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:
- 23rd January 2019 – Cambridge (Pitch Day)
- 5th March 2019 – Bristol (Venture Lab)
- 30th April 2019 – Leeds (Venture Lab)
- 2nd May 2019 – Leeds (Pitch Day)
- 5th June 2019 – Bristol (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.