Amy Guy

Raw Blog

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Starting up in IT panel discussion

I had an amazing evening at the Starting up in IT panel discussion, followed by Innis & Gunn beer tasting on Thursday evening.  It was held in the shiny MMS Quartermile One offices.  (When I'm rich, I want a flat on Quartermile.  A turret-y one, not a glass one.  Or maybe both).

I felt chronically under-dressed when I arrived - a majority were suited - but everyone was really friendly and forthcoming with advice.

Anyway, speaking of being rich.  There were lots of interesting business-wise people to talk to at this event, including CEO of Skyscanner Gareth Williams, and Craig Anderson of Pentech Ventures.  Plus lawyers specialising in things like IP, employment, company formation, from MMS.  The panel discussion was enlightening; I'll go through some highlights raw notes...


  • Skyscanner - 2 mil from Scottish Equity Partners 2007.
  • Getting funding isn't a goal or validation.
  • Best way to get funding is not to need it.
  • Scottish Enterprise: match funding.
  • Give as much as you get. Confide in investor.

Getting wise

  • Don't pitch too early. Build traction first.
  • Prove potential marketshare one way or another.
  • Preparing business plan is productive.  Converting to a vision to a plan when you get funding.
  • Subscribe to investment bloggers.
  • Networkiiiing. Find someone to champion you to an investor.
  • Gareth: As many people are delusional as have a key insight. How to know which you are yourself?


  • Do you need employees or contractors? Casual employees in between.
  • Consultant / contractors own IP for work they do. Unless contract says otherwise.  Employees don't, employer owns it.

I heard about some really interesting ventures, too, like Identity Artworks which looks like they're making a huge difference to young people, and have really inspiring stories to tell.  Plus ShareIn, soon launching an equity crowdfunding platform. Veeerrry interesting...

The panel was followed by beer tasting hosted by Innis & Gunn.  I don't drink, but I would have sipped along to be sociable.  However, it turned out the beer wasn't vegetarian (filtered through isinglass).  This, at least, meant more for everyone else on my table.  MMS had come up with a written seating plan, by the way, that separated people who had arrived together.  Forced networking!  Excellent.

This served as great chance for Steve and I to independently practice our GeoLit elevator pitching, and I think we'd got it down to perfection by the end of the evening.  Extremely encouragingly, we were consistently met with enthusiasm and responses like "that's an amazing idea!".  We left pretty buzzing.