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Scotland’s entrepreneurs urged to ‘think global’

  • by PETER RANSCOMBE
 

SCOTLAND’S entrepreneurs must realise that they are competing on a “global scale” if they want to attract venture capital investment, an industry veteran has claimed.

Heidi Roizen, a partner at global venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), said Scottish start-ups need to be aware of what competitors are doing in technology hubs such as Bangalore and Silicon Valley.

Roizen, who was entrepreneur in residence at Edinburgh University in 2010, is one of the speakers at this week’s ScotSoft conference, the annual industry gathering run by trade body ScotlandIS.

She said: “Scottish entrepreneurs need to recognise they’re competing on a global scale. If you’re opening a restaurant or a local delivery service in Edinburgh then you don’t have to worry about what anyone else is doing in Bangalore or Silicon Valley.

“But if you’re doing an app for a mobile phone or a Facebook application then you have to worry about what everyone else in the global ecosystem is doing because they’re your competition. The most-successful entrepreneurs from Edinburgh that I know get on aeroplanes a lot. They aren’t afraid to have their feet on two different continents.”

Roizen highlighted the work by entrepreneurs including Nigel Eccles at FanDuel, which has raised £12 million from private equity investors including Comcast Ventures, Pentech Ventures and Piton Capital to fund its fantasy sports games, such as American football.

Jono Millin at DroneDeploy, which is working on software for remote-controlled aircraft used for commercial operations such as logistics and surveys, was also held up as an example, along with Steve Reilly, who runs online video platform VistaBee.

Colin Adams, commercialisation director at Edinburgh University, said: “This is the message that we’re giving to start-ups.

“The market in Scotland isn’t big enough on its own so they need to look overseas for sales and funding.”

David Grahame, executive director of business angel trade body Linc Scotland, added: “I would like to see companies raising their eyes when it comes to VC funding. That’s easy to say but hard to do because it means they then have to go to where the VCs are to grab their attention.”

 

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