6 investors and founders forecast hockey-stick growth for Edinburgh’s startup scene – TechCrunch


Scotland is slowly however certainly drawing consideration within the UK’s startup area. In 2020, Scottish startups collectively raised £345 million, in accordance with Tech Nation, and with practically 2,500 startups, it has the best variety of budding tech firms outdoors London. Enterprise capital fundraises are additionally persistently on the rise yearly.

Scotland’s capital Edinburgh boasts an attractive, hilly panorama, a strong training system and good entry to grant funding, private and non-private funding. It’s additionally one of many high monetary facilities within the U.Okay., making it an incredible place to start a enterprise.

So to search out out what the startup scene in Edinburgh appears to be like like, we spoke to 6 founders, executives and traders. Town’s tech ecosystem seems to have a strong area for machine studying, synthetic intelligence, biomedicine, fintech, journey tech, oil, renewables, e-commerce, gaming, well being tech, deep tech, area tech and insurtech.


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Nonetheless, town’s tech scene is outwardly lackluster in the case of authorized tech, blockchain and consumer-facing know-how.

Breakout firms that have been based in Edinburgh embrace Skyscanner and FanDuel. Notable among the many present crop are Desana, Continuum Industries, Parsley Field, Present Well being, Boundary, Zumo, Appointedd, Criton, Mallzee, TravelNest, TVSquared, Care Sourcer, Stampede, For-Sight, Vistalworks, Reath, InfraCost, Speech Graphics and Cyan Forensics.

The Edinburgh business-angel group seems to be fairly robust, but it surely appears native founders discover it tough to get London-based traders to take an curiosity. Scottish traders are mentioned to be “fairly conservative and risk-adverse” with some notable exceptions.

We surveyed:


Wendy Lamin, managing director, Holoxica

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
It’s robust in area, biomedicine, fintech/insurtech, AI.

What are the tech traders like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
The Scottish business-angel group is alleged to be the biggest in Europe. It’s tough to get London-based traders take an curiosity in Scotland — traders can have a tendency to take a look at the place firms are based mostly. It’s laborious for “underrepresented founders” to get investments in Scotland and past.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Edinburgh or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
Keep. Not all the time simple to get folks to come back and dwell in Scotland. Edinburgh, there are many prejudices, regardless of it being among the best cities to dwell in in the entire of the U.Okay.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Good to see extra deal with influence investing. Par Fairness is certainly one of Edinburgh’s largest traders, whereas Archangels is likely one of the largest angel traders. Poonam Malik is nice for variety and feminine entrepreneurs, and she or he is on the board of Scottish Enterprise, and is a social entrepreneur and investor. Garry Bernstein can be an investor — he leads the Scottish chapter of Tech London Advocates and World Tech Advocates, and as such is the founding father of Tech Scot Advocates.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will likely be in 5 years?
Thriving. The federal government is doing its greatest for the tech sector. Training in tech is presently a difficulty, although. Hope Brexit received’t be an excessive amount of of a difficulty.

Andrew Noble, accomplice, Par Fairness

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Robust in fintech, well being tech, information science, deep tech. Excited by quantum computing, superior supplies, AI in Edinburgh. Weak in blockchain and client.

That are essentially the most attention-grabbing startups in Edinburgh?
Present Well being, InfraCost, Speech Graphics and Cyan Forensics.

What are the tech traders like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
Good at seed stage as much as £1 million, okay for pre-series A (£1 million to £three million) and non-existent for Collection A (£three million-£10 million). High quality of traders is bettering. Par Fairness is main the best way.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Edinburgh, or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
Experiencing inflow of recent expertise on account of COVID-19. Edinburgh is a extremely fascinating metropolis to dwell in. Current new residents embrace Aaron Ross (Predictable Income) and Jules Pursuad (early worker at Airbnb and now VP at Omio).

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Par Fairness (investor), Paul Atkinson, Alistair Forbes, Mark Logan, Lesley Eccles, Chris McCann, CodeBase.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will likely be in 5 years?
One to 2 new unicorns. Promising variety of high-growth tech firms. A way more refined investor scene within the Collection An area.

Danae Shell, co-founder and CEO, Valla

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Edinburgh is powerful in fintech due to our proximity to so many monetary companies firms and banks. Additionally, there are some thrilling video games tech firms due to our historical past of video games firms. We’re fairly weak in regulation tech, Valla’s space.

That are essentially the most attention-grabbing startups in Edinburgh?
Vistalworks for client tech; Sustainably for fintech; Reath for sustainable tech.

What are the tech traders like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
As a rule, Scottish traders are fairly conservative and risk-averse. The one actual exception is Techstart Ventures, in my expertise.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Edinburgh, or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
I believe extra folks will come to Edinburgh from London as a result of the standard of life and value of dwelling are each so a lot better right here.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Calum Forsyth and Mark Hogarth at Techstart Ventures; Janine Matheson at CodeBase; Jackie Waring from the Investing Ladies angel syndicate; Jim Newbury is a really well-respected developer and coach, and my co-founder Kate Ho can be well-known. Additionally Danny Helson who runs the EIE occasion with the Bayes Centre.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will likely be in 5 years?
We’ve had a couple of exits prior to now few years (Skyscanner, FreeAgent), which implies that expertise is spreading out throughout the ecosystem right here and we’re getting some implausible new startups kicking off. In 5 years, that first crop must be coming into the Collection A stage so we might see a number of tremendous thrilling companies!

Allan Nelson, co-founder and CEO, For-Sight

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Robust in fintech, journey tech, well being, oil, renewables, e-commerce, gaming (each online game and playing tech). Excited by all bar oil (nice driver of income, however not the long run).

That are essentially the most attention-grabbing startups in Edinburgh?
Boundary, Parsley Field, Appointedd, Criton, Mallzee, TravelNest, TVSquared, Care Sourcer, Stampede, For-Sight.

What are the tech traders like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
Massive fintech scene right here. Journey tech is rising too, with Skyscanner’s affect robust.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Edinburgh, or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
Most will keep, because it’s a really engaging metropolis to dwell and work in. It’s a globally acknowledged and distinctive metropolis. Very worldwide taste as evidenced by the make-up of our crew.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Ex-Skyscanner folks together with Gareth Williams, Mark Logan, and so forth. Ian Ritchie, Alistair Forbes, the FanDuel’s founders and the CodeBase founders.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will likely be in 5 years?
Lots greater, as tech is a key development goal of the Scottish authorities and is underpinned/influenced/impressed by Skyscanner and FanDuel.

Lysimachos Zografos, founder, Parkure

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Robust in machine studying/AI/digital. Weak in deep tech discovery, particularly in biotech/therapeutics. Excited by the rise in adoption of AI in drug discovery — all these concepts that have been sci-fi 20 years in the past at the moment are adopted in £B offers.

That are essentially the most attention-grabbing startups in Edinburgh?
Pheno Therapeutics.

What are the tech traders like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
Conservative angels and some tech seed VCs.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Edinburgh, or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
Transfer in.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
Traders: Archangels, Techstart Ventures and Epidarex.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will likely be in 5 years?
Rising.

Bertie Wilson, co-founder, “Stealth mode”

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
I don’t assume there are any sectors that stand out — it’s pretty evenly break up. A great power of town is the expertise that comes from the colleges. There are some actually good engineers that come from Edinburgh, Heriot Watt and Edinburgh Napier. The primary weak spot is that the ecosystem doesn’t favor essentially the most formidable founders. Most traders within the area are angels and aren’t considering discovering outliers that would develop 1000x and are extra considering backing firms which are much less dangerous however would possibly 5x their cash. If you wish to discover traders that can again dangerous (however very formidable) plans, it’s simpler to search out that elsewhere.

That are essentially the most attention-grabbing startups in Edinburgh?
Desana, Continuum Industries, Parsley Field, Present Well being, Boundary, Zumo.

What are the tech traders like in Edinburgh? What’s their focus?
I might say it’s getting higher, however there are nonetheless a number of points with the ecosystem. It’s being helped in Scotland by the likes of Techstart investing on the earliest phases with excessive conviction and time period sheets which are extra much like London VCs. Exterior of this, although, it’s simple for founders to finish up with a messy cap desk as a result of variety of angels and lack of VCs searching for VC-type returns — the messiness of those cap tables can then make it laborious to lift enterprise funding down the road. That is tremendous for lots of firms that aren’t aiming for a venture-scale return (which admittedly is loads), however it might probably damage these which are.

With the shift to distant working, do you assume folks will keep in Edinburgh, or will they transfer out? Will others transfer in?
I think about and hope others will transfer in. It’s a excellent spot to dwell with a really prime quality of life, and this must be a pure attraction for individuals who need a good way of life however wish to stay in a metropolis.

Who’re the important thing startup folks within the metropolis (e.g., traders, founders, legal professionals, designers)?
SEP (investor), Techstart Ventures (investor), Gareth Williams (founder/investor), MBM Business (legal professionals), Pentech, Invoice Dobbie (investor), Jamie Coleman.

The place do you assume town’s tech scene will likely be in 5 years?
Optimistically, I hope that there will likely be a superb variety of firms which are on the Collection B/Collection C stage, which is able to invite much more curiosity from traders outdoors of Edinburgh (London, Berlin, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and so forth.) to start out investing extra actively within the metropolis on the earliest phases in addition to these phases.



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