The London event is set to spread across 29 hours ? 1-2 June ? as 160 entrepreneurs, who have been whittled down from 3,000 entrants, will attempt to win over a panel of judges with their business plans, and the entire event will be streamed live.Dubbed the ?UK and Ireland’s biggest and most valuable pitch competition? it will see business founders pitch back-to-back to the likes of Cambridge Satchel Company creator Julie Deane, Virgin Startup?s head of investment Andy Fishburn and Virgin Media Business MD Peter Kelly ? the three judges featured throughout the pitchathon. Elsewhere, guest judges will be featured throughout the proceedings. These include SBTV founder Jamal Edwards, Jack Wills founder Peter Williams, Sharmadean Reid of WAH Nails, and Real Business’ very own journalist Zen Terrelonge. The event will be live-streamed from London, showcasing ventures that span everything from martial arts coaching to glamping villages to luxury pillows. Peter Kelly said: ?I?m looking forward to hearing 160 innovative and inspiring ideas over the course of 29-hour record attempt, although I am not underestimating the challenge. ?Like any true entrepreneur ? we never do things by halves at Virgin Media Business and achieving this record will add another level of ambition to the ?VOOM 2016? competition.?
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Changing up the VOOM process this year, Virgin Media Business partnered with Crowdfunder in a move that allowed entrants to raise capital alongside votes.Some 700 companies embraced the opportunity and have raised a total of ?675,000 through the crowdfunding platform so far ? this makes it the ?biggest mass crowdfunding campaign in UK history?. Judges will need to decide on 40 semi-finalists who could reach the VOOM 2016 final, which takes place on Tuesday 28 June with Richard Branson and his trio of global enterprise experts. ?This is an extremely ambitious and exciting title attempt and is the perfect format to convey the determination and drive shown by UK entrepreneurs. We wish Virgin Media Business and the pitchers the best of luck,? said Sam Prosser, Guinness World Records? head of commercial. By Zen Terrelonge
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