Global investors target Scottish start-ups at EIE

Investors from around the world will gather in Edinburgh this week for the annual Engage, Invest, Exploit (EIE) investor showcase.

Pick Protection founder Rebecca Pick with Gordon Stuart of EIE organiser Informatics Ventures. Picture: Lesley Martin

Sixty of Scotland’s brightest start-up hopes have been chosen to take part in the event, which has been the springboard to more than £350 million of funding since it was launched in 2008.

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EIE selects 60 start-ups for investor conference

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Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms is the venue for Thursday’s conference, where one of the keynote speakers will be technology investor Hugh Campbell, managing director of dealmaker GP Bullhound.

Campbell said that Scotland’s tech scene has attained a “tremendous pedigree”, but winning investment remains competitive given the strength of the start-up ecosystem in London and other English cities.

“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,” he said.

Among those pitching for investment at EIE include online bookings specialist Appointedd and wearable tech specialist Pick Protection.

Organisers said that this year’s EIE will see the most diverse group of global investors since its inception, 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 has 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.”