Blackcircles founder named as keynote speaker for tech start-ups event

BY HAMISH BURNS – THE INSIDER

Mike Welch is founder of Atterley and former boss of Blackcircles
Mike Welch is founder of Atterley and former boss of Blackcircles

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Serial entrepreneur Mike Welch has been named as the keynote speaker at this year’s EIE20 in Edinburgh.

IBM Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and Octopus Ventures have also been confirmed for the event’s investors panel which will hear pitches from 50 data-driven start-up and scale-up companies based in Scotland.

EIE is a year-round investor readiness programme run by Informatics Ventures . EIE20 will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall on 23 April.

Welch, who sold online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com to Michelin for almost £100 million in 2015 and founded fashion retail website Atterley.com, will share his experience of taking an early stage venture through to a successful exit.

He said: “Launching a start-up is not for the faint hearted. The setbacks, stress and isolation are enough to put most off. But if you get it right, the rewards, in more than just monetary terms, can be so much greater than that achievable from a ‘normal’ job.

“A big part of getting it right is choosing a group of investors that you can develop a working relationship with. But getting the right investors on board is a tricky process and can make or break early stage companies.
“It’s great that the Informatics Ventures team and EIE provide a format that can help navigate founders through that minefield’.

IBM Ventures director Deborah Magid said: “I have been coming to EIE every year since the very beginning when it was still a small event and there is a reason I come back every year – everything about the event is extremely well done, from the way they coach the companies, right down to the small details.”

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