Showcasing data start-ups to international investors in the data capital of Europe at EIE

By Jane Kennedy, Product and Community Manager at TalentSpark, powered by Eden Scott. Seconded to the Informatics Ventures team to help deliver EIE.

My first experience of Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) was way back in 2012. I was part of the management team at BioCity - creating a winning environment for healthcare pioneers. At the time I knew pretty much every life science company in Scotland that was looking for funding, so when I stepped through the doors of the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh I was blown away by the calibre of businesses from the tech and energy sectors that were also pitching for investment.

Fast-forward a few years and EIE has grown exponentially to become Scotland’s premier tech investor showcase. Since its inception in 2008, companies who have participated in Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) have secured funding in excess of £650 million; from seed through to Series A and later stage funding.

Bolstered by the recently secured £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, Edinburgh aspires to become the data capital of Europe. Beyond London, Edinburgh is already the UK’s largest hub for data centric start-up and spin-out companies, ahead of Oxford and Cambridge. Home to Skyscanner, FanDuel and the UK’s largest tech incubator CodeBase, Edinburgh is a hotbed of tech and data talent. The University of Edinburgh’s world class School of Informatics will play a critical role in achieving the data capital ambition. The development of several new University-based data-centric hubs – including the recently opened Bayes Centre – creates ideal conditions for collaborative working and problem solving.

Powered by Informatics Ventures, EIE occupies a unique place in the technology ecosystem in Scotland - connecting disruptive start-ups at the cutting edge of data centric innovation with a global investor audience. Showcasing innovative solutions to tomorrow’s problems, the EIE programme boasts a number of successes in its alumni network – not least a billion-Dollar valuation (Fanduel) and the Facebook acquisition of two further participating companies

Over the past few years I have been seconded to the Informatics Ventures team to help deliver EIE. This experience has given me a very different perspective on the conference - it’s certainly much more than a day. Through practitioner-led entrepreneurship, education and ecosystem networking, Informatics Ventures prepares and equips technology entrepreneurs with the skills and experience to scale their business and take it to a global stage. In addition to the more traditional investor readiness content, successful participating companies are put through a rigorous programme over a series of months - including pitch refinement workshops and stage training with an opera singer - to ensure that they are pitch-fit on the day. It’s a winning combination; the 2018 company cohort has since raised in excess of £4.8 million to date.

This year’s conference will take place on Wednesday 24th April in Edinburgh at the iconic McEwan Hall. 50 of the most innovative data-driven businesses will take to the stage to pitch their business ideas. Aligning with the data-driven innovation programme, every participating company will have data at its core.

EIE attracts a global audience of around 1000 international investors, early stage companies, and the doyens of Scotland’s business community. An investor-only event the preceding evening aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia sets the scene for the main event and affords angels, VC’s and institutional investors an opportunity to meet with their peers and potential co-investment partners.

I’m lucky to be supported by my employer to play an active role in the conference’s success. TalentSpark is a proud sponsor. We recognise that it’s the tech talent harnessed in Scotland, and in Edinburgh in particular, that will drive tomorrow’s economy and ensure EIE remains the perfect platform to showcase the country’s future success stories. The Data Driven Innovation programme has set bold ambitions to create 400 new disruptive companies and 20,000 data-associated roles over the duration of its lifetime. It’s clear that the deal flow that investors are looking for will continue to flourish in Scotland over the coming years.

  • Informatics Ventures was at the genesis of the technology ecosystem in Scotland and currently occupies pole position as an international thought leader at the cutting edge of data-centric innovation. Through practitioner-led entrepreneurship, education and ecosystem networking, Informatics Ventures prepares and equips technology entrepreneurs with the skills and experience to scale their business and take it to a global stage. Informatics Ventures is located at the heart of The University of Edinburgh, within The School of Informatics and The Bayes Centre.
  • TalentSpark, powered by Eden Scott, is a unique recruitment solution for early stage businesses. We believe that strong teams build innovative and sustainable businesses. Working as talent partners, we gain a holistic view of the company to find individuals with the right skill sets, values and purpose to grow our client’s businesses. We provide an exec and recruitment service, tailored to the needs of startups. TalentSpark is a gold sponsor of EIE.

With thanks to Jane Kennedy and everyone at Engage Invest Exploit (EIE).

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