While companies rally in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, NorthInvest partnered with Sunderland-based business consultancy, RTC North, to host fundraising event Pitchfest 2020 – online. We pivoted to a virtual webinar to host the pitch event to connect 6 start-ups with over 25 investors from NorthInvest’s private investor network.
Over 30 early-stage businesses underwent an intensive period of investor readiness coaching in the run up to PitchFest 2020, delivered by EEN, Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), and NorthInvest, hosted by Clarion solicitors.
Originally conceived and delivered by EEN partners in the East of England, Pitchfest is open to innovative companies with the potential to scale, or who are already scaling, and who are looking to raise between £100,000 and £2 million. Selected companies are trained in developing the necessary skills to pitch for investment with concise and compelling presentations. The programme is suitable for businesses seeking angel or VC finance and who are EIS or SEIS-registered. Companies compete with others while developing and polishing their business proposition, earning an opportunity to pitch their business to investors
From this initial cohort, 20 start-ups were shortlisted, with only 6 successful start-ups invited to pitch their ideas to the NorthInvest investor network.
The shortlist for PitchFest 2020 included: Sauca, Pedego Europe, Justo Software, Synthotech, Hydro-Flux, Geminin Digital, Age Positive, Tool Video Vault, Marion Surgical, Rejuvatech Ltd, YuCook, Arkeik, Grafine, V&V HealthInnovation.
Pitchfest 2020 acts as a springboard for the ‘Innovate2Succeed’ support programme from Innovate UK, delivered by Enterprise Europe Network, RTC North are a partner. The Innovate2Succeed programme involves access to specialist support who assist SME businesses effectively manage the development of innovations, and help them successfully take these new ideas to market.
Pitchfest 2020 also fills a crucial gap in the market for investor readiness coaching for early stage tech and digital start-ups who require support for growth ahead of their initial fundraise. Despite the impact of Covid-19, both NorthInvest and RTC North are determined to continue to support early stage start-ups regardless of the impact of the outbreak.
Iain Edwards, EEN Innovation Specialist and Pitchfest Champion for the North of England said:
‘We’re delighted that PitchFest 2020 has culminated in a successful virtual pitching event and we’re very proud of all the businesses who have taken part in Pitchfest 2020. Every single entrepreneur has demonstrated their resilience and tenacity and we have great confidence in their ultimate success, I’d also like to thank Clarion Solicitors and North Invest for their efforts and support in the success of the activity.
Helen Oldham, Founding Board Director at NorthInvest, said:
‘Despite the disruption caused to face-to-face events by Covid-19, we were determined to continue our coaching and investment facilitation services to both entrepreneurs and investors. We’re honoured to have supported EEN in delivering PitchFest 2020 and excited to work with such high calibre start-ups. We congratulate all entrepreneurs who took part in PitchFest 2020 and wish them the best of luck in their fundraising efforts.’