Last night, Pitch@Palace held its tenth UK Event at Buckingham Palace, announcing BioSURE as the winner, with Stasher and Lilypads as the runners up after competing against thirty nine other finalists. On The Tools secured the title of Pitch@Palace People’s Choice Award winner after a public vote.
Pitch@Palace is an entrepreneurial initiative founded by The Duke of York in 2014 which aims to make connections between Entrepreneurs and influencers in the tech, investment and innovation ecosystems. To mark the occasion, HRH convened a prestigious Audience of Investors, Executives, Influencers and potential Business Partners to watch the final 42 Entrepreneurs Pitch their business ideas. As Pitch@Palace 10.0 had a broad technology theme, there was a wide range of Entrepreneurs from different industries, from an edtech VR platform to a technology solution for fundraising.
The three winners were announced at the end of the competition. BioSure is the world’s first HIV self-testing kit. Social enterprise Lilypads has developed a reusable sanitary towel on a mission to end period poverty in regions of Africa and Stasher is a sharing economy solution for luggage storage. The Pitch@Palace 10.0 People’s Choice Award saw members of the public vote for their favourite Entrepreneur, with On The Tools named winner of the Award at the Event.
Speaking on BioSURE’s win, Brigitte Bard, Founder and CEO said: “The Pitch@Palace network has changed our business. We have met so many people through the Pitch network already: at the top of my ‘ask’ list was to meet Amanda Staveley, who I met here tonight. I think Boot Camp was a real turning point for us because it really helped us understand the extent to which Pitch@Palace could help us.”
Jacob Wedderburn-Day, Co-Founder and CEO of Stasher added: “A lot of the discussions we have had tonight should materialise into meaningful partnerships and that is what we came here for. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Funds we have met here tonight will be on our cap table in the next few months as well. If we can get AirBNB into the mix then we would be ecstatic.”
Alison Wood, Founder of Lilypads, said: “We feel hugely privileged to have been able to pitch here tonight to this audience of people: people who we would never get to meet otherwise. We’re excited to see where being part of the Pitch@Palace Alumni network can take us!”
Addressing the Audience at Pitch@Palace 10.0, The Duke of York said: “If I think back to 2014 when we first launched Pitch@Palace, I don’t think I could have imagined we would be here today. Looking back on this journey, I could not be more proud of all the ambitious businesses we have seen come through Pitch@Palace.”
“Pitch@Palace is a mutually supportive operating system for ambitious young businesses seeking to scale and grow, and we are now firmly placed in the growth economy.”
“To date, we have seen nearly 50,000 Entrepreneurs apply to become part of our ‘clan’ which is remarkable. We have held just under 100 events, and have 687 Alumni who have created for themselves just over £800 million of economic activity into these businesses. Most importantly, we have created over 3,000 jobs, but what I am most surprised by is that we are running at a 96.5% survival rate, which I am led to believe is unusual for the start-up and scale-up world.”
According to an independent report published by the Cambridge Judge Business School Entrepreneurship Centre, Pitch@Palace’s key differentiator from concurrent alternative support programmes is its emphasis on sustainability and growth in the long term. Rather than just helping companies start up, Pitch@Palace aims to add real value to businesses in terms of bolstering senior management teams, customer traction and internationalisation – rather than measuring their success purely based on the amount of funding raised. As a result of this, Pitch@Palace attracts support from a wide range of people from around the globe: from successful tech entrepreneurs, to influential business people.
Reflecting on the success of Pitch@Palace since its foundation five years ago, Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, said: “Taking part in Pitch@Palace has many advantages. The obvious one is of course meeting investors. But I think the less obvious advantages might actually be more important – joining a community of entrepreneurs, meeting people, participating in a programme of ideas – is incredibly powerful for generating the next wave of successful enterprises.”
Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice President, Facebook, added: “It’s so important for entrepreneurs to build networks with peers, potential mentors and investors and Pitch@Palace provides just this opportunity. In fact, research from our #SheMeansBusiness programme, which provides female entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed, has found that nearly twice as many female founders who are part of a business community are likely to forecast business growth compared to those who are not.”
Speaking six months on from her victory at Pitch@Palace 9.0, Irra Ariella Khi, CEO and Co-Founder of VChain, said: “Winning Pitch@Palace 9.0 a few months ago has already proved transformative for VChain. It gave us access to decision makers in aviation and defence, which, as a young business, would have been difficult to achieve: on the night, The Duke himself introduced us to a CEO of a major airline, as well as senior officials in defence. VChain went on to achieve influential sponsorship with both. This provided concrete commercial outcomes for VChain’s business development, as well as strong reputational value – both in the UK and abroad – thanks to direct support from The Duke and his proactive team.”
To find out more about Pitch@Palace visit: pitchatpalace.com.