A group of Scottish tech entrepreneurs have been selected to travel to Silicon Valley for a global startup conference after securing funding from a government ‘ecosystem’ fund.

The 20-person cohort of Scottish entrepreneurs, who will travel to the US next month to take part in a programme of activities based around the Startup Grind Global Conference, was announced today by Startup Grind Scotland.

Among the 178 applications from Scottish technology startups and scale-ups, an independent panel selected representatives from R3-IoT, HindSight, Bio Technical Scotland, Robotical, Coastr, Estendio, Hearing Diagnostics, Float, Yaldi Games, Lenz Labs, DragonflAI, Theo Health, Administrate, Liftango, PlayerData, Biscuit Tin Planning, BR-DGE, MoneyMatiX, TZAR! and Holoxica.

Supported by the Scottish Government’s Technology Ecosystem Fund, the group will enjoy a week immersed in the “entrepreneurship mecca”, complemented by meetings with investors and visits with global tech companies including Alchemist Accelerator, User Testing and Nvidia.

Support partner Scottish Development International will host a pitch party in Silicon Valley on 14 April where the cohort will have the opportunity to pitch their businesses to hand-picked US investors and meet Scottish success stories from the Global Scot network. 

Startup Grind Scotland co-director Nick Murray said: “We’re honoured to bring together a richly diverse cohort, not only in the focus and stage of their businesses but also in age, ethnicity, gender and lived experience. Selected from 26 locations across the country, our delegates are a true illustration of Scotland’s eclectic entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“We know the trip will bring inspiration and professional opportunities, but we are also being very intentional about encouraging trust, openness and fostering peer relationships within the group. The cohort will return mid-April with invaluable experiences, new connections and a global mindset that we hope will benefit the Scottish tech ecosystem as a whole.”  

The Scottish Government’s £1m Technology Ecosystem Fund launched following the 2020 Logan Report, an independent review of the Scottish technology ecosystem.

The report provided recommendations on developing a world-class technology sector, calling for greater investment in activities that assist peer learning, networking and more connected, community-led initiatives to support entrepreneurs in Scotland.

Report author Mark Logan, advisor to Scottish Government, Scottish Technology Ecosystem, and former Skyscanner chief operating officer, said: “The quality of the companies selected for the programme truly represents the ambitions of the Scottish Ecosystem Fund. There is enormous potential in every single leader in this cohort.

Logan addressed the entrepreneurs at a closed-door event at CodeBase Edinburgh on 17 March, outlining how the journey fits into his recommendations.

“The value of the Startup Grind Scotland Programme is huge, but so is your responsibility. There’s the responsibility to your company to learn and grow as leaders, and then there’s the responsibility to Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to bring back your new knowledge and share it with your peers.

“We established the Ecosystem Fund to ensure that Scottish entrepreneurs learn both from each other and other ecosystems worldwide, but it’s only meaningful if our leaders who learn from the world’s best ecosystems, then bring these learnings back to Scotland. Great companies come from great ecosystems, and great ecosystems come from great companies. That will be the true legacy of this programme.”

Tzaritsa Asante, founder of TZAR!, said: “This is an opportunity I could never have dreamed of. TZAR! is community-driven by nature, so being selected for this year’s cohort will help us lock into the right network where we can add and gain value. I am convinced that Scotland can be a forerunner in emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency – tech that I believe are necessary to achieve environmental and social justice and therefore, sustainability.” 

Allan Cannon, co-founder and chief executive of R3 IoT, said: “2022 is set to be a significant year for the business as we gear up for commercial launch and international expansion. The opportunity to network and build relationships with like-minded individuals at different stages of the venture building journey, as part of the Startup Grind Silicon Valley Programme, will be extremely valuable to our growth ambitions.”