Fourteen Scottish tech company founders will get the chance to showcase their products and services in the US market through a government-backed business mission.

The founders will travel to New York City in April for a week of facilitated introductions, business visits, hands-on workshops and investor-facing opportunities including Techstars and Zendesk.

After the success of trips to Silicon Valley last April and Helsinki in November, Foras, the Scottish Government, and enterprise agency Scottish Development International (SDI), will partner to take founders and startup leaders on the visit to expand their global networks.

The New York tech ecosystem is ranked at number two globally, and has the second-highest absolute number of early-stage investments in the world, after Silicon Valley, with a local startup community valued at $147bn. 

The NYC 2023 Foras Programme will run between 10th-17th April and was designed by Foras co-Founders Dec McLaughlin, Nick Murray and Carolina Melendez, who are known for their work in local tech startups and their monthly central belt events with Startup Grind Scotland.

Successful participants can expect to experience New York’s vibrant culture, quality time with established US tech success stories such as Zendesk and Scottish diaspora businesses, visits to world-class accelerators such as Techstars and unique networking opportunities with entrepreneurial representatives from America’s East Coast. The week will culminate with a unique pitching opportunity at an exclusive investor mixer event in partnership with Edrington before the annual Tartan Day parade. 

Carolina Melendez, Foras co-Founder, said: “This trip is the result of cross-sector ecosystem collaboration and the success of previous cohort trips to Silicon Valley, Helsinki and New York Climate Week. The term ‘Foras’ means to go forth, to look outwards, to meet, and to create a forum for discussion, and that’s at the root of what we aim to achieve during Tartan Week, and going forward with these international programmes.”

Serial founder and startup community-builder Rob Gelb, who joins the programme delivery team, said: “New York is one of the most diverse and important tech ecosystems in the world, and experiencing that ecosystem first-hand is important for startups and scale-ups, especially those with an international growth mindset. There are incredible things going on in Scotland, as documented in our recent Founder Surveys, and showcasing the innovation here to global markets and investors is key for these businesses’ successful development.”

Mark Logan, the Scottish Government’s chief entrepreneur, said: “The internet puts every customer in the world within reach of our companies, but brings every competitor too. To succeed, our startups must be as good as the world’s best start-ups. Our founders, therefore, need to be outward-looking, learning from world-class techniques and frameworks, and from those who have already built global tech companies. This programme is a great example of how we can help Scotland’s startups to do that, whilst also fostering a greater sense of community and connection amongst our entrepreneurial talent.”

Allan Cannon, CEO and co-founder at Krucial, who benefited from a similar trip to Silicon Valley in 2022, said:  “It’s hard to overestimate the extent of my learning on the trip to Silicon Valley, but I can say with certainty that it was a truly inspirational experience.

“Krucial is on a mission to digitise the planet using a combination of space and cellular technology, so we have global ambitions. Going on a trip like this was therefore hugely important for our business – in fact, I travelled out to the USA just a few weeks later to follow up on leads with several investors and strategic sales partners.”