Innovation Centres Scotland (ICS) will issue a stark warning at the annual Young Company Finance (YCF) Conference in Stirling on Thursday 12 September.
Speaking at the conference, Peter Andrew, Head of Innovation Support at Innovation Centres Scotland (ICS) will argue: “Investors need to take a risk on startups if Scotland is to sustain its reputation for innovation and grow another Woolfson or Craneware.
“Young companies are finding it harder and harder to find vital early stage funding. And without seed funding startups just will not get past go, the high growth pipeline will dry up and Scotland could lose its reputation for innovation.”
The warning comes as YCF publishes its guide to finance, in effect a ‘little black book’ of investors, Scotland’s first comprehensive funding directory. Aimed at Scotland’s technology startups with high growth potential, YCF names all the angel groups and VC firms known to have invested in Scottish companies, or to be looking at doing so.
The free guide also lists the companies they invested in and what level of engagement there was, giving startups the inside track and a clear picture of which companies have secured investment and at what stage in their development.
Jonathan Harris of YCF explains: “The investment landscape has changed and startups need practical help and market intelligence to access investment channels. Raising seed funding has never been easy but it has never been so difficult as it is today because funders are focused on supporting existing investments.
“Companies need to understand what sort of funding is out there and plan their investment journey carefully. YCF has been reporting on the startup scene for 15 years and that gives us unique intelligence for innovator and investor.
“That is why we are making our guide available for free to anyone looking for funding in Scotland today.”
The guide also illustrates the range of funding options available and describes some of their criteria and restrictions. It includes insight and advice from experts active in the field. Articles cover subjects such as the questions startups should ask before fund raising, ways to research new sources of finance and what sort of funding is appropriate for specific types of company at different stages of their journey.
The guide has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of ICS and advertising by a number of other organisations. The aim is to provide a practical platform for companies to consider their own circumstances and ultimate ambitions, understand how the market currently operates, then work out a strategy for meeting their own funding needs and start engaging with investors.
Harris continues: “It is critical that we work with organisations like ICS who have the experience and track record to be able to guide young companies and provide the support and direction they need in the early stages.”
Innovation Centres Scotland provides incubation services and support for early stage growing businesses in Scoltand from Hillington Park Innovation Centre on the west coast and Alba Innovation Centre in the east.
The guide will be free to use online and also published annually in hard copy. The funding landscape changes quickly and the website will be kept up to date as new sources of investment come on stream.