17th May 2018
Day 3 kicked off with a welcome from Colin Tan of Tuspark, whp discussed the North East tech scene’s unique relationship with China. Tuspark is essentially the Silicon Valley of China, and as such sought to expand. They started a Sino-Anglo accelerator called FORGE in order to expand its potential.They came to Newcastle in order to get a foot in in the burgeoning tech eco system, and hoped to see it thrive.
Tan also discussed the reasons for Tuspark locating in Newcastle, and spoke passionately about the regions strength in several important sectors: engineering, healthcare, and digital, making it a hub for innovation and opportunities for China.
Blu Sky returned to speak about the different kinds of investment that may be available to startups.
Sam Wood (pictured left), lead client account manager at Blu Sky, explained the opportunities not only open for start ups seeking investment, but potential investors looking for security in their investment.
Wood discussed that SEIS could offer investors a 50% tax write off, making investment more enticing and less risky. In addition EISs can offer 30% tax relief.
Wood cautioned those seeking investment however, not to throw away too much equity too soon.
Blu Sky further cautioned innovators that they must always ensure they observe their runway, stating that a competent businessperson should look at their financial health at least once a month.
Debt finances of up to £25,000 were also mentioned, but again this kind of investment is not without its risks. It is for business but is in essence a personal loan, therefore if things don’t develop as hoped, you will be made personally liable.
CPI was also in attendance in the form of Rachel Chambers, CPI’s SME director.
Chambers informed the crowd of the funding opportunity available at the hands of CPI and how CPI operates.
The company has been in the region for 12 years and aims to help startups go from the research stage, and survive the “valley of death” stage of innovation, all the way to commercialisation.
It also aides SME’s with producing prototypes, feedstock, and overall product development.
SME’s account for around 60% of CPI’s business currently, and has a wide focus of markets ranging from health to energy.
Chambers talked about the Engineered Surfaces and Materials fund. A collaborative outreach investment for application of surface engineering technology.
Also the Emerging Electronic Manufacturing Centre, is a fully funded investment looking for startups focusing on big data.
Capitol Pilot’s CEO, Richard Blakesley and chief growth officer, Karen Winton were also speaking.
Specialising in early stage funding, and looking to engage with female startups and also female investors. Winton was delighted to see the amount of women in attendance at the conference but bemoaned the fact that there are still so few women in venture capital. She also stated that even women who are in business, can often be pigeonholed into the lifestyle or fashion markets. She fears ultimately many female led startups are left untouched by investment due to a lack of female investors.
Tech Nation offered today’s entrepreneurs a plethora of ways to find that crucial investment opportunity. James Bedford informed the crowd of the company’s values, connection, learning, and scale.
Tech Nation has 14 workshops for polishing investment potential. Furthermore, 7 networking and pitching events.
The investment you need is out there, but one must get out there and find it. Seek and you shall find.
Thank you to Newcastle Startup Week for another brilliant day of insight.
Words: Austen Shakespeare