THOSE who can, do, those who can’t, teach. It’s a bluntly dismissive and belittling phrase that rightly infuriates educators the world over – and one which blindly omits the vital input of those who work tirelessly  inspiring and motivating the next generation of entrepreneurs.

And, of course, teachers ‘can’. It’s certainly not rare for mentors who once simply passed on their skills to suddenly be struck by inspiration themselves and chase their own dreams. And that is precisely what happened to former teacher David Hunter from Bathgate – who in 2014 decided to follow his internal GPS to launch a groundbreaking new satellite technology-based golfing watch for pinpoint accuracy on the fairways.

His firm, Shot Scope, now employs 18 people and has quickly become a market leader in the golfing industry for wearable GPS tech. The firm’s devices are currently available in 75 countries, with the products doing particularly well in the US market.

This global success has now enabled Shot Scope to create a sleek new ‘V3’ version of their watch, which launched last month. 

HeraldScotland:

After graduating from Heriot-Watt University in 2005 with a degree in electronics software, Mr Hunter initially worked as a digital design engineer for a US company before serving as a senior consultant. Yet, after seven years in the role, he was unsatisfied.

“I was looking for a new challenge,” he said. “So, I decided to go back to university – this time to become a secondary school teacher and hopefully pass on what I had learned to others. I wanted to teach here because Scotland is fascinating. We do so well in technology for such a small country and if you look at all the amazing things that are coming out of Scotland at the moment – despite the pandemic – it’s incredible. 

“I can only imagine the future if we harness and encourage the next generation of talent and that’s where I believe teachers and mentors are absolutely vital.”

As a teacher, Mr Hunter remained keen to keep his practical skills in shape and began working on a mobile charging gadget at home. Soon, it became apparent his career in education might be short-lived, when the obvious commercial potential for his device became clear.

After contacting free start-up advice organisation LAUNCH.ed, Mr Hunter was pointed in the direction of Scotland’s prestigious Startup Summit – where he found the confidence to enter the Innovation Award at the University of Edinburgh, which he won. “After that success, I started to pitch other ideas out,” he said. “One of those was Shot Scope, which went to win at Innovate UK in London in 2013. That came with a £25,000 grant. So, the journey began.”

Now CEO of a 18-strong team based in Edinburgh, Hunter is proud that Shot Scope designs, engineers and manufactures all its products in Scotland, “bringing golf technology to the home of the sport”. The new V3 model launched last month to excellent reviews and initial sales, despite the pandemic impacting the number of enthusiasts actually able to play the sport in 2020.

Launching the V3 in the midst of perhaps the most cataclysmic economic landscape in living memory may seem risky, but Mr Hunter remains positive – with 40,000 customers who bought the firm’s previous model eager for an updated device. 

He said: “Covid-19 obviously affected us, like it has everyone, but we’re all tech people so we managed absolutely fine. Of course,  no matter how good the planning, any launch will be stressful. Yet, the V3 is a true evolution of our previous model, a real gamechanger so we were very excited to get it out to customers.  

“It was entirely designed in-house in Edinburgh. There was a small delay in manufacturing due to the pandemic, but it only had a minor impact on our plans. We have 75 countries that we sell in so it’s a major undertaking. Asia will be the next big market that we are focusing on.”

And despite the success of Shot Scope, Mr Hunter still envisions a return to some form of teaching one day, perhaps passing on his skills as a business mentor.

“I absolutely want to give something back. It’s all about encouraging youngsters in high school. I was inspired by many people along the way – and I needed those mentors. We have to show young people that there is a path – and with enough combined effort we can all make a huge positive impact on the Scottish economy with the country’s incredible talent pool.”