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Tech accelerator launched to help nurture ‘unicorns’

Elaine Ballantyne
Seed Haus was founded by Calum Forsyth (l) and business partner Robin Knox (r) (Source: Seed Haus)

A new tech accelerator has been launched in Edinburgh to help nurture Scotland’s next generation of billion-dollar ‘unicorns’.

Seed Haus is a pre-seed tech accelerator that provides founders with capital investment, software access at reduced or zero cost and mentorship from top-tier tech founders and professionals. This support package is geared towards customer acquisition, online marketing, distribution and sales.

Calum Forsyth, co-founder and chief executive, Seed Haus:

“We did scope out a variety of locations across the UK, but Edinburgh came out top after crunching the data.”

Strong foundations

More specifically, Seed Haus are interested in market-driven opportunities as opposed to ‘nice ideas’. Their engagement package is designed to grant founders enough runway to drive their start-up to the next business milestone.

The company was founded by Calum Forsyth and his business partner and chairman, Robin Knox. Knox has first-hand experience of building a start-up (IntelligentPOS) from a small team of two, through to a team of 50+, and ultimately leading the organisation through a successful trade exit to iZettle.

He is especially keen to give back to the next wave of entrepreneurs and has philanthropically allocated significant portions of his own money to realise Seed Haus. The firm’s founding team is rounded out by strategic advisor, Alisdair Gunn who is a well respected figure in the UK tech scene.

The investors they are collaborating with are also hands-on tech investors and are very much considered part of the Seed Haus team.

Market opportunities

Seed Haus are particularly keen to hear from founders across industries and are relatively agnostic in terms of which verticals they align with. The selection process involves mapping founders to forthcoming market opportunities. To this end, they perform in-house data analysis using a suite of tools and complement this with insight from thought leaders in their network. This allows them to marry up founders with real market needs.

The decision to base in Edinburgh was driven through both data analysis and personal insight. The founding team have a fantastic network across the UK, but they felt especially well connected within Scotland.

“We did scope out a variety of locations across the UK, but Edinburgh came out top after crunching the data. More specifically, we mapped the location of tech developers against data from Nesta/Tech City - Edinburgh compared favourably with London and Oxbridge.” explains Forsyth.

“Couple this with the investment ecosystem, access to talent, and the fact that Robin launched a successful tech startup in the city – Edinburgh emerges as an excellent hub from which to launch a tech venture.”

Collaborative community

Seed Haus is in the very fortunate position of being extremely adaptable to market opportunities and they have ambitious plans for the future. Initially they are firmly focussed on cementing their reputation as the leading source of pre-seed investment and building out their collaborative community.

In terms of finding Scotland's next unicorn – they definitely have the ambition, drive and importantly, network to support founders in realising this. What is especially encouraging within Scotland is that it has witnessed a successful unicorn exit (not just a unicorn birth).

“Going forward, we are especially interested in exploring equity models where we mitigate the issues associated with power law distribution in birthing unicorns. We have built a few models that are very exciting and we look forward to exploring these with the wider investment community.” states Calum.

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