👋 Funding updates, April events, VR Games for Autistic people
It's the first official Campfire issue, plus news from the Northern Tech Awards, Glasgow Tech Fest, and lots of awesome upcoming events around Scotland.
👋 Welcome to Campfire
by Robert Gelb
Building a startup is hard. On its surface, it's an utterly irrational use of time to try and solve a problem that's hard enough that no one has managed to solve it yet.
Whether it's an investor, a family member, or some bozo who calls themselves a 'Business Advisor', you have to navigate dozens of competing sources of advice and judgement. Most of the time though, you've heard all their points before, because the loudest voice with the most biting criticism comes from inside your own head.
We get in our own heads, we obsess over vanity metrics, we contort ourselves in all manner of weird positions to feel validated by others who don't even matter. It's a mental game that's hard, and one that relies on us growing through missteps. We don't grow unless we are challenged.
We don't build companies to make ourselves feel better. We build them because we have an irrational belief (and often-times ego) that we are somehow uniquely placed to build things that solve problems. That audacity to try, and probably fail, is what increases the likelihood of a founder to succeed.
Campfire is a founder-first publication focused on growing that mentality. We're here to celebrate, inform, debate, and champion each other. I hope you'll find what we share to be a vital part of your news digest. I hope the commentary we showcase from the community is thought provoking and not grand-standing. And finally, I hope you feel empowered to write in with your thoughts, and not be afraid to share your views.
And perhaps we can also have some fun and silliness along the way 😅
🙅 Update in the story about LettingCloud CEO Grant MacCuscker's apparent fake sale to AirBnB: Apparently there were fake execs which were featured in a crowdfunding campaign for another company, Student Rents, that raised £466k, and misleading statements implying previous employment with brands like Amazon, Shopify, and ebay, when in reality... I think you can fill in the rest. UKTN
💰 Barclays Eagle Labs announced open applications for £12m in digital growth grants funded by the UK government. Projects and initiatives focused on helping founders are able to get up to £250k in match funding. FS
🚀 Northern Tech Awards took place on the 20th with the 'fastest growing tech companies' list including Administrate, Evotix, Firefish Software, MRM Global, Quorum Cyber, ShotScope, Speech Graphics, and xDesign, with Callum Murray & Amiqus singled out as one of GP Bullhound's 'Northern Stars' Nice! 🚀 Full list of winners available here. FS
🚑 Building in Healthtech? Techscalers & the NHS Test Beds programme have announced a tie-up to help get more healthtech companies into clinical trials faster. FS
Have an update to share? 👉 Share with us! or add email@example.com to your press-release list.
🙏 Asks & Offers
🤔 Anyone have any good connections to investors in the Food and Drink sectors? Asking for a friend currently raising a Seed round for Vermouth. I know someone!
🤔 Healthtech founders interested in learning about healthtech sales in the US? I know someone and wanted to know if we should do a group call. I'm interested!
🎁 IP-rich startups: free training, mentoring, discounts on legals 👉 More info
Get your ask or offer placed here for free 👉 More info
In the spirit of launching something new:
📛 Need a quick name & branding for your startup? Check out ai-enhanced 👉 Namelix
🎨 Are you (like some of us) someone who is lacking a few rods or cones, or otherwise has a hard time knowing what colours work best? Coolers is your answer to get all sorts of cool palettes. 👉 Coolers
🔥 Need a quick (read cheap) logo? The Campfire one was built on SmashingLogo. 👉 Smashing Logo
🌐 Quickly check to see if a domain name might be available across a bunch of url endings with 👉 Domaintyper
👋 A few questions with: Alison Lang, Founder & CEO of Changingday
Changingday creates VR games for autistic players.
How did you get involved?
My background is in marketing, but I pivoted to games after trying a VR headset for the first time and wondering if autistic people would enjoy the immersive experience.
What's the problem you're solving?
44% of autistic people play games which is a far greater percentage than neurotypicals (18%) and yet nobody is designing specifically for them. Autistic people deserve to have products and services tailored to meet their needs.
What's your solution?
We have designed our first VR game, BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space, from the ground up. We have involved autistic players at every stage, from research through design and development to the QA process.
What current alternatives exist?
There are therapies available on VR, and we have met a few developers both here and in the US who are trying to develop for this market, but at the moment there are not many games designed specifically for an autistic audience. BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space is a game not a therapy.
What does good look like in this space?
I’d love to see the market open up with more games designed this way.
What do you need help with?
Spreading the word - there is a VR game designed to suit autistic players. Creating a new market is costly for a small company so any help here is appreciated.
How should folks get in touch?
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in being profiled? 👉 Go here
📅 Events & deadlines
🇬🇧 Upcoming Innovate UK deadlines:
Sustainable bio-based materials and manufacture: CR&D Applications close 3 May
Automotive Transformation Fund Scale up Readiness Validation 2 Applications close 11 May
Feasibility studies for Artificial Intelligence solutions Applications close 24 May
Analysis for Innovators (A4I) Round 10 – Stage 1 Applications close 24 May
Net Zero Heat: Design Engineering Innovation Lab Applications close 31 May
🏗️ 24/04, 23:59: Geovation Scotland's PropTech and GeoTech Accelerator Programme is live for applications and closes midnight on 24/04. The programme offers up to £15k in grant funding plus other targeted business support. MORE INFO
🎮 24/04-26/04, 15:00 🗺️ 🌍 Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow, Virtual: Games Talk Live: Scotland. A series of short talks and networking over 3 days across Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow to encourage collaboration and communication between local games developers, and networking with visiting publishers and guests. MORE INFO
🏄♀️ 25/04, 12:00 🌍 Virtual Creating our next generation of leaders, Scottish Women in Business: Speaker: Emma Soanes, Chief Executive of enterprise and financial education provider, Young Enterprise (YE) Scotland. MORE INFO
🎫 25/04, 14:00 🌍 Virtual: IPHatchathon 1-on-1 mentoring workshop: Experience one-on-one IP and business model mentoring with Jason Loh (Piece Future), Michelle Medhat (IKE Institute & STEM Foundation), and Stuart McDowell (CGC). MORE INFO
🌐 26/04, 09:30 🌍 Virtual: International Marketing: Product, Positioning, Target Markets & Gap Analysis (SE): Workshop covering: understanding what brand positioning is, how to position your product or service in a new market, what to look for in different markets, what's important about your brand, practical GAP analysis tools. MORE INFO
☁️ 26/04, 10:00 🌍 Virtual: Google Cloud Summit: Connect with startup and scaleup leaders, VCs, and folks from GC. They're expanding the Google for Startups Cloud Program with a dedicated AI programme for AI-first Seed-Series A startups. MORE INFO
🤖 26/04, 12:00 🗺️ 🌍 Codebase Edinburgh + Virtual: AccelerateHER x CodeBase Tech Clinic #4: Developing your Product. Workshop led by Julie Grieve for early stage female/non-binary founders focusing on developing an idea and experimenting to prove customer value in order to turn it into a viable software product. MORE INFO
🤝 26/04 19:00 🗺️ Fazenda, Edinburgh: Entrepreneurs Social Club (ESC) Edinburgh Startup Meetup: No talks, just networking with other Edinburgh-based startup founders, engineers, and industry professionals. Open to anyone - whether you're still searching for an idea, building your first product, on your 3rd company, etc. MORE INFO
🌎 04/05, 19:00 🗺️ Cumberland Bar, Edinburgh: People, Planet, Pint: Come and meet others interested in the Net Zero, Bcorp and Environmental space! No agenda, workshops or webinars. Just chat over some nibbles and beers. MORE INFO
🛎️ 09/05 🗺️ Strathclyde: Strathclyde Inspire100: Showcase event featuring six Strathclyde-led companies pitch their businesses to an audience of entrepreneurs, investors and experts to compete for a share of £17,500 prize funding. MORE INFO
👩💻 10/05 🗺️ The Melting Pot, Edinburgh: European Co-working Day:. Co-work for free at The Melting Pot for the day. There will also be a lunch and an afterparty to connect. MORE INFO
🤖 15/05: Edinburgh University's AI Accelerator's next cohort applications are open until EOD 15 May. MORE INFO
🧠 31/05: The Great British Entrepreneur Awards nominations are open and close on the 31st of May 2023. MORE INFO
📱 20/06: KPMG has opened submissions for Tech Innovator in the UK 2023. Initial heat will take place on 20 June to find a shortlist of innovators representing Scotland. Finalists UK-wide will be announced at Web Summit 2023 in Lisbon. MORE INFO
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That’s all for this week - have a great one!