Engineering 101

Cogniance & IW Capital present: The tech startup pitch event

At WeWork Waterhouse square in London on November 23, Cogniance and IW Capital debuted their tech startup pitch event.

WeWork has over 175,000 members globally in 204 locations, and 19 locations in London. It offers both desk space and communal areas, hosting events and great networking opportunities for startups to grow in an environment shared with multiple enterprises. It made for the perfect environment for the event.

The event took place in the WeWork atrium – a watering hole for startups, entrepreneurs and enterprise business.

There were five startups pitching to a Dragons’ Den-esque panel of four investors: Alex Chisnall from Virgin Startup, Andrew Strange from Brandwidth, Chris Wade from Octopus Ventures and Oliver Eyre from MyTeaHouse.

The investors decide the winning pitch.

The event offered an opportunity for these startups to secure investment to scale up their business, and for attendees to network with the startups and investors.

The startup participants were given five minutes each to pitch their ideas, products, and business plans to the investors, adding to the pressure. Not only were there prizes on offer for the winner of the best pitch, but investment opportunities were at stake.

The event was hosted by Cogniance – co-creators of technological innovation with the ethos that ‘every great idea deserves success’.

The five startups deliver their pitches…

CEO Joe Bonney presented his company Blurrt – which analyzes and understands online conversations through Natural Language Processing (NLP).

Not just interested in measuring the black and white vanity metrics of likes and shares, Blurrt understands positive and negative sentiment. It can pull conversations from Twitter and any program with an API.

This is needed as brands want to know more about their audience to understand the sentiment around them.

Blurrt stated they were looking for an investment of £500K.

Investor Questions:
Investors asked the size of the team, the route to market and who were the competitors.

A startup specializing in equine technology, co-founder and CEO Pauline Issard delivered her pitch about Trackener – a device which analyzes a horse’s activity, location, movement, behavior and heart rate 24/7.

It can be placed within either our ergonomically designed horse bib, comfortable on the horse in the stable and in the field, and on a girth sleeve for when the horse is being exercised.

Investor Questions:
Tell us about your competitive edge.
Issard explained that they had a competitive edge with Trackener, as it is the only product on the market to offer a holistic view of the horse.

Tell us about your route to market.
Issard detailed their business strategy to target both B2C and B2B markets in horse racing and trainers, for example. She also shared the business projections with the investors.


Clothes are stupid.

Benjamin Males, co-founder and CEO delivered the pitch, starting with TwentyFour15, the fashion brand they launched in 2017.

“We have created a platform for the body,” Males said.

They have created a washable, wearable fiber optic material with LEDs that react to sound, whether that be music, your voice, or the example Males showed – his clicking fingers.

Males explained that we are no longer just wearing fashion – we are sharing it. They target Gen Z consumers who digest the world digitally.

Males exhibited a backpack which incorporated the fiber optic material, but detailed that they believe they could capitalize on the music merchandise market – which is due to reach $3.1bn globally.

They have the capability to create digital haberdashery; hats, bracelets and fashion accessories that connect fans to artists. So that the next time a ‘Swifties’ and ‘Beliebers’ fan buys music merchandise, there is a greater User Experience (UX).

XO asked for an investment of $2m to scale to millions of products.

Investor Questions:
Why can’t I just copy your product?
“There will be copies, but ours will be limited editions – it’s all about UX and brand equity.”

How can I connect to a performance after the show with your music merchandise?
“The product could light up in rhythm with the artist’s heartbeat, or in sync to an artist singing live elsewhere.”

Have you thought about targeting Shazam and other platforms?
“Yes, we are interested in partnerships.”

AI integration company, AMMI Systems presented their product UMA.

CEO Stephen Milner and Director of Technology George Sims delivered the pitch.

UMA is a smart bot that can work with anything with an Application Programming Interface (API).

UMA is designed to be integrated into systems to simplify data for smart business. It can be tailored to the business to break down silos of data.

Investor Questions:
How do you charge?
“We charge per integration.”

Is the platform built?

Investors then asked some specific revenue projection questions.

NextUp Comedy: ‘The Netflix of UK Standup’.

Co-founders Sarah Henley and Daniel Berg presented the pitch for their company.

NextUp Comedy offers a whole raft of content which is not currently being preserved. They offer a subscription on-demand service for stand-up comedy at £3.50 per month, and already have over 1,000 subscribers after launching in 2016.

They explained how so much content, at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh for example, is lost to fans and not preserved for others to enjoy.

Comedy demand is increasing year on year, and NextUp Comedy is the only platform offering live comedy – they also provide a show discounts, a ticket selling platform and rehearsal space.

Investor Questions:
Tell us about your backgrounds?
Both Henley and Berg have a video production and comedy background.

What would you do with your investment?
The pair answered they would use the investment to film even more content.

The winner takes all

  • 1st place: Trackener took first place, the spoils consisted of a JBL Bluetooth speaker co-created by Cogniance, a bottle of 808 Whisky and a PR session with PR specialists 42 Bruton.
  • Runner up: NextUp Comedy
Pauline Issard, co-founder and CEO of Trackener won over the panel of investors with her pitch.

If Blurrt had created a sentiment analysis feed on the event, it would have shown approval from key influencers such as Alex Chisnall, a business advisor at Virgin Startup, and demand for further events.

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