We invest in businesses founded and led by Laidlaw Scholars – NextGen leaders we know to be ambitious, brave, curious, determined, extraordinary, fast and good.

Laidlaw Scholars Ventures Key Figure: $50m in available fundingLaidlaw Scholars Ventures Key Figure: 1500+ next-generation leadersLaidlaw Scholars Ventures Key Figure: 90+ years of investment experience
Key figures of Laidlaw Scholars Ventures: $50m in available funding, 1500+ next-generation leaders, 90+ years of investment experience.


Laidlaw Scholars Ventures (LSV) is a for-profit initiative investing in start-ups founded and run by Laidlaw Scholars.

Backed by $50m, LSV accelerates Good Businesses by financing their growth, providing support services, delivering extensive training and development, and bringing a network of expert advisors and mentors to guide portfolio businesses.  

All profits from LSV will be returned to the Laidlaw Foundation to invest in its educational programmes designed to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality and develop a new generation of ethical leaders.


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Arrow down - open module


Arrow down - open module


We back purposeful businesses with ethical leaders to prove that entrepreneurs don’t have to choose between purpose or profit.


LSV will accelerate its portfolio businesses by actively supporting its founders and their leadership teams as they scale and continue to grow.

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Portfolio businesses are provided with a virtual co-working space (through the Laidlaw Scholars Network virtual platform); and access to a physical office space, along with a network of mentors and coaches through the LBS incubator, the CBS Lang Fund and the UCL Hatchery.

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Founders and their senior teams will be trained in finance, technology, sales & marketing and product development by functional experts with decades of senior functional leadership roles and a track record of success. Modules include: cashflow management, building scalable infrastructure, go-to-market strategy, and product-market fit.

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All CEOs have one lead mentor. This role is external to the company structure and is designed to provide the Scholar with advice and support from someone who has “been there”.

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This dynamic advisory panel of seasoned experts provides sector and functional advice, best practice and connections for portfolio businesses.

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The growing network of Laidlaw Scholars from around the world is kept informed of new businesses being funded, providing opportunities for internships and to mentor founders. Career opportunities posted on the site provide a rich seam of potential hires into the portfolio businesses.

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With 90+ years of experience in investment and support of early-stage businesses, the Laidlaw Scholars Ventures team have a broad network spanning the UK and the US to support our portfolio in attaining their next round of funding or potential.

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Portfolio businesses benefit from finance and accounting, legal, and marketing services provided through LSV partners.




Lord Laidlaw is a committed philanthropist, serial entrepreneur, and accomplished sportsman. A graduate of Leeds University and Columbia Business School, Lord Laidlaw founded the Institute for International Research Ltd (IIR) which became the world’s largest conference and training company. He sold it in 2005 for $1.4bn to Informa Plc.

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Chief Investment Officer
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Niall has been working with startups for the last decade, investing and advising CEOs on growth strategies, fundraising and providing introductions to support them as they scale. He joined the Laidlaw Foundation in 2021 from Edge Investments where he led investments, supported as a Board Director and managed exits in high-growth early-stage businesses.

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Chief Financial Officer
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Matt is a chartered accountant and the CFO of Highland Group Holdings Ltd, Lord Laidlaw’s private investment group.  He is a widely experienced and commercial ACA with over 20 years PQE providing financial leadership to entrepreneurial companies and groups in the SME market.

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Design Lead
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Nikol is passionate about helping businesses succeed through human-centred design. Since joining the Laidlaw Foundation in 2019 as Digital Content Manager, she has helped foster a thriving community of next-generation leaders, supporting the Laidlaw Scholars Network and promoting the Foundation’s purpose and programmes.

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Chief Executive Officer
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Susanna’s professional experience includes over 15 years in senior leadership roles in international B2B and learning businesses. She began her career at the Institute for International Research (IIR) where she first worked with Lord Laidlaw, rising to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). When IIR, was acquired by Informa Plc in 2005 Susanna was appointed CMO of the enlarged group.

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Headshot of Susanna V. Kempe - Laidlaw Scholars Venture's Chief Executive OfficerHeadshot of Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay - Laidlaw Scholars Ventures' Founder and PresidentHeadshot of Niall Santamaria - Laidlaw Scholars Ventures' Chief Investment OfficerHeadshot of Matt Waugh - Laidlaw Scholars Ventures' Chief Financial OfficerHeadshot of Nikol Chen - Laidlaw Scholars Ventures' Design Lead


LSV makes seed, series A and B investments in businesses founded by Laidlaw Scholars or with a Laidlaw Scholar on the management team owning a minimum of 10% equity.  

We only invest in businesses that are committed to being “good” and whose leadership team have committed to the Good Business Charter.

We invest in UK, Irish and US based businesses.

To apply for funding, please complete the pitch form by clicking the button below. Note that you will need to submit some supporting documents - make sure they are ready before you complete the form.


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In a series of short videos, our Chief Investment Officer Niall Santamaria gives you an overview of the vision behind Laidlaw Scholars Ventures, explains how you can fund your business with us, and shares his best advice on successfully pitching your idea to investors.

What is Laidlaw Scholars Ventures?

Why we created the fund, the vision behind it, and how LSV can help your business succeed as it scales and grows.

Applying for Funding with Laidlaw Scholars Ventures

How you can apply to fund your business with Laidlaw Scholars Ventures.

Advice on Successfully Pitching Your Business

Niall's top advice on how you can successfully pitch your business to potential investors and make your funding application stand out.


A mobile phone with the Guava app open showing a user's total balance, accounts, and transactions, alongside a physical Guava edbit card.Laidlaw Scholars Ventures Invests $650K in Guava to Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap

Laidlaw Scholars Ventures has invested $650K in Guava, a digital banking and networking platform by and for Black entrepreneurs, to help narrow the racial wealth gap in the United States.

February 9, 2023

ProMotion Rewards co-founders Bidemi Afolabi (left) and Lauren O’Reilly (right)Consumer Rewards Company ProMotion Secures €725k to Help Brands Understand Changes in the Market

ProMotion Rewards, a consumer rewards company which provides brand partners with customer insight, has secured a €725k pre-seed investment led by Laidlaw Scholars Ventures.

October 24, 2022



We’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions about applying for funding, are a service provider looking to explore a partnership opportunity, or would like join our group of business mentors, please reach out to us at: hello@laidlawscholarsventures.com