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EIE17: Duncan Logan

Duncan Logan

Duncan Logan: important to get ahead (photos by Terry Murden)

Ride your luck and think big

He is the rocket man, the creator of unicorns. Duncan Logan clearly has the magic touch and his ability to conjure up a fortune or two makes him a valuable commodity in his own right.

Logan grew up on a Scottish farm and he’s now one of the country’s most successful exports.

He lives in California and is a key mover and shaker in Silicon Valley. His company RocketSpace is an accelerator operating in a “global ecosystem” that helps bring innovators to market.

Back home to address a pitching event in Edinburgh he outlined the factors that turn a humble idea into a billion dollar business and how those who make mistakes go on to become some of the most successful entrepreneurs.

First he had to admit that he was impressed with the set up in his homeland. “Seeing an event of this size in Edinburgh is mind-blowing,” he told an audience of delegates attending the EIE17 conference at the EICC.

He said that while he worked in the tech space, every company is now a tech company.

Duncan Logan: think big

“If you do not think you are a technology company you are delusional and you are probably not going to be around much longer,” he said.

In the ten years since he set up his business in San Francisco he’s helped companies such as Spotify, Uber and Blippar, whose co-founder addressed the Entrepreneurial Summit at Gleneagles last week.

Among those he’s helped are 18 unicorns, or companies worth $1 billion, and he stressed the need to raise the necessary capital early on and to “think big”.

Many of the “category” winners were not necessarily the best in their sector, he said. “They don’t always have the best technology or the best team, but they got a lucky break by raising capital to get ahead of the competition.”

He said 90% of first-time founders fail, but 90% of second businesses will be a success. “I never say embrace failure, but learn from it. You learn more from failure than success which can make you arrogant.

“Think big. You have to go for it, and take a risk. The benefit of building momentum just starts to feed through and you get the flywheel turning faster.”

Duncan Logan

Logan: ‘I never say embrace failure, but learn from it’

He is about to expand into five cities in China which is fascinating and “eating the world”.

He said: “The Americans hate it. They like to point out what is wrong, but there are American companies now copying the copycat.”

There are “zero” successful American tech companies in China and “zero” successful Chinese companies in America, he said.

 “Sooner or later we will see someone build a unicorn that will crack China and America at the same time.”

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