Group of Scottish entrepreneurs gear up for SXSW 2024 in Austin
A total of 14 Scottish entrepreneurs are set to embark on a transformative journey to Austin, Texas, from 6-14 March, as part of the SXSW 2024 Startup Cohort Programme.
This exciting opportunity is made possible by the Scottish Ecosystem Fund 2023–24, supported by Scottish Enterprise and The Scottish Government.
The cohort includes:
- Don Smith of 1nhaler
- Colin Gray of Alitu
- Ana Betancourt of Black Goblin
- Damien Roux of Drimify
- Mathew Norbury of FC Labs
- Daniel Marrable of Forumm
- Joe Gibson of Gibson Robotics
- Anne Lanc of Ionburst
- Camila Jimenez Pol of Konpanion
- Hamish Geddes of Lenz Labs
- Sheena Johnstone of Nursery Story
- Jen McLean of Raven Controls
- Emily Rogers of Reath
- Dominic McCann of Siccar
The Foras cohort programme is aimed at making connections with the wider US startup community, peer learning, investor engagement, and learning best practices for building world-class tech businesses.
Austin’s region is now home to more than 3,000 fast-growing companies. The city’s total combined enterprise value reached $115.3 billion (around £91.4bn) in 2022.
The SXSW 2024 Startup Cohort Programme was designed by Foras co-founders Dec McLaughlin, Nick Murray, and Carolina Melendez. The delivery team also includes Robert Gelb of Campfire and Amy Wallace of Bracken Grove alongside Greg Zienkiewicz of CreateGreg.
The SXSW trip follows the success of similar trips to Silicon Valley, Slush in Helsinki, NYC, and Web Summit in Lisbon. The programme’s goals complement Mark Logan’s 2020 Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review.
Speaking on the initiative, Mr Logan recently said: “To succeed, our startups must be as good as the world’s best start-ups. Our Founders need to be outward-looking, learning from world-class techniques and frameworks, and from those who have already built global tech companies.”
The cohort will enjoy visits with local success stories, a reception at Wilson Sonsini’s Austin HQ, and a private VC panel, before pitching their businesses to US investors as part of a Startup Showcase at the Department of Trade (DBT)’s ‘UK House’ venue.
The cohort was hosted at Thorntons Edinburgh HQ last week, on the back of the announcement of their long-term partnership with Foras.
Alistair Lang, partner and head of ventures and innovation, Thorntons, said: “Congratulations to the 14 founders selected for the Foras SXSW excursion.
“It’s a phenomenal opportunity to learn more about what it takes to grow a successful, global business and forge new connections. We’ve already had the pleasure of meeting the cohort and we look forward to further supporting their journey as entrepreneurs.”
Dan Marrable, co-founder & CEO of EdTech SaaS startup Forumm, said: “We’re honoured to represent Scottish innovation at SXSW 2024, and grateful to Foras for recognising our mission to globally transform alumni engagement and fundraising.
“This opportunity to learn from industry leaders, build relationships with investors, and showcase our business is a game-changer for Forumm. We see this trip as a monumental step toward our expansion into the US market.”
Ana Betancourt, CEO of audio design tech startup Black Goblin, said: “SXSW is a beacon for innovation and creativity, and for Black Goblin it represents a huge opportunity to connect with US leaders in the Creative Sector as well as understanding the investor ecosystem.
“We are also very honoured to be given the chance to represent Scotland’s Creative Industries with our upcoming product Thol in such an important global stage.”
Caro Melendez, Foras co-founder, said: “We’re excited to bring together another diverse cohort, not only in the industry focus and aspiration but also in age, ethnicity, gender and lived experience, representing Scotland’s eclectic entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
“These excursions encourage peer connectivity, rapid growth and inspiration, and the importance of looking ‘up and out’ to global markets when scaling a business from Scotland.”