EIE has long since been a champion of women in tech

BY JANE KENNEDY

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It’s that time of year again – 50 young data driven entrepreneurial teams are refining their pitches and preparing to take to the stage in Edinburgh in front of an investor audience at this year’s EIE.

EIE is Scotland’s Premier Tech Investor Showcase and highlights the most innovative data driven companies seeking funding. Since its launch in 2008, almost 500 companies have completed the investor readiness programme hosted by Informatics Ventures and gone on to raise in excess of £750MILLION in seed and follow on funding.

Leading TalentSpark, I’m always fascinated by successful founding teams – and the people who are the driving forces in the business, particularly in those early stages. In the run up to #EIE20, I wanted to revisit some of the previous #EIE participants.

EIE has long since been a champion of women in tech – the myriad of keynote speakers who have addressed the tech investor audience over the years has included (amongst others) Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley, Sherry Coutu, Eileen Burbidge, Julie Meyer, Lesley Eccles, Heidi Roizen and Kim Polese – and whilst applications from female founders are never as high as the Informatics Ventures Team would like, the stats suggest that the participants outperform the industry average.

A well known face in the Scottish Start-up scene through her work as an Ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland and Entrepreneurial Scotland –our next EIE alum, is CEO of Appointedd, Leah Hutcheon.

After becoming frustrated at the lack of options to book appointments online, Leah founded Appointedd in 2011, launching in February 2014. Appointedd is a flexible online booking and scheduling system used by businesses of all shapes and sizes to streamline time and resource management. The platform has a unique multi-timezone functionality which affords users the ability to work seamlessly across timezones, manage calendars on the move and take bookings 24/7 anywhere in the world.

Leah first pitched at EIE14 and following her presentation was approached by Gareth Williams (Skyscanner founder and CEO). She stayed in touch following the event, updating him on the company’s progress. He subsequently invested during one of the early rounds and has continued to be ‘instrumental’ in the growth of the business.

Over subsequent years and EIE pitches (EIE London in 2015 and EIE 16 and 17) the company has attracted £1.6M in investment and continued to improve: Customizable booking apps and microsites, two-way sync with all external calendar systems (Google, iCloud, Outlook, etc.) Easier payment systems with automatic confirmations, reminders, and cancellation and rescheduling notifications and an In-system automatic marketing suite to optimize occupancy Integrations with a host of leading business management apps.
An EY Entrepreneur of the year finalist and UK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year – NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Leah has built a strong team around her and continues to attract new talent to the business. Her scale up plans for this year will allow the business to build on its growth, developing new functionality and customers.

Jane Kennedy is Associate Director at TalentSpark- a group of specialist start-up consultants who work collaboratively to deliver essential talent, employer branding content, and business services to pre-investment, high growth start-ups and scaleups in Scotland. She is currently seconded to Informatics Ventures to help deliver EIE.

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