Programme | Silicon Valley Scale / February 18, 2020
5 examples of Silicon Valley Scale alumni succeeding on their own terms
What is success?
We know how it feels – the tingle of excitement, the warmth from knowing you’ve achieved a goal. But what success actually looks like is deeply personal. The stories of the few entrepreneurs who have made it to the top may take over our newsfeeds, but not everyone wants to build a unicorn company or make a billion-pound exit.
From acquisitions to tackling social issues – as well as multi-million-pound investments – Silicon Valley Scale alumni show that there isn’t one way to make it in business.
Since 2014, we’ve been travelling to California with UK tech leaders. There, they participate in Silicon Valley Scale, an immersive growth programme designed to fast track their development. We introduce them to our network of founders and investors, support their growth in leadership and communication and show them how to implement that learning into their personal and professional journeys.
We are always thrilled to see our previous SVS cohorts prosper and grow: our alumni are among the most innovative and exciting entrepreneurs in the country. Between 2014 and January 2020, over 30 leaders have joined us in California, and have gone on to raise a combined £56m – including the largest Series A funding round secured by a Scottish digital tech company.
Here, we have put the spotlight on five SVS alumni who are scaling and thriving on their terms.
Andrew Parfery | Care Sourcer
Andrew joined SVS in 2019 on the heels of an incredible year. Having grabbed headlines over 2018 after raising £8.5M – the largest Series A funding round secured by a Scottish digital tech company, according to Crunchbase – Andrew joined SVS to gain insights from experts and apply that learning to realise his vision of becoming a global company.
Alongside his business partner Andrew McGinley, Andrew Parfery founded Care Sourcer in 2016 to fix the broken care system. With their online platform, they are transforming the sector by bringing choice, control and transparency to the market.
Since the journey to Silicon Valley in April 2019, Caresourcer has continued to propel itself forward. In August 2019, Scottish Enterprise awarded the company a £1.5M grant to expand and create 70 additional jobs. This grant brings the total raised by the company to an incredible £11.6M and another step towards a democratic health care system.
Christopher McCann | Snap40 / Current Health
What if healthcare came to the patient before the problem arose? Current Health Co-founders, Christopher McCann and Stewart Whiting, asked the same question – and it’s now their guiding vision.
Fed up with a healthcare system that was reactive, not proactive, Christopher and Stewart founded Current Health to set a new standard in the next era of health. They developed wearable tech that monitors the wearer’s real-time vital signs and mobility, providing early alerts and data to identify patients who most need healthcare attention.
When Christopher joined SVS in 2016, Current Health – then Snap40 – was in its early stages, taking its first determined steps. Since SVS, Current Health has made bounds towards achieving its vision. The company raised £8M in seed funding in 2018 and then, in December 2019, raised an additional USD $11.5M, bringing the total investment in the company to £17.9M.
“The biggest outcome [from SVS] was attitude and mindset. This programme gives you a very different perspective on what\’s possible and the attitude towards achieving that.”Christopher McCann, Current Health
Loral Quinn | Sustainably
Loral is no stranger to growing large companies. With a background in scaling a FTSE100 business from £40bn in assets to £400bn in just ten years, Loral shifted those skills to apply them to Sustainably, a tech company creating opportunities for social good.
Loral and her daughter, Eishal, founded Sustainably to enable businesses and consumers to give to causes they care about as part of everyday life. Users round up everyday purchases and donate the spare change to charities, making it easier to do good.
Since taking part in SVS in 2016, Sustainably has raised £130K and gained massive momentum in the tech for good space. Sir Richard Branson named Sustainably his startup of the year in 2019 and Loral was chosen by Insider as one of its Twenty Women to Watch in 2018. Loral, Eishel and Sustainably are forging a path in the tech for good space and we can\’t wait to see where this momentum takes them this decade!
Tarryn Gorre | Kafoodle
Kafoodle is a foodtech company built on one, terrifying moment: Kim Antoniou, Kafoodle Co-founder, watching her husband have a near-deadly reaction to cross-contaminated food. Collecting her experience in software and online solutions in the construction industry, Tarryn jumped on board with Kim to found Kafoodle. Together, they are making a difference in food safety so others won’t have to go through the same ordeal.
Tarryn and Kim’s guiding vision for Kafoodle is to enable and empower kitchens to take control of their ingredients, recipes and menus – as well as their allergen information. Now, Kafoodle is a fast-growing foodtech company matching people to food within the contract catering, hospitality and healthcare space.
Tarryn joined the 2018 SVS cohort following her win of the 2017 Startup Summit Competition. Since then, Kafoodle has raised an additional £500K, launched a new product, and initiated a pilot programme with NHS Salford.
“SVS is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get rapid exposure to the Silicon Valley ecosystem and key players.”Tarryn Gorre, Founder & CEO, Kafoodle
Ross McNairn | Dorsai Travel
Who said you need to play the long game? Ross McNairn established Dorsai Travel alongside co-founder Edward Taylor in 2014, and their successful exit followed quickly. Soon after Ross’ trip to Silicon Valley in 2014, Dorsai was acquired by Skyscanner.
Since then, Ross has stayed within the corporate travel space. He worked for Skyscanner for three years following the exit and, after a brief stint with online marketplace LetGo, joined TravelPerk in September 2019.
Whether it’s raising money, winning awards or tackling global challenges, we’re so proud of every Silicon Valley Scale alumni’s success. Each leader has joined us in California at different stages of their business journeys – from early-stage investment to poised for international growth – but each has created value since returning to the UK. Whatever their business goals, they have made it happen – and built new ones along the way.
What is success to you? It’s a subject we’re really interested in at FutureX, and we’re always looking for new ways to empower and support companies to succeed in what they do.
Any burning questions? We’d love to hear from you!