The annual Silicon Gorge pitching competition has almost come to a close for 2023. We were blown away by the caliber of applicants and witling this down from almost 70 entrepreneurs to 24 finalists to eventually just 13 winners was no mean feat.

We’ve landed on 13 standout startups, specialising in sectors from health tech to green tech, who will be taking center stage next month.

The early-stage tech and digital startups will be pitching to a room full of investors on 18 May 2023 at the Silicon Gorge Investor Showcase, all organised as part of the Investment Activator Programme. Startups will be pitching for between £100k and £2m in equity investment.

Ahead of Investor Showcase, we’re sharing profiles of those startups who made it through the heats. First up is Expordite, founded by Kate Sukhanova.

1 – What does your company do?

Expordite® is a B2B SaaS and service company that helps British exporters and freight forwarders with export compliance, risk assessment of breaking into new international markets, and staying in touch with international trade news in their respective sectors. 

We also recently launched a new service offering called  Expordite Move for people relocating to the UK – we support them through the process of moving their belongings here, including customs clearance and transfer of residence relief applications. The plan is to also productise this service in the future!

2 – What problem are you trying to solve?

After Brexit, 1 in 5 British companies stopped selling abroad because the customs regulations and duties have gotten too complicated. That means missing out on huge international markets’ revenue opportunities.

We also realised that HMRC was working to digitise international trade with brand-new customs declaration software called CDS. British exporters & freight forwarders, which is over 200,000 businesses, will be required to use CDS by November 2023 to be compliant with export regulations. And using this software without an authorised vendor like Expordite® means attempting to create declarations in XML formats, which few exporters and freight forwarders have the expertise to do!

3 – What makes your solution unique?

Firstly, it’s how it was built! I used a combination of Bubble – no-code technology – and JS. That means that the solution is very scalable and can accommodate any changes to customs requirements and HMRC schemas very quickly.

Secondly, our ambition. I created Expordite® because I believe in helping businesses make the most of international trade. And I plan to scale it to become a one-stop shop for any international trade needs – whether it’s export compliance, risk assessment, audit trail or staying in touch with the industry-specific international trade updates!

And finally, our solution is simple. We’ve done our best to make it as simple as possible to use, given HMRC’s requirements, and we’re exploring the ways to make export compliance seamless, rather than a chore!

4 – What are you most proud of so far?

We have been recognised by the HMRC as an authorised customs declarations software vendor and listed on their directory

Also, being accepted into SetSquared’s Enterprising Women 3.0 program was amazing.

5 – How much are you raising and what do you want to use investment for?

We’re seeking an investment of £250,000. We’ll use this funding for:

  • Expanding our team
  • Scaling our product to offer an improved risk assessment feature and, eventually, an offering for importers
  • Marketing and sales

6 – What tools/people/services/organisations helped you most?

  • The Bristol tech community, and the Enterprising Women program, have been incredible and provided me with very valuable insights into running a SaaS business.
  • Million Labs Agency, especially Joe Harris, has been very helpful with the complex technical integrations with the HMRC technology.
  • The Female Founders Rise organisation, led by Emmie Faust, is a great community that ran several events which were very helpful with the marketing side of things.

7 – Where can we find out more about you?

Our website, LinkedIn or YouTube Channel. You can also try our customs duties calculator for free!

This article is written as part of the Investment Activator Programme (IAP) in the West of England. This programme is run by TechSPARK and is kindly sponsored by TLT LLP, delaware, West of England Combined Authority, UWE, Sanderson, Engine Shed and Rocketmakers. Find out more about the IAP here.

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And finally, if you are raising investment for your business and you would like to submit your one page proposition for the next QIB event, please find more information at the bottom of this page.

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