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Bill Magee
Scotland gets investor thumbs up from Valley player

Scotland's place on the global stage has been strengthened following Silicon Valley's major-league digital entrepreneur - or "technology scout" as she prefers to be known - Deborah Magid renewing her 10,000 mile round trip from California to resume a long-standing relationship with EIE in Edinburgh.

Ms Magid is the former IBM director of strategy, in charge of $20 billion of funds. I caught up with her during a Gala Dinner at the Capital's Dynamic Earth, the climax of the two-day event of the country's top tech showcase event, returning after a two-year hiatus.

Moving from her IBM executive post last summer after a tenure with the company spanning a quarter century in a series of senior roles, she now runs her own show as CEO & Founder of Innovation Now LLC. Significantly, she is also corporate venture capitalist-in-residence (CVC) that happens to be the Valley's largest mentor and investor network, Pitch Global.

Deborah Magid
Deborah Magid

Ms Magid has just launched a $50 million investment fund specifically for limited partners (LPs) and remains, as she puts it, "razor focused" when seeking that next bright investment prospect and had covered EIE for a solid decade before the pandemic. This time around an estimated 130 investors checked out the pitching event's cohort who, to be expected, majored on artificial intelligent advances.

Especially those covering ethical AI, equipping CIOs with powerful and transformative digital capabilities, AI taking Cloud Sustainability to new heights through the likes of AWS, and adopting a serverless approach to tackle wasted cloud services running into millions of pounds lost, reports Scotland's top indigenous tech company Exception.

Big Tech companies are rapidly advancing to the point where chatbots supplement, even take over search engines. Microsoft's head of responsible AI Natasha Crampton warns the industry has to be careful not to break the business model of the wider web.

This comes as an IDC eBook, sponsored by Lenovo, reveals investment spending by businesses in AI is expected to grow by 61 per cent year-on-year in 2024, as increasing numbers view the advanced technology as a "game changer"

The pandemic saw more than significant financial losses during what was an undoubtedly highly volatile period, Ms Magid remarked mergers and acquisitions continued to be made but not initial public offerings.

It was certainly true in bellwether North America where IPOs reduced by a mighty ninety per cent uring and immediately after COVID. "M&A was still happening but IPOs down..but there is still a lot of cash around."

Over the years the ex-IBM, AT&T and General Electric executive has been a regular keynote speaker in Scotland along with Paris, Brazil and Shanghai.

Ms Magid informed my Edinburgh-based Daily Business monthly column she holds the University of Edinburgh in high regard, ranking it in an elite list of academic institutions including MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and UCD Trinity.

She added Scotland's tech efforts have responded well to key shifts in the marketplace which are digitally disrupting businesses and presenting new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Conversely, VCs and start-ups rely heavily on new tech especially analytics and big data. It's the wise ones who both influence and take full advantage of such trends.

Since 2008 EIE events have supported over 540 companies helping them raise more than 1.2 billion in downstream funding. It is now run within the university's Bayes Centre.

Bayes Centre.
Bayes Centre.

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