Scottish entrepreneurs head to NYC for Foras’ programme

Scottish entrepreneurs head to NYC for Foras' programme

Pictured (L-R): Nick Murray, Caro Melendez, Rob Gelb, Victoria Ross, Michael Cockburn, Leah Hutcheon and Dec McLaughlin

Foras has selected a 14-person cohort of Scottish entrepreneurs for next month’s programme of activities in New York, including visits to global accelerator Techstars and CRM specialist Zendesk.

Leah Hutcheon of Appointedd, Rowan Armstrong of Bioliberty, Ishani Malhotra of Carcinotech, Kate Cameron of Cytochroma, Michael Cockburn of Desana, Monica Camino Moreno of Dialexy, Paul Mooney of NCTech, Dave Hughes of Novosound, Chris Downie of Pasabi, Rotimi Alabi of RAB Microfluidics, Ian Kerr of Raven Controls, Jude Cook of ShareIn, Laura Garcia-Caberol of Touchlab, and Ian Mackenzie of Trojan Energy join Foras’s first NYC programme.

The NYC trip between 10-17 April is supported by the Scottish Government and enterprise agency Scottish Development International (SDI). The Foras cohort programme is aimed at making connections with the East-coast US startup community, peer learning, investor engagement, and learning best-practice for building world-class tech businesses.

The New York ecosystem is ranked at number 2 globally, and has the second-highest number of early-stage investments in the world after Silicon Valley, with a local startup community valued at $147 billion (£120bn).

The NYC 2023 Foras programme was designed by Foras founders Dec McLaughlin, Nick Murray, and Carolina Melendez. The delivery team also includes representatives Elitsa Marinova and Victoria Ross from Scottish Development International’s Capital Investment Team, and founder and community builder, Rob Gelb.

The NYC trip follows the success of similar trips to Silicon Valley, and Helsinki’s Slush conference last year. The programme stems from Mark Logan’s 2020 Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review.

Mr Logan recently spoke on the initiative. He 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, Techstars, Zendesk for Startups, and venture capital firm Insight Partners, before pitching their businesses to US investors. The group will also participate in the Tartan Day Parade, as part of an annual celebration of Scottish culture and heritage in New York.

Mr Cockburn, co-founder and CEO of PropTech scale-up Desana, said: “We’re fortunate enough at Desana to have been servicing customers across the US for the past couple of years, and in doing so have been exposed to just how different the ecosystem there for building businesses is.

“We think this kind of additional exposure to investors and people at the top of their game in scaled US technology businesses is incredibly important in raising the overall ambition of Scottish technology businesses - we’re excited to see what the week brings.”

Ms Hutcheon, founder and CEO of online booking and scheduling platform, Appointedd, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Foras team and cohort on the trip to New York. The trip is packed full of value-add sessions that I’m sure will create lots of opportunities for us as a company, and me as a founder.”

“Appointedd has a number of clients and partners in New York, so we hope to get to meet as many of them as possible, but I’m also so excited to spend time with the amazing founders on the cohort. We’ve only spent a few hours together so far and already I’m inspired, so I can’t wait to see what the week brings.”

Ms Melendez, Foras co-founder, said: “We’re excited to bring together a richly diverse cohort, not only in the focus and aspiration but also in age, ethnicity, gender and lived experience. Selected from different locations across this amazing country, our delegates are a true illustration of Scotland’s tech ecosystem.”

“We know the trip will bring inspiration and professional opportunities, but the ‘Foras’ model also encourages trust, openness and fostering peer relationships within the group.”

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