EIE21 reveals keynote speaker line-up
EIE21, Scotland’s premier tech investor conference which will see company founders pitch for investment from seed level to up to multimillion series A and later stage investment rounds on June 10, has revealed its keynote speaker line-up.
Sir Ronald Cohen, FanDuel co-founder Lesley Eccles, UNFCCC Climate Champions for COP26’s Alexander Joss, University of Edinburgh Principal Professor Peter Mathieson, and Michael Welch will all feature on the day.
Sir Ronald Cohen is chairman of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment and The Portland Trust. He is a co-founder and former executive chairman of Apax Partners Worldwide, a global private equity firm. He is also a co-founder of Social Finance UK, USA, and Israel, co-founder and chair of Bridges Fund Management and Big Society Capital.
Sir Ronald chaired the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce between 2013-2015, received the Rockefeller Foundation’s Innovation Award for Social Finance in 2012, and is a co-founder of the British and European venture capital associations. He is the author of IMPACT: Reshaping capitalism to drive real change, published in 2020 by Penguin Random House and now a Wall Street Journal Best Seller.
Lesley Eccles, an EIE alumnus, co-founded gaming platform FanDuel in 2009, with the company going on to achieve a $1 billion valuation, making it Scotland’s first unicorn, in 2015. Eccles, who founded relationship coaching and self-care app HelloRelish in 2018, is also a board member at Entrepreneurial Scotland, Tech Nation, and in March was appointed to an advisory board working with the Scottish Government to help Scotland become a world-class tech hub.
Alex Joss is the Lead for Technology and Innovation with the UNFCCC Climate Champions team for COP26. Formerly at McKinsey & Company, Alex then scaled an AI-led healthtech startup Sight Diagnostics through its $70m series D round.
Professor Peter Mathieson has been the Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Edinburgh since 2018. Previous posts include President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol, and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Bristol.
Michael Welch founded online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com in 2001, going on to sell the company to Michelin in 2015. Since then, he has founded a series of other ecommerce startups including fashion site Atterley, and earlier this year Welch merged his US-based online tyre retailing business Tirescanner with American Tire Distributors’ Tirebuyer operation.
Karen Wood, director of enterprise, Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh, said: “We have assembled a strong collective from the worlds of international investment, entrepreneurship, impact and sustainability, and the university sector.
“From Sir Ronald Cohen, a founding father of UK private equity and pioneer in social impact, to Alex Joss from UNFCCC Climate Champions for COP26, two of Scotland’s most successful tech entrepreneurs in the form of Lesley Eccles and Mike Welch, and the University of Edinburgh’s Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson, we have a lineup that is going to be eagerly anticipated by all of our attendees at EIE21.”
Last month, the team behind EIE, who are based at the Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh, launched this year’s EIE Scottish Startup Survey, the first of its kind to examine the Scottish startup ecosystem. This year’s survey asks startups across Scotland about the main challenges faced and opportunities achieved in a year characterised by the ongoing Covid pandemic.
EIE has supported over 500 tech startups since 2008 who have collectively raised around £750 million from seed through to Series A and later stage funding - with Current Health, FanDuel, Celtic Renewables, Amiqus, Two Big Ears, Speech Graphics, pureLiFi and mLed among EIE alumnus companies.