Interviews

SEUK and Betfair VC firm Balderton unite for inaugural sharing economy pitch event

3 min read

16 October 2015

Former deputy editor

The government-backed trade body Sharing Economy UK (SEUK) has struck a partnership with Balderton Capital to launch a pitch event, which will seek out British entrepreneurs disrupting the lucrative space filled with firm such as Airbnb and BlaBlaCar.

The SEUK officially launched in London on 6 March and it was then that Debbie Wosskow, the founder of Love Home Swap, was named the chair of the operation.

Wosskow has been key to the UK’s embrace of the sharing economy and her appointment in the role followed the completion of a report for the government in late 2014. It saw her call for more regulation and recognition of the marketplace, noting “a great opportunity for the UK to be at the forefront of the global sharing economy.”

As developments continue, SEUK has teamed up with VC firm Balderton, which has invested in Betfair, Bookatable, Depop, Citymapper, Zopa and more, for its first pitch event in order to seek out the country’s sharing economy entrepreneurs.

The pitch will be held on Wednesday 28 October at Balderton’s Kings Cross Office from 6pm-9pm.

Wosskow will host the event alongside Alex Depledge, the founder of Hassle.com – an SEUK member that was acquired in July by a German rival to expand globally.

Judges on the night will include:

  • Daniel Waterhouse, Balderton Capital
  • Rory Sterling, Business Growth Fund
  • Sitar Teli, Connect Ventures 
  • Martin Mignot, Index

For those interested, applications must be completed by 12pm on Monday 19 October and they can be made on the SEUK website.

Businesses that take part will receive access to the UK’s leading early-stage VC investors, securing profile opportunities and valuable contacts.

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SEUK developments were quiet to begin with as partners gathered together to define exactly what the sector should represent, before announcing the outcome in the summer, while also drumming up more members and teaming with Oxford University to develop consumer trust.

It was decided that “the sharing economy involves using internet technologies to connect distributed groups of people and organisations to make better use of goods, skills, services, capital and spaces, sharing ‘access’ and so reducing the need for ‘ownership’.”

Talking to Real Business about the pitch, Wosskow said: “Since launching earlier this year, SEUK have been really pushing to build out recognition for the amazing sharing economy businesses of the UK.

“Now we want to shine a light on some of the younger businesses out there, and we’re really excited to meet new faces and examine different ways of applying the sharing economy model to different verticals and industries.”