💷 Founders Survey! Plus BDD, VCs from the US, Funding Finder, and more
This week, we hear news from BDD, Techscaler, KPMG and more.
But first, it's time for the annual Founders Survey!
Here's your Campfire for the 21st of August, 2023.
💷 Is the investment landscape in Scotland broken? Tell us!
By Robert Gelb
"Scottish investors are way too conservative." "It's impossible to raise investment here." "The process takes far too long." Does this sound familiar?
If you've been around founders at events, you'll hear refrains like this often. We would say that though, right? We're on one side of a process, and often when 'having a vision and wanting to execute' meets 'I need money to do it' the result is either a perceived set of unnecessary barriers or slowdown, or inability to grasp one's brilliant idea. Either way it wastes time.
In reality though, and to paraphrase an investor I know and respect, you're actively deciding to give up part of your ownership to someone else and let them into the thing you've built. So the idea that that comes with no strings, or that you wouldn't have to prove why your opportunity makes business sense to them isn't realistic.
We tend to get obsessed with stories from founders who've heard how easy money can be, or how fast a company's narrative will tell you it has grown. That can cloud us when it comes to thinking about our own situation. I don't particularly think I'm great at fundraising. I'm too quick to tell you exactly how this thing can fail. But when I'm unsuccessful with an investor, it might be that they don't understand the opportunity I'm bringing them, but it also might be that they're just not interested, not the right type of investor, or (heaven forbid) I'm not ready.
It's easy to complain about investors, but when you ask folks about their investors - the ones that are already committed - you get a far more nuanced picture than what you hear at loud meetups. Some investors are super helpful and supportive, others aren't but also leave you be to get on with things. Still others are perceived to be actively meddlesome and problematic.
This is all part of the startup journey and not unique to any geography. The uncomfortable truth is, no one owes you anything, and funding, like business, is a challenge that requires both strategy and luck.
So the question then is: Is it specifically harder in Scotland? Is it easier in Scotland? What works well, and what doesn't? When thinking about investors based in Scotland, what if anything could be improved on, and what could the rest of the world learn?
Today we launch the 2023 Founders Survey on the investment landscape in Scotland. If you're a founder based in Scotland who's either pitched for or taken investment, please take 2-5 minutes to share your views about investors inside and outside of Scotland, and what you think works well vs needs improvement.
Have an investor that's been super useful? Go through a DD process that was far too long? Seen terms that weren't very founder friendly? Unsuccessfully pitched but got great feedback? We want to hear your stories!
If you filled it out last year: thank you! It's super important to fill it out again - you'll be pleased to see how much shorter it is this time!
As founders, if we're not willing to share our perspective, we can't expect the wider ecosystem to improve.
Our goal is to get over 200 founders to respond. Make sure your voice is heard: fill it out here.
The Founders Survey is open to any founder based in Scotland who has pitched for or received investment for their business. It's a completely independent project and receives no funding from investors or the government. All answers are anonymised before any summary or report is produced and shared. More information can be found here.
Want to write about an aspect of being a founder? Get in touch and suggest a topic!
🤝 Cofounder Curious
New listings this week include:
Maths/data/computing/AI guy with experience of founding, building & selling a 350-person startup (with VC), with a strong interest in tackling the global ecological crises we face
IT professional with over a decade of expertise in the industry.
Want to connect with any of them? Be sure to fill out your profile and join our Scottish-based Cofounder Curious list.
🌊 Updates & Opinions
💸 KPMG released a 'Venture Pulse' for the 2nd quarter: 28 VC funding deals of £63 million took place, which was an 80% drop compared with last year (£325m across 45 deals). The first 6 months of the year (£133m) compares with 2022 (£506m) and 2021 (£332m) over the same period. More numbers including UK: SBN DGT TS TH
🇵🇹 REMINDER: The Foras Lisbon funded trip to Websummit has an application deadline of August 25th. It's open to any stage of startup, as long as it has high-growth potential. 15 places for female-led businesses, 5 places for male-led. More info below and here.
💰 The Techscaler 'Unlocking Opportunities' series starts this week, featuring five Silicon Valley investors on a tour of different Scottish cities to help demystify the investment landscape. Full registration details below. FS IN
🤖 Elizabeth Greenberg has a fun article about AI at the Edinburgh Fringe. Read here: DGT
📣 Asks & Offers
📣 We've launched the Founders Survey! Please fill it out, it takes less time than you spend making that artisanal pour-over coffee in the morning. If you have a mailing list of startup founders, and would be willing to share the survey, let us know!
❓ Who do you know? Community Lab (open innovation platform) is hiring a Proposition Manager ("Imagine a Product Manager has a baby with a Project Manager and that baby was raised by an Account Manager who had an affair with a Community Manager") Know anyone?? Send them this.
👭 Interested in connecting with possible co-founders? Fill in your listing on Cofounder Curious today! Connect with others for possible cofounder matching here.
✍️ Want to write something for Campfire? Have an opinion you'd like to share? get in touch!
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💰 Series: Unlocking Opportunities: VC Insights for Scottish Tech Founders: panel of experts, comprising seasoned venture capitalists and experts, including Chris Neumann, Marvin Liao, Monique Woodard, Casey Lau, and Mike Sigal, will share their invaluable insights on what it takes to become investor ready.
📆 21/08, 11:00 🗺️ Edinburgh MORE INFO
📆 22/08, 14:00 🗺️ Edinburgh OFFICE HOURS MORE INFO
📆 23/08, 18:00 🗺️ Glasgow MORE INFO
📆 24/08, 18:30 🗺️ Dundee MORE INFO
📆 25/08, 18:00 🗺️ Inverness MORE INFO
💡 21/08, 10:00 🗺️ Online: Innovation Funding Webinar: Energy Systems, Grids, Storage and Generation: Learn about the latest domestic and international funding available for energy systems, grids, storage and generation innovation projects. MORE INFO
⛓️ 22/08, 17:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: Monthly Scottish Blockchain Meetup: Networking & talks including "Exploring blockchain and its revolutionary applications" by Rajesh Kumar Plamthottathil, Founder & CEO of TrackGenesis and "The velocity of money and token valuation" by Sekar Langit. MORE INFO
🤝 23/08, 10:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: Start Up Networking: Kick-Start Your Business (Now the Kids Are Back at School!): Come and join us for our parent-focused networking event, tailored for Edinburgh entrepreneurs who need that extra bit of flexibility! MORE INFO
🦓 23/08, 12:30 🗺️ Edinburgh + Online option: Business For Good – Alternative Exits – Employee Ownership: An exploration into employee ownership, hosted in-person and online by B-corp, Zebras Unite & CodeBase. MORE INFO
🇵🇰 24/08, 09:30 🗺️ Edinburgh: Scottish Chambers of Commerce Pakistan Delegation: We will be hosting a round table event and providing the opportunity for B2B meetings between Scottish and Pakistani businesses, delivering substantial trade agreements for participants. MORE INFO
🏄♀️ 24/08, 17:00 🗺️ Inverness: Highland Business Women Awards: The annual Highland Business Women Awards recognise the achievements of women in business across the Highland region. MORE INFO
🙋♀️ 31/08, 12:00 🗺️ Galashiels: AccelerateHER + Techscaler Meetup: South of Scotland: Whether you’re working on a fledgling idea for a startup or already in the thick of scaling your tech enterprise, having a community of folks to connect with, share knowledge with, and generally find support amongst is invaluable. For women and non-binary folk in the tech startup world this is even more vital. MORE INFO
🤝 31/08, 17:00 🗺️ Stirling: The Social: Our monthly social is upon us! Simply this is an event to informally connect people in tech and is open to all. MORE INFO
🛢️ 31/08, 18:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: The Oil Machine at TMP: Screening + Discussion: Come to The Melting Pot to watch The Oil Machine and spend an evening of reflections and discussion on our dependence on fossil fuels. MORE INFO
♻️ 31/08, 17:30 🗺️ Glasgow: People, Planet, Pint: Sustainability Meetup: Come and meet others interested in the Net Zero, Bcorp and Environmental space! MORE INFO
🤝 02/09, 14:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: Founders meetup: We are a group of startup founders who meet to talk about the ups and downs of our work in an informal setting. MORE INFO
🎯 Open 💡 Applications are open for the RBS Accelerator programme MORE INFO
🎯 22/08 🏗️ CivTech 9 Challenge call deadline for companies to submit proposals for a share of £7.8 million of contract opportunities for teams and businesses able to solve problems for government backed agencies and organisations in Scotland.
🎯 25/08 🇵🇹 Foras Lisbon 2023: funded trip to WebSummit November 11-18. Includes flights, accommodation, WebSummit tickets, wokshops, investor meets. Any stage of business, as long as it has high-growth potential. 15 places for female-led businesses, 5 places for male-led. MORE INFO
🎯 01/09 🤓 Applications are now open for the Scottish Cyber Awards. MORE INFO
🎯 01/10 ♻️ TechX Accelerator: Cleantech at a tech readiness level of 2-6, up to £100k in grant or SAFE note, 15 week programme with 3 weeks expected in Aberdeen. Looking for "diverse, innovative start-ups that will pave the way in clean energy." MORE INFO
🇬🇧 Upcoming Innovate UK deadlines:
Unlocking Potential Begin (£5k grants for business ideas) Submissions close 6 September
Unlocking Potential Build (£50k grants for business ideas) Submissions close 6 September
Ofgem Round 3: Call for Ideas Submissions close 21 August
India – UK Collaborative R&D for industrial sustainability Applications close 6 August
UK-Israel Eureka Bilateral Collaborative R&D: Round 2 Applications close 13 September
Innovate UK Smart grants: June 2023 Applications close 27 September 2023
Are we missing your event or deadline? 👉 Submit it here!
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That’s all for this week - have a great one!