Investors converge on Edinburgh to seek out Scotland’s next unicorn, zebra or rabbit

30/04/2024
Duncan Martin, Head of Entrepreneurship at The University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre

EIE24, the world-leading showcase event for the technology entrepreneurial ecosystem, is back today after a two-year break and with a new look and feel. Taking place over two days, EIE24 will bring together around 100 investors from across the UK and beyond with a strong line-up of Scotland’s most innovative technology companies seeking investor support, mentorship and guidance to help them scale.

Hosted by BBC Innovation Correspondent Laura Goodwin, EIE24 will take place in the capital’s most prestigious venues including Edinburgh Castle, Dynamic Earth and the University of Edinburgh.

EIE has evolved since its inception in 2008 and today seeks to provide more than merely a stage for innovative companies to share their stories. The two-day event provides an environment for the ecosystem to connect, build new relationships, and develop existing ones.  

Duncan Martin, Lead Executive for EIE24 and Director of Entrepreneurship at The University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre, emphasised the importance of growing the tech ecosystem in Scotland by supporting and improving these relationships:

“Our role at EIE24 is to develop and grow an environment where authentic connections can happen between founders, investors and ecosystem builders, so everyone’s expectations are aligned and companies receive the support they require to scale. This has been a key driver in planning this year’s event. 

“There is a perception among some investors of a lack of viable, growth-ready companies in Scotland to invest in. We need to help address this – there are many ambitious founders with innovative technologies that could be the next big thing. 

“EIE24 is more than just a platform for companies to showcase their technology and tell their story – its purpose is to bridge the gap by facilitating those genuine conversations. For investors, it’s a unique opportunity to get a curated look at some of the best investment prospects Scotland has to offer, all under one roof. And for founders, it’s an opportunity to show their worth.”

EIE24 features presentations from nearly 30 technology-driven companies spanning sectors including sustainable energy, healthtech, fintech and more. Ecosystem partners will introduce the companies they have identified as ready to be put on the global stage. In addition to presentations, the event includes a series of networking sessions, panel discussions and insightful keynote speakers.

Ahead of the Showcase Day, Wellbeing Economy Secretary Màiri McAllan will attend a private investor evening at Edinburgh Castle to welcome an audience of investors and entrepreneurs to Scotland. 

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Màiri McAllan said:

“A thriving investment environment is key to Scotland’s future economic growth and prosperity. 

“It is vital that investors and business founders have the right conditions to develop partnerships that can help us continue our renowned reputation for entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainable growth. 

“Since its inception, EIE has played an important role in developing these connections, and EIE24 is an important opportunity for our high-growth Scottish tech start-up ecosystem to showcase its huge potential to national and international investors.”

Beyond showcasing thriving tech companies, events like EIE24 play a crucial role in galvanising the ecosystem, which in turn encourages and retains top talent and innovation potential in Scotland.

Professor Mark Logan, the Chief Entrepreneurial Advisor to the Scottish Government, welcomed the new look EIE24, saying there has never been a better time to be part of the Scottish Tech ecosystem: 

“The return of EIE as an in person event is most welcomed and will help to establish and grow relationships.

“It’s a key time for the Scottish tech ecosystem, and I am particularly excited to be part of this year’s event. EIE24 has a greater focus on a smaller number of high quality companies, as well as on developing connections between founders and investors, which is vital if we want to encourage investors to return.”

Previous EIE events have supported over 540 companies, helping them go on to raise more than £1.2 billion in downstream funding. Successful alumni include globally significant companies such as online safety business Cyacomb, which counts the Home Office among its customers and whose latest round of investment raised £6.5 million, and sustainability software company Earth Blox, whose technology supports some of the world’s biggest financial institutions as well as NGOs working towards a sustainable future.  

The relaunched EIE24 event is delivered in partnership with the Data Driven Initiative and represents a cornerstone of the region’s £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

As the conference kicks off and showcases the strength of Scotland’s technology ecosystem on the international stage, all eyes will be on the companies pitching and the investors evaluating the next big opportunity to drive Scottish innovation forward on a global stage.

The Latest Stories

Investment fuels Aurora Avionics’ ascent
Scotland leads the way in starting children’s savings
Scottish tour operator on the road to growth thanks to £2m funding
Instrument company announces new CEO