Converge Challenge firms secure Techstart support
Claudia Cavalluzzo: ‘several milestones reached’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Businesses supported by the company creation programme Converge Challenge will gain access to a new source of finance through a partnership with Techstart Ventures.
The seed capital investor, operating across Scotland and Northern Ireland, aims to accelerate the growth of early-stage businesses.
The partnership will allow programme alumni to benefit from access the Techstart Ventures team. In Scotland, Techstart manages the Scottish Growth Scheme – Techstart Ventures Equity Finance LP Fund. It is a £20m early stage venture capital fund financed by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund from the 2014-20 European Structural Funds Programme in Scotland.
Mark Hogarth, partner at Techstart Ventures, said: “We have been following the Converge success story for a number of years. The quality and ambition of alumni coming through the programme is very high. We were delighted that the first investment from our new fund was into a company founded by a Converge alumni and look forward to supporting the growth aspirations of many more alumni in the future.”
Claudia Cavalluzzo, director of Converge, added: comments: “Our partnership with Techstart Ventures will enhance the opportunity for Converge businesses to access the funding they need to grow and scale.”
Converge Challenge entrants this year are chasing a total prize fund of cash and in-kind support worth £230,000 which will be awarded at the Converge final at the V&A Dundee in September.
Dr Cavalluzzo said: “This year sees the ninth Converge and I am delighted to see several milestones reached. I am thrilled that female entrants make up 47% of overall applicants and that we continue to build a national consensus whereby applications were received from every Scottish University.
“This encourages the continuous building of the entrepreneurial environment across our higher academic institutions in the country.
“We applaud every University’s significant response to this year’s Converge. It remains a thriving innovation and enterprise ecosystem, and a world-leading community of researchers, staff and students who are taking their future into their hands and are courageously identifying new commercial opportunities.
“Three days of intensive business training and networking now await our participants with the very best proposals going forward to our Awards final in September”.