" /> Startups impress investors at Demo Day — Edinburgh Innovations

A dozen student startups that completed Edinburgh Innovations’ 12-week summer accelerator programme have impressed investors at the 2019 Startup Summer Demo Day. 

The businesses and social enterprises pitching to an audience of investors and business leaders ranged from a gluten-free granola manufacturer to a web platform that recruits football talent from Africa for the international market.

Accelerator support

The Demo Day was the culmination of Edinburgh Innovations’ Startup Summer Accelerator, where 12 teams of current students and recent graduates were supported to develop their business ideas.

They received funding and benefited from workshops, business advice, peer-learning and connections to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Startup Summer is sponsored by Santander Universities, angel investor syndicate Equity Gap, and the University’s Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability.

At a networking session following the pitches, startup founders connected with potential investors, with fruitful discussions reported on both sides. 

“It was a great way to see interesting pitches from a variety of new companies really quickly.


“The event also gave us an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with those companies that were most relevant to us, and we’re already planning several follow-up meetings.”


– Mark Hogarth, Partner, Techstart Ventures.

New direction

Among the presenters was Karis Gill, co-founder of Social Stories Club, a social enterprise that delivers socially conscious gift boxes complete with the products’ unique stories of social change.

Advice she and her fellow co-founder Aayush Goyal received at the Startup Summer Accelerator radically changed their product and target market.

“When we came into the Startup Accelerator, our target market was consumers, but we couldn’t ignore the amount of business sales we were getting and we were advised to explore this corporate market. We discovered they wanted more high-end hampers, more high end products, and that’s exactly what we’ve created over the course of the Accelerator.


“We’re really excited about the future, because we realise how much more impact we can have. We can work with so many more products, and we can help corporates with their culture of sustainability. It’s as though the parts have slotted into place.”


– Karis Gill, Co-Founder, Social Stories Club.

Impressive progress

The development of the ventures over the 12-week programme was clear to Fraser Lusty, Investment Director at Equity Gap, who saw the full process from assessing applicants to the programme right through to Demo Day. 

“From seeing them at the start, in some cases still quite embryonic, without exception the quality of the pitches on the day and the progress that’s been made in understanding what the proposition is and how they’re going to take that to market is very impressive.


– Fraser Lusty, Investment Director, Equity Gap.

This year was the first that Equity Gap has sponsored the programme, though the investment group has a longstanding relationship with the University and has invested in several spinout companies.

“We know the quality that’s coming out across the University’s various departments,” said Lusty. “We are keen to invest in and grow young talent from leading Scottish universities.”

The guest speaker at Startup Summer Demo Day was Assean Sheikh, CEO of Flavourly, the Edinburgh-based online drinks delivery company that has grown its customer base in five years to nearly 100,000 and has delivered more than 1.5 million drinks to date.


Startup Summer Accelerator alumni 2019

Startup Founders
ACE Maths
Mathematics tuition centre using Chinese maths teaching techniques
Sze Yan Lee
MA International Relations

Best of Bettina

Gluten-free foods

Bettina Hernberg

MA Business with Enterprise and Innovation

Black Goblin Audio

Audio design and post-production

Ana Betancourt

MSc Sound Design


e-commerce assistant that uses natural language processing

Iain Mackie

MSc Data Science


Virtual reality tennis training

Collin Powers

MA Business with Enterprise and Innovation

Ethical Intelligence Associates

Consultancy to help businesses tackle tech ethics

Anna van Oosterzee

MSc Mind, Language and Embodied Cognition

Olivia Gambelin

MSc Philosophy

Inmotion Group MTL

Mobility think lab

David Jaramillo

MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation


Custom clothing supplier

Ryan Morrison

BSc Biotechnology

Jenny Stevenson

MA Architecture


Web platform recruiting African footballers

Daniel Denis

MSc Energy Finance

Social Stories Club

Socially conscious gift boxes – and stories

Aayush Goyal

MA International Business

Karis Gill

MA Business and Marketing


Human-like skin for robots

Zaki Hussein

PhD Integrative Sensing and Measurement

Laura Garcia-Caberol

MSc Product Design

Viapontica Analytics

AI engineering and strategy consultancy

Vesko Cholakov

MSc Artificial Intelligence

Related links

EI’s enterprise programmes for students

Santander Universities

Equity Gap

Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability