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Tech Nation Rising Stars pitch at The Bradfield Centre





The Tech Nation Rising Stars 5.0 regional pitch event took place at The Bradfield Centre this week.

Canopey (former Shop Greenr) in the Bradfield Centre pitching. Picture: Keith Heppell
Canopey (former Shop Greenr) in the Bradfield Centre pitching. Picture: Keith Heppell

Tech Nation was established in 2010 by then Prime Minister David Cameron to support London’s Tech City and quickly widened to include the rest of the country’s tech startups, founders and ecosystems.

On Monday (January 9) at The Bradfield, 15 companies pitched the Tech Nation judges for three minutes, then faced three minutes of questioning by the panel. The judging panel consisted of Emmi Nicholl, managing director at Cambridge Angels; James Parton, managing director at The Bradfield Centre; Faye Holland, cofinitive founder and director; Tim Robinson, Tech East chief operating officer; and Neil Griffin, innovation director, Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway. cofinitive is Rising Stars regional partner for the East of England.

Of the 16 City Winners from the East of England region presenting at The Bradfield Centre, 10 companies were from Cambridge; three from Essex; two companies from Norfolk and one from Suffolk. The pitching companies were BraveGoose; dvatech Healthcare Europe; Versed AI; Purrmetrix; Diometer; RippleXn; KRAI; Oomph EV Ventures; Vision Intelligence; Canopey; Paua; Arma Karma; Biiah; Medwise.ai, and VBuddies.

Xann Schwinn, founder of Biiah (previously The Choral Hub), pitching at The Bradfield Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell
Xann Schwinn, founder of Biiah (previously The Choral Hub), pitching at The Bradfield Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge-based VBuddies has developed a social metaverse EdTech platform for young people to exchange languages and culture in VR.

“It was a really good day,” said co-founder Lijia Zhang. “It great to hear everyone’s stories and gave us a platform to pitch.

“We’re a city winner – there’s about eight of us – and we’re all East of England winners, with companies from Colchester, Diss and elsewhere.

“There are 16 winners from the East of England – one wasn’t able to attend – and three winners will get through this round. We find out at the end of January, and the national final takes place in March.

Judging panel at The Bradfield Centre, with Faye Holland of cofinitive, Rising Stars regional partner, in glasses. Picture: Keith Heppell
Judging panel at The Bradfield Centre, with Faye Holland of cofinitive, Rising Stars regional partner, in glasses. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Our next milestone is to raise investment, we’re looking at a busy year hopefully! We now have paying customers in two countries so we’re looking to scale internationally.”

Another pitching company, Biiah (previously The Choral Hub), also found it to be a positive experience.

“Monday’s event was to bring all of the city winners all across the East of England region together to choose three regional winners,” said Alicia Cadwgan, music coordinator for the ‘singing app’ company. “It was such a great opportunity for the company along side two other showcases we have in London over the next week! Things are really flying.”

Paua, electric vehicle fuel card company, at The Bradfield Centre for Tech Nation Rising Stars. Picture: Keith Heppell
Paua, electric vehicle fuel card company, at The Bradfield Centre for Tech Nation Rising Stars. Picture: Keith Heppell

C-J Green, co-founder at BraveGoose and co-creator of CleverGoose HR tech, said: “It was definitely a day for recognising how much innovation and smart thinkers there are in Tech! Lisa Hamill and I came away really inspired by the waves of startup courage!”

Morag Hutcheon, founder of Rapid EV Charging Systems (35kW, 50kW, 80kW), said: “Great to be part of today’s event… and to be amongst some incredible people and businesses, very inspiring and what a great way to kick off the year!”

Three winners will be selected from the region to go into the semi-finals, and from there 20 candidates are selected for the finals. Ultimately 10 companies that will be named as this year’s Rising Stars, who will feature in a high profile celebration and be given additional tailored support through the Tech Nation network.

Ben Smyth, CEO and founder of Arma Karma, a monthly insurance subscription company, pitching at Tech Nation Rising Stars. Picture: Keith Heppell
Ben Smyth, CEO and founder of Arma Karma, a monthly insurance subscription company, pitching at Tech Nation Rising Stars. Picture: Keith Heppell

Anna Nadolna, scaleup engagement manager, East England at Tech Nation, said: “The regional finals are the next stage of the Tech Nation Rising Stars 5.0 competition and it was great to see the East of England founders taking the iconic Bradfield Centre stage and presenting their innovative technologies and solutions that have a potential to impact the world in a positive way.

“They all did an amazing job to tell their stories and pitch their ideas in a challenging format of three minutes only!”



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