st position, to buy the company in 2017.

“The company has been reborn since the acquisition,” says Vidatec’s CEO Greig Johnston.

Mr Johnston previously filled senior technology roles at Insights group and was instrumental in the decision to acquire Dogfish Mobile. Now he is in his first CEO role at a firm where he saw “the potential to create a technology company that became a global player” within the Insights Group.

Known for creating solutions for third-party clients – Couch to 5K was developed in partnership with Public Health England – Vidatec is branching out into developing its own products in its new incarnation. The purpose behind the products, however, remains the same.

“It’s about enhancing people’s lives with the power of technology,” says Mr Johnston.

There’s also an element of social good to the business, with reduced margins for charity projects, which can sometimes be handled by young developers. And while the bulk of the business is app development, there is now also a professional services team that offers consultancy and design.

Since the Insight acquisition, Vidatec has grown from 25 to 45 members of staff and has opened an Edinburgh office. Some of that growth has come through the Vidatec Academy, which is designed to bring both graduate and school leaver talent into the business. Progress is rapid; four graduates who joined the academy six months ago are now working on client projects.

This increased capacity is designed at least in part to support the development of Vidatec’s own products, which it hopes to cross-sell into its existing client organisations. A new product named Engage4, which promotes employee wellbeing in the workplace, has now been soft launched with one client and will launch fully in April. The company also acquired a product named CareZapp, which supports the delivery of person-centred care, in 2018.

Proprietary products are an important part of Vidatec’s plans to expand outside of the UK, working with the Insights Group. The company’s five-year plan anticipates that it will quadruple in size, and the success of its own products will be key to that growth and to obtaining international business.

“We see that as much more of a scalable model to take to other territories,” says Mr Johnston. “Once we have a product that works, we can scale rapidly.”

With projected growth of 40% in the two years to the end of this financial year, Vidatec hopes to take on ten plus staff in the coming financial year. However, even with financial backing from the Insights Group, which Mr Johnston says, “is very supportive of our quest”, it cannot all be full steam ahead.

It’s a balance between maintaining the client business and pursuing an ambitious growth strategy. Having recently won a contract to develop an app for Ryvita, Vidatec has channelled resources into that.

“I’ve learnt a lot about patience since taking on this role,” says Mr Johnston.

But boldness is part of the equation too. International expansion will start in the US, and Vidatec is also eyeing Europe and Asia. In three years, it hopes that 60% of its business will come from its own products and that annual turnover will rise to £8-10 million from £3 million currently.

“We want to impact as any people around the world as we can with our technology,” says Mr Johnston.