Fast becoming one of my monthly highlights, I last week attended my second Startup Grind event. Festival fever had fully engulfed the City and not even CodeBase, Startup Grind’s usual haunt, was immune – playing host to a VR theatre experience. This meant a change of scenery for this month’s Grind – the Kingsford Business Club, set in a classic yet modern business center and a very worthy replacement venue.
Having been impressed by my first Startup Grind, I was pleased to find the same communal vibe when I arrived. This monthly cyclic networking event has codified its values, going to great lengths to promote the transfer of business knowledge, evident both in the impressive entrepreneurs I had the pleasure of chatting with over some drinks and the event’s key speaker, who this month was Fraser Lusty, Director of Equity Gap.
Fraser talked us through his fascinating career in finance, from his early banking days in the 80s when it was a simple affair to the turmoil of the property crash in 2008, which ultimately led him down the Angel Syndicate route. He explained that with more and more companies looking to alternative sources in funding in Scotland, the angel space is now more buoyant in Scotland than elsewhere.
From 15 original founders in 2010, Equity Gap has grown to more than 100 members who have completed more than 50 rounds of funding. Co-investing alongside other syndicates and the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise – Equity Gap has leveraged a total of nearly £20 million to date.
What I found most admirable, however, was the diverse nature of the companies that Fraser works with – with Equity Gap being open to application from any early-stage Scottish based company past the point of R&D. Coupled with Fraser’s particular interest in the life sciences, software and mobile industries, this suggests a genuine desire to help Scotland secure its place as a global leader in the fast scaling start-up scene.
As always, I left this Startup Grind event feeling thoroughly inspired and I’m already looking forward to next month’s – featuring Chairman and Investor, George Elliot. Keep an eye on our Twitter page for details on how you can win a complimentary ticket and be our guest.
Book your ticket for next month’s event HERE