Dr Kate Cameron, Founder of Cytochroma, talks Fundraising
How did you find raising your first investment round in Scotland?
Raising my first investment round was definitely challenging as it was early in lockdown. There was uncertainty and it is more difficult to gauge audience interest when you can’t see them. Online video conferencing did make it easier to join angel syndicates from Scotland and England. We’re very happy to be supported by three fantastic groups – Angel Academe, Investing Women and Cambridge Capital.
What advice would you pass on to other founders embarking on their first finance round?
Start early, meet with lots of investors and ensure you have good lawyers!
What qualities did you look for in your investors?
A good network of industry connections, sector and investment experience and the capacity to devote their time to help Cytochroma grow. Investing Women have been brilliant, they provided online trade missions to Germany and California and a variety of mentoring and workshops throughout lockdown. Angel Academe are great at promoting founders' success, have provided lots of quality advice and been really supportive. It’s great to know you have a team of people who believe in you and the company.
How has the investment transformed your business?
Our first round of investment was critical in our success. We’ve leveraged the seed funding to secure a large Innovative UK grant. Bringing our non-dilutive funding to around £1 million. The most recent grant to manufacture ethnically diverse mini-hearts has effectively doubled our product offering. We’ve also grown the team to six and expanded our facilities at Roslin Innovation Centre. We’ve transformed operations, capacity and funding has enabled me to focus more on business development which has been a new and enjoyable challenge.
What more could the business ecosystem do to support founders like you?
In-person events are important to early stage companies to support, advise and inspire new entrepreneurs. It's been great to see others succeed and to support each other again!
I think Scotland needs to do more to support growing life science businesses. We need larger funds if we are to keep business here, it's disheartening to think we have to move elsewhere to get the support we need. Visiting investors in the US this summer made me realise we are on a different scale from them and we must do more to compete.
Scotland’s business ecosystem is great for supporting businesses early on but must do more to support Scottish talent and retain companies as they grow to ensure we don't lose them to countries that offer more support.