Review of Empact Super Connect Pitch Day in Poole

On the 11th April 2019, another one of Empact Ventures Super Connect Pitch Days was held in partnership with Hays UK & I , BCP Council, Dorset Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster, Dorset LEP and Mazars to support tech startups and scale-up access, engage and explore collaboration with larger organisations and funding providers.

 

The Super Connect initiative is running Venture Labs and Pitch Days in 5 UK cities in 2018/2019 including London, Cambridge, Bristol, Bournemouth and Leeds, though it is open to any company of all size anywhere in the world who wants to get super connected. It is sponsored by Agile Automations, Breakthrough Associates and Linkilaw with over 20+ partners including AWS Activate, eOffice, Seedrs, and more.

 

The purpose of its Super Connect Pitch Days are to super connect the best emerging tech startups and scale-ups from around the world with key decision-makers from larger organisations interested in discussing and negotiating pilots, contracts and/or partnerships. These included corporates (e.g. Hays, Barclays, LV=, RNLI), SMEs (e.g. LIPCO Engineering) and others (e.g. BCP Council). It was also attended by a blended set of funding providers including angel investors, grant providers (e.g. Dorset LEP) and startup loan support (e.g. BizBritain).

 

The event was hosted at Mazars office in Poole with a stunning seaview and around 85 people joining throughout the day providing a vibrant atmosphere of pitches and super connecting to explore collaboration. The day was kicked by the co-founders of Super Connect, Kosta Mavroulakis (Founder and CEO) and Raphael Weninger (Director of Ventures) at Empact Ventures. 

 

Kosta believes that “the Dorset area, in particular Poole and Bournemouth, has made great progress in the past years and have strongholds in the advanced manufacturing and tourism industry with emerging areas like HealthTech and AgriTech due to its geographic location and local DNA. It was important for us to showcase local innovation as well as bring innovative companies from all over the UK to collaborate with local businesses.”

 

Kosta was followed by Adrian Trevett, Economic Development Officer at BCP Council, who highlighted the benefits of the recently merged Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council now being the 15th largest local authority in the UK and its significance to bring more resources to the local area and leverage economies of scale to provide an even better service to citizens.

 

“We have recently (11.4.19) hosted a Super Connect Pitch Day for SMEs co-designed with Empact Ventures and before I give my views on how this went I would like to thank Kosta and his team for the significant amount of work that went in to organising this event. There were obstacles occurring all through the lead up, as is normal in event management, and I must say that the Empact Ventures team handled them all to deliver a seamless event. Moving on to the event, I was really impressed with the attendee list with some globally recognised brands mixing with local, regional and national start ups. The pitches from the startup companies were all very good and the content so wide reaching and innovative. I have also been impressed with the follow up from the meeting in that personal emails / introductions have been made between relevant people / companies. The feedback from the day has all been positive and we would like to host more of these types of events in the future”

Adrian Trevett, Economic Development Manager – Regeneration and Economy, BCP Council

 

Finn Morgan, Dorset Gateway Manager at Dorset LEP, emphasized the LEP’s role to signpost across the region the help businesses thrive and source appropriate solutions for growth and development. The Dorset LEP offers support for local businesses in the areas of funding, training, support services as well as bid writing.

 

Finn’s introduction was followed by Lara Brennan who expressed Mazars commitment to help startups and SMEs with their challenges ranging from setting up an appropriate accounting system, shareholder’s agreement, all the way to more bespoke solutions through their Elev8 program. Lara highlighted that this event was a great opportunity for us to interact with the local ecosystem and show our commitment to young companies”.

 

After all the introductions, attendees were keen to hear from the startups and scale-ups who were pitching for collaborations and/or funding respectively.

 

The pitches were kicked off by Aquil AI, a GCHQ alumni company who introduced their machine learning program, which analyses all inbound emails detecting both technical and social engineering exploits. If a suspected phishing email is detected the user is warned in real time so they don’t make the mistake of clicking a malicious link or following the instructions of a cyber criminal.

 

This was followed by London based ZOA Robotics, who are building robots that can walk anywhere an operator can go on an industrial site, enabling regular, detailed and safe inspection of an entire site with non-destructive sensors, from high- resolution thermal imaging to gas sensors.

 

The morning session commenced with 4IR.UK British Systems who specialise in creating Monitoring, Control and Automation solutions for manufacturing environments, often based on their MultiPlug Fog Computing platform.  IOETEC, another GCHQ alumni company, completed the morning session. IOETEC offers a unique cloud based, fully automated multi-layer encryption & authentication cyber security subscription solution that handles data safely and securely, for a device agnostic, ‘true end to end’, secure Internet of Things. 

 

During the lunch break super connecting was facilitated by Empact Ventures and saw all attendees getting their customized super connecting information based on their challenges, which helped them connect with the right people to solve their challenges.

 

Next up was IoT Invent, who introduced Legacy Connect, an industrial IoT system that helps companies connect their legacy systems to the cloud and other devices. This was followed by BuildCompare, an online platform for our tradesmen to source competitive quotes for building materials and products from a range of suppliers.

 

After a short coffee break and typical super connecting facilitated by the Empact Ventures team, the second afternoon session proceeded with Greenwing Technologies, who help companies perform effective energy monitoring, recommend retrofittable technology and energy saving solutions as well as explore renewable energy and battery storage solutions for companies in a number of industries.

 

Next, we had Virtuleap from Lisbon join us via Zoom, who enable the body to speak in XR using neuroscience research and machine learning. Their biometric algorithms translate subliminal body language into psychographics, so that companies can know whether their users are excited, angry, or bored of their minds in the context of any immersive content.

 

This was followed by Kitnations who helps anyone move and settle anywhere in the world with physical welcome packs connected to AI chatbots. The final pitch of the day was delivered by Sensovo, an award-winning supplier and service provider of wearable technologies. Sensovo have expertise in the development of devices using tactile and haptic feedback and they focus on the engineering of wearables with integrated tactile actuators and associated mobile phone applications.

As super connectors, the Empact Ventures team were able to super connect people based on mutual need by collecting their business interests, needs and challenges upon registration. This then enabled them to recommend and make many introductions on the day which created a real vibe amongst attendees wanting to collaborate. It also helps 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. To help businesses, Empact Ventures continues to facilitate introductions by email up to a few weeks after all its events to ensure it continues to contribute to creating aggregate economic and in some cases social impact for all involved.

 

In addition, attendees engaged in more intimate conversations to kick-off early discussions and/or negotiate deals. As a result, it saw attendees receive support with their current business challenges from the event sponsors like Hays, Mazars and Dorset LEP. Other partners that supported and/or were in attendance included Human,  Dots Creative, Bournemouth University and Zealous Digital, amongst others.

 

Moving forward Super Connect is back on tour in 2 more cities around the UK before the summer:

 

  • 30th April 2019 – Leeds (Venture Lab)
  • 2nd May 2019 – Leeds (Pitch Day)
  • 19th June 2019 – London (Pitch Day)

 

If you a Corporate, SME or funding provider who would like to join any of the panels, please register your interest here and if you are a tech startup or scale-up interested in pitching please fill in your expression of interest here

 

For more information about Empact Ventures visit www.superconnectseries.com or if you have any questions, please contact Raphael Weninger, Director of Ventures at Empact Ventures on r@empact-ventures.com