I recently blogged about the investment we raised in Cyan Forensics. Obviously I’d like to think this was mostly the result of my personal skill and charisma, but in fact there were a couple of programs we participated in that were key in developing an investable business.
Cyan Forensics had its origins in a project at Edinburgh Napier University called “Fragment Finder”, which had funding from the Scottish Enterprise High Growth Startup Program. It was through this funding that I was able to join the team as Commercial Champion to help with the business side of commercialising the technology.
Scottish Enterprise ran the “Start Global” program for a cohort of HGSP projects that we were part of, and it played an important role in shaping our fledgling business early on. Some of the sessions were excellent, and the process itself had several benefits.
One of the key benefits was bringing the team together. It got Bruce (who ended up being my co-founder in Cyan Forensics) and I working together and talking about the business side of the project. That communication helped us develop a shared understanding of where we were going, common language to talk about it, and build trust, all in a structured environment.
The process also helped with learning to communicate about our business. Giving regular updates to the cohort, and finally building up towards our investor pitch at graduation, and getting frank feedback along the way was hugely valuable to us. It helped us develop both verbal and visual ways of describing our business that were clear and comprehensible to people who were non-experts in either our market or technology.
The session on planning for investment was excellent, and gave us confidence in our emerging business plan and investment strategy which was vitally important to us. Without that confidence, it would have been very hard to push ourselves to do all the things we needed to do. I also really liked the executive summary format that was recommended in that session, so we adopted that on got great feedback on it later.
Having a confident team with an agreed plan and a decent executive summary put us in a strong position for TechCrunch Disrupt in December, when we launched our investment campaign in London. I’ve blogged about Disrupt before so I won’t go over that ground again in detail, but we made some great connections precisely because we were well prepared – an Start Global played a significant role in that.
So thank you to all who played a part in our Start Global journey – you made a difference.