Andrew hails the success of his Pitch@Palace entrepreneurs

The Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace initiative to boost the UK’s tech start-ups has sparked £800 million of investment in the fledgling businesses, Andrew has said.

The platform given to entrepreneurs to pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of experts has helped attract investors and seen 3,000 jobs created.

Speaking at the latest Pitch@Palace final staged at Buckingham Palace on Thursday night, Andrew said: “If I think back to 2014 when we first launched Pitch@Palace, I don’t think I could have imagined we’d be here today.”

He added: “Pitch@Palace is a mutually supportive operating system for ambitious young businesses seeking to scale and grow, and we are now firmly placed in the growth economy.

“To date, we’ve seen nearly 50,000 entrepreneurs apply to become part of our ‘clan’ which is remarkable.”

Andrew founded the project to connect start-ups with potential investors, mentors and industry figures and he mentioned how the project’s annual report highlighted the large investment figure.

He said: “We’ve held just under 100 events, and have 687 alumni who’ve created for themselves just over £800 million of economic activity into these businesses.

“Most importantly, we’ve created over 3,000 jobs, but what I’m most surprised by is that we’re running at a 96.5% survival rate, which I’m led to believe is unusual for the start-up and scale-up world.”

The value of Pitch, which has also been staged overseas, has been studied by the Entrepreneurship Centre of Cambridge University’s Judge Business School.

It found the initiative increased the chances of entrepreneurs receiving funding, especially those living outside the golden triangle of London–Oxford–Cambridge, it boosted the professionalism of start-ups and improved their talent attraction.

Winners from Pitch@Palace 10.0 included Stasher, which is building one of the world’s largest urban storage networks.

Its platform connects travellers with hotels and shops where they can store their bags, leaving them free to explore.

Lilypads, a social enterprise with a mission to end period poverty and provide menstrual health education to women and girls in the UK and Kenya.

A HIV self-test kit from Biosure that enables people to accurately determine their HIV status, was another winner.