The salient point blog

TechCrunch – Cyan Forensics and the Scottish Pavilion

I was d2016-12-05-techcrunch-london_0017elighted when I walked into the Copper Box Arena on Tuesday morning to find the huge “Scottish Pavilion” banner was in a great spot right on the main thoroughfare.

The day started fairly slowly, more so than on Monday, but as was the case last year it proved very worthwhile.  At Cyan Forensics we had one meeting arranged through CrunchMatch which was with a Corporate VC with an interest in our technology.  We have at least half a dozen investors to follow up with from the visitors to our stand (some for the next round, some for later stage) and we met at least a dozen more where there clearly wasn’t going to be a fit – but might have been for another company.

We were also very surprised to meet a couple of people who represented potential customers, and who had come to the event to scout out technology, and even one potential distributor!

It’s a long path from first meeting to doing business, but we’re very happy with the number of leads we got from the event.  It once again proved really worthwhile.

2016-12-05-techcrunch-london_0019It was great to be there this year as part of a Scottish Pavilion, with 4 other great companies – Mallzee, Yavi, The ID Co and Make it Social.  Hopefully we helped raise the profile of Scottish Startups with the wider UK and European investment communities!

Last year I said that I hoped there would be a Scottish Pavilion this year, and we did it.

My wish for next year is that it can we can get more companies involved, and we can find some sponsorship to do an even better job of spreading the word about all  Scotland as to offer the tech world!

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The Scottish Pavilion – representing the Best of British Entrepreneurial Talent at TechCrunch Disrupt

Just under a year ago I blogged about going to TechCrunch Disrupt with Cyan Forensics, and finished by saying “I hope to be back here again next year with the same company at a later stage of development” – well, the company certainly has developed, and I am going back.  I also asked “Why not a Scotland pavilion next year?” and although I have been very busy with Cyan Forensics, that is happening too.  There will be five of us in this first Scottish Pavilion, which I hope will continue to grow in future years.  Thanks to everyone who has helped put this together!

Here is a release (thanks to the team at Mallzee) telling our story:

Edinburgh entrepreneurs are currently dominating news headlines; from Skyscanners £1.4 billion sale to the city being crowned British Entrepreneurial City of the Year at the Great British Entrepreneur awards. Next week, five of the Capital’s brightest entrepreneurs are heading to TechCrunch Disrupt to showcase some of the most exciting new businesses at the specially dedicated Scottish Pavilion.

TechCrunch Disrupt widely recognised as the world’s leading authority in debuting revolutionary startups and introducing game-changing technologies has built up an enviable reputation for gathering the best and the brightest entrepreneurs, investors, hackers and tech fans together. The hand-picked Scottish contingent is proof of the calibre of attendees.

The Scottish Pavilion is made up of five Edinburgh based entrepreneurs, each hailed as pioneers within their own industries;

  • Cally Russell – Founder and CEO of Mallzee, the UK’s leading multi-retailer personalised shopping app
  • Ian Stevenson – CEO of Cyan Forensics, pioneering rapid forensic triage for law enforcement
  • Alex McAndrew – Co-founder and MD at Yavi, the organiser app for managing shift working teams
  • James Varga – Founder and CEO of The ID Co – improving digital security via a virtual passport, miiCard for individuals and DirectID – a bank verified identity for businesses.
  • Eddie Robb, Founder and CEO of Make it Social, the one stop group booking/planning/paying platform.

Edinburgh beat Cambridge, Leeds, London and Manchester to be named British Entrepreneurial City of the Year. The City was judged against four criteria; quality of life that attracts smart, entrepreneurial people, access to capital and talent, start up ecosystems and entrepreneurial culture and access to mentors and support networks. With a vibrant tech scene Edinburgh has also gained a reputation as a progressive innovative city with readers of European Business magazine recently voting Edinburgh as the best city to locate your tech business.

Visit the Scottish Pavilion at TechCrunch Disrupt on 6th December at the Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 3HB, to find out more (or get in touch with me through

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Funding Cyan Forensics 2: EIE

In my last post I wrote about how Start Global prepared us for TechCrunch Disrupt in London, which was the starting point of our fundraising campaign. Not long after we got back from that, we were delighted to learn that we had secured a place at EIE16.

EIE is easily Scotland’s biggest and best investor event, and frankly in terms of organisation and slick professionalism it even outdid TechCrunch Disrupt in London.  A benefit of being involved in EIE is the training process offered in advance, which brings a truly top-notch team of people together to help you refine your pitch and prepare to present to the best of your ability.  I have previously blogged about what we put into the preparations for EIE.


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Funding Cyan Forensics 1: Start Global

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.


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Cyan Forensics – Starting a New Chapter

Cyan ForensicsAbout 18 months ago I started working with a team at Edinburgh Napier University on a project in Digital Forensics.  Today we have announced that we’ve completed the process of creating spinout company Cyan Forensics, raising £240,000 in seed investment with a further £100,000 SMART:Scotland support from Scottish Enterprise.  There is of course a press release for the story.

From a more personal point of view, after nearly seven years working as a consultant through Salient Point I’m moving on to take a full-time role as CEO at Cyan Forensics.

The last seven years has been amazing.  I have had the opportunity to work with brilliant people on really exciting companies.  I hope I have made a contribution to the progress of all of them, and it’s wonderful to watch as they continue to grow and develop.  I’ll really miss the variety of this work, and the huge range of entrepreneurs I worked with along the way.

I’m really excited about Cyan Forensics too.  We have a great commercial opportunity, I’m really looking forward to working with the team we’ve put together, and we are doing something with benefit to society too.  Our first products will help police officers working in Child Sexual Exploitation and Counter Terrorism do their jobs faster, and that has to be a good thing.

I still expect to blog here from time to time, and Ruth will still be doing market research for Salient Point, so Salient Point isn’t disappearing entirely.  However…

My focus now is  building and growing Cyan Forensics.  Wish me luck!

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Friday Link: VC Primer

There are many different species of investor, and they all operate in different ways.  In Scotland we tend to be used to dealing with Angels or Angel syndicates, but there are plenty of opportunities to work with VCs especially if you’re prepared to make the trip to London.  If you’re interested in understanding how VCs work, and some of the common mistakes people make in approaching them, this PDF on Dropbox by Mike Maples Jr is a pretty good place to start.  He has experience from both sides – raising VC money, and being a VC.


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