Innovative start-up businesses can apply for Pitchfest 2019. This free-to-enter pitching competition enables start-up businesses to pitch to influencers and investors. Selected business will also be given guidance and training before the event.

Successful applicants will have access to free, investor readiness workshops provided by The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). Companies making it through to the live finals at Venturefest South West, hosted by UK Business Angels Association, will pitch to investors covering product demand, potential for growth, company expertise and competitor advantage.

Applications for Pitchfest 2019 are now closed. We will shortly be announcing the semi finalists so stay tuned.

Pete Morris from Lockabox entered Pitchfest 2016, “Entering Pitchfest was very helpful for our company even though we didn’t win. The feedback we received help us to change the shape of the business and move into new areas, which have proved beneficial for us as a company.”

Pitchfest: The semi-finalists


Minibems has developed an end-to-end IoT solution that delivers performance improvements in buildings. Its controller and software enable monitoring and control of heating systems in real-time, optimising the performance of whole developments whilst delivering the heating and hot water required.


Falmouth-based Comity has developed an alternative to mainstream cycling insurance enabling groups of cyclists to pool contributions into combined savings which cover their bikes. All money is used to pay claims and anything that isn’t used is returned.


Cornwall-based Mappix is a cloud-based platform that enables schools to fulfil the statutory requirement to monitor pupils’ academic progress. Designed by a teacher, the user-friendly software streamlines workload and will be the first of its kind to include a mental health & wellbeing framework. Nominated for various awards, Mappix secured significant Crowdcube investment and is already used by 30 schools across the UK.

Devon Garden Foods

Exeter-based Devon Garden Foods, a plant-based food technology start-up, was launched by Exeter University MBA graduates and has developed a sustainable and highly nutritious plant-based milk from yellow split peas. The company is on a mission to exploit British-grown crops to improve food provenance, reduce food miles, develop protein extraction technology and adopt advanced data analytics (AI) for future food development.

Smarti Environmental Products Ltd.

Exeter-based Smarti Environmental Products Ltd. supply install and service waterless urinals. It already has 200 repeat blue chip customers and is growing rapidly.


Filmily, based in Totnes, is a service aggregating fan-based content from large-scale events into branded films.

Do More Design

Plymouth-based Do More Design is a platform connecting design students with small businesses and start-ups to work on real-world design briefs.

S&AO (Visionair)

S&AO (Visionair) offers solutions that deal with known shortcomings and capability gaps of existing remote sensing systems. This enables organisations using meteorological data to optimise their operations, save money and prevent the loss of lives.


Plymouth-based Crowdsourcer.io is a web platform where users can collaborate on projects contributing skills rather than finance and earn a fair share of the profits based on their contribution.


Exeter-based Minviro offers innovative, data-driven solutions for the mining industry to reduce its environmental impact.


Falmouth-based Codices is enabling online broadcasters to make, manage and monetise live interactive video with its software, Quiz Kit. Over 450 broadcasters make gameshows using Quiz Kit every month on the Twitch platform and the product has recently launched in South Korea.


Alphafox is a Honiton-based company developing advanced engineering technology products to help combat the rise of world-wide counterfeits. Its patented Crystal Chip tag label and seal technology provides anti-counterfeiting brand protection, product and document authentication, and security seals for genuine products and their packaging.

Ideal First Car

Founded by innovator George Howell while at Exeter College, Ideal First Car is a car-sourcing app built for 17-25-year-olds by 17-25-year olds. It supports first time car buyers with sourcing a car, finding insurance and maintenance options. The company supports over 20,000 vehicles nationwide in its MVP system. George won Innovate UK’s Young Innovators


The brainchild of former consultant anaesthetist, Penryn-based Ultramed delivers cost and time effective solutions for preoperative and pre-procedural assessments. A person-centred approach ensures products that work for both healthcare providers and patients.


Bristol-based iXport is SaaS trading platform built for SMEs who export. It provides B2B e-commerce turnkey websites combined with real-time freight, forex and documentation quotes providing efficient end-to-end transactions.


Liskeard-based fast-growing fin-tech Duesday, changes the way recurring bills (like utility, telephone or gym) are paid, giving a flexible alternative. The company is now exporting its services internationally.

Data Duopoly

Falmouth-based Data Duopoly are using data to solve problems for attractions whose customers face the frustration of queueing and bottlenecks and optimise the visitor distribution around a site.

Pitchfest Judges

Kirsty Semple

Start Up Advisor, Fund Raising and Investment Mentor

Kirsty is a trusted, accomplished chartered accountant and subject matter expert in commercial and public sector accounting, staff management and cross-functional partnering, perfected from over 20 years leading high performance finance teams at prestigious UK and US organisations.
Kirsty has worked across all sizes of business, from advising UK-based owner-managed start-ups to restructuring North American, Asian and EMEA territory offices to achieve maximum growth and profitability. She is currently working as Fundraising Mentor, Growth Advisor and Non-Exec Director to various entrepreneurial and high growth start-ups in the South West.

Tim Morgan

Founder and CEO South Western

Tim is an investor and coach at SouthWestern.vc and is investor in residence at SetSquared Bath. Prior to this Tim founded leading London and New York based startup studio Mint Digital. Tim has started, grown and sold companies with a value in excess of £150m as a corporate financier and as an entrepreneur

Melanie Goward

Melanie is an Investment Director with Maven Capital Partners, responsible for transacting new early-stage and technology private equity investments across the South and South West of England and Wales.

She joined Maven in 2016 from Finance Wales, where she was part of the Technology Ventures team and fund manager for the Wales Technology Seed Fund, providing funding to help businesses commercialise and bring to market innovative products and services across a range of sectors.

Prior to this she worked as an Investment Director with Nesta Investments, focusing on early stage healthcare investments as well as in technology sector finance at Lloyds TSB Corporate, providing debt finance to high-growth companies. With over 15 years’ experience as a specialist in early-stage investment, Melanie has completed a range of investments in technology, life science and biotechnology businesses.
Melanie has a BA (Hons) in Natural Sciences, and a PhD in Genetics from Cambridge University, which included research as part of the Human Genome Project

Jon Williams

Jon, Director at Granted Consultancy, has 20 years’ senior commercial and financial management experience, including 15 years in senior commercial roles at prominent UK biotechnology, medtech and functional food companies. He has helped over 125 innovative SME businesses, from a variety of sectors, identify and secure substantive funding awards.

Ian Tracey

Ian is Head of Access to Funding & Finance at the Knowledge Transfer Network. In this role he helps companies to identify the most suitable form of funding; grants, investment, lending etc. to allow them to grow.
Previously he was Head of Entrepreneurship at STFC where he focused on helping start up and early stage companies take their ideas from conception to implementation. As part of his work supporting business creation, Ian identified individuals with high growth start-up backgrounds, who can help drive IP toward new products and companies, becoming business leaders in their own right.
He joined STFC from his own self funded public computing IT firm delivering public use computing to the NHS, local government, prisons and sport facilities.
Ian started his career as a bench scientist for BT Labs at Martlesham Heath, where he worked on “Home of the Future” and “Virtual reality for team working” before moving to their broadband product division where he was a New Products Evangelist, the first public broadband line was at Ian’s home and he was tasked to answer the question: Why would we want to be on the internet 24 × 7 and what will we do after we have read our emails ?