Investment consultant Dr Julie Curran, of Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), has told the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA) Venture Capital Forum in Berlin that Scottish capital Edinburgh is currently establishing itself as a hub of venture capital (VC) investment in the technology industry.
As we’re currently seeing in other European countries, notably Ireland and Finland, tech success can fast inspire investment and innovation across all other industries, meaning Edinburgh is a city to watch for deal seekers across Europe.
In a video posted on the EVCA YouTube Channel, Dr. Curran said, “An interesting hub is developing in Edinburgh. We think it is a really really good place to start a business, it is a vibrant city and is developing a really good infrastructure for early stage companies.”
One potential obstacle to Edinburgh’s emergence could be the upcoming referendum on an independent Scotland. While the economic impact that businesses will feel directly has been debated at various levels, there remains a divide between leaders of businesses that are based in the country, as reported by The Guardian, although the Real Business website reports concern, especially amongst entrepreneurs and business owners that will potentially be looking for VC investment in the future.
Although Dr Curran did not address the issue when speaking to the EVCA, her comments seem to indicate confidence that Scotland will remain an attractive VC marketplace to investors and one that will help establish Europe as a leading global VC player.
Mentioning VC investments involving SEP, which have included Skyscanner – recently valued at $800million thanks to an undisclosed investment from Sequoia Capital, one of the first VC firms to back Apple – and Biovex, who are developing a range of cancer treatments and vaccines, Dr Curran explained how important VC is, but credited companies who receive VC for their drive to improve.
She told the EVCA, “These companies have achieved great success in a variety of ways,” before discussing creation of shareholder value, internationalisation – which potentially brings further VC into the equation – innovation, and valuable job growth, and the impact these all have.
There is definitely an opportunity for Edinburgh to continue emerging as a VC hub, both in terms of tech investments as well as in other areas. One does have to question whether, with big deals happening across Scandinavia as well competition from two other capital cities close by – London within the UK and particularly Berlin, which is currently seeing huge levels of VC investment – Edinburgh’s VC investors could potentially miss out on the biggest deals as Europe as a collective moves out of its economic slump.
Deal making opportunities should still continue to exist at the national level and continue to drive growth and innovation, as well as the all-important export economy.