Early-stage accelerator Seed Haus hunts for next unicorn

What is billed as Scotland's first dedicated pre-seed tech accelerator has been officially launched in Edinburgh in a bid to plug a gap in the start-up support system.

Wednesday, 13th September 2017, 8:07 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:41 am
Seed Haus co-founders Calum Forsyth, left, and Robin Knox. Picture: Contributed
Seed Haus co-founders Calum Forsyth, left, and Robin Knox. Picture: Contributed

Seed Haus has been backed by a line-up of high-profile investment partners including Sir Tom Hunter, BrewDog co-founder James Watt and technology entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl.

Its mission is to trigger Scotland’s next billion-dollar business, or “unicorn”.

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Seed Haus co-founders Calum Forsyth, left, and Robin Knox. Picture: Contributed

Co-founded by Calum Forsyth, chief executive, and Robin Knox, chairman, the accelerator aims to fill a gap by providing “the very best founders” with pre-seed investment, mentorship and office space within its Edinburgh incubator. Seed Haus has been structured as a not-for-profit organisation “committed to powering innovation and diversity in technology”.

Since launching an inaugural recruitment drive for early stage start-ups in April, the number of applications to join the six-month programme peaked at more than 160. Around half of these were from overseas founders.

Ultimately, just five applicants have been selected to join the accelerator’s first cohort: SecurityCTRL, offering cybersecurity for cloud infrastructure; Sansible Wearables, which provides body monitoring technology; Drinkly, an on-demand drinks service; Kindaba, described as a “collaborative communication platform for families”; and Taka, a Parkinson’s therapeutic symptom management system.

Seed Haus co-founders Calum Forsyth, left, and Robin Knox. Picture: Contributed

Forsyth, whose skill set straddles the worlds of technology and investment owing to his background as both a PhD scientist and time in London as a risk consultant with KPMG, said: “The founders themselves represent a highly-talented, diverse group with considerable experience and achievements already under their respective belts.”

Knox, who grew his own tech start-up, Intelligentpos, into a business that was acquired by iZettle last year, said: “We are Scotland’s most selective accelerator and we have big ambitions for the companies we support.

“We seek out people with the best ideas at a very early stage – we are not looking for business plans. Potential is more important to us than business experience.

“Seed Haus is providing exactly the sort of support needed by early stage start-ups to give them the greatest chance of achieving success and securing the next stage of investment.” It is already recruiting for another cohort.