VETERAN Scots technology sector investor Ian Ritchie has revealed how he turned down an opportunity to work with Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the internet, to invest in and develop the World Wide Web.

In a fascinating discussion with Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey on the Go Radio Business Show, Mr Ritchie said: “I was at a trade show in Paris in 1990 and a man approached me and said we should chat. It was Tim Berners-Lee who had developed technology called the World Wide Web – he wanted us to work with him to develop a browser.”

Mr Berners-Lee famously conceived and developed the World Wide Web while working at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), one of the world’s most respected centres for scientific research, in 1989.

Asked why he turned down the opportunity and if it had been a mistake, Mr Ritchie said it had been the right thing to do and that he didn’t view his decision as a mistake as it wasn’t a viable business proposition at that time.

Mr Ritchie, who launched his software business Office Workstations Limited (OWL) in Edinburgh in 1984, pioneered hypertext application development and sold the company to Panasonic in 1989.

Since then, he has been involved in about 50 start-up tech businesses. “I’m known as the start-up guy,” he said. “I have the experience dealing with venture capitalists and I can help others – having someone beside you who has been through it before is good.

“I will help start-ups put teams together and will hand over chairmanship after four or five years to somebody better than me who can take the business on to the next state.”

Asked who he admires in the tech sector, Mr Ritchie pointed to fellow tech entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl, the Dundee-based games veteran.

He also cited Orfeas Boteas, the Greek-born founder and chief executive of Edinburgh-based audio specialist Krotos, whose software has been used in a string of high-profile film and gaming titles, from Stranger Things and Game of Thrones to Doom and League of Legends.

However, Mr Ritchie pointed out that Mr Boteas and returned to Athens after the Greek government’s introduced incentives to entrepreneurs to encourage them to go home. “In Scotland, most people have to leave to progress their career but I think a lot of people would come if we could offer them some sort of incentive,” he said.

He added that while the Scottish tech sector was “healthy”, Scotland needed more experienced business people in their 30s to help drive the economy.