The new office, which was opened in November 2016, followed an inward investment campaign by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Invest Edinburgh team and Scottish Development International, the international arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies.
“We looked at a number of European cities for our Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) base, but Edinburgh was chosen because of its rich history of medical innovation, a wealth of local skilled talent and its status as an international city,” explains John Lister, general manager of Dexcom EMEA. “The logistical support and start-up guidance provided by Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government was also a determining factor.”
To help Dexcom put down roots, Invest Edinburgh provided a ‘soft landing’ space in a shared office at the Corn Exchange in Leith. Since setting up here with just three people, the new European operation has now grown into a dedicated office at the city’s Tanfield building near Canonmills that will hold up to 70 people.
“We used the access to business support networks for a period of three months to settle into the city as our office space was being prepared,” Lister says. “This was particularly useful. Invest Edinburgh also supported us with coverage in its Invest Edinburgh magazine and website. This helped raise awareness about our business and secure candidates to fill some of our open roles.”
The 30 employees in Edinburgh are part of around 100 staff in Europe and more than 2,000 globally. Dexcom was founded in 1999 and develops and manufactures small wearable devices that track a user’s glucose levels 24 hours a day. These provide real time alerts if levels exceed or drop below set user-defined levels.
We looked at a number of European cities for our Europe, Middle East and Africa base, but Edinburgh was chosen because of its rich history of medical innovation, a wealth of local skilled talent and its status as an international city.John Lister, general manager (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Dexcom
“We produce mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) mobile systems, which send glucose readings to a patient’s smart device every five minutes,“ Lister explains. “This is particularly valuable for people with Type 1 diabetes, or Type 2 insulin-dependent diabetes, who need to monitor and manage their blood-glucose levels.“
In the USA, up to 15% of people with type 1 diabetes already use CGM technology. But in Europe, where an estimated 1.5 million people are living with type 1 diabetes, penetration of CGM technology is thought to be less than 1%. Hence the rationale for Dexcom’s first European centre of excellence.
“The team in Edinburgh covers a number of leadership functions, including IT, HR, Marketing and Tech Support,” Lister explains. “Our Tech Support team in particular is growing the fastest as we grow the number of patients across Europe who use the Dexcom portfolio of products.”
Edinburgh’s quality of life, its appeal as a place to live and work and its strong tech community are key selling points for Dexcom.
“We often share the fact that Edinburgh’s talent pool was a reason to locate the Dexcom EMEA business here,” Lister says. “In terms of a place to work, there’s a thriving medical and tech innovation scene, plus Edinburgh is consistently at the top of the UK living standards survey.”
Lister believes Edinburgh's talent base and its reputation for innovation will be key to Dexcom's expansion into Europe.
“We want to become part of the community in Edinburgh,” he says. “It’s one of the reasons why we located here. We feel there’s a good cultural match between Dexcom and Scotland’s reputation for innovation, especially here in Edinburgh, with its skilled and experienced workforce."
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