“Our house is two startups and a toddler,” Leah Hutcheon, founder of Appointedd, told the audience at StartUp Summit.

The conference is in its seventh year and in 2019 welcomed 1,000 delegates from universities, scale-ups and investment houses to the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.

The audience responded enthusiastically to Hutcheon’s anecdotes of starting a software company after being made redundant eight years ago – and this is the whole point of the event according to organiser Bruce Walker.

“We want to show people what’s possible with examples of people who’ve already done it,” he said.

“Role models can’t be underestimated – people at different stages and from different backgrounds are what we want to showcase.”

This year’s StartUp Summit had three stages covering People, Process and Performance as well as break out rooms for masterclasses and an exhibitor hall.

“When Startup Summit started it was still a very fragmented industry – knowing where to go for startup help was very difficult,” Bruce said.

“If you were early stage and you needed support you could spend weeks searching. We wanted to bring the inspiration to the stage obviously, but we also wanted to help people act on the advice by going through to the exhibitor hall and speaking to the suppliers they might need.”

Bruce, whose company FutureX organizes events all over the world for entrepreneurs, also sees the event as an opportunity for investors to travel to Scotland from London or elsewhere in Europe.

“It can be very difficult for them to identify potential – this event works as a focal point and then they can have meetings around it,” he said.

Support has come from the Scottish government too – in 2017 the First Minister attended, this year the minister for trade, investment and innovation Ivan McKee addressed the audience and answered questions.

“The buy in from the Scottish government is important – they seem to take entrepreneurialism very seriously and want to create an entrepreneurial nation,” Bruce said.

One of the success stories to come from StartUp Summit is Shot Scope headed up by David Hunter. The golf technology firm has raised over £8.5m to date – but may never have existed had its founder not skipped a day at university to attend the event.

Appearing on the Garden Stage and interviewed by Herald and Times Sales Director David Ward, David discussed his journey, which began in 2013.

“We have a unique IP [intellectual property] and hardware,” he said. “The UK golf market has a lot of similarities with the US market so you can do a lot of testing and make mistakes here first!” he joked.

Advice he gave to the audience included the importance of lining everything up – if a product is taken on a trial basis by a retailer, consider the manufacturing and marketing that will be needed if the trial is successful.

He also suggested paying for a lot of caffeine

“Buy coffee for everyone who can help you,” he said.

Over on the Summit stage, the chief technology advocate of Starling Bank, Jason Maude, talked about scaling a company in a sustainable way.

“I’m always suspicious of anyone who has an innovation lab,” he said. “You put all your innovation in a lab so it can’t get out? Starling doesn’t have an innovation lab, the business is innovative. We are tech-led.”

He also warned against chasing growth at all costs.

“You cannot form a business on the basis of growth and growth alone,” he said. “How are you going to make money? We are focused on breaking even and then turning a profit.”

According to Maude, Starling will break even in 2020.

His advice to startups was: start with a mission, understand how you’re going to become sustainable and get good people in and help them develop.

By this point in the day, #sus19 was already trending, but social media responses really exploded when Google’s Marta Krupinska took to the stage.

The head of Google for Startups spoke plainly about how the tech giant aims to level the playing field for tech founders.

“Only 1% of investment goes to all-female teams – that is f***ing abominable,” she stated, to cheers from the audience.

The programme she heads aims to support founders in specific areas, so far cohorts have focused on AI for social good, women founders and African scale-ups.

The Herald Business HQ magazine has an exclusive interview with Marta, in which she discusses moving from founding a multimillion tech company to working with 100,000 colleagues and how she help startups across Scotland benefit from the full weight of Google’s support.

The Herald will publish a full interview with her in the next edition of the Business HQ magazine.

The event drew to a close with the announcement of the winner of the Startup Summit competition.

Elizabeth Fairlie, founder of Talking Medicines, took the prize, which includes an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley next year. Her company was founded in 2013 and provides smarter digital engagement through the Medsmart data product. It shows when and how medicines are used in the real world by patients and tracks anonymised and aggregated data points around usage of medicines over time.