Converge Challenge firms secure Techstart support

Thu 2nd May 2019

Converge Challenge firms secure Techstart support


1) Entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in Scotland’s Universities as submissions to the Converge 2019 Programme grow in number and breadth

2) 47% of Converge applicants for this round are female

3) Acceleration of Converge participants to fully-fledged businesses set to grow with the news that they can now benefit from dedicated access to the Techstart Ventures team which opens up the potential for investment from their new Scottish venture capital fund.

Edinburgh – Thursday 2nd May 2019: Entrepreneurship is alive and well and accelerating to new heights in Scotland’s Universities as evidenced by the growth and breadth of submissions to Converge, Scotland’s leading company creation programme for the Higher Education sector.

This year’s pool of candidates come from a diverse range of industries including a med-tech coating device to prevent the spread of bacteria, a social enterprise aiming to tackle isolation and loneliness associated with deafness and a video game to improve your singing voice.

The top three performing sectors were Life Sciences, the Creative Industries and Technology and Engineering. Entrants are now chasing a total prize fund of cash and in-kind support worth £230,000 which will be awarded at the Converge final in September.

Converge support to alumni companies has been boosted further through a new partnership with Techstart Ventures LLP, a leading investor of seed capital across Scotland and Northern Ireland. The aim of the fund is to accelerate the growth of early-stage, ambitious businesses.

The partnership is great news for Converge alumni looking to significantly grow and scale their businesses as they can now benefit from dedicated access to the Techstart Ventures team. In Scotland, Techstart manages the Scottish Growth Scheme – Techstart Ventures Equity Finance LP Fund which is a £20m early stage venture capital fund that has been financed by support from the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund from the 2014-20 European Structural Funds Programme in Scotland.

Mark Hogarth, Partner at Techstart Ventures LLP comments;

“We have been following the Converge success story for a number of years, the quality and ambition of alumni coming through the programme is very high. We were delighted that the first investment from our new fund was into a company founded by a Converge alumni and look forward to supporting the growth aspirations of many more alumni in the future.”

Welcoming the new partnership with Techstart Ventures, Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director of Converge comments;

“Our partnership with Techstart Ventures will enhance the opportunity for Converge businesses to access the funding they need to grow and scale”.

Claudia continues;

“This year sees the ninth Converge and I am delighted to see several milestones reached. I am thrilled that female entrants make up 47% of overall applicants and that we continue to build a national consensus whereby applications were received from every Scottish University. This encourages the continuous building of the entrepreneurial environment across our higher academic institutions in the country.

“We applaud every University’s significant response to this year’s Converge. It remains a thriving innovation and enterprise ecosystem, and a world-leading community of researchers, staff and students who are taking their future into their hands and are courageously identifying new commercial opportunities.

Three days of intensive business training and networking now await our participants with the very best proposals going forward to our Awards final in September”.

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About Converge – Converge is a high-profile pan-Scotland company creation and entrepreneurship development programme for staff, students, and recent graduates of Scottish Universities and Research Institutes aimed at creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland. Developing entrepreneurial skills within the Higher Education Sector is the driving force behind Converge. It exists as a pathway for university entrepreneurs, meaning that the innovators of the future receive the right support at the right time to ensure profitable businesses for Scotland. A critical element is the collaboration between all of the universities to provide support and guidance to applicants and close working relationships with others within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. There are a number of ‘touch points’ to Converge via the Awards categories, outreach events, as well as the website which is an active resource and the main portal for submissions and information about the programme. Follow us @ConvergeC

About Techstart Ventures LLP

Techstart Ventures LLP is a seed stage venture capital investor for the most ambitious entrepreneurial founding teams in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We seek to be trusted peers who help founders realise their vision through experienced and timely support. With our capital and backing, founders can focus on customer development, validating their business model and growing sales. us @TechstartVC

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Techstart Ventures LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Techstart Ventures LLP is a member of the Pentech Ventures LLP Network