The Angels – Dr Ricardo Schäfer, Leo Castellanos and Max Kelly watch the pitch by Amit Pate from Snaptivity.
Christmas Angels meet star entrepreneurs
From fashion platforms to antibacterial wipes, the start-ups pitching at this year’s Christmas Angels event spanned many different industries and boasted a wide range of backgrounds.
This is the fourth year that Cass Entrepreneurs Network has organised a Christmas pitching competition for entrepreneurs – most of whom are Cass or City students or alumni.
Our Angels are far nicer than the dragons and suchlike that can be found in other places and so this is a supportive environment in which entrepreneurs develop their pitching technique and promote their venture. Nonetheless the Angels all work in private equity and have real money to invest in start-ups showing real promise.
Seven start-ups delivered five minute pitches to our Angels, Max Kelly from Techstars, Leo Castellanos from SAATCHiNVEST and Dr Ricardo Schäfer from Cherry Ventures.
As well as delivering presentations, some start-ups brought examples of their product and in one case, even gave the investors a hot meal! Although the standard was set exceedingly high by all the pitches, there could only be one winner and this was named at the end by the investors after some deliberation. Before revealing the winner, let’s meet the start-ups and hear a little about their products.
First up was SPIXII, an insurance chatbot aiming to make the insurance industry more efficient by promoting digital engagement with customers. Over the last 11 months, SPIXII has gained 25 clients in the UK and France, as well as leads in Italy and Germany, and has been described as, “stunning”.
Next we heard from Twipes, who make antibacterial wipes that disperse in water within three hours. This is a huge improvement on other flushable wipes that can take nearly a year to disperse. The Twipes team even brought an example of their product dispersing in water to demonstrate its potential to the investors.
Synasource/ Gameplai is a start-up combining machine learning and gaming. We learnt how sports enthusiasts can run artificial intelligence predictions for sporting events by using the company’s tech, all developed in-house.
Fashion platform Modafirma’s pitch came next and was presented by founder Angela Ene. Modafirma is a marketplace that allows independent fashion designers to sell their clothes to customers across the world, and reduces the need for middlemen. The platform also helps to foster communication between designers and their audience.
Next up was Snaptivity, a fan engagement company. It captures photos of fans cheering and waving flags at sporting events and then delivers those photos to the fan’s smartphone. So far the company has found that every third photo delivered to a fan is shared on social media and the app provides an extra digital screen for a stadium’s sponsors too.
The penultimate pitch came from Filisia, a start-up that creates incredibly engaging games and exercises for people with special needs, such as autism. Its main offering is a game called Cosmo and this allows schools and therapists to see a student’s progress through data insights.
Lastly, we heard from Localboxx founder Susan Ellicott, who opened her pitch by carrying a microwave on stage, plugging it in and then heating up one of her healthy ready meals for the investors. Localboxx provides a healthy ‘home cooked’ meal-in-a-box for hungry, tired commuters, ready in just three minutes. The boxes are made using only local, seasonable, British produce. Customers can order online and then pick up a box at a designated tube stop.
After all seven pitches had been delivered, there was a brief Q&A session between the start-ups and the sizeable audience who had filled the Cass Auditorium for the extremely entertaining event.
Despite being asked to nominate one company as the winner, the investors chose to nominate two companies instead. Twipes was named as the runner-up company due to the product’s innovative design and practical purpose. And the overall winner was… Snaptivity! The judges were impressed by how easily the company could install and uninstall its cameras, and how convenient this was for stadiums to implement.
Thank you to everyone who took part or attended this year’s Christmas Angels event! You can see photos from the event here.
By Helen Watts, MBA-candidate, Cass Business School