Tech event

EIE24 hopes to dispel caution among investors

Duncan Martin and EIE logo
Duncan Martin has relaunched the EIE event

Organisers of a pitching event in Edinburgh are hoping that it will dispel perceptions that Scotland lacks enough growth companies to attract investors.

EIE24, a showcase for the technology entrepreneurial ecosystem, returns today as an in-person event after a two-year break and with a new format.

It takes place against a more cautious investment climate and after concerns were expressed that, despite Scotland’s reputation as a thriving tech hub, interest among investors was fading.

Duncan Martin, Lead Executive for EIE24 and director of entrepreneurship at The University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre, said: “There is a perception among some investors of a lack of viable, growth-ready companies in Scotland to invest in.

“We need to help address this – there are many ambitious founders with innovative technologies that could be the next big thing.”

Mr Martin said in February that he had heard an investor panel discussing the problem of there being too few opportunities in Scotland. He said this was challenged by others in attendance, but felt there was a clear disconnection in perceptions that needed attention.

He launched a survey asking early and mid-stage companies whether they were struggling to get finance and how they perceive the political climate.

Speaking to Daily Business yesterday he said the response was too low to get any meaningful results, with “lots of people ‘liking’ the idea on LinkedIn but few actually following up by responding.”

This year’s event will attract 100 investors – half the number at the pre-pandemic 2019 event – but this was not directly indicative of lower interest, more about scaling back numbers in response to concern that previous events were too big. There will be about 30 companies pitching compared to 50 five years ago.

“It was felt that there were too many companies delivering short messages which often sounded the same,” he said. This meant investors struggled to get a real flavour of each company.

“This time we are letting them tell more of a story than just deliver a pitch. I am hoping this new format will be bring investors and founders closer together.”

This perceived investor caution coincides with the postponement of the X3 Global Summit, a tech extravangaza that was due to be held in Edinburgh next month with a line-up of high profile speakers from the investment and wider tech eco-system. After significant promotion, including a launch in London, there has been little explanation about why it has been pulled.

EIE24 takes place over two days in a number of venues including Edinburgh Castle, Dynamic Earth and the University of Edinburgh. Speakers include the government’s chief entrepreneurial adviser Mark Logan who will address the event tomorrow and is expected to give a summary of progress since publication in 2020 of the  Scottish technology ecosystem review (STER).

Mark Logan
Mark Logan will address EIE24 (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Màiri McAllan will attend a private investor evening at Edinburgh Castle to welcome an audience of investors and entrepreneurs to Scotland. 

Professor Logan has welcomed the new-look EIE24 and says there has never been a better time to be part of the Scottish tech ecosystem.

“I am particularly excited to be part of this year’s event. EIE24 has a greater focus on a smaller number of high quality companies, as well as on developing connections between founders and investors, which is vital if we want to encourage investors to return.”

Previous EIE events have supported over 540 companies, helping them go on to raise more than £1.2 billion in downstream funding.

Successful alumni include globally significant companies such as online safety business Cyacomb, which counts the Home Office among its customers and whose latest round of investment raised £6.5 million, and sustainability software company Earth Blox, whose technology supports some of the world’s biggest financial institutions as well as NGOs working towards a sustainable future.  

The relaunched EIE24 event is delivered in partnership with the Data Driven Initiative and represents a cornerstone of the region’s £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Funding for medical device spin-out

Nebu-Flow, a Glasgow University medical device spin-out, has secured an additional £4.7 million investment to accelerate the next generation of inhaled drugs for patients with respiratory disorders.

The company’s nebuliser platform has been developed to provide a number of advantages over existing technologies. Overall, the worldwide inhalable drug market was valued at approximately $33 billion in 2023, with the nebuliser market valued at over $1 billion.  

The funding round was led by SCVC, a UK-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage deep tech spinouts, and was supported by Scottish Enterprise, Foresight WAE Technology, SIS Ventures, Ascension, and Conduit EIS Impact Fund.

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