While the tech industry in the North of the UK never seems to get the attention that London does, some recent successes for Northern startups show that innovation is alive and well outside of the capital.
Last night, Twile was one of 42 UK startups that attended Pitch@Palace at St. James’s Palace in London – at the invitation of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. Pitching in front of The Queen and a room full of high profile investors and entrepreneurs, the overall winners were Drenched (first place) and Mobile Power (second) – both from Sheffield – and the People’s Choice award was won by Manchester-based OfferMoments. As a Yorkshire business, we were immensely proud to see our fellow Northerners take the top prizes!
Meanwhile, the grand final of the Northern Stars competition is about to take place in Manchester on 17 November, showcasing some of the most innovative early-stage tech startups in the North of the UK. Run by TechNorth, with finalists in a wide range of sectors – from eCommerce to finance to education – the competition is proof that the North has a lot to add to Britain’s technology economy.
In October, I was one of a small group of Northern entrepreneurs that joined TechNorth on a trip to the US west coast. We visited San Francisco and Seattle to raise awareness of our region’s tech industry and learn a little about how things are done across the pond. While San Francisco is the undisputed centre of the tech world, it was clear from this trip that the UK’s North is able to generate businesses that can compete on every level with those that spring up in Silicon Valley. The ambition, creativity and potential of the startups I travelled with were really quite inspiring – and we felt more than comfortable among the entrepreneurs and investors we met along the way.
We are so excited to be part of this. Pitch@Palace is organised by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, to help showcase promising young businesses in the UK. The People’s Choice award is your opportunity to show your support for Twile and help us raise awareness of innovation in the family history industry.
Following our participation at the Pitch@Palace boot camp last week, we are delighted that we have been invited along to the main event.
Pitch@Palace 6.0 is taking place on the 2nd November at St James Palace and all 42 entrepreneurs who took part in the boot camp are going head-to-head in the public vote. Pitch@Palace offers startups the opportunity to get their business idea in front of a global audience of influencers.
We would love to be on the stage at St. James’s Palace receiving this award from HRH The Duke of York – if you’d like to help us, here’s how:
Twile has been selected to proceed to the next stage of the Pitch@Palace competition, which means we’ll be attending a boot camp in Oxford later this week.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the honour of presenting Twile to The Duke of York in Sheffield, as part of the Pitch@Palace program – and we are delighted to again be presenting Twile to royalty and to showcase our unique timeline to an audience of investors and mentors.
Believe it or not, genealogy is a multi-billion dollar industry. Times magazine found it to be the ‘second most visited category of websites, after pornography!’, so we hope the investors find our presentation interesting… the pressure is on.
This time around, Co-Founder Kelly Marsden and myself will be up on stage to tell everyone how Twile came to be and where we are going.
We have spoken several times about our journey and how Twile has evolved. As a startup in the North of England, we joined an accelerator scheme – DotForge in Sheffield, which helped us launch our product. We have received various rounds of investment from ‘Dragons’ in Yorkshire and London, plus investment from Findmypast, all of which helps us continue to make Twile even more amazing.
We need your help! As part of the Pitch@Palace boot camp, we will record a 1 minute pitch, which will be our entry into a ‘People’s Choice’ award, voted for by the general public. After our success at RootsTech in February, we would love your support again! We will be circulating information soon, so be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
We were honoured to have been selected to present Twile to HRH The Duke of York in Sheffield this week, as part of Pitch@Palace On Tour.
Sheffield is where our journey began, in the first Dotforge Accelerator in 2013. We are the only remaining startup from that first cohort, but we’re extremely proud to have got this far.
What is Pitch@Palace?
Pitch@Palace offers startups the chance to showcase their products in front of a global audience of influencers, including investors, press, industry leaders and other entrepreneurs. We have written previously about how difficult it has been to raise big investment and raise our profile in the Yorkshire tech community – so we were delighted to have had this opportunity.
Our CEO and Co-founder Paul Brooks had 3 minutes to show how awesome Twile is, before a few hours of networking and discussion.