Ship Shape is a search engine for the venture capital sector, enabling entrepreneurs, universities, investment banks, venture capital firms, and government agencies to find the right individuals at venture capital firms with interest in specific ideas, in seconds rather than months.
We spoke to Alistair Baillie, co-founder of Ship Shape, about the firm's international expansion plans, and how being UK-based is helping in its growth.
What does your company do?
We are the search engine for venture capital. We exist because great ideas happen all over the world and they need to meet with capital. That is where job creation and wealth generation happens.
Our search engine covers venture capitalists and investment houses that invest in the UK at present. We are expanding our coverage internationally in Q1 next year.
There are lots of directories of venture capital investors that use top-down cumbersome data structures and it makes finding the right investor a time consuming process. We offer a targeted search engine built for precisely this industry, using publicly available information, that takes the searcher and their idea straight to people they should speak to.
So, if you are a company into regenerative medicine or lithium-ion battery technology, our search engine can put you in touch with investors who are really interested in that technology type or that development, not just ‘medtech’ for example. This also benefits investors as it means they get relevant pitches rather than being bombarded with stuff from lots of different companies.
Tell us about your UK and global operations.
We established the company in July 2020. We were supported with an Innovate UK grant to start with and most recently we have won a SMART Cymru grant from the Welsh government, in addition to the private investment we have also received.
Our product hub is in South Wales, with a presence in Cardiff and Swansea. We have collaborations with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and with Cardiff University. We have a front-office presence in Wales, London, and Edinburgh also.
The benefits of being in the UK are amazing. There is the skills base here. It is very easy to find all the skills in the UK that are required to set up a business like ours and take that globally
What are the main benefits to being based in the UK?
The benefits of being in the UK are amazing. There is the skills base here. It is very easy to find all the skills in the UK that are required to set up a business like ours and take that globally.
The UK is an entrepreneur-friendly place, its tax and investment regime is entrepreneur-friendly, our legal and regulatory frameworks are trusted, and our processes are slick. If you are a foreign business setting up in the UK you get all this as well.
Furthermore, at Ship Shape we work closely with universities. The universities across the UK are brilliant and the research that is being generated out of UK universities is world-leading. One of the things they are very good at is producing technology-related IP and they are becoming much better at commercialising that. Most of these ideas being produced in the UK have international opportunities and the funding is also UK and international.
The UK is an entrepreneur-friendly place, its tax and investment regime is entrepreneur-friendly, our legal and regulatory frameworks are trusted, and our processes are slick. If you are a foreign business setting up in the UK you get all this as well
Tell us about your company's growth ambitions.
We want to be the global search engine for the venture capital ecosystem. We intend to employ more people in the UK and will be needing sales presences in key locations across the country and the world. The UK will be our product hub.
In 2022 we want to take this idea to the US, and already have cornerstone clients interested. The US is a market that is ready for this and ready for it now, as we have discovered. We are also interested in India as the venture capital ecosystem is changing and growing rapidly there. So, over time, we will definitely have a presence over there too.