🔥Campfire Champions 2023
From investors to ecosystem builders, it's time to give some shout-outs to unsung heroes in the Scottish startup ecosystem to end the year off bright.
A special issue of Campfire for you today, in which we share and recognise those nominated as unsung heroes of the startup ecosystem in Scotland.
💼 This issue of Campfire is sponsored by Shepherd and Wedderburn's initiative to supercharge start-ups and scale-ups. Be sure to follow the Start to Scale LinkedIn page for useful videos and posts designed to help founders.
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While there has been news that we could share like Smart Metering being acquired by KKR for $1.7bn, or that the latest Foras applications are open for the next funded trip to South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin (Deadline 8th of Jan so get those applications in!), or reminding you that we’re hosting a virtual Goal Together call on Jan 2nd to help start the year off right with some (independent) goal planning, that’s not what why we’re coming to your inbox today.
To end the year with a bit of positivity, we opened nominations for individuals in the Scottish Startup ecosystem to be recognised as unsung heroes doing what they do best, helping founders in Scotland build better businesses. It’s not a competition, but rather an opportunity to say thanks.
So without further ado, here are the Campfire Champions for 2023! We’ve had to make edits for space (and language - you know who you are!), but if the nominator provided us with an email address for the champion, rest-assured, they will receive the full nomination messages.
Alasdair Anderson: "He's gone above and beyond the expected. He was instrumental in dealing with board issues and closing investment rounds. He is friendly, hark working and a pleasure to work with."
Alison Chiwara FRSA: "Alison is one of the early advocates for corporate mental health in the workplace here in Scotland. Her desire to see gender parity in the tech sector has also seen her involved with women in blockchain talks. Alison [is] a driving force within her own local community and advocates for diversity and inclusion of both at a social and professional level."
Ally Longmuir: "As an experienced technical/medtech advisor, Ally has been an enormous help to myself and the wider team in helping drive our product development activities and accelerating business growth."
Amy Kelly: "Amy brings a breath of fresh air to start-up support. While she has strong scale up experience, she effortlessly adjusts it to deliver gold for even the smallest start-up. She does all this while radiating passion for customers, marketing and the business of the person she's talking to."
Amy Wallace: "An understated fountain of knowledge and support. She is such a good listener and helped me work through some problems which resulted in a positive impact on my work."
Andrew Coleman: "Big support for many university spin outs."
Brian Corcoran: "Consistently supporting founders, building connections, offering feedback and running a pillar in the Scottish tech ecosystem."
Calum Purdie: "Calum has been an exceptional support by sharing his network and offering solid advice that has helped me navigate my entrepreneurial journey, in Scotland."
Cameron Kane: "His unwavering commitment to providing fantastic, brilliant legal advice and support tailored to early-stage start-ups has made a profound impact."
Caro Melendez: "Caro deserves a shout-out for so many reasons! She has done amazing work for CYF across Scotland, particularly for the people who need the support most. She's also balanced this with her work for Foras to support founders of all backgrounds to give them the opportunity to be a part of an inspiring and actionable week."
Chris Newlands: "Chris was there, above and beyond, when we were at the end of the road with our company at exactly this time of year last year. When you are in the deepest of the deepest despair, he was there for us. He’s a rock in the Scottish tech ecosystem."
Colin Hewitt: "Colin Hewitt exemplifies leadership and excellence within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. His dedication to fostering a supportive environment has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the success and growth of fellow entrepreneurs."
David Saunders: "He's great at finding people the best help, whether it's a programme, a mentor, an advisor or just someone to talk and relate to. He's also fantastic at making people feel included in the ecosystem, regardless of where they are in their journey."
Dec McLaughlin: "Really appreciated his composure, calmness, and fun outlook when trying to navigate on the websummit trip earlier this year."
Eva Fraser: "Eva handled the legals for my incredibly stressful round and she was so proactive, so kind and capable - exactly what I needed! Thanks so much Eva!"
Jack Greenwood: "Jack is a selfless steward of the Glasgow ecosystem, managing the space at the Eagle Labs, setting up event space and catering for community members and often staying late to ensure events can happen. He's a constant welcoming energy in Glasgow's coolest community hub and a natural problem solver, always with a smile on his face."
Jamie McHale: "Been doing the hard work (unpaid) to grow the tech community."
Jason Wagner: "His willingness to share his extensive experiences, including candid discussions about the challenges he has faced as a founder, sets him apart as a true leader and mentor. In a world where the entrepreneurial journey is often marked by hurdles and uncertainties, Jason stands out as a beacon of transparency and authenticity."
Jonathan Andrews: "Jonathan and his team prove their worth through clear, concise and actionable guidance to our company through our complex fundraising transactions. I look forward to our continued interactions with Jonathan as we grow our business."
Joseph Fitzgibbon: "He is a true expert in his field. Always impeccable work, flawless. No matter who's lawyer is on the other side, Joe knows the detail more and always makes the smart calls."
Julie Grieve: "Julie is a prime example of how one person's contribution to an ecosystem can have a compounding impact, I don't know how she fits so much in! Despite having the opportunity to not fill her calendar so full, she has volunteered for hackathons, supporting female founders both 1-1 and at scale through AccelerateHER workshops and mentoring."
Karthik Velayutham: "His innovation enables urban and low level winds to be harnessed for the production of carbon-free electricity where incumbent technologies cannot."
Kate Fox: "Kate is a bit of an unsung hero of the spinout process at the University of Edinburgh but also as an investor and board member. She has a great manner, firm but fair. And her bias is always towards doing what's right for the long-term success of the companies she works with."
Kit Fraser: "Kit is always ready to listen to entrepreneurs and ideas, filled with positivity. Shown this year by taking the Loch Ness Water founder under his wing and boosting / rejuvenating his opportunity, with a never say die attitude."
Lingsay Wong: "Lingsay has been instrumental in organising Dundee Data meetup, and generally supporting startups in the Dundee tech ecosystem. She is passionate and motivated, always has ideas about how to engage and nurture the community, and has grown the data meetup from 0 to up to 50 attendees, many of whom attend regularly."
Marj Clark: "Marj works tirelessly to provide support in any way she can, signposting founders and developers to education, mentoring and coaching new members of the ecosystem and gathering ecosystem members together at one great event after another."
Mark Logan: "He goes out of his way to make room for all, a gift to our ecosystem."
Mark Hogarth, Calum Forsyth & Liza Sutherland @ Techstart: "Being f***ing solid"
Matt Farrugia: "Matt is an entrepreneur and investor. He has been an incredible source of knowledge, insight and support during a difficult stage in my business. He has given me time every week without asking for anything in return."
Morag McDonald: "After CodeClan's sudden liquidation in August, Morag stepped up and took care of the last few cohorts of students across Edinburgh and Glasgow, ensuring that they could complete their software development training and entering the jobs market. Morag has been a true hero this year, and made an incredible impact on the lives of so many."
Nick Bansal: "He is a true champion in every sense of the word. His energy is infectious. He makes people feel included. There is a buzz around him that makes people excited about the ecosystem and making the possible happen. His online work is as compelling as his offline work and he is a fantastic ally on LinkedIn."
Nick Murray: "His wisdom, and calm style has been supportive through out. A trusted sounding board for any difficulties. I’m not sure I’d have made as much progress with out him. He's selfless with the work he does and truly cares about the success of the ecosystem as a whole and is willing to do the work, collaborate and think outside the box."
Oluwaseun Franklin Olabode: "Franklin has done a stellar job relaunching the Startup Grind Aberdeen chapter this year. He's hosted incredible speakers, topics, and is a true champion of the ecosystem there."
Onyinye Igbokwe: "She has led the Stirling hub team through a period of change, engaged further across the region - including setting up events in Dunfermline and beyond - and has made huge progress on engaging with and supporting people of colour working in the tech ecosystem. As a woman, I look up to her ability to engage with communities and make change, and she is an inspiring example of how to drive progress."
Paul Falconer: "Paul is a major contributor to our growth as founders and as a company. We really appreciate all the time he has taken to help us on our journey."
Robbie Callander: "Robbie ran the company side for [our] investment round - this was a follow on to multiple previous rounds, with a number of legacy points we needed to settle. Ultimately he closed the round quickly and effectively."
Robert Gelb: "Reading Campfire every Monday morning has been something I look forward to every single week and you're doing a great job of pulling together ecosystem news/opportunities." Aw shucks, you made us blush 😊
Selby Cary: "Clearly an absolute dude, doing great things for the community and definitely deserves recognition."
Sheriff Frank Crowe: "Quietly and diligently advocates for inclusion of the BAME and other under represented groups. He is a beacon of hope and true advocate for Equality, Diversity and inclusion in its most purest form."
Stefan Raue: "They’re consistent, supportive and I feel and know they are interested in my highest good."
Varun Nair: "Brilliant, experienced, exited founder now building his second company. Active angel investor. Mentor and empathetic sounding board to quite a few people, too. Drops knowledge bombs and throws insight grenades whenever there's a tricky technical or engineering problem around."
Victoria Ross: "Victoria has gone above and beyond to support the tech ecosystem and specifically female founders. Her commitment to us founders is 2nd to none and she actually really cares about the businesses she works with by providing us with opportunities and opening doors (particularly investor doors), enabling growth and expansion into international markets."
Viktoria Kampbell: "Viktoria is the host of the Edinburgh Tech Meetup and a dedicated tech startup community builder! She arrived in Scotland and immediately began attending community events, making connections and volunteering at local meet-ups."
Thank you to everyone who’s helped founders in Scotland this year. From team Campfire, we hope you have a very happy season, and see you next year!
🔥 Team Campfire