Pitching for Management returned to Nabarro this month, with a diverse range of firms. One of the benefits of this format is that it allows the audience to see a range of companies, which would be very difficult to access in any other pitching event.
I’ve seen a lot of unusual pitches in my time, but Francis Marx proposition was a new one on me. He was pitching to buy a business. A young man with some money behind him, he was looking for a low risk firm, ideally with a retiring founder, which he could modernise. I’m all up for new challenges and opportunities, and this really whet my appetite. I’m unsure as to whether he’d find any sellers at Pitching for Management, but he’s very likely to meet up with associates and co-investors, who could provide leads and potentially a team to work with. Personally, I would be very interested in working on some old-fashioned, real-world businesses again. I love the idea of optimisation and modernisation. After several years in tech, I’d love to get out into the real world again. So hopefully I’ll find someone like Francis soon, whom I can work or invest alongside.
Radius Health was a firm I’ve seen before. Mark Evans is a straight-talking and highly able chap, with a rugby playing physique and the presence to match his skills on the pitch. In short, he’s exactly who you’d want running a firm, if you’re depending on it to pay your bills or to look after your pension. Radius’ product is a revolutionary– an X-ray machine the size of a large laptop. Yup, you read that correctly – this firm can miniaturise a room full of pricy hospital kit down to the size of hand luggage. What’s more, it’s solid state, so should be as robust as your phone. Not only will this save time and costs in clinical settings, it’s also just the ticket for doing a ton of jobs which are currently out of the range of capabilities of standard X-ray kit. These tasks could include screening abandoned luggage for bomb threats without moving it, to providing vets with on-farm X-ray capability. Oh, and if that’s not futuristic enough for you, it’s 3D as well. Awesome!
Embers Camping is family camping the boy scout way. No caravans, and no cars on site. This is proper camping, the way I remember it. In this world of iPads and constant traffic noise, it’s high time that kids got more opportunity to experience The Real World, away from the distractions of modern life. Embers reconnects children with nature and with real farming, giving them an experience which other providers have allowed to become dulled by the sanitized ‘glamping’ fad of recent years. It looks so much fun, it’s almost enough to make me want to have children…
Digby Fine English are wine makers, represented by Trevor Clough. It’s not only the Romans who made wine in Britain, and Digby does the whole process here, from grape to bottle. It’s an exclusive, premium brand – which prides itself on limited production, and product quality. Recently launched, they’re looking to formalise their corporate structure with a chair appointment.
Chateau Rouge make luxury tea, coffee, and (in future) chocolate. They distribute to high-end boutique hotels and cafes, and sell to the public through independent shops. Sean Farrell is a man passionate about his firm’s products, and this dedication to quality is the way forward in a sector that has a history of allowing great independent brands to thrive. Yes, this is something the UK does very well: Innocent, Green & Blacks, Eat Natural and Ellas all show that innovative new premium brands can smash big company products into the hedges – and often make their founders exceedingly rich upon acquisition.
Finally, Community UK presented a novel solution to the problem of the digital divide. Peter Reed-Forrester’s firm needs a core management team to bring their community wi-fi solution to a wider audience. Their clients are housing associations, councils and malls, who want to ensure that everyone can get online quickly and easily. I hate wi-fi vendors who charge for something they have available free. However, these guys are different, as they have a permanently free model, with higher speed access available at a modest price. Once the housing association or shopping centre management has paid the fee for installation, Community UK makes their cut by finding customers who want to upgrade their connection speeds. It’s a simple business model with a clear social purpose, and a proven technological track record. If you can grit your teeth and smile sweetly at public sector jobsworths (which I can’t), then this may be the gig for you.
Sponsor pitches were given by Nabarro, a full-service law firm; Marks & Clerk, trademark and patent lawyers; and Russam GMS, who provide interim management services and related opportunities.
Forthcoming events are on the PfM website – with a Guildford sessions coming up in the next few days.
Pitching for Management events are paid-entry. With great catering and a unique range of opportunities, they don’t struggle to fill the room with skilled professionals looking to move, or to enhance their portfolio careers.