University-supported entrepreneurs to pitch at live showcase events

TWO events taking place next month will enable University of Edinburgh-supported start-ups to pitch their companies to an audience of investors, grant funding bodies and fellow entrepreneurs.

The AI Accelerator Showcase and Venture Builder Incubator Demo Day take place in Edinburgh on 17 and 25 March respectively marking two of the first major face to face eco-system events to be held since the outbreak of Covid-19 two years ago.

These events are part of the Data Driven Entrepreneurship (DDE) programme and are delivered by The University of Edinburgh’s world-leading innovation hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, the Bayes Centre, on behalf of the DDI hubs,  and Edinburgh Innovations, University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. Both events will also offer a virtual facility for those wishing to attend online. 

The events will provide participants with a platform to pitch their businesses to an audience of investors and grant funding bodies including Scottish Enterprise and Innovate UK. Individuals from the wider Scottish entrepreneurial community will also be attending alongside representatives from commercially-focused organisations including Fintech Scotland and Barclays Eagle Labs.

The AI Accelerator Showcase features 12 disruptive and transformative AI-driven companies which were accepted into the six-month programme last September. Throughout that period the companies have benefitted from links to investors, partners, and mentors as well as space to scale their business.

The participants, which have all received a £9K grant through the programme, have had access to the programme’s partnership with London-based community Scale Space as well as strategic design support from Edinburgh Innovation’s partner NileHQ. The company founders have further benefitted from access to commercial expertise and collaboration opportunities with University of Edinburgh’s community of like-minded entrepreneurs. 

Those taking part in the AI Accelerator include Edinburgh cancer research and treatment business Carcinotech; Indigo.AI, a Milan-based conversational AI platform being supported by the University as it aims to set up a new premises in Scotland; and Glasgow-based GIGGED.AI, a platform which transforms the sourcing and on-boarding of tech talent in the gig economy.

Katy Guthrie, Programme Leader of AI Accelerator said: “We’re delighted to provide this opportunity for our 12 AI Accelerator programme companies which operate across a broad range of industry sectors. Staging this face-to-face platform with investors, funding bodies, advisors and potential collaborative partners is a key aspect of our programme and one that is designed to help these businesses scale up to reach their full potential.”

Meanwhile, the Venture Builder Incubator will showcase 20 IP-focused, early-stage companies. As part of the partnership with Cancer Research UK, eight of these ventures are specifically looking at innovative forms of cancer research and treatment focusing on early diagnoses, therapeutics and drug discovery.  

Venture Builder Incubator cohorts also include companies focused on addressing some of the world’s major challenges including the climate emergency, well-being, children’s mental health, and financial security.

The programme, which includes PhD students and post doctorates from University of Edinburgh or Heriot-Watt University, is designed to help fledgling entrepreneurs build their skills and take their businesses to the next level. Each venture is provided with £2K and support through a series of workshops, networking events, mentoring, peer to peer learnings and access to the University of Edinburgh’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and its data expertise.

Laura Bernal, Venture Builder Incubator Programme Manager, said: “This event is a brilliant platform for these early-stage ventures to present to an audience which can help them further develop their business idea. This event is designed to bring our cohort community together and enable them to share their ideas with key commercial contacts, create potential partnerships with like-minded individuals, and build valuable connections.”

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