Friday 2nd May 2014, Rothschild, London.
Yesterday was the first of this year’s pitching day series for the NEF class of 2014. Throughout the year we all work on our own business ideas and for those that are at the right stage along the journey – we work towards pitching our ventures (whether early stage or established) in front of a panel of real investors, come the back end of the programme year. Each year these pitches tend to fall around spring time and this year they fall on three consecutive Fridays in May.
The workshops and learning programme we have followed to date, all follow and build up preparation ahead of these pitching days, and they are highlights of the NEF calendar. I will be pitching on the last of the pitching days in a few weeks, but for this first day 10 of my classmates and some NEF alumni, were pitching their ideas first. We we’re hosted for the day in the top floor conference suite of Rothschild in central London. The venue was incredible, with glass walls on all four sides, providing a 360-degree view over the city of London, right above the Bank of England and in sight of such land marks as St Pauls Cathedral and the Tower Bridge.
I’ll give a brief synopsis of each venture pitched at the end of this blog, but to say the presentations were impressive would be an understatement! I was so impressed by just how high my colleagues set the bar from the off. The standard of the presenting, the business plans, slides and discussions was brilliant – everyone really stepped up their game for this event and I’m a little less confident in my own pitch in 3 weeks’ time now – think I need to put some serious work into it!
My two favorite pitches were both from my own cohort, and presented by teams of all girls funnily enough! Bea, Bec and Issy presented their venture “Good Fodder” early in the morning, and their content was very well rehearsed and delivered. What could have been a car crash at the end – with having 3 presenters all sharing the same space on stage, was really well managed. When the questions came from the investor panel the girls were brilliant at delivering their well thought out and reasoned answers, and never once did it feel like they were stepping on each other’s toes or talking over each other – where more than one of them answered a single question, the next to speak would be building on the others comments. A really well executed pitch girls!
Later we had Julianne pitching her existing and well established business “Snuggle Muffin”. Snuggle Muffin is a cupcakery, tea rooms and B2B catering company based in Glasgow, and Julianne has been running it for 4 or 5 years now. So this pitch was always going to be a bit different from the others, which were all centered around bold ideas, early stage startups, or unproven hypotheses. Julianne pitched a fantastic story to us all – telling the tale of how she started her early cupcake business, baking at home and selling at school. The backdrop to all of this was a slideshow of brilliantly selected and genuine photos, documenting the story, from pictures of Julianne in the kitchen as a teenager, to pictures of her team and staff in their shop in Glasgow. Deservedly, Julianne was approached by one member of the investor panel immediately after she stepped off stage and offered her ask of investment! Brilliant!
Birdie List (Sam Lott & Dan Gilespie)
Birdie List is an online platform for cash gifting centered around the wedding industry.
Good Fodder (Bea, Bec, Issy)
Good Fodder is addressing the need for low FODMAP foods and ingredients for the growing number of people with IBS and other debilitating digestive issues in the UK.
Haiku Jam (Dhru Karwa)
Haiku Jam is an app based platform which allows users to collaboratively write Haiku poems and share collaborative arts.
Snuggle Muffin (Julianne Grassekamp)
A cupcakery, tea room, and B2B catering service based in Glasgow, Scotland (soon to expand to Edinburgh).
AttendApp (Thamin & Anthony)
AttendApp is a new approach to the Parent-Teacher-Relationship in UK schools, using an app-based platform for tracking and reporting on your child’s whereabouts, learning and related.
PleaseCycle (Ry Morgan)
PleaseCycle is a SaaS platform sold to corporates and SME’s to promote cycling, running and walking to work, through gamification, challenges and rewards.
RobinHood Ageny (Kimberley Shearer)
A new marketing agency, set up specifically with the aim of providing access to high value marketing and advertising, to start up businesses in the UK.
Sideways6 (Will Read)
A web platform, deployed into businesses – to act as a place for employees to collaborate on and propose new innovation and entrepreneurial thinking which can be used in their workplace.
PaidUp (Hamish Grierson)
A new approach to eComerce payments, specifically working towards increasing propensity to purchase through mobile devices.
Sliide (Corbyn Munnik)
Sliide is a mobile app which makes use of your phones lock-screen, and a new medium for advertising – slide one way to unlock your phone as normal, slide the other way to click through and engage with the advert and earn money for doing so!