Investors will soon arrive in Edinburgh hoping to spot the next FanDuel or Skyscanner, writes Nick Freer
The Engage, Invest, Exploit (EIE) conference returns to Edinburgh in April with 60 early-stage, high-growth-potential tech companies pitching to investors from the UK and across the globe.
Now in its 10th year, EIE has been a springboard to over £500 million in funding. FanDuel, Mallzee, Celtic Renewables, Two Big Ears, ZoneFox, pureLiFi and MindMate are just some of the companies to come through the EIE programme in recent years. Here are five start-ups to watch among the 2018 cohort.
Good-Loop, an ethical video advertising platform, is a much fancied start-up in a hot tech sector known as AdTech. CEO and co-founder Amy Williams describes the company’s activities as converting “advertising money into charitable donations in a way that keeps the internet free and makes online advertising more effective, more rewarding and more ethical.” Founded in Edinburgh in 2016 by Williams and Daniel Winterstein, Good-Loop is already making big waves - evidenced last year when Nestle not only identified the team as AdTech’s next big thing but also signed Good-Loop up for a $50k KitKat campaign in Q2 of 2018.
Alex Hewitt is well-known known in Scottish media circles as a former picture editor at The Scotsman. He went on to establish Findr - a curated marketplace to identify, book and manage professional photographers - in 2014. Hewitt and Findr have gone on to achieve considerable success since, securing a national contract with Europe’s fastest-growing technology company, Deliveroo and, in Hewitt’s words, “transitioning the relationship to a successful global operation in 12 countries.”
Novosound is an award-winning spin-out from the University of the West of Scotland that is primed to develop “revolutionary sensors, systems and software for low cost, high resolution imaging” the company believes can “disrupt industrial, including oil and gas, medical, dental and veterinary markets.” Headquartered in Paisley and founded by chief technology officer Dr Dave Hughes, Novosound won the coveted Converge Challenge last September and having recently launched a seed round, EIE18 comes at an opportune time for Hughes and team.
Scottish blockchain technology specialist Wallet.Services boasts some heavyweight experience in the tech sector. Founding director Peter Ferry was formerly Microsoft’s lead partner in Scotland while managing director Stuart Fraser is a former chief technology officer from online identity tech player miiCard. Headquartered at CodeBase in Edinburgh, and previously supported by the Scottish Government’s CivTech incubator programme, Wallet.Services, like Novosound, has been racking up awards over the last twelve months. Founded in 2016, Wallet.Services has built its so-called SICCAR platform, allowing data sharing across multiple organisations with “integrity and control” and is making traction in the public, residential property and energy sectors.
Premier Punt Group
Last but not least, Premier Punt Group, founded in Edinburgh in 2013 and described as “fantasy football meets footy betting”, creates customer acquisition and retention tools for the gambling industry. Accepted onto RBS’s entrepreneur accelerator programme, John Gordon-founded Premier Punt is currently raising funds on the crowdfunding site Seedrs and is aiming to launch in Asia during Q4 of 2018.
Nick Freer is a founding director of the Freer Consultancy and Full Circle Partners