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Revealed: 40 firms in running for £1m VOOM jackpot and Richard Branson’s ear

After 160 companies pitched to judges during Virgin Media Business’ 29-hour pitchathon, which set a new Guinness World Record, 40 companies have come out on the other side to reach the semi-finals – inching one step closer to the £1m prize bundle and an audience with Richard Branson.
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The pitching marathon took place in London from 11am-4pm across 1-2 June and we reported on 3 June that the attempt to achieve a new world record for longest business pitch was a success.

From the 158 companies that pitched, just 40 have been chosen to go through to the next round which will take place in the form of competitive workshops in Birmingham across 13-14 June.

The 40 that compete in the Midlands city will be assessed on “feasibility, scalability and likelihood of success” and just six will then go through to finale on 28 June to pitch to Richard Branson alongside Tyra Banks, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, YouTuber Marcus Butler and Virgin Media Business MD Peter Kelly.

“It was extremely tough to select just 40 businesses – the calibre and variety of all the pitches we heard was of a very high standard and gives us great confidence in the future of UK entrepreneurship,” said Kelly.

“The adventure continues for a small number and I can’t wait to see who’s pitching to Richard and I on 28 June.”

Read more on pitching:

With two categories splitting the 40, Startup and Grow, 20 companies have been selected for each with all offerings diverse and spanning an array of ideas. There’s h everything from energy products and fruit tea in Startup to a female-centric running community and gifting website in Grow.

To recap, the two VOOM 2016 winners will receive:

  • Cash prize of £50,000 to help business growth
  • Mentoring from Virgin StartUp and VOOM professionals
  • £250,000 marketing campaign, with advertising on JCDecaux’s Waterloo Motion (the biggest indoor screen in Europe)
  • Virgin Media Business broadband package
  • Financial advice from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

There will also be two runners-up named from each category. They will each secure a £20,000 cash prize, broadband, mentoring, financial guidance and brand support.

Additionally, with crowdfunding introduced to VOOM by Crowdfunded this year, the company deemed most successful will be crowed Champion Crowdfunder and secure £50,000 in cash, as well as a unique media campaign from JCDecaux.

What do you get when you mix a supermodel, underwear expert and a YouTuber?

Catch the 40 semi-finalists below:

Startup

(1) E-Foldi – An electric folding scooter
(2) iDroid – Universal charger
(3) BabyHub – Portable cot with protection from insects
(4) Wizme – Meeting room bookings
(5) Secret Sessions – Musician discovery network
(6) Golf Birdie – Golf trip planning
(7) Mother and Nature – Outdoor maternity wear
(8) Change Please – Training for the homeless
(9) Test Your Drink – Drink spiking detection
(10 GeoHitch – Location-based activity game
(11) Say Yeah – Video content network
(12) Innovative Plastic Roads – Stronger, cheaper and greener roads
(13) Pow Cow – High protein frozen yoghurt
(14) Viagoose – Hotel price drop booking engine
(15) Firestar – Power-based energy drink alternative
(16) Vibe Tickets – Secondary ticket marketplace
(17) What A Melon – Natural watermelon water
(18) The Den – Light switch and plug socket design
(19) Phrooti – Fruity fruit tea
(20) Waditribe – Wisdom-based animated series

Grow

(1) Pack’D – Frozen smoothie kits
(2) Biobean – Coffee-based cleantech
(3) Just Add Wine – Home ingredients
(4) Yogandha – Calm and wellbeing products
(5) Too Fat To Run – Female-centric fitness community
(6) Rye River Company – Craft beer brewery
(7) Food Cloud – Social enterprise providing charities access to unused food
(8) Vallei – On-demand parking service
(9) Livia’s Kitchen – Nutritional desserts
(10) Rebrandly – Link sharing platform
(11) Not Another Bunch of Flowers – Alternative gifting service
(12) Sun Exchange – Solar energy investment platform
(13) Reach Housing – Social enterprise developing eco-homes
(14) Gateway 2 Digital – Marketing lead generation
(15) Turtle Totts – Baby and toddler swimming programme
(16) Pobble – Network for students, teachers and parents
(17) Sibberi Tree Water – Provider of tree water
(18) Eyebag – Warm eye compress
(19) Just Be Botanical – Feel-good beauty range
(20) Present Tree – Online shop for gift-wrapped trees

Here’s how to pitch to billionaire investors like Virgin boss Richard Branson and win.

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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