LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After a three-month nationwide search, over 2,500 entries and more than 685,000 public votes, Kino-mo, Fourex and JustPark have today been crowned winners of the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich 2015 competition.
Each of the winning entrepreneurs – one for each competition category – will now take home a share of the £1 million prize fund, which will help them to grow and develop their businesses.
The winners were chosen by a panel of expert judges, led by Sir Richard, during the live finale at Second Home, the Shoreditch start-up hub in East London. Their pitches stood out for their strong vision, originality and potential to disrupt their market.
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: “Supporting businesses to grow is our passion; it’s part of our purpose. That’s why I’m so proud we’ve been able to recognise their dedication and creativity through this year’s competition.
“Today is a celebration of all of the brilliant ideas we’ve seen over the past three months. In our winners we have selected three businesses that are set to shake up their industries and I can’t wait to see what they do next.”
Along with the business accelerator prize fund, the winners will receive mentoring and marketing support from Virgin Media Business.
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said: “Overcoming fear is the first step to success for entrepreneurs. The winners of the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition all exemplify that, and the hard work and commitment they have shown underlines what is needed to set up a business.
“Judging today’s pitches has been an incredibly hard, but inspiring task. This competition has been a wonderful experience and I’m very excited to be working with our winners as they progress on to the next stage of their journey.”
Judging the pitches at today’s event were Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Media Business Managing Director Peter Kelly, and guest judges Jo Malone, David Gandy, Justine Roberts and Jon Oringer.
Each of the six runners up will also be rewarded with support that will help them to kick-start the growth and development of each of their businesses.
The winners are:
Kino-mo: a hi-tech advertising media developer which aims to make holograms an affordable and available solution. The state-of-the-art technology allows 3D graphics to appear to float in mid-air. Based in London.
Fourex: aims to revolutionise the way we exchange currency, using self-service machines that will exchange both coins and notes from almost any country in the world for cash. Based in London.
JustPark: taking parking into the digital era, the JustPark app and website gives drivers access to over 150,000 parking spaces by connecting them with property owners looking to make money from their underused spaces. Based in London.
The runners up are:
Hegarty Maths: an inspired online learning tool, Hegarty Maths gives disadvantaged children access to quality maths tutoring and education. Based in London, it aims to become the go-to website for students aged 8-17 for maths teaching across the world
Cauli Rice: the first long-life, ready-to-heat version of the global diet phenomenon, cauliflower rice. Based in London, Cauli Rice is a low carbohydrate replacement to rice, bread and pasta, with 75% fewer calories
The Skunkworks Surfboard Company: plans to create robust, high-performance soft surfboards and stand-up-paddleboards that are environmentally friendly, based in County Antrim
Sendy: a revolutionary P2P parcel delivery app that lets you send any item to anywhere in the world quickly and cheaply. Based in London, Sendy provides a competitive alternative to big-name courier services
Aduna: an Africa-inspired health and beauty brand and social business, creating a market for the African superfruit, Baobab. As an icon of the African savannah, Baobab could be worth a billion dollars to rural Africa. Based in London
Approved Food: an online grocer specialising in a wide range of stock from household goods to kitchen cupboard essentials, some of which is nearing or past its best-before-date. Based in Yorkshire, Approved Foods offers customers huge savings on their shop
Please note, images will be available from 2pm on Friday 26th June 2015.
The competition categories are:
Start-up: for exciting new businesses with huge potential.
The winner gets £150,000 marketing support plus mentoring and help from Virgin StartUp’s professional business advisers for a year. Two runners-up receive £50,000 marketing support.
New Things: for big new ideas with the capacity to disrupt.
The winner gets £50,000 cash towards development, plus mentoring from Virgin’s Investment Team. Two runners-up receive £10,000 each towards development.
Grow: for existing businesses that are ready to go big-time.
The winner gets £250,000 marketing support, and two runners-up receive £100,000 marketing support.
All three category winners will also receive a full internet and fixed and mobile voice package from Virgin Media Business for 12 months, unlimited travel on Virgin Trains for 12 months, a place on the Accelerator Network programme (www.theacceleratornetwork.com/ ), a free package of pro bono advice from the ICAEW Business Advice Service (www.businessadviceserviceblog.com) and a membership to the not-for-profit private members club at The House of St Barnabas (www.hosb.org.uk).
Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich 2015 was run in association with LinkedIn. Other partners include; Virgin Trains, Virgin StartUp, Seedcamp, Eventbrite, Accelerator Network, Shutterstock, ICAEW, House of St Barnabas, Npower, Prezi, i2i Events, Hailo, Second Home, LBC, Virgin Racing, Virgin Atlantic.
All those who voted in the semi-final stage will be entered into a draw to win a £10,000 cash prize.
About Virgin Media Business
Virgin Media Business is the largest business-to-business Virgin brand and part of the Virgin Media group, the UK’s first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services. The division prides itself on delivering innovative, high quality solutions that break down the barriers facing UK organisations today.
Businesses and public sector organisations around the country are using the Virgin Media Business network and skilled service teams to deliver far more than just high speed connectivity.
Staff are located at 40 offices across the country, meaning Virgin Media Business really is closer to its customers. Organisations working with Virgin Media Business include Knight Frank, Telefonica, London Grid for Learning, Hampshire Fire and Rescue and Cambridge County Council.
It has the UK’s only nationwide fibre optic network, carrying 35 per cent of all business broadband traffic and is already able to reach 85 per cent of businesses in the UK.
Virgin Media is a part of Liberty Global plc, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries, helping connect people to the digital world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities.