North East cultivated technology businesses prepare to pitch at St James's Palace

Ignite100 and Campus North were selected by the Duke of York's office to take part in the initiative

Chris Jackson/PA Wire Duke of York
Duke of York

Three start-ups cultivated in the North East are preparing to pitch their models at St James’s Palace, in front of the Duke of York, angel investors, CEOs and mentors.

Wibbu, Earsoft and Arnia, all nominated by Ignite100, will join 41 other teams at the Pitch@Palace event on November 5.

The businesses, all grown in the North East, were among a number nominated by one of the 14 accelerator programme partners to his Royal Highness’ office.

Newcastle-based Ignite100 nominated the three North East-grown firms who were successful in the pre-pitch ‘Bootcamp’ round in October, at which 15 start-ups were selected by a panel of judges to pitch at the Palace.

Each entrepreneur will have three minutes in the spotlight which will be moderated by David Rowan, editor at WIRED magazine.

The Duke of York held the first Pitch@Palace event in April and is a key part of his work to support entrepreneurs in Britain.

Speaking about Pitch@Palace to Bootcamp participants on October 20, The Duke said: “It’s not just about investment. It’s about knowledge and the transfer of ideas; it’s about networking, mentoring and advice.

“There are a lot of people in that room who can solve a great many of your issues and problems, and actually help accelerate your businesses. I want to make sure that every single person who’s in the audience agrees to at least one conversation with one of your businesses.”

Ignite100 contingent at the event will feature Wibbu - a mobile application to help Spanish speakers learn English. The business came to Ignite100 as part of the Government’s Sirius Programme which is intended to draw promising graduate entrepreneurs to the UK to set up and establish their businesses.

Earsoft develop software that improve audio. The team are alumni of the Ignite100 programme and secured follow-on funding from IP Group plc and Northstar Ventures.

Meanwhile, Newcastle-based Arnia is working on the commercialisation of bee-monitoring equipment. The firm’s device monitors audio frequency signals produced within the hive which are then processed via sophisticated algorithms toidentify patterns and changes in bee behaviour.

Ignite100 co-founder and director Paul Smith said: “We’re delighted that Ignite and Campus North have been selected by the Duke of York for this initiative. It’s further recognition of the North East as a key cluster for early-stage technology businesses.”

“New businesses travel from around the world to base themselves in Newcastle - to be able to highlight their accomplishments on a global stage such of this is something the region should be proud of.”

Pitch@Palace will be live-streamed at – with both the invited audience and online viewers able to vote for their favourite business .

All 41 start-are also competing for P@P People’s Choice Award via a public vote through the website.


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