AccelerateHER resumes in-person trade missions with forthcoming California trip

A group of Scottish-based female company founders is heading to California later this month for AccelerateHER’s first in-person trade mission since the pandemic.

The market-building trip, taking place from November 28 to December 2, is led by the network for women entrepreneurs in partnership with Gwen Edwards of US-based Golden Seeds, an angel investor group that backs high-potential, women-led businesses. Ms Edwards also serves as the chair of the Angel Resource Institute, an American not-for-profit organisation focused on research and educational activities related to angel investing.

It also follows previous such in-person visits to California run by the organisation in 2017 and 2018, and will see participating founders showcase their companies and meet globally-focused venture capitalists, angel investors and industry leaders from Silicon Valley and other regions of the US. Supported by the Scottish Government, the visit looks to provide a springboard to growth by sharing current market information and business insights and opening doors to new connections through the global AccelerateHER network.

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The six participating female business-founders are described as representing companies with global scale-up potential, and all in the process of raising external investment. They include former AccelerateHER Awards winners Kate Cameron, founder of Cytochroma; Ishani Malhotra (Carcinotech); Lynne Darcey Quigley (Know-it Global); Danae Shell (Valla); and Rebecca Goss (X-Genix). Also attending are Fiona Gillies and Christine Hartland, founders of Smash.

The five-day programme includes a key investors event hosted by Jaclyn Mason, regional director for Silicon Valley and Northwest US at the UK Government Department for International Trade. It will also feature a session with former Apple and Microsoft adviser Ron Weissman, who is the current vice-chair of the US’s Angel Capital Association and chair of the Software Industry Group at Band of Angels, and was on the agenda at AccelerateHER’s virtual trade mission to California earlier this year, having also undertaken online trade visits to Europe.

Other speakers this year include Cal Henderson, co-founder and chief technology officer at Slack; Michele Colucci, founder and managing partner of DigitalDx Ventures; Duncan Davidson, general partner and co-founder of Bullpen Capital; and Dr Faz Bashi, the Angel Capital Association’s chair of life sciences.

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Jackie Waring, chair of Edinburgh-based AccelerateHER, which recently opened its 2023 awards for entries, said: “After running virtual trade missions over the last two years, we’re so pleased to be staging this latest market-building expedition on US soil once again. The event, our tenth international trade mission, will deliver valuable insights for the participating female founders and give them direct access to some of the leading figures from the US tech sector and global investment community.

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'After running virtual trade missions over the last two years, we’re so pleased to be staging this latest market-building expedition on US soil once again,' says Jackie Waring, chair of AccelerateHER. Picture: Neil Hanna Photography.

“We’re grateful to Gwen Edwards in helping deliver this latest trade mission to California, which remains a key centre for global technology innovation. We’d also like to acknowledge the great support of the Scottish Government, which is a strong endorsement of the quality of female founders and the innovative businesses coming through the AccelerateHER programme.”

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Ms Edwards said: “We’re delighted to be working with AccelerateHER and its sister company Investing Women Angels, organisations which share our commitment towards helping female business founders. The innovation and commercial-focus of the Scottish-based, female-led companies that we have seen emerging from their network is impressive and inspirational. We look forward to getting better acquainted with the six companies attending this forthcoming mission.”