Global tech investors lined up for EIE20 in Edinburgh

Michael Welch OBE, Founder of Blackcircles.com, Atterley and Tirescanner (by Stewart Attwood)

HOMEGROWN entrepreneurial talent and global tech investors are among those to feature at this year’s EIE20 in Edinburgh. 

EIE is an all-year-round investor readiness programme run by Informatics Ventures and highlighted by Scotland’s leading tech investor event where 50 ambitious data-driven startup to scale-up companies pitch to investors from Scotland, the UK and around the world for seed to series A funding.  This year’s EIE returns to the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall on Thursday 23d April.  

Michael Welch OBE, who sold online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com to Michelin for almost £100 million in 2015, will share his thoughts with attendees on his experience of taking an early-stage venture through the startup stage to a successful exit to a multinational.  Welch, who is also the founder of Edinburgh-based fashion site Atterley.com is currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Miami from where he recently launched Tirescanner.com, an online tyre retail site aimed at the US market.  

Mike Welch said: “Launching a startup is not for the faint-hearted. The setbacks, stress and isolation are enough to put most off! But if you get it right, the rewards, in more than just monetary terms, can be so much greater than that achievable from a ‘normal’ job.

“A big part of getting it right is choosing a group of investors that you can develop a working relationship with. But getting the right investors on board is a tricky process and can make or break early stage companies.  It can also be a distraction for the leadership team that can take people away from the main task in hand – making sales and growing the company.  It’s great that the Informatics Ventures team and EIE provide a format that can help navigate founders through that minefield’. 

On the investor side, IBM Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and Octopus Ventures will join EIE20’s investor panel.  Deborah Magid, Director, IBM Ventures said: “I have coming to EIE every year since the very beginning when it was still a small event.  I was introduced to EIE by the person at IBM who handled our relationships with academia.  It’s now so popular that people come from all over the world!  There is a reason I come back every year – everything about the event is extremely well done, for the way they coach the companies, right down to the small details.”

Informatics Ventures will be announcing further keynotes, featured investors, partners and sponsors in the run-up to EIE20.  The team is also surveying its 500-plus alumnus companies for the latest edition of its Scottish Startup Survey, findings of which will be released in advance of EIE20.  

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