🚙 Scotland's EV Jeep, DIGIT North, ScotlandIS awards
This week, it's the DIGIT North Summit, Strathclyde announces the winners of it's Inspire100 cohort, the ScotlandIS Digital Tech awards winners are announced, Scotland's EV answer to the Jeep gets a new model, and we say hello to Anne Widdop from The VR Hive.
But first, James Varga from DirectID shares a call to action for Fintech founders in Scotland. Here's your weekly Campfire for Monday the 22nd of May, 2023.
💬 Fintech Founders: Let’s build a founder-led trade mission
By James Varga
As the CEO of a fintech company, I have experienced first-hand the exhilarating highs and challenging lows of this burgeoning industry. I've also seen the potential for us to make a real impact on the economic landscape, but this potential can only be fully realised if we, as an industry, take the reins.
Therefore, I’d like to propose a novel initiative for the UK fintech sector: a collective trade mission, backed by the Department of Business and Trade. This mission aims to provide an arena for our most innovative companies to flaunt their prowess on a global stage and to cultivate a spirit of cooperation that will help us meet our common objectives.
The UK has a proud tradition of fintech innovation, and we are uniquely positioned to maintain our global leadership. However, we face stiff competition from international markets. Now, more than ever, it's crucial that we unite to spotlight our strengths and secure our momentum.
Yes, we've seen numerous export-focused missions and substantial support over the years. But, this mission differs significantly. We seek to focus on industry-led market, funding, and commercial opportunities, bolstered by the public sector. By pooling our resources and acting as a unified front, we can construct an energetic and engaging ecosystem that underscores our industry's strengths and accelerates growth in the UK fintech sector.
Our goal is to establish an inaugural cohort to pilot this endeavour. If you're a growing fintech company eager to participate, we need to understand two crucial aspects: the top three markets you're interested in exporting to, and your top three business 'needs' (fundraising, customer acquisition, partnerships, regulatory engagement, etc).
To ensure this mission's success, we will focus on:
1️⃣ Showcasing the most innovative UK fintech companies and offering them a platform to highlight their offerings
2️⃣ Creating networking opportunities with key industry stakeholders and prospective clients, fostering collaboration and partnerships
3️⃣ Securing the support of the Department of Business and Trade and other agencies to lend credibility and encourage a united approach to growth
Remember, we are leading this mission. Participants will be expected to cover their expenses, allowing the Department of Business and Trade to concentrate on gathering the right people and orchestrating an impactful series of events.
The adage "united we stand, divided we fall" rings true in our industry. This trade mission represents an opportunity to highlight our strengths, foster collaboration, and propel growth within the UK fintech industry. I invite you to join me in this bold initiative.
Our industry has the insights, the grit, and the innovative spirit to lead our growth. While the support from economic development agencies is valuable, they are not as intimately connected to our experiences as we are. We must lead. We must 'help them help us'.
If you share this vision and are interested in joining this mission, I encourage you to step forward. Let's transform the UK fintech landscape together.
James Varga is the CEO of DirectID
💻 The ScotlandIS Digital Tech Awards took place in Glasgow last week, with companies like Matter of Focus and Blackwired earning awards. Read more + Full list of winners 👉 FS
⚡ Glasgow-based EV company Munro Vehicles have released their second vehicle, a 4x4. ET
🎓 Edinburgh has been named a top place in the UK for university spinouts to be based. 78 spinouts are located in the city. IN
🌱✂️ Glasgow-based Kingdom Technologies has just launched their new grass-cutting robot. Roomba with scissors? So much more... TE
📜 ICYMI: The BVCS (British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association) has published updated model documents for early-stage capital investments. Read more about what it means for you + analysis here 👉 SHEPWEDD
🙏 Asks & Offers
👵 Have a parent or grandparent who you’d love to preserve a memoir from? Get 20% off Storii’s AI Biography Rewrite Tool by using using code CAMPFIRE here. Also available on Amazon in the UK and it's prime-available.
👩🏫 A group of founders who aren’t satisfied with the current offering in Scotland for power-venture investor readiness are thinking about running a week-long sprint, specifically targeting companies who want to understand how to run international power-venture investment rounds, without the bs. 👉 I’m interested
🤝 Looking for a co-founder? Let us know and we'll post a blurb!
🎓 Useful finds
🗞️ Looking for a wholistic approach to learning about AI? Alex Banks' newsletter "Through The Noise" is worth a follow.
🤖 Copilotly looks like a nicely designed (early stage) tool for dipping your toes into AI assistants through a chrome extension, and they're doing a lifetime deal at the moment.
👋 A few questions with Anne Widdop, Founding Director of The VR Hive
What's The VR Hive?
The VR Hive is improving productivity and well-being within education by harnessing technology to deliver impactful, dynamic learning and early-intervention therapeutic experiences.
How did you get involved?
I’ve been in technology for over 30 years and spent many years in education and training. I started as a software engineer, moved into project management and finally ended my corporate career as a Global Director for a blue-chip tech company.
The VR Hive was born out of a burning desire to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society today which include the rapidly rising numbers of people struggling with mental health and the growing drop-out rates at all levels of education.
I strongly believe that technology can provide some of the answers to help people in danger of dropping out, becoming socially isolated and disenfranchised.
What's the problem you're solving?
As we all know, the world has changed dramatically in recent years, and it's time for a radical new approach to education and mental well-being, an approach that sees education and entertainment entwined.
When Covid struck, millions suddenly found themselves learning at home, facing passive, disengaging, and isolating e-learning experiences. Worryingly, over 90% of e-learning courses are abandoned, and less than 5% of knowledge is retained. But that's not the only issue. Globally, mental health is declining rapidly, with 25% of adults and 20% of children suffering from mental illness.
What's your solution?
Through immersion, VR engages learners more powerfully, providing a stimulating and interactive learning environment. Physical engagement with simulated environments drives behavioural change, increases knowledge transfer, and accelerates skills development.
What current alternatives exist?
There is still face-to-face education and training. Nothing will ever replace a great teacher - that’s not what I’m about, I want to enhance the learning environment. And, yeh, the passive click-through e-Learning is still out there for the small percentage of people who can get to the end of that power-point course!
What does good look like in this space?
My ultimate dream is to build a reactive and adaptive learning environment. One that changes dependent on the learners needs and is full engages all the senses. Knowledge is a powerful tool and I hope I can move in some way to support learners to gain skills and knowledge at the speed and in a way that works best for them.
What do you need help with?
I am always looking for talented, passionate Product Managers, Games Designers and Software Engineers who want to make a difference.
I am also keen to recruit people from groups under-represented in technology. We are a diverse, purpose led, ethical team I want to continue to build on that.
How should folks get in touch?
Connect on LinkedIn here
📅 Events & deadlines
🇬🇧 Upcoming Innovate UK deadlines:
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
Innovate UK Smart Grant: Jan 2023 Applications close 14 June
🇨🇳 22/05, 10:00 🗺️ Glasgow: Succeeding in China: How to Mitigate Intellectual Property Risk. The session is suitable for companies from all sectors and of all sizes seeking to explore a range of opportunities in China. MORE INFO
⛓️ 22/05, 17:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: Monthly Scottish Blockchain Meetup: Speakers announced soon. MORE INFO
🎨 23/05, 12:00 🗺️ Stirling: Marketing Meetup: Open agenda and networking. MORE INFO
💻 23/05, 17:30 🗺️ Edinburgh: NoCode Scotland Meetup #4: Whether you're a NoCode enthusiast or just looking to get started learning how you can build software without writing code, you're very welcome to come along! MORE INFO
🎤 23/05, 18:30 🗺️ Glasgow: Scottish Startup night: A night of collaboration in Scottish Startups and SMEs to discuss emerging innovations to drive conversations on new technology. MORE INFO
25/05, 08:30 🗺️ Aberdeen: DIGIT North Summit 2023: The event will facilitate cross pollination between key industries, bringing technologists from traditional sectors like Oil & Gas and Agriculture together with innovators in high-growth fields like: Data Science, Sustainability, Gaming, VR, Digital Transformation and Cybersecurity. MORE INFO
🇳🇴 25/05, 18:00 🗺️ Aberdeen: Nordic Scot Business Network: Networking drinks. MORE INFO
🏄♀️ 25/05, 18:00 🗺️ Glasgow: Role models of leadership panel event: Panel event with 4 women in business: Amy McCuscker (WeeBox), Mehalah Beckett (Lead Powerful Impact), Siobhan Molloy (Soccer Stars Academy), Tracey Chrystal (Tracey Chrystal HR & Chrystal Coaching). MORE INFO
🐍 29/05 - 02/06 🗺️ Edinburgh: Django Con Europe: 5 days of talks, sprints, and tutorials in Edinburgh. MORE INFO
🙋 30/05, 17:30 🗺️ Glasgow: Find Co-Founders & Angel Investors: Inspiring Entrepreneurial event with Rajesh Kumar Plamth - Founder & CEO of TrackGenesis. MORE INFO
🤝 31/05, 19:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: Entrepreneurs Social Club (ESC) - Edinburgh Startup Meetup: Monthly Entrepreneurs Social Club (ESC) gathering - skip the talks, presentations and lectures - in favour of going straight to the bar, where real connections are made! MORE INFO
💻 01/06, 18:00 🗺️ Glasgow: Tech Meetup Glasgow: Talks on Salesforce (Varsha Salunke) and PHP (Chris D Brown), plus networking. MORE INFO
💰 01/06, 18:00 🗺️ Glasgow: Seed to Success: Understanding early-stage startup fundraising options: Panel event of experts as we explore the ins and outs of early-stage startup fundraising, from angel syndicates, crowdfunding and venture capital. MORE INFO
🇺🇸 05/06, 14:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: Approaching the US Market: Join delegates from the City of Mentor (Ohio) for advice and guidance on the best practices on approaching the US market, and what tools and connections are available to you. MORE INFO
💰 06/06, 13:00 🗺️ Edinburgh: Barclays Funding Readiness Programme- Edinburgh Roadshow: John Spindler and Katie Lockwood will be visiting the Barclays Eagle Labs in person. This is to meet anyone who is interested in investment readiness advice. MORE INFO
Save the Dates📜
07/06, 08:30 🗺️ Edinburgh: [Investors] Series A and beyond – insights for investors & founders into the new BVCA Model Documents: in-person session reviewing the key changes to the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) model form documents for early-stage investments, and discussion points that are likely to arise in deals papered with the new model forms. MORE INFO
📜 14/06, 16:15 🗺️ Edinburgh: [Founders] Series A and beyond – insights for investors & founders into the new BVCA Model Documents: in-person session reviewing the key changes to the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) model form documents for early-stage investments, and discussion points that are likely to arise in deals papered with the new model forms. MORE INFO
🎯 31/05 🧠 The Great British Entrepreneur Awards nominations are open and close on the 31st of May 2023. MORE INFO
🎯15/06 🧱 Product Builder programme from Barclays Eagles Labs: online programme to teach how to develop a digital product and then test, validate and evolve it using customer feedback. 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!