Doug Scott, loud mouth Geordie entrepreneur living in the Midlands.

YCombinator and the Greatest Trick Ever Pulled

YCombinator and the Greatest Trick Ever Pulled

Y Combinator originally invested in 40 or so new startups a year, mostly from Stanford University. Investments were small ($5,000 + $5,000/founder) in exchange for around 6% of equity.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.



To see in retrospect seems crooked or genius:)



Paul Smith for Head of Tech North Please:)

Paul Smith for Head of Tech North Please:)

Last week I read that Claire Braithwaite had stepped down as Head of Tech North. I has only met Claire a few times and she had been excellent every time I’d met her, plus numerous people I knew who worked with her said she was good, so I was surprised when she stepped down. All the best Claire.

But as they say the Queen is Dead long live the King.

I immediately thought that role should be Paul Smith’s ( ex of Ignite ), I have known Paul for years as a friend and someone who I have huge respect for in tech and in so many ways, as do so many people. I mentioned to Steve O’Hear ( journalist at Techcrunch )  that Paul would be awesome at it and Steve said yes probably, but Paul would not like to  play the politics of the Head of Tech North. But that is one of the reasons I think Paul would be so good at it. He is not a politician in the normal name of the game, but he has done more for the early stage tech scene in the North than almost anyone. The guy simply gets shit done and has helped hundreds and hundreds of people and startups directly, as well as influencing so many more. Beneath that blunt exterior is a guy who simply cares massively for people, many times to the detriment of himself. All you have to do is ask many of the people he has helped and they will all tell you the same story, he is blunt but he pushed people to do things greater than they thought was possible.


Let me explain the first real discussion I had with Paul, from that day on I became a great fan of things he did.

We were in Mal Malmasion bar in Newcastle one evening at about midnight. At this time Paul had a small group of people in startups in a room above a pub on Westgate Road in Newcastle and I had been looking at the numbers, the accounts and what they were trying to do. What they were doing seemed so pure and real. So I asked Paul why he was doing it as he personally would make nothing from the venture that he was putting his heart, soul and personal money into. His reply I never forgot it was simple:

Someone should, it is the right thing to do

In a world where many people have many agenda’s that was so refreshing to hear. From then on I said I would help anyway I could and I still do, and hopefully I have done my little bit to progress Paul’s vision of “doing the right thing”.

Many people know Paul’s background, but incase you don’t here is a quick synopsis:

Founder of Ignite100 accelerator helping almost 100 companies

Founder of Campus North – 15000 sq feet coworking space

Advisor to – and Alex the CEO ( who just was recognised as  one of the most influential people in tech in the UK )

(A great tweet from Alex about Paul – That’s why you a [email protected] legend   )

Publically talks about his depression

Publically rants that more women should be in tech.

This is the article written by Steve O’Hear on Techcrunch mentioning that Paul had stepped down as CEO of Ignite. This a very fair article:

Paul Smith CEO of Ignite

If you wish to know more here are Paul’s personal accounts.

Paul’s rants on twitter

Paul on Linkedin – read some of the references:)

Paul’s articles on Medium

Coincedences happen for a reason, Claire resigned creating the role and Paul resigned from Ignite100 looking to find the next challenge. Timing seems to be perfect:) I know Paul did not know Claire was going to step down. There may be other people who could do the role of Head of Tech North, but there are few qualified enough, with as good a track record, a huge passion for Northern Tech and not doing anything at the minute…..

Hence please let Paul grow Tech North into what it could be………..


Ps. For clarity Paul has not paid me to write this:) But I did tell him I was going to push for him to take the role…so please let us convince him.

Ignite have been to Lichfield – again

Ignite have been to Lichfield – again

Every Ignite cohort that has come out of Newcastle over the years spends 2 days in sunny Lichfield meeting all our staff and seeing if we can help them????? Last week we had them all down for 2 days be interesting to see what they do over the next 4 week now and to see how they progress.


We also get the chance to see who we think is interesting…..quite a few but obviously I can’t say:)

Techstars, Seedcamp and Entrepreneurs First can come too:):)

Good luck all:)




Ian Merricks – Fast Forward London, Accelerator Academy, White Horse Capital

Ian Merricks – Fast Forward London, Accelerator Academy, White Horse Capital

Wanna be pop start –  star or tart, it was a misstype but amused me:)

I actually thought Ian would make a better motor racing driver and for some reason Jenson Button came to mind. Jenson is nothing like Ian, but maybe Ian has a smell that makes me thinking of Jenson:

jenson button

Ian does not smell and does not have a big nose…but he been trying to grow a pony tail





Ian Merricks

Ian Merricks

Ian is Co-founder / Investor at Fast Forward London and Accelerator Academy, Investment Director at Communication Partners and Managing Partner at White Horse Capital. 19 years working entrepreneurially, now specialising in investment, M&A, turnarounds / profit improvement. He aims to make a real impact on the industries he touch, looking to create best of breed businesses and returns.Studied at the Aston Commercial Training. His specialty is commercial partnerships.

500 Startups Distro Dojo Comes to Town

So a little bird told us that 500 Startups were coming to lil’ old London town. Their new programme Distro Dojo, headed up by Matt Lerner, formerly Paypal hopes to “help post-seed companies blow up growth and close their next round.”

Distro DOJO London

What you need to know about Distro Dojo:

  • Distro = 500 Startups growth hacking; Dojo = the place where a ninja trains to becomes a ninja
  • Aimed at startups looking to grow, grOW, GROW
  • 3 months, starting September, at WeWork Moorgate
  • Applications accepted through referral only

We attended Friday’s launch, and basically spent the whole night running around talking to smart folks with cool ideas, bandana-ing people, drinking mildly-spiked orange juice, and nabbing scallops and fried rice. All in a day’s work.

Dave and Matt got in the action, of course. All the best, guys!

Dave McClure
Dave got bandana-ed!


Say hi to Matt everybody!



Connect and follow me:



Investment Syndicate

Accelerators in the UK why bother as an investor?


I am writing this following on from a long discussion on twitter with Hussein Kanji of Hoxton Ventures. Hussein is very anti accelerators and I appear to be quite pro ( I am a mentor and investor in Techstars, Ignite and Entrepreneurs First ). Now being pro as an investor is quite different to be pro as a startup. So initially I wondered what an accelerator offered that mattered to me as an investor:

– They must get lots of dealflow so they get a decent choice of startups

– They must be able to get good teams to join

– They must care about teams

– They must help teams by giving advice and by introducing them to interesting people

– They must introduce founders to angels and funds

– They must increase the valuations at the end of the program when raising funding

So then I compared Techstars, Entrepreneurs First and Ignite, as a simple investor. To the outside world they are all the same but to me they are completely different.


– over 1000 startups apply to be in London ( including many companies that are way past a basic startup )

– most teams join if selected ( including quite advanced teams in some cases )

– teams get to meet so many people and have a huge demo day

– valuations afterwards can be silly with some companies raising millions

Techstars operates as fund and as such does not allow me as an investor to claim SEIS/EIS ( on initial investment or on exit ) which can make my returns a lot less as a pure %. But Techstars is great at helping companies raise decent rounds after the program.


– many 100’s of smart people apply and EF helps them to create companies in London

– teams get to meet fewer people that Techstars but have a huge demo day

– valuations afterwards can be sensible but there is always 1 or 2 startups who raise large rounds

Entrepreneurs First operates as fund now and as such does not allow me as an investor to claim SEIS/EIS ( on initial investment or on exit ) which can make my returns a lot less as a pure %, The quality of the people is huge and hence they could invest in something massive


– many 100’s of  startups apply ( including many startups that have poorly devised ideas )

– most teams join if selected, many teams are simply interesting teams with bad ideas

– teams get to meet fewer people that Techstars or Entrepreneurs First but generally get to know some people very well, this includes angels and vc’s

– valuations afterwards can be sensible, the decent teams and decent ideas almost always raise cash. Generally none of the startups initially raise large investment rounds

Ignite teams are generally less developed after the program than Techstars and mostly raise smaller rounds. But IGNITE is SEIS/EIS friendly investment and the people at Ignite have managed most of the legal and documenting filling, and as such has tax advantages without the paperwork nightmares. Several startups have evolved into companies that have raised at high valuations now.

Anyway that is my simple explanation as an investor. There are many extra advantages that happen due to being an investor such as:

– fun

– learning

– ability to see and get to know interesting teams early

All the best



Work on your startup in Bali for a month :)

The Annual Coupofy Entrepreneurship Award is aimed at entrepreneurs globally. They are looking for the most interesting and talented entrepreneur in the world to join them for a month in Bali, Indonesia. All expenses will be covered by The winner is welcome to work on a project of his/her choice while Coupofy provide guidance and support.

What you get?

  • Economy round-trip airfare from anywhere in the world
  • 1 month accommodation
  • 1 month unlimited membership at a local co-working space
  • Welcome party with the Potential team
  • Mentorship and support from our team and local start-up community

Full Details & Apply Online

Matt Clifford – Entrepreneurs First – EF

Matt Clifford – Entrepreneurs First – EF ( Mad Matt Clifford he is known as )

The one you are thinking of is  Max, he is older and doing time for some dodgy porn stuff.

Max Clifford

Evil:):) Mad Matt maybe into some dodgy porn. Be careful Matt you know that line can move so easily.

Anyway Matt is also NOT a big red dog

Clifford the dog

So we have now established what Matt is not, what is he, come on guess?

What do you call a man with a bird on his head? Cliff

What do you call a man with shoes on him? Matt

Thus Mat is a man with shoes on him at his feet and is easily spotted as he has a bird on his head.

Time for me to go now as my mind is going off in all directions.



This really Matt

Matt Clifford

Matt Clifford

Matt co-founded and run Entrepreneur First, where they invest in Europe’s top technical talent to build world-class startups in London. They focus on supporting technical founders at the very earliest stage – usually pre-company – and work closely with them for seven months to help them turn deep technology into fast-growing companies. He is Chief Executive, Co-founder at Entrepreneur First,Co-founder at Code First: Girls,Trustee and Non-exec Director at techfortrade,Advisory Board member at Silicon Valley Comes to the UK. Studied at the MIT and University of Cambridge.

Sign up for Captain Scott’s Mad Ramblings…

Join Doug today and get exclusive content and much more.
No spam, ever. Just great information.