Everything you need to know about EIE16

Scotlan'd tech sector has an abundance of opportunities for young people. Picture: TSPL

Scotlan'd tech sector has an abundance of opportunities for young people. Picture: TSPL

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This week 60 of Scotland’s most innovative technology start-ups have been chosen to take part in the Engage, Invest, Exploit (EIE) investor showcase.

Taking place on Thursday (12 May) at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, EIE will give the country’s brightest entrepreneurial talent the chance to pitch to a hall full of 200 international investors.

Hugh Campbell, CEO of GP Bullhound will be speaking at the event. Picture: Contributed.

Hugh Campbell, CEO of GP Bullhound will be speaking at the event. Picture: Contributed.

What is it?

EIE, organised by Informatics Ventures, has grown into the largest investor showcase of its kind in the UK and has been the springboard to more than £350 million of funding since its inception in 2008.

Organisers say that this year’s event will see the most diverse group of global investors since it began, with potential backers arriving from the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Gordon Stuart, director of operations at event organiser Informatics Ventures, said there had been a notable increase in interest among Chinese investors in early-stage Scottish tech firms – a fact that has encouraged his team and its partners to take a group of start-ups to China for the first time later this year.

Stuart said: “The success of some of our best-known technology companies like Skyscanner and FanDuel has undoubtedly shone a spotlight on Scotland and we’re experiencing a lot more interest from Chinese investors in both coming to Scotland to meet our brightest talent and to a delegation of our own going out to meet them in country.”

Why does it take place?

EIE offers small Scottish businesses the perfect platform to network with industry leaders and potential investors who are keen to invest in Scotland’s thriving technology sector.

“Scotland has a well-developed business angel community that has a strong pedigree of investing in technology businesses,” says Hugh Campbell CEO of investment advisers GP Bullhound and a speaker at this year’s event.

“It has a strong university base spitting out talent, it has two cities in Glasgow and Edinburgh which have a very strong work-life balance, and the cost advantages over London, and you have less competition for talent - you can build a more loyal employee base outside of the capital.

“Scotland has a tremendous pedigree in technology and very strong electrical engineering and computer science courses at Heriot-Watt, Glasgow and Edinburgh universities. You’re creating a strong pool of computer scientists.

“I think one of the challenges for Scotland, and it’s no different to English cities outside of London, is that there’s a decent amount of capital at the early stage, the challenge is in the main they need to go to London to find the capital.”

The day presents an unrivalled opportunity for Scottish-based start-ups to connect with financiers and rapidly raise the profile of their fledgling businesses.

Notable alumni from EIE include smart wearables firm Shot Scope, personal shopping app Mallzee, sales and marketing platform Firefish, whisky biofuel Celtic Renewables and many more.

Who will be there?

The sixty companies pitching on Thursday have earned their place on the Assembly Rooms stage via a rigorous selection process that began in October.

This year’s line-up includes an eclectic mix of firms from life sciences, ICT and the energy sector with some truly cutting-edge ideas.

Among those pitching for investment at EIE include fast-growing online bookings specialist Appointedd, who have doubled in size every year for the past four years.

Also hoping to make waves are Pick Protection with their security product, Personal Guardian. Founder Rebecca Pick was driven to create the alarm device after a female student at her university was attacked while on campus.

The inventor of programmable robot, Roboticle, Alexander Enoch, will seek to raise awareness of his product at EIE as it gears up towards a public launch.

For a full list of all the companies pitching visit the EIE website.

Hearts FC chairwomen Anne Budge and David Rose, the CEO of online entrepreneur platform Gust, will join Hugh Campbell as part of the day’s speaker line-up.

READ MORE: Five tech companies to watch at EIE16

- This article was produced in partnership with EIE16 and Informatics Ventures.

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