Daily Business at the Scottish Edge final
Funding is in the bag for convertible seat
A company making a suitcase that converts to a car child seat, and an outdoor sportswear firm adapting its womenswear for men, were among those pitching at an investor event in Edinburgh today.
More than 20 companies were seeking investment through the Scottish Edge programme which has already provided £18.7 million to 130 companies.
Today’s batch included Gary Burns who secured £75,000 for his CarGo seat business which came out of an idea he had while on holiday in Alicante with his two children.
“I was charged €70 euro for two car seats for a week and thought there must be a better alternative, so I came up with a suitcase for children that would convert to a seat.”
Mr Burns is half way through a four-year career break from his job as a South Lanarkshire council leisure centre manager in order to develop the product.
He says it would also be handy for kids’ sleep-overs as it meets legal requirements to have car seats for transporting young children.
Two prototypes have been made in Taiwan and China but he now intends to manufacture the CarGo seat at a plastics company in Jedburgh. Mr Burns said he would like to base the company in Motherwell.
A previous crowdfunding campaign with CrowdCube failed to hit its £140,000 target and he believes he was probably being to ambitious. He hopes to launch a second with Glasgow-based Squareknot in the hope of raising £60,000.
Borders-based Alex Feechan (right), who runs Findra, pitched for £95,000 and received £75,000 to help expand her range of outdoor apparel which was designed specifically for women but has proved popular with men.
“Guys seem to like the fact that it is seamless and is something they can also wear in the bar,” said Alex, who launched the business last year after a 20 year career in fashion and textile design.
A keen mountain biker, she found most ranges were an “after-thought” which fell into the the “shrink it, pink it” category – scaled down versions of menswear with a “patronising” feminine touch.
She admitted it was ironic that men were interested in her product range and she is now seeking funding to meet this new market.
“You have to provide the customer with what they want,” she said.
In September she signed a distribution deal with Wiggle, Europe’s biggest online retailer for cycling and sports clothing.
Other winners included:
Directors of a company in the 18-30 age category. Awards of up to £10,000.
· Amanda Day, All Day Designs – £10,000
· James McIlroy, EuroBiotix- £12,500
· Craig Johnston, Kitsch Drinks – £12,500
· MindMate – £10,000
· Michael Harkins, Turtle Pack – £10,000
· Michael Tougher, Spark and Rocket – £10,000
Higgs EDGE category
A special technology award aimed at entrepreneurs who have an engineering, science or technology based business. Total prize fund of £250,000.
· Orfeas Boteas, Krotos Dehumaniser – £100,000
Identifying Scotland’s top young, early stage and high growth potential entrepreneurs. Awards of up to £100,000 (50% loan).
· Amanda Day, All Day Designs – £70,000
· Christopher McCann, Snap 40 – £30,000
Catch up on Alex Feechan’s story here..
Photos: Gary Burns and Alex Feechan (by Terry Murden)