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Review: London Super Connect Pitch Day (14/11/2018)

On the 14th November 2018, ‘Super Connect’ was officially launched by Empact Ventures in partnership with Hays UK & I in Global Entrepreneurship Week with a Pitch Day event in London 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 Mazars, Agile Automations, Gridizen, 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. Microsoft), SMEs (e.g. C6N) and others (e.g. Great Ormand Street Hospital). It was also attended by a blended set of funding providers including angel investors and, venture capitalists, grant providers (e.g. Innovate UK), startup loan support (e.g. BizBritain) and crowdfunding platforms (e.g. Seedrs) interested providing access to funding.

The event was hosted at Hays office in Cheapside with around 100 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 “while tech startups and scale-ups have access to an abundance of investment opportunities in the UK, they still face the challenge of sourcing and securing new business development opportunities which also true for larger organisations. In both cases it can often be down to not knowing the right people and where to find them, though more importantly if they have a need to collaborate right now.

He went on to explain how ‘Super Connect’ had been been launched on 14th November 2018 to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). This meant that it was open to any small or large organisation anywhere in the world wanting to explore any trade or collaboration within or outside the UK despite Brexit. Kosta was followed by a fellow board member at the Global Entrepreneurship Network UK (GEN UK) Marc Ortmans who also its Chairman who emphasized the importance of entrepreneurs coming together as a community to help each other and informed the audience about the unique opportunities that GEN UK and the GEW UK offers.

After all the introductions, the attendees split off into either the Corporate Connect or InvestorConnect rooms to hear from the startups and scale-ups who were pitching for collaborations and/or funding respectively.

In the Corporate Connect room, the day kicked off with PropTech startup Gridizen from London who introduced their end-to-end Property Management solution connecting Landlords and Tenants on a single platform.

This was followed by CybrQ, a scale-up from Switzerland, pioneering a new pre-click approach to cybersecurity, which gives you tangible advice to reduce exposure online through intuitive, human-focused design.

The morning session was completed by IOETEC, a GCHQ alumni company, which 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.

It was followed by Shoppar, the AI-powered RetailTech startup who joined from London and explained how it was putting customer data into physical retail stores across the UK to help them better understand their shoppers.

In the Investor Connect room, CyberShield – also a GCHQ alumni company 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.

Next up was Cudo Ventures, the world’s first global, carbon-neutral, cryptocurrency mining software, committed to creating ethical, collaborative and transparent cryptocurrency business ventures, with the morning session completed by Sovren, a world first next generation platform that combines trading in traditional assets with blockchain securities providing a financial eco-system for transacting.

The afternoon session later kicked off by Agile Automations, who introduced how they help clients identify areas of their businesses that might benefit through their unique, process automation techniques. This was followed by Akoni who showed how their platform enables banks to provide personalised financial automatization management  to commercial and SME customers. This pitch was followed by Lightbringer, a MedTech scale-up who presented their unique end-to-end patented system to save lives which is able to track biometric data from users 24/7 through ultra-accurate wearable sensors, whereas the smart ecosystem reacts to medical emergencies within a minute.

In parallel, Tech for Good platform, WhatCharity introduced their online platform where people can find, rate, communicate and trade with charities – making giving and helping more transparent, easier and effective.

UGenie then showed their private customisable membership platform where organisations can effectively engage, retain and monetise their communities and Hollabox who helps people discover the best experiences around them through video, allowing a transparent look inside some of the best social venues and experiences in London.

After a short coffee break and typical super connecting facilitated by the Empact Ventures team, the second afternoon session proceeded with Grocemania and their on-demand delivery platform and app that speeds up the way groceries and household products are transported in cities. This was followed by TradeZapp, introducing their Social Network for “Blue Collar” workers, primarily the building trade, and how this helps workers communicate and network in real time. Finally, ClickMechanic, a scale-up backed by some of the leading angel investors and VCs in Europe, presented their award-winning marketplace which is transforming the car repair experience for drivers by bringing trust, transparency and convenience to the auto repair industry.

In the InvestorConnect room, Pixie, explained how they are reimagining how people, whether at home in their local community or whilst travelling, discover, pay and get rewarded for their loyalty across independent businesses. Next, Analytics Intelligence explained how they address the growing Data Analytics staffing resource shortage faced by most businesses today, by deploying their data driven AI Agents or Chatbot solutions clients that can enhance the reach and support of businesses data and analytics teams.

Finally, Market Orders introduced their global online on-demand order aggregation marketplace, connecting gold jewelry retailers to suppliers and manufacturers of gold related items around the world.

Empact Ventures’ committment to supporting Women in Tech was underlined by its sponsorship of the Inspirational Women in Tech category at The Venus Awards London. As part of this partnership, it ensured that it offered pitching slots to a quarter finalist in the category UGenie led by Susan Kabani, semi-finalist such as Market Orders led by Sukhi Jutla and one of its finalists Tiia Sammallahti, Co-Founder of WhatCharity.

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 and Mazars. Other partners that supported and/or were in attendance included Solid State Group, Weissman, and Breakthrough Associates.

James Milligan, Director at Hays Digital Technology and IT, who has worked closely with Empact Ventures to co-design the Super Connect initiative points out that Hays is committed to helping the UK tech ecosystem to address the challenge associated with accessing rock star talent as highlighted in the recent Tech Nations report.

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Empact on the new Super Connect series and are confident that this initiative will encourage professionals with a passion for technology, to better engage, connect and collaborate with others within the industry. Our Digital Technology business across the UK is now engaging more with smaller tech companies than it ever has before. Providing quality insight and advice to organisations of all sizes on skills, recruitment trends and workforce planning within the technology industry is a priority for us and our research and reports, like the Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends 2019 Guide aid in supporting our expertise. We are also looking forward to future Super Connect Pitch Days as these offer a unique opportunity to engage with the next generation of technology companies. Additionally we hope to strengthen relationships with our current clients by introducing them to relevant start-up organisations at these brilliant events.”

Moving forward Super Connect is back on tour in 3 more cities around the UK including:

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, Head of Ventures at Empact Ventures on r@empact-ventures.com

Reviews

Review: Bournemouth Super Connect Pitch Day (10/10/2018)

As part of the BOMO Festival , Empact Ventures and Hays plc delivered a Corporate-Investor Pitch Day at the Bournemouth University Executive Business Centre sponsored by the Dorset LEP , Mazars , Agile Automations , Gridizen , Linkilaw, and C6(n) .

The purpose of the event was to super connect the best emerging tech startups and scale-ups from around the world with key decision-makers from corporates and SMEs interested in discussing and negotiating pilots, contracts and/or partnerships.

It was also attended by a blended set of funding providers including tech focused angel investors, investment platforms, venture capitalists, grant support, startup loan support and crowdfunding platforms interested providing access to funding.

Its organiser Bournemouth-based Kosta Mavroulakis (Founder and CEO, Empact Ventures) believes that “Bournemouth has the potential to become an established tech cluster in the next decade beyond its strong digital roots and it is for this reason we are working from here to showcase its pockets of excellence and super connect it to the wider global tech ecosystem to create new business opportunities for all involved”.

Finn Morgan, Business Engagement and Dorset Gateway Manager for the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership joined throughout the day and said that “Dorset LEP’s role is to promote and drive local economic growth and prosperity across Dorset. Working with partners to develop opportunities which support innovative and ambitious businesses to succeed is of vital importance to us and the businesses we represent. It was therefore a great opportunity to hear from and engage with a range of businesses, who are based locally – as well as those from outside of the Dorset business ecosystem – about their plans for business growth.”

One of the the day’s most impressive startups was the AI-powered RetailTech startup Shoppar who joined from London and explained how it was putting customer data into physical retail stores across the UK to help them better understand their shoppers. It is currently working with clients including Sky and Hugo Boss. The technology uses computer vision and WI-FI analytics to understand various data points and help to deliver usable metrics to improve campaign delivery and convert sales opportunities.

Peter Ward its Co-Founder and CEO added that it was a great event put together by Empact Ventures and Hays with “a range of impressive startups, support business specialists and investors in attendance, creating a well rounded event that made very good use of a day out the office.”

Throughout the day the tech startups pitched including the current team leading Hollabox, a tech startup providing a video-led discovery platform founded by BU graduates Adam Beveridge, Arun Thangavel and Joshua D’Acres-Hylton which has received a six figure investment from the likes of JustEat and the founder of Tossed UK. It also saw Bournemouth-based tech entrepreneur Jon Masters who pitched from YouGo.World to introduce his team’s augmented reality solution solution to connect with people from around the world for business, events and tours. He was followed by another Bournemouth-based tech entrepreneur Dr Jan Walter Schroeder who is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sensovo , an award-winning supplier of wearable technology with integrated tactile actuators used for navigation and other applications

Other startups who pitched included PropTech startup Gridizen from London who introduced their end-to-end Property Management solution connecting Landlords and Tenants on a single platform, while Agile Automations from Manchester pitched their Robotics Process Automation service for financial institutions. EHAB from London, a blockchain based platform for sustainable urban development pitched and Outi Pietilanaho from Vimma who joined remotely from Finland to introduce her team’s unique take on AI-powered programmatic influencer marketing. This was followed by cyber startup CybrQ who remotely pitched from Switzerland about its Cyber Exposure Score that empowers SMEs to take informed decisions using their range of cyber security tools.

The afternoon session later kicked off by London-based UGenie who showed their private digital engagement platform for communities with memberships and former Bournemouth resident Pete Beckett who introduced IoT Invent which builds IoT hardware products and delivers associated consultancy services. Next, Scott Druck from Coventry presented iLeader , a game changer in staff and productivity management through workflows for any process enabled by AI. Sierra presented its take on creating the Uber for tutoring to help students find personalised support by outstanding tutors and CLiKD , an award-winning dating app focusing on people fed up with the swipe culture and want to find someone on their wavelength.

As super connectors, the Empact Ventures team were able to connect people based on mutual need by collecting their business interests, needs and challenges upon registration. This enabled them to recommend and make many introductions on the day which created a real vibe amongst attendees wanting to collaborate. It also helped 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, and Empact Ventures continues to facilitate introductions by email up to a few weeks after its events.

Overall the event was a success with many outcomes achieved for the startups and scale-ups that pitched, the sponsors, partners and attendees who gave up their day away from the office. It was attended by local corporates like Hays, local SMEs like Intelligent Environments and C6(n), local startups like Digital Smart Solutions and scale-ups like Cudo Ventures, tech investors like Unique Block Group and agencies like Weissman, Human and Dots Creative.

Martin Pardey the Business Director of the Bournemouth office at Hays plc who co-designed the event pointed out how the Tech Nations report 2018 showed there was a challenge associated with accessing talent. He said “ Hays are incredibly proud to have again partnered on the Empact corporate pitch day. We are engaging with more smaller tech companies than ever through our Digital Technology business and this event gives us a unique opportunity to engage with the next generation of technology companies. We value the opportunity to provide our insight and advice on technology skills and recruitment and further strengthen relationships with our current clients by introducing them to relevant start-up organisations. The event in Bournemouth was superb, with a good range of tech businesses pitching including companies with IoT, apps, cyber and data products and services. It was a pleasure to be involved again and I look forward to partnering with Empact on future pitch days”.

Lara Brennan, Senior Manager at Mazars added that “it was an absolute pleasure to sponsor the Bournemouth Pitch Day and have the opportunity to talk to start-ups and scale-ups about their accounting and tax challenges. It was great to connect with like minded entrepreneurs and discuss their business plans and innovations. We are very much looking forward to the next Pitch Day.”

Martin Keelagher, CEO of Agile Automations who was a sponsor and also pitched as a scale-up added that as

“Agile Automations embarks on it’s national sponsorship of Empact Ventures scale up and investment roadshow, we look forward to forming new partnerships and building long-standing relationships, from a diverse and varied amount of sectors”.

Moving forward the national startup initiative will continue to Corporate-Investor Pitch Days below:

  • 14th November 2018 – London
  • 23rd January 2019 – Cambridge
  • 5th March 2019 – Bristol
  • 2nd May 2019 – LeedsIf 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.empact.ventures or if you have any questions, please contact Raphael Weninger, Head of Ventures at Empact Ventures on r@empact-ventures.com
Reviews

Review: Cambridge Venture Lab (31/07/2018)

As part of its national partnership with Hays plc, Empact Ventures hosted its third Startup Venture Lab of 2018 at the Bradfield Centre in Cambridge sponsored by Linkilaw, Syndicate Room, Amazon AWS Activate and C6(n).

The event was attended by start-ups, scale-ups, investment firms, SMEs, corporates and non-profits  who came together to be inspired and educated about taking a startup to scale-up.

In typical Empact Ventures fashion, there was a focus on super connecting people with mutual interests to each other before, during and after the event. It brought a mix of people and companies from entrepreneurial ecosystems including Liverpool, London and Bournemouth to the Cambridge area with others join from the East England in Norwich and Ipswich. This led to startups like Hollabox connecting with private investors and investment platforms like Syndicate Room to explore support with their fundraising round, while TicketPass were able to sit down to explore a partnership with a global non-profit, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA).

The event was kicked off by Empact Ventures’ Founder and CEO Kosta Mavroulakis (previously based in Cambridge in 2011-2012) and will be working his team and Hays to super-connect the local DNA built around Cambridge’s establish entrepreneurial ecosystem with wider local ecosystems across the UK. He was then joined on stage by an inspiring and entertaining introduction from Michael Hall, Chairman of Bournemouth-based firm C6(n) and Simon Arnold, Senior Management for Digital Technology Recruitment in the England at Hays plc, two of the event’s sponsors.

Keynote speaker Professor Alan Barrell (author of ‘Show Me the Money: How to Raise the Cash to Get Your Business Off the Ground’) then opened the event with an inspiring talk that offered valuable advice about finding finance for your venture, focusing on alternative finance and the key traits of a successful entrepreneur.

Simon Arnold Senior Manager for Digital Technology recruitment in Cambridge delivered an a talk on ‘Building a Rockstar Team’ who spoke about the shift in the recruitment market from the ‘Advertise and Apply’ model, where recruiters rely on the quantity and quality of job applications, to the ‘Find and Engage’ model, where recruiters use sourcing tools and data analytics to find the right candidates, including passive jobseekers.

He closed off his talk with an explanation of Hays’ new startup recruitment service designed with Empact Ventures to support startups from Seed to Series A-D to build a rockstar team to support their growth.

Alexandra Isenegger Co-Founder and CEO of Linkilaw.com who featured in the ‘Forbes 30 under 30’ who delivered an educational session on ‘Getting Your Startup Legal Right’ and gave some key tips for startups beginning their journey.

There was then three panel sessions that offered attendees the opportunity to learn and interact with a range of tech founders and experts around several key themes. This included the ‘Building an Outstanding Tech Product’ panel that featured insights from startups like Cambridge-based Accredible (Alan Heppenstall, Co-Founder & CTO) and Series C scale-up Matrixx Software (UK Director of Engineering). This was followed by the ‘Closing B2B Deals’ panel with Michael Hall (Chairman, C6(n) Technology) and Nigel Sandbrook (Former Head of Manufacturing East England at Lloyds Bank), and ‘The Investment Pathway’ panel with Scott Simpkin (Senior Campaigns Associate at Seedrs), Cambridge-based James Sore (Chief Investment Officer at Syndicate Room) and Ian Woodgate (Angel Investor) chaired by Kris Jones (Founder of Tech Velocity Norwich).

The event was closed with two pitch sessions that saw startups like TicketPass, Hollabox, Accredible and Shoppar pitch to investors, SMEs and other experts in the audience, with Hollabox winning the prize of Alan Barrell’s ‘Show Me the Money’ book for the best pitch.

The feedback received following the event has been very positive as shown below:

“Just a note to say how pleased I was to participate in the EMPACT Venture Lab at Bradfield Centre Trinity Science Park recently. Clearly the agenda and selection of people and panellists – and the creative and expectant environment were right “on the nail” for the entrepreneurs present. The mixture of short keynotes, panels and discussion – and entrepreneur engagement was very well balanced. In the context of the ever growing Cambridge Hi-Tech Cluster – bringing Venture Labs to support the newest of companies and those seeking to scale is a very positive initiative and Cambridge could do with even more. The numbers of accelerators, incubators, innovation centres and start ups is still growing – and there will in future be no lack of opportunity to support more innovative adventurers. The investment community should also be very pleased that more support is on board through EMPACT Venture Labs to enable more entrepreneurs to become investment ready. Beyond Cambridge there is great potential indeed in places not yet as close to having an entrepreneurial ecosystem as that which has evolved over some sixty years in Cambridge. So EMPACT has a lot to do around the UK! I commend and recommend EMPACT and the team to anyone not yet familiar and in need of inspiration and solid advice and help in equal measure”. Professor Alan Barrell, Chairman Cambridge Worldwide Associates and International Fellow University of Essex Business School.

“My first Empact Ventures event exceeded my expectations. Meeting other innovative start ups, as well as inspirational individuals from a variety of industries was hugely beneficial to me. I left the event not only feeling empowered, but as if there was a strong sense of camaraderie amongst all the attendees” Emily Cruickshank, Head of Content at Hollabox.com

“The Empact Venture Lab in Cambridge was the second event I had been to which was packed with  speeches from Alan Barrell and Michael Hall from C6(n) who passed on the knowledge that would have taken me years to acquire. I felt Empact worked hard on mapping the right people to speak to each other making the environment once again super easy to connect. Overall the event was worth it, I definitely recommend getting in touch with Empact Ventures before the next Venture lab, I will certainly be attending future ones” Stephen Mappourides, aspiring entrepreneur.

Overall, it was an insightful day packed with various talks, panel sessions and pitches, with 22 speakers and panelists from startup to scale-up, SME to corporate and other experts.

If you are interested in attending Empact’s next event with Hays, our Corporate-Investor Pitch Day in Bournemouth on 11th October 2018 and London on 15th November 2018, please click here and if you have any questions contact Raphael Weninger, Head of Ventures at Empact Ventures on r@empact-ventures.com