Start-up survey to probe firms on Covid fallout ahead of Dragons' Den-style investment event

Scottish start-up businesses are to be quizzed on the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic ahead of a top tech investor conference.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 12:30 pm

The EIE21 Dragons’ Den-style event will see company founders pitch for investment from seed level to more than £2 million on June 10.

EIE has supported more than 500 start-ups since 2008 who have collectively raised some £750m from seed through to Series A and later stage funding. This year’s event is due to be staged virtually.

Ahead of June, the Scottish Start-up Survey has been launched to ask early-stage ventures across the country about the main challenges faced and opportunities achieved in a year characterised by the coronavirus crisis.

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Rebecca Pick of Pick Protection and Callum Murray of Amiqus. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Steve Ewing, director of entrepreneurship at Bayes Centre and EIE21 lead, said: “The pandemic has been all encompassing for over a year now, and we know our start-ups have been impacted.

“Inherently, running a start-up has never been anything short of incredibly hard work, and that has been ramped up since the onset of Covid. We hope the survey will take us under the surface and find out how founders have been coping, while keeping their companies on the path to growth.”

The survey will ask business founders a range of questions, including around whether they have had to adapt rapidly in the face of the pandemic, new ways of working, if funding plans have been impacted, what kind of government support has been accessed, Brexit impact, hiring strategies, what kind of measures have been put in place to deal with wellbeing, physical and mental health during remote working and plans to return to the office.

Callum Murray, chief executive and founder of Amiqus, an EIE alumni and two-time pitch of the day winner, said: “The last year has seen an enormous shift in how people work and we’ve been well placed to help organisations maintain their compliance processes on a fully remote basis.

“Yesterday’s R&D [research and development] or continuity processes have become business as usual and we’ve been fortunate to scale across sectors as a result.”

Rebecca Pick, chief executive and founder of Pick Protection, an EIE alumnus start-up that specialises in lone worker protection, said: “During the pandemic, we’ve seen a massive shift in the ways that employees work.

“More people than ever are working from home, shift patterns have changed, staff numbers have been reduced and so on. It’s certainly been an interesting year and we’re excited for the challenge of helping our customers keep safe and remain compliant as we enter the transition phase of returning to the ‘new normal’.”

EIE21 is run by the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre in partnership with the DDI (Data-Driven Innovation) initiative and supported by Scottish Enterprise.

Earlier this month, Stuart Paterson, the Scottish Equity Partners co-founder who led the firm’s investment in travel search site Skyscanner, was revealed as one of the panelists lined up for this year’s event.

Silicon Valley Bank’s Flavia Popescu-Richardson, UK Business Angels Association’s Jenny Tooth, BGF’s Euan Baxter, Old College Capital’s Andrea Young, Archangels’ David Ovens, TusPark UK’s Jerry Wu and Robert Bosch’s Gitte Bedford are the other investor panelists.

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