How many years have you been at Tech Nation?
2 & a half years.
What's your backstory. How did you come to be where you are now?
I’ve always loved helping others, it’s a real passion of mine. I always try to go into conversations thinking how I can help this individual vs what’s in it for me. In doing so, it got me into the world of investment - connecting founders all over the UK with investors for deal flow opportunities, I love that one introduction can change someone's life forever!
What has been your highlight as Investment Lead?
To be honest I have highlights everyday as I truly love my job. I couldn’t have asked for a better role, supporting founders with whacky & amazing ideas that will change the world. I get to play a small part in their journey by connecting them with investors to allow those ideas to become reality.
How did you come across Landscape?
I saw Landscape on product hunt & thought I need to be part of this movement - the VC ecosystem needs to be challenged as founders need to know the truth behind some VCs.
Biggest challenge right now/thing you need help on:
Being based in sunny Belfast (not) has many positives, however, it’s still tough for founders & stakeholders to access national investors - so any links to UK/US investors interested in learning more about Northern Ireland’s ecosystem would be fantastic.
What's the biggest mistake you’ve made so far and what did you learn from it?
Not always trusting my gut & being honest about my thoughts. I’ve learnt the hard way & if anyone knows me, I like to be straight to the point now.
What piece of advice would you give to other Founders?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, everyone needs help sometimes & everyone in the tech ecosystem is here to help each other. Asking for help is not failing.
What is the most frustrating thing you find about the startup fundraising ecosystem?
The perception in the UK tech space is that any founder can access capital around the UK. However, this isn’t the case. Founders outside of the London ecosystem still can’t access regional funds & I come up against this challenge everyday. This needs to change.
What you would like to see change in the startup fundraising ecosystem within the next 5 years?:
From a Northern Irish lens I want our ecosystem to be known across the UK/US as a thriving tech ecosystem as we do have the tech and talent we just need to showcase, showcase and showcase!
Gary is the Investment Lead at Tech Nation, supporting founders with all things investment. He is also a Landscape Ambassador and is based in Belfast.