Scotland’s ‘premier’ tech investor conference – a day where company founders pitch for investment across the globe – has revealed its international keynote speaker lineup, including the co-founder of the nation’s first ‘unicorn’ company.

The Engage Invest Exploit 2021 (EIE21) event, which is run by the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre in partnership with the Data-Driven Innovation initiative and supported by Scottish Enterprise, will take place in Edinburgh on June 10.

Two of Scotland’s most successful tech entrepreneurs will deliver a speech at the conference, Lesley Eccles, co-founder of gaming platform FanDuel – which was the first Scottish company to achieve $1bn valuation – and Mike Welch OBE, founder of online retailer Blackcircles and a series of other ecommerce startups.

They will be joined by the Egyptian-British co-founder and former executive chairman of global private equity firm Apax Partners Worldwide, Sir Ronald Cohen, and the Swiss lead for technology and innovation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Climate Champions for Cop26’s Alexander Joss.

The principal professor and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh Peter Mathieson will also feature on the day.

Karen Wood, director of enterprise, Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh, said: “We have assembled a strong collective from the worlds of international investment, entrepreneurship, impact and sustainability, and the university sector. 

“From Sir Ronald Cohen, a founding father of UK private equity and pioneer in social impact, to Alex Joss from UNFCCC Climate Champions for COP26, two of Scotland’s most successful tech entrepreneurs in the form of Lesley Eccles and Mike Welch, and the University of Edinburgh’s Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson, we have a lineup that is going to be eagerly anticipated by all of our attendees at EIE21.”  

Last month, the team behind EIE launched this year’s EIE Scottish startup survey – the ‘first’ of its kind to examine the Scottish startup ecosystem.

This year’s survey asks startups across Scotland about the main challenges faced and opportunities achieved in a year characterised by the ongoing Covid pandemic.

EIE has supported over 500 tech startups since 2008 who have collectively raised around £750 million from seed through to Series A and later stage funding – with Current Health, FanDuel, Celtic Renewables, Amiqus, Two Big Ears, Speech Graphics, pureLiFi and mLed among EIE alumnus companies.