5 Things GIGLY Learnt At EIE 2019


GIGLY have spent the last few months attending Engage Invest Exploit (EIE)’s investment awareness bootcamp, the crescendo of which was the opportunity to pitch at EIE 2019 at the McEwan Hall in Edinburgh. And what a crescendo it was!

But before all that, some background. The GIGLY team attended EIE’s business accelerator to become more investor ready. We had a great idea. We had some great tech prototypes. We had some customer sales traction. We even had lots of investors interested in investing. What we didn’t have was confidence in our investor readiness. Fortunately we were in the right bootcamp. From seed investment to venture capital, the team at EIE left no stone unturned in their mission to make us more investor ready.

After days and weeks and months of practice and coaching from EIE, we were more ready than ever. So what did I learn at the EIE 2019 event?

1: EIE is More Than a Day

After all the learning at the EIE bootcamp, we rewired our business plan to concisely focus on ‘the problem we solve’, the ‘size of this problem’, and the solution we’ve built and the value of this solution (if we can fix X% of the market’s problem). We now had metrics we could scale to show what our future revenue and valuation would look like in year 1, 2 and 3. Crucially we knew how much investment we required and what return we could provide our investors.

So, with much confidence in our plan – it was time to pitch to investors, and EIE helped enormously here as well. At every EIE meetup we’d have investors, syndicate managers, and professional advisors in attendance, asking probing questions about our business, our investment requirements, our projected revenues, our planned exit, and our investors’ ROI. We were being coached, without always realising, every time we attended EIE.

2: The EIE Team are Awesome

The commitment of the coaching team at EIE was truly humbling. At the helm for the cohort was Danny Helston – the best coach, advisor and motivator anyone could ask for (and to my delight a keen amateur swimmer with similar 2k/45min times as myself). His desire to see us all do our best (while remaining stress free!) was amazing.

Alongside Danny was Steve Ewing (Opps Director), Ronnie Johnston (the most organised woman in the world), Siobhan Gilliland (Events & Finance), and Jane Kennedy (nobody motivated us to shout about ourselves more). Everything they taught us came to fruition at EIE 2019, and this was evident at the pitch day with everyone nailing an amazing pitch.

3: Team GIGLY are Incredible

Upon arrival at Pitchday EIE19, one of our cohort greeted me with a “congratulations, you just won Tweet of the Morning.” Our social media content was being displayed on the main EIE stage screen, and I didn’t even know what we had tweeted!

Back at GIGLY HQ, my colleagues were already hard at work making sure GIGLY was at the forefront of the conversation, and prominent throughout the day and night. I watched our social strategy be deployed, and my LinkedIn connections grow and grow. I was proud of the calibre, accuracy and engagement of our output. Our reach and engagement was incredible, leaving me to focus on my pitch and engaging with investors, advisors and influencers.

4: EIE Investors are No Tyre Kickers

Speaking of investors, advisors and influencers, there were many in attendance at EIE19. I’ve been to many business accelerators and investor meetups in the past – from First Tuesdays in the dot.com era to E-spark in the 2010’s – only to be disappointed by the lack of actual investors.

That wasn’t the case at EIE19. From Nationwide’s Ventures Team and M12 (Formerly Microsoft Ventures) to international investors who had recently exited large shareholdings ready to build new portfolios, there was a huge variety of people to meet and impress. Happily I can report that we’re still engaging with a number of the investors we met.

5: This is Me!

Entrepreneurs have a habit of seeing everything through our own lens (our product; our plan; our investment; our growth), and I’m no different. So it says a lot about the quality of EIE19 that I could actually appreciate the event itself. The keynote speakers were exceptional (Dr. Sue Black OBE and Nagraj Kashyap from M12 in particular stood out); the venue itself was awe inspiring. I’d never been to the McEwan Hall before, but stepping inside was unbelievable, with an entrance to rival the Louvre. The venue staff, catering team and backstage events teams could not have been more professional and welcoming. Huge thanks to them all for delivering such an incredible day.

When I first enrolled in EIE, I wondered why many companies had been serial attenders, and I wondered if this was a failing in their ability to gain investment or fulfill their strategy. Having attended EIE19, I now realise why you would return, again and again, and again, if they’ll have you. It truly was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Engage. Invest. Exploit. Let’s go.