From bunks to bugfinders and hedges

The Duke of York 3 (Medium)

From Bugfinders, which is harnessing a global community of 55,000 testers across 149 countries to check for cyber bugs, to Bunk, which uses machine learning to connect renters with landlords without the need for hefty deposits, each pitching team at the recent Pitch@Palace, hosted by Wayra UK and the National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, held at Cheltenham Racecourse, had three minutes to explain their ideas to a 150-strong audience.

This proved tough for some. Just because you’ve got an amazing idea to solve a critical technological problem, doesn’t mean you’ve got the communication skills to persuade the audience that it’s worth investing in or supporting – however knowledgeable they are. Some of those presenting their ideas would have done well to revisit their three-minute pitch and ask themselves what they were actually trying to get across.

In some cases, the passion for the idea was obvious. The National Cyber Management Centre wants to run cyber educational and awareness courses, not only for private and public organisations, but also for the old, vulnerable and the young.

For others, it was the simplicity of an idea which engaged the audience. Hedge, which only launched in late 2017, aims to be a sustainable savings and impact investment platform for a new generation of investors.

The winners, announced by The Duke of York, were Trust Elevate, which solves the problem of age verification and parental consent for young adults and children in online transactions, Intruder, a proactive cyber security monitoring platform for SMEs which aims to identify customer weaknesses before the hackers, and Immersive Labs, which helps companies upskill their cyber security teams. Immersive Labs’ online academies removes unconscious bias and increases diversity to help plug the growing cyber skills gap.

Chris Wallis of Intruder, said: “We are delighted that Pitch@Palace have added their name to a growing number of prestigious organisations who believe in the vision behind Intruder. And I have a sneaky feeling they may also become a customer soon.”

The Duke said: “The judges had a long and involved conversation about all of the businesses, and although three have got through to the next round of boot camp, we think there is a lot that we can do to help all of the businesses which pitched today. The judges also discussed how we can all practically assist all of your businesses, regardless of whether or not you make it through to the final selection.”

Since it was launched in 2014, Pitch@Palace has supported over 490 companies. Alumni include Yoyo wallet, a start-up that was accelerated through the Wayra UK programme and recently raised $12 billion in series B funding.