My name is Flavia Richardson. I work for Silicon Valley Bank in the early stage practice. For the last eight years, before joining Silicon Valley bank, I have been involved in a number of investment roles here in London, looking at early-stage businesses and early growth.

Currently, I have a portfolio of clients between seed, and I will say series A and B that I work very closely within their journey.

As an organisation, we serve the innovation economy, and this means where we have a number of products that are particularly relevant for venture capital and private equity funds in our global funds’ banking and naturally, we end up doing business and lending to quite a number of companies from their portfolios.

So on the innovation side, we cover anything from software solution hardware into life sciences, which I have most, most of the companies in my portfolio tend to be in that in that space.

The way we work with companies is particularly unique in the sense that we tried to leverage our insight on the market, both here in the EMEA region and the US and we tried to create this platform where we interact with various stakeholders in our in the markets. We operate from startups to venture capital funds, to the government, to universities and many other stakeholders that enable us, and our clients to get the best insight and to be able to position them as they go from one stage of their lifecycle to the next.

Can you tell us about the changes that you’ve seen in the tech scene up here in Scotland and what interests you in terms of getting involved with businesses in Scotland?

That’s a very good question. For the last year and a half, I have covered Scotland. So I have been there quite a number of times, looking at the companies and in all fairness, I have quite a few companies from Edinburgh, which have done very well in their journey.

I feel that Scotland is an ecosystem, which has been emerging for at least the last four years has grown stronger and stronger. If I’m correct, from my data, it was less than £100 million invested two years ago. And then last year it was a record of about £200 million invested in early-stage companies in technology and innovation, which is a particularly good thing to have such an increase in just the space of 12 months.

The advantage of the ecosystem is the fact that there are so many great universities that work very closely with the ecosystems and within the community and stakeholders, so if you were a student,

I think one of the best places to kind of spin-out would probably be in Scotland.

The fact that the investors, the VCs and the government has a number of initiatives supporting those amazing entrepreneurs, making the transition from doing research or developing something very sophisticated into a commercial entity, being able to spin it out and then fund the project, is fantastic. If you look at the ecosystem, the best element is the ability to create new innovation, be able to spin it out very well.

I was going to ask about that tech ecosystem, and what makes an investable proposition? Many people talk about the strength of the community and the fact that everybody pulls together, but from an investor’s point of view, what makes that ecosystem strong. It’s the university’s obviously but do things like government support help?

Of course, government support and what Scottish Enterprise is doing for the region. It’s an unbelievable level of support, and that helps companies stay within the region, retaining and employing a lot of really talented Individuals.

I feel that what makes Scotland invested all first of all is the abundance of talent.

Technology companies are all about the people and their ability to execute a particular type of product. That is the main advantage. The fact there is a very young population who are very entrepreneurial. Through various programs, that start at the university level or the incubation level, all the way through, as they start to scale and think about global markets, they’re able to nurture and create pathways for those entrepreneurs. It’s perhaps not as chaotic as some of the other regions in the country.

I was just wondering if you noticed any companies or sectors that are perhaps doing particularly well?

I feel that companies with computer vision have done particularly well, spinning out from Edinburgh University. I’ve seen a number of cybersecurity companies, which we all know, coming from Scotland and doing quite large around in with the London VCs and then continuing their growth in the US market.

And equally, I feel that there is lots going on with Fintech Scotland. There’s, there’s so much innovation happening at the early stage, and I’m convinced that we’re going to see quite a number of organisations making their way through this period and growing at a rate that we haven’t seen before.

A success story coming from the ecosystem is Cyan Forensic.

With their solution and their ability to scale, not only in the UK but potentially make the next leap into larger markets, such as the US and into continental Europe servicing a very complex type of client.

It shows you that can have very mature solutions coming to the market, being able to spin out amazing innovation and patented technologies. And, I think, it’s because of the amazing stakeholders, universities and the expertise, and the fact that our ecosystem is relatively well-knitted together, it enables companies like Cyan Forensics to make the transition and helps them to continue to grow.

Just one last question, and it’s to understand why an investor would want to get involved at EIE20 and what makes it an important event to be at?

The conference is particularly important because you’re able to see a number of companies in one day. It’s where the whole ecosystem comes together, where a number of companies, that have been pre-selected and vetted, pitch and, where you can engage with the founders and learn about their journey. You can learn about the technology, you can learn about their successes and traction in that market and at the same time be able to speak, even if we do this virtually now, with the investors that have backed those companies in the early stages. And because it’s a very united ecosystem, I feel you get a lot of value in one day.

You get a very good sense of the companies, what stage they are at and how it aligns with your investment strategy.

And most importantly, you are able to have that interaction, in a short space of time. It is being able to validate the proposition and engage with founders and with everyone relevant to you as an investor, helping to make the decision to back the company or not.