By Karen Peattie

EDINBURGH data science consultancy Optima Partners has received backing to the tune of £2.3 million from growth capital investor, BGF.

BGF’s investment will support Optima Partners as it grows its workforce and scales its software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.

Optima, established in 2013, offers design-led customer and digital transformation services to clients across the customer, carbon and health sectors. Using machine learning, the company identifies opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of customer engagement, marketing and servicing to maximise client return on investment.

The company, which also has offices in London and Bristol, said a recent strong trading performance saw it achieve 55 per cent year-on-year growth, with full-year revenue at £5.75 million at the end of June.

Currently employing 44 people, Optima will tap into BGF’s investment to grow staff numbers to 100, invest in SaaS services, and expand into new markets and sectors.

The firm has also appointed Karen Thomas-Bland as non-executive chair after an introduction from BGF’s “talent network”, a pool of non-executive directors. Her former roles include partner of strategy and transformation at IBM Global, executive director of strategy and transformation at KPMG. She has also provided buyside investment assessment for Accenture and EY.

Optima’s chief executive, Alan Crawley, said: “BGF’s investment will help us scale our business, allowing us to serve more customers. Enhancing the application of advanced data sciences, alongside the practical application of AI and machine learning, are other key pillars in our growth and expansion plans.”

He added: “Karen’s appointment as our non-executive chair will be of great value given her considerable consulting and data science expertise. We are grateful for BGF facilitating the appointment through its talent network.”

Euan Baxter, investor at BGF, pointed to Optima’s “strong academic foundations”, noting: “Optima Partners uses data and machine learning in a way that can revolutionise marketing and customer experience, and this investment from BGF is designed to help the business achieve further scale.

“Rooted in Edinburgh as a centre of data excellence, the company has built on strong academic foundations to prove its credentials through innovative work with some of the biggest names in financial services, energy and pharmaceuticals.”

BGF, set up in 2011, has invested over £3 billion in more than 450 companies, and says it the most active growth capital investor in the UK. It stated: “The investment in Optima Partners follows a record year for BGF in Scotland, having invested close to £60m in 2021 in a diverse range of sectors, from technology to healthcare to consumer goods.”