Tech investor targets Scottish start-ups ready to break US

Transatlantic venture capital fund Beringea is seeking high-growth Scottish tech firms looking to break the US market following the launch of its northern office.

Marc Shirman, investment director at Beringea, said the US market is the gold standard for tech start-ups. Picture: Chris Gloag

The tech investor, which is on track to raise £80 million for its venture capital trusts this year, is focusing on the Scottish start-up scene after opening a Manchester base earlier this year.

A key focus for Beringea, which also has sites in London and Detroit, is helping firms to enter the US market, with 60 per cent of its portfolio companies now trading across the Atlantic.

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Marc Shirman, investment director at the Manchester branch, told The Scotsman: “We’re looking for high-growth, high-scale businesses. If you’re a Scottish start-up looking to trade somewhere abroad to scale, the US is often the gold standard. It’s the biggest and arguably most technologically advanced market.”

Beringea also assists with establishing a US base and advising on the local market, as well as offering access to its scale-up programme.

Shirman added that he is seeking companies with around £1m in turnover that “have grown to the point where they’re looking to really commercialise, and maybe even internationalise, their product or service”.

He pointed to the benefits of flexible office spaces as an ideal way for UK firms to “try out” new markets without committing to a permanent presence.

Beringea, which spun out of a US investment bank, launched its UK fund in 2001 and now manages £240m, supporting more than 40 companies.