Co-founded by now SeaEO Fiona Houston and her friend Xa Milne in 2013, Mara Seaweed was born out of a love natural superfoods and a goal of connecting the next generation to Scotland’s edible resources.
Fiona is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Her dad, Adair transformed the family Blacksmith into a successful wedding venue and tourist attraction. So, creating a whole new global brand came as second nature to the Scottish mum of two.
The idea for Mara, the Gaelic name for the sea, came to Fiona one day when on the beach with a friend. A Chinese-American friend of Fiona's pointed to the forests of kelp and all the other seaweeds that were growing along the shoreline and asked why no-one was harvesting it to eat? This got Fiona thinking about how in Scotland we have this sustainable, natural resource that has extraordinary flavours and health benefits and no one is really taking notice.
Since then, Mara Seaweed has won multiple awards and are loved by celebrities, Michelin star chefs and are going from strength to strength. In order to build a business out of seaweed, Fiona and her team had to work out how to add value to a resource that up until that point had been undervalued. They also had to be able to scale-up – they had to take what essentially was an artisan product and bring it into the mainstream. In order to do that, the team needed to spend an inordinate amount of time not only looking at the demand side and the marketing side but also the supply chain.
This lead Fiona to seek out investment from Angel groups across Scotland. After pitching her business idea to a group of angels it was no shock that many of them wanted to invest. This investment will be used to support the growth of the business into export markets, build their production capacity and develop a new product pipeline.
Find out more about mara at https://maraseaweed.com/
Wallace Equity has completed its inaugural deal with a £115,000 investment in Glasgow based company Triyit, along with fellow investment groups Apollo Investment and Angels Den.
Founded in 2016 by Alex Barron, Triyit is the latest offering in the test marketing industry, it allows companies to gain significant feedback about a product from their target market, before launching a new product or adapting a current one.
Triyit’s unique ‘Discovery Club’ allows members to receive products to test, tailored to their unique profile. Membership to Triyit’s ‘Discovery Club’ is free in exchange for encouraging users to feedback information about the products they receive.
Alex Barron, founder and director of Triyit came up with the idea after experiencing the frustration of the current expensive and ineffective sampling services in small to medium sized fast-moving consumer goods brands.
He said “Having done plenty of design and marketing for small FMCG brands, I was aware of the sampling and engagement services available in the UK, but also knew they were extremely expensive and mostly inefficient. I have been interested in the subscription box model for years and had been researching the industry in detail. In 2015 I was inspired to quit the best job I ever had, leave the best place I had ever been and start to build Triyit. Two years later, I had developed the business model and was ready to send out my first box.”
Now with a team of for, Alex was aware that to achieve the product he desired and to scale up quickly, an investment would be required.
Nearly 30 angel investors took part in the funding round, which will allow Triyit to expand its team and speed up the web platform development, in preparation for a full launch later this year.
Alex said: “This investment will give us the opportunity to take Triyit to new heights and strengthen the product testing model, ensuring products can be delivered to very specific audiences. There is already huge demand for the service, so exciting times ahead!”
A Wallace member said: “We are delighted to invest in such an innovative and forward-thinking business such as Triyit. Wallace members will be on hand to offer advice, support, mentoring and our varied member-wide experience will help Triyit grow into potentially the number one market testing product globally. We look forward to completing investments with companies that have the same high-growth potential in the near future.”
UK based computer vision company 2mee trading as Facee is changing the way companies communicate with their customers with backing from Stirling based investment company Wallace Equity.
Founded in 2012, one of 2mee’s founders, David Soppelsa and his team set out on a mission to bring mobile marketing into a whole new modern era of communication. 2mee’s new Facee messaging allows brands to generate real-time video which can be delivered to a user’s device as an engaging alternative to a standard text push notification.
David said “It’s known that watching a video of a person speaking to you communicates 60,000 times faster than text. Research at the University of York has also shown that trust can be built in just 33 milliseconds by looking at the face of the speaker and that we are simply hard-wired to respond to faces – apparently, people know over 5,000 different faces! Here at 2mee, we have taken this research and run with it. We have created this technology which allows brands to communicate more effectively via face to face, all be it digitally, to their customers.”
With big goals, new products and rapid growth in mind David and the team at 2mee sought out investment to help commercialise their products and create a robust global roll out. Wallace Equity’s angel investors took part in the funding round, which will, in turn, allow 2mee to prepare for a full product launch in November 2019.
Iain Russell, 2mee’s Edinburgh based Finance Director said “This investment will assist us to bring in the extra human resource required to take the product to market, when we will then head for Series A Funding”
A Wallace Equity member said “As an investment group we look for exciting, cutting edge companies just like 2mee to invest in and are excited about the future for this great brand. The team are extremely driven and passionate about their products and have high ambitions for the company’s future. We can’t wait until we see the first video push notification come through to mobiles across the world”
To see 2mee in action visit their website https://2mee.com and for more information about becoming a, Wallace Equity Investor visit www.wallaceequity.co.uk.