Calum Forsyth and Robin Knox
Calum Forsyth and Robin Knox

Tech accelerator unveils high-profile investors and first cohort of startups

Scotland’s first dedicated pre-seed tech accelerator, Seed Haus, has launched in Edinburgh backed by a stellar line-up of investment partners.

Seed Haus’ mission is to trigger Scotland’s next billion-dollar startup and the partners joining the team in realising this goal include: Alistair Forbes, James Watt of BrewDog; Gavin Dutch, Paul Walton, Judy Wilson, Rob Dobson, Paddy Burns, Chris van der Kuyl, Paul Davidson, and Sir Tom Hunter. The impressive group is comprised of serial entrepreneurs/investors with all of the partners having considerable experience in founding, growing, and exiting companies.

Seed Haus, co-founded by Calum Forsyth, CEO, and Robin Knox, Chairman – fills a gap in the startup support system by providing the very best founders with pre-seed investment, office space in their architecturally designed incubator, mentorship, infrastructure and space to flourish. Seed Haus is a not-for-profit organisation committed to powering innovation and diversity in technology.

Since launching its inaugural recruitment drive for early stage startups in April, the number of applications to join the six-month Seed Haus programme peaked at over 165. Around half of these were from overseas founders with five continents and numerous countries represented. This speaks to both the growing standing of Edinburgh as a leading international tech hub and the pent up demand for a truly dedicated early stage tech accelerator based in the city.

Ultimately, only five successful applicants were chosen following a strict recruitment process judged by the Seed Haus Partners and entrepreneurs – representing less than the top three percent of applications.

The startups selected to join the accelerator’s first cohort are:

SecurityCTRL – cybersecurity for cloud infrastructure
Sansible Wearables – body monitoring IoT technology
Drinkly – on-demand drinks service
Kindaba – collaborative communication platform for families
Taka – Parkinson’s therapeutic symptom management system

Calum Forsyth, co-founder and CEO, straddles the worlds of technology and investment owing to his background as both a PhD scientist and time in London as a Risk Consultant with KPMG.

Forsyth commented: “The founders themselves represent a highly-talented, diverse group with considerable experience and achievements already under their respective belts.”

The quality observed in terms of startups speaks volumes for the perceived benefits of going through an accelerator like Seed Haus and the doors it potentially opens. Several of the incoming founders are serial entrepreneurs, four of them hold a PhD, four have completed Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowships and one is a Saltire Fellow. Encouragingly, two of the five teams are gender balanced.

Robin Knox, co-founder and Chairman, has a proven track record of business success having grown his own startup IPOS (acquired by iZettle in 2016) to seven figure revenues in four yearswithout anything like the support on offer at Seed Haus.

Knox said: “We are Scotland’s most selective accelerator and we have big ambitions for the companies we support. We seek out people with the best ideas at a very early stage – we are not looking for business plans.”

“Potential is more important to us than business experience. Seed Haus is providing exactly the sort of support needed by early stage startups to give them the greatest chance of achieving success and securing the next stage of investment.”

Seed Haus startups receive guidance and support from a suite of mentors and advisors and have access to partner support from MBM Commercial, Johnston Carmichael, Silicon Valley Bank, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Hubspot, SendGrid and many more tech partners.

They also receive a pre-seed investment of £18,000 and office space in a brand new custom designed facility in Edinburgh, created to facilitate collaborative working. They will share workspace with three of Scotland’s most exciting founders – Seed Haus’ entrepreneurs-in-residence: Callum Murray (Amiqus), Patrick Clover (BLACKBX), and Sarah Stenhouse (Pixey) who will lend peer support to the incoming startups alongside designer-in-residence: Jeremie Warner.

Seed Haus is already recruiting for cohort two and ambitious founders should apply directly through the Seed Haus website.