Scotland’s first dedicated pre-seed tech accelerator is to open in Edinburgh, enabling the race to create Scotland's next unicorn.
Seed Haus is raising an innovative new angel-backed fund to create what it terms the ‘hot-house environment needed’ to produce scaleable startups in emerging markets, such as FinTech and the internet of things (IoT).
Robin Knox, chairman, and Calum Forsyth, CEO, are the founders and have a proven track record of success.
Robin is former CEO and co-founder of intelligentpos® (IPOS), one of Scotland’s leading fintech startups. He built IPOS in eight months from his kitchen table and grew it to a team of over 40 employees and seven figure revenues in just four years. IPOS was sold last year to iZettle.
A PhD scientist and former financial risk consultant with KPMG, Calum Forsyth, previously led the accelerator programme at the University of Strathclyde where he advised over 200 early stage founders including Pick Protection, Storii, and Estendio.
Robin and Calum are united in a common goal of enabling the next wave of founders to build their startups with the type of support Robin needed when he was bootstrapping IPOS, and that Calum has seen stifle the growth of other startups.
Robin says: “I believe we need to take a fresh approach to funding the ideas that could become scaleable startups. Edinburgh is erupting with innovation and the ecosystem is ripe for Seed Haus to make a real difference.
“We chose to headquarter Seed Haus in Edinburgh because the city has global ambition and has already shown the world what it can do. But, if Scotland is to see another unicorn we need to keep innovating around how we incubate ideas so they are ready for seed investment.”
Edinburgh is a recognised leading UK tech cluster, with ‘billion dollar’ companies like Skyscanner and Fanduel and rapidly growing startups like FreeAgent, TV Squared and Administrate. International tech companies, Amazon, Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, have now also created bases in Edinburgh.
Over 84,000 people currently work in digital technologies roles across Scotland, generating more than £5 billion in GVA. According to KPMG’s Tech Monitor, the number of tech sector enterprises in Scotland grew 43.4% between 2010 and 2015, second only to London (54.6%).
Seed Haus fills a gap in the market identified by the founders – specifically, the lack of resources available at this crucial pre-seed stage. Seed Haus offers founders exactly what they need to get their startups off the ground – funding to cover living costs making it possible to leave permanent employment, a place to work, space to flourish and infrastructure.
The accelerator will operate as a social enterprise, and is applying for accreditation as a B Corp, committed to achieving high levels of social and environmental accountability.