Sixty companies are pitching today at Scotland’s biggest annual tech investment showcase event.
Global heavyweight technology advisors and investors – including London’s GP Bullhound and the £500m Chinese fund Cocoon Networks – descended on Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms to check out the best of Scotland’s tech entrepreneurs at EIE2016.
Featuring a series of minute-long ‘pop-up’ and extended pitches, the day-long event is a springboard for fast-growing tech companies and has in the past helped like Fanduel – one of Scotland’s two ‘unicorns’ – who came through the programme developed by organisers Informatics Ventures.
Among those pitching in front of a Dragon’s Den-style panel of investors was Robotical, whose founder Alexander Enoch is hoping to bring his programmable robot ‘Marty’ to the mass market. The tiny robot, which can be programmed by children over a wifi connection to walk, dance, turn and even kick a ball, is to soon be launched onto the market as part of a crowdsale on Indiegogo.
Other companies pitching to an audience comprising more than 200 assembled investors – including local investment groups Scottish Equity Partners, Par Equity and Archangels – were TickX, setup by Sam Coley (who established his first company aged 16) and Steve Pearce. Their comparison site is seeking to become the ‘SkyScanner’ of the ticket-selling world, helping consumers find the best priced tickets for events, with links into other sectors as well including travel and leisure.
American John McElmeel, who has completed an MBA at Edinburgh University, also pitched his job search matchmaking service SymbaSync to the investment community as did Jim Goodman, founder of Bridge, whose bold aim was to take on the likes of payment giants PayPal, Apple Pay and Square.
The event, now in its eight year, will be relocating to the EICC in 2017 as demand for places – exhibitors and delegates alike – has outstripped supply. The EIE claims to have helped raise more than £350m for start-up tech companies in Scotland.
Past winners of the event have included the likes of Leah Hutcheon, of digital booking service Appointedd, whose company has recently secured a £659,000 investment to ‘scale globally’. The service helps small businesses sell their timeslot appointments online.
The company has attracted investment from a wide range of investors, including Gareth Williams, founder of Skyscanner, and Marie Macklin CBE, founder of Macklin Enterprise Partnerships. The Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, is also involved in the investment round.
Founder and CEO, Leah said: “It has been fantastic to get such a positive reaction from investors at this round. We have felt extremely honoured to attract investment from the founder of one of Scotland’s unicorn companies and experienced entrepreneurs like Marie Macklin CBE. We look forward to using their expertise to help expand our software globally. We are already seeing some amazing traction, and it’s exciting to be working with partners like National Australia Bank. We’re particularly looking forward to growing our team as we have another global player to be announced soon!”
For a full list of delegates visit www.eie-invest.com