As part of the BOMO Festival , Empact Ventures and Hays plc delivered a Corporate-Investor Pitch Day at the Bournemouth University Executive Business Centre sponsored by the Dorset LEP , Mazars , Agile Automations , Gridizen , Linkilaw, and C6(n) .
The purpose of the event was to super connect the best emerging tech startups and scale-ups from around the world with key decision-makers from corporates and SMEs interested in discussing and negotiating pilots, contracts and/or partnerships.
It was also attended by a blended set of funding providers including tech focused angel investors, investment platforms, venture capitalists, grant support, startup loan support and crowdfunding platforms interested providing access to funding.
Its organiser Bournemouth-based Kosta Mavroulakis (Founder and CEO, Empact Ventures) believes that “Bournemouth has the potential to become an established tech cluster in the next decade beyond its strong digital roots and it is for this reason we are working from here to showcase its pockets of excellence and super connect it to the wider global tech ecosystem to create new business opportunities for all involved”.
Finn Morgan, Business Engagement and Dorset Gateway Manager for the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership joined throughout the day and said that “Dorset LEP’s role is to promote and drive local economic growth and prosperity across Dorset. Working with partners to develop opportunities which support innovative and ambitious businesses to succeed is of vital importance to us and the businesses we represent. It was therefore a great opportunity to hear from and engage with a range of businesses, who are based locally – as well as those from outside of the Dorset business ecosystem – about their plans for business growth.”
One of the the day’s most impressive startups was the AI-powered RetailTech startup Shoppar who joined from London and explained how it was putting customer data into physical retail stores across the UK to help them better understand their shoppers. It is currently working with clients including Sky and Hugo Boss. The technology uses computer vision and WI-FI analytics to understand various data points and help to deliver usable metrics to improve campaign delivery and convert sales opportunities.
Peter Ward its Co-Founder and CEO added that it was a great event put together by Empact Ventures and Hays with “a range of impressive startups, support business specialists and investors in attendance, creating a well rounded event that made very good use of a day out the office.”
Throughout the day the tech startups pitched including the current team leading Hollabox, a tech startup providing a video-led discovery platform founded by BU graduates Adam Beveridge, Arun Thangavel and Joshua D’Acres-Hylton which has received a six figure investment from the likes of JustEat and the founder of Tossed UK. It also saw Bournemouth-based tech entrepreneur Jon Masters who pitched from YouGo.World to introduce his team’s augmented reality solution solution to connect with people from around the world for business, events and tours. He was followed by another Bournemouth-based tech entrepreneur Dr Jan Walter Schroeder who is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sensovo , an award-winning supplier of wearable technology with integrated tactile actuators used for navigation and other applications
Other startups who pitched included PropTech startup Gridizen from London who introduced their end-to-end Property Management solution connecting Landlords and Tenants on a single platform, while Agile Automations from Manchester pitched their Robotics Process Automation service for financial institutions. EHAB from London, a blockchain based platform for sustainable urban development pitched and Outi Pietilanaho from Vimma who joined remotely from Finland to introduce her team’s unique take on AI-powered programmatic influencer marketing. This was followed by cyber startup CybrQ who remotely pitched from Switzerland about its Cyber Exposure Score that empowers SMEs to take informed decisions using their range of cyber security tools.
The afternoon session later kicked off by London-based UGenie who showed their private digital engagement platform for communities with memberships and former Bournemouth resident Pete Beckett who introduced IoT Invent which builds IoT hardware products and delivers associated consultancy services. Next, Scott Druck from Coventry presented iLeader , a game changer in staff and productivity management through workflows for any process enabled by AI. Sierra presented its take on creating the Uber for tutoring to help students find personalised support by outstanding tutors and CLiKD , an award-winning dating app focusing on people fed up with the swipe culture and want to find someone on their wavelength.
As super connectors, the Empact Ventures team were able to connect people based on mutual need by collecting their business interests, needs and challenges upon registration. This enabled them to recommend and make many introductions on the day which created a real vibe amongst attendees wanting to collaborate. It also helped to address the problem that people usually face when they go to traditional business events where they do not know who to talk to about what and who has a need, challenge or interest in their business, and Empact Ventures continues to facilitate introductions by email up to a few weeks after its events.
Overall the event was a success with many outcomes achieved for the startups and scale-ups that pitched, the sponsors, partners and attendees who gave up their day away from the office. It was attended by local corporates like Hays, local SMEs like Intelligent Environments and C6(n), local startups like Digital Smart Solutions and scale-ups like Cudo Ventures, tech investors like Unique Block Group and agencies like Weissman, Human and Dots Creative.
Martin Pardey the Business Director of the Bournemouth office at Hays plc who co-designed the event pointed out how the Tech Nations report 2018 showed there was a challenge associated with accessing talent. He said “ Hays are incredibly proud to have again partnered on the Empact corporate pitch day. We are engaging with more smaller tech companies than ever through our Digital Technology business and this event gives us a unique opportunity to engage with the next generation of technology companies. We value the opportunity to provide our insight and advice on technology skills and recruitment and further strengthen relationships with our current clients by introducing them to relevant start-up organisations. The event in Bournemouth was superb, with a good range of tech businesses pitching including companies with IoT, apps, cyber and data products and services. It was a pleasure to be involved again and I look forward to partnering with Empact on future pitch days”.
Lara Brennan, Senior Manager at Mazars added that “it was an absolute pleasure to sponsor the Bournemouth Pitch Day and have the opportunity to talk to start-ups and scale-ups about their accounting and tax challenges. It was great to connect with like minded entrepreneurs and discuss their business plans and innovations. We are very much looking forward to the next Pitch Day.”
Martin Keelagher, CEO of Agile Automations who was a sponsor and also pitched as a scale-up added that as
“Agile Automations embarks on it’s national sponsorship of Empact Ventures scale up and investment roadshow, we look forward to forming new partnerships and building long-standing relationships, from a diverse and varied amount of sectors”.
Moving forward the national startup initiative will continue to Corporate-Investor Pitch Days below: