The OWL Story
EDINBURGH - January 26th, 2001
In the beginning
The founders of OWL worked at ICL Dalkeith until 1983, when ICL announced
they were moving the facility south to Kidsgrove. Instead of moving, most of
the staff took the redundancy package on offer, resulting in two well known
spin-offs: OWL and Spider.
Office Workstations Limited (OWL) was founded in Edinburgh in 1984 by 5 ex-ICL employees: Ian Ritchie, Stuart Harper, Gordon Dougan, Richard Stonehouse and Dave MacLaren. A subsiduary, OWL International Inc, was formed in Seattle in 1985.
OWL became the first and largest supplier of Hypertext/Hypermedia authoring tools for personal computers based on its Guide product. OWL's customers used its tools to implement large interactive multimedia documentation systems in industry sectors such as automobile, defence, publishing, finance, and education. OWL was sold to Matsushita Electrical Industrial (Panasonic) of Japan in December 1989 for over £7million and now undertakes multimedia software R&D services for its parent in Osaka.
A large number of companies have spun off from OWL or are managed by ex-OWL staff
Ian is one of Scotlands most successful serial
entrepreneurs, and serves as as the non-executive
Chairman of: Voxar Ltd (Edinburgh), Orbital Technologies
Ltd (Edinburgh), Active Navigation Ltd (Southampton),
and Digital Bridges Ltd (Edinburgh), and the deputy
Chairman of VIS Interactive plc (Dunfermline). He is a
non-executive Director of Scottish Enterprise, Channel 4
Television Corporation, Northern Venture Trust plc.,
Mindwarp Pavilion Ltd., and EPIC Group plc.
Founded by Stuart Harper, Gary McGill and Mark Rogers in 1996. Stuart was a former MD of OWL, Mark and Gary were OWL engineers. Electrum have experienced dramatic 2000% growth in the last four years and expect to be turning over £10,000,000 within four years.
Winner of Deloitte & Touche Fast 50 Award for UK companies, DDs profits have risen 90% over the last year to £338,799 on turnover of £1.3m. DDs Technical Director, Dave Aitken and Dave Corner a senior engineer are former OWL employees.
InfoAccess was formed by an MBO of OWL International
Inc, the US Sales and Marketing operation of OWL.
InfoAccess developed and sold a web publishing tool
called HTML Transit. InfoAccess was sold to the Intranet
Solutions in Sept 1999 in a deal worth $14 million.
Since the deal Intranet Solutions have performed
strongly on NASDAQ.
Chaired by Ian Ritchie with Phil Cooke, OWL’s former
Technical Director on the board. Digital Bridges
recently announced a £10 million investment by Apax