Scotland’s links to London tech ecosystem help drive growth, says Nicola Sturgeon
The ties between Scotland and London’s tech ecosystems maximises the sector’s potential to drive growth and job creation, the first minister has said on a visit to the capital.
Nicola Sturgeon said that Scotland’s links to the city gives investors south of the border “easy access” to Scottish companies.
Ms Sturgeon, who was hosting the EIE London Innovation & Investment Showcase at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) yesterday, added that the relationship between the two regions also opens up more opportunities for Scottish firms.
Supported by the Scottish Government’s ecosystem fund in connection with the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review published in 2020, EIE London is one of the main fixtures in 2022 for the EIE Investor Readiness Programme delivered by the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre.
Organisers say the event has “strengthened the gateway to global investment and finance for Scotland’s most innovative companies”.
EIE has helped over 540 companies raise more than £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) since the investor-readiness programme was launched in 2008.
Speaking at a technology showcase, Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland is moving with vigour towards a high tech, low carbon economy and developing capabilities in emerging markets – including renewables, fintech, and cybersecurity – while our leadership around global priorities like net zero positions our tech sector to make the most of the opportunities for economic growth that a just transition presents.
“Today’s showcase demonstrates exactly the kind of innovation that ambition leads to, and fills me with optimism for the future. The ties between London and Scotland’s tech ecosystems enable easy access for investors to leading edge Scottish companies via the city and, vice versa, companies based in Scotland can access the opportunities the city presents in order to maximise the sector’s potential and capacity to drive growth and job creation.”
Keynote addresses were also made by the Lord Mayor of London, Vincent Keaveny, and London Stock Exchange chief executive Julia Hoggett.
Keaveny said: “Encouraging innovation is essential to the continuing success of our financial and professional services sector. The success of innovative firms and ecosystems outside the capital is a key part of our international appeal.
“Strengthening links between London and Scotland’s thriving tech pipeline will help to drive investment and growth. I look forward to continuing to develop the partnership we have with colleagues in Scotland to the benefit of us all.”
Karen Wood, director of enterprise, Bayes Centre, said: “We are showcasing Scotland’s tech ecosystem innovation talent pipeline in London, which is a global gateway to investment and finance, as we continue to play a part in inspiring, supporting, and scaling high growth companies.
“By matching our most innovative companies and ecosystem partners with investors based in the UK’s capital and beyond, we can help to drive Scotland’s economic growth in the years ahead.”
EIE alumni companies include Scotland’s first tech ‘unicorn’, fantasy sports site FanDuel, healthtech scale-up Current Health (acquired for $400 million by US consumer electronics group Best Buy in 2021), and agritech specialist Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) which announced a £42.2 million Series B funding round on the occasion of Scotland’s Green Innovation and Investment Showcase, run jointly by EIE and Scottish Enterprise, at Cop26 in Glasgow last November.
IGS is one of the Scottish technology companies that featured at EIE London, alongside ultrasound sensor specialist Novosound, facial animation scale-up Speech Graphics, and online brand protection business SnapDragon.
The alumni companies presented to a panel of investors – including Amadeus Capital, Playfair Capital, NatWest Group and RBS, Galvanise Capital, and Scottish Enterprise Growth Investments.
David Farquhar, chief executive, IGS, said: “IGS is delighted to have been identified as one of Scotland’s most innovative companies. Despite the obvious challenges of the last two years, through the pandemic our business has gone from strength to strength. We have developed a sales pipeline of more than £100 million, over 95 per cent of which is export, and our team has expanded from 25 to 160 people.
“Our central ambition is to have a positive impact across the globe. People come to work here to help find ways to tackle the climate crisis and feed the world, while aiming for net zero, and we now support local farmers and food supply chains across four continents.”
Ecosystem partners represented at EIE London include Scottish Enterprise, Scotland Development International (SDI), Scottish Financial Enterprise, the British Business Bank, and the Earthshot prize.
The EIE22 annual Investor Conference takes place on Thursday 6th October 2022, when this year’s 36-strong cohort of technology companies pitch for seed to Series A plus investment to UK and international investors.