Thorntons back Scottish start-ups to reach international success

Left to Right: Dec McLaughlin, co-founder, Foras; Colin Graham, partner and chair, Thorntons; Caro Melendez, co-founder, Foras; Alistair Lang, partner and Head of Ventures and Innovation, Thorntons; Nick Murray, co-founder, Foras.

THORNTONS Solicitors and Foras have agreed a new strategic partnership which seeks to help Scottish startups to realise “life-changing” opportunities across the globe.

As part of the initiative, Thorntons will be supporting and playing an active role in Foras activities, both in the UK and internationally, throughout 2024.

The year-long partnership is the first of its kind and follows the success of a previous collaboration when Thorntons provided funding for an excursion of 34 Scottish entrepreneurs to Lisbon last November. 

Thorntons is home to a specialist Ventures and Innovation team, established to work with businesses targeting accelerated growth, and advising on corporate structures and governance; growth and exit strategies; private equity; commercial negotiation strategies; and intellectual property (IP) protection and commercialisation strategies.

Foras are expert facilitators in immersive international ​experiences for entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders. They run cohort excursions internationally focused on fostering ​peer connectivity, business partnerships, and investment ​opportunities. With Scottish and UK government backing, Foras showcase Scottish startups and scaleups to global ​tech ecosystems but also invite the world to set up their ​business and invest in Scotland.

Allan Cannon, CEO of Glasgow space technology firm Krucial, and an alumni of Foras’ 2022 Silicon Valley cohort, described the trips as “life-changing”. He said: “It’s hard to provide a full account of the learning I experience, but I can say for sure that it was ‘life-changing’. I made contacts and relationships that are likely to be game changers for our business.”

Foras’ next stop is Austin, Texas with a 14-person cohort of high-growth startups from across Scotland attending the South by Southwest conference (SXSW) for a week of business visits, networking, and a pitching showcase to an audience of US-based investors.

This will be complemented by a comprehensive programme of events throughout 2024 including multiple ecosystem events at Glasgow Tech Week, and Turing Fest, as well as immersive international cohort programmes.

Alistair Lang, Partner and Head of Ventures and Innovation, Thorntons, said: “It continues to strike me how much the Scottish startup ecosystem innovates and iterates to support founders in all sectors.

“Our team have experienced firsthand the free and trusting environment the Foras team creates with their cohort when we supported the Lisbon trip last year, and it was eye-opening and incredibly refreshing.

“They focus on providing wraparound support at all parts of the journey and its holistic approach aligns perfectly with how we deliver our High Growth Programme to over 70 scaling companies in the UK. We are delighted to partner with Foras in the delivery of their programme and to support their cohorts in realising opportunities across the world.”

Caro Melendez, Co-Founder, Foras, said: “Our work is very focused on bringing business leaders together for shared experiences and growth, and as part of that, it’s so important for us to have trusted, expert support for the challenges and opportunities that come up from our international programmes.

“With an incredible track record of supporting high-growth businesses in the UK, we’re delighted to partner with Thorntons to offer our growing community access to the right legal partners for their scaling trajectory.”

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