Pitching for Management does what it says on the tin. It’s a series of quality pitches from a range of firms seeking to attract new talent. The audience of experts and high achievers is usually well-placed to offer great feedback, as well as key personnel. Pitching firms include everything from one man bands, right up to well-established SMEs, with a smattering of university spin-outs and other unusual pitches thrown in. Here are some highlights from today’s event in Birmingham:

Covert Video had something really novel. It was a fully working, custom made piece of electronic hardware – something you just don’t see much at pitches in Blighty these days. The device was akin to the Flip video brand of camera, but designed for security use, with a rugged design, and breast pocket or dashboard mounts available. The device has an impressive 10 hrs record and 10 hrs battery life. I saw a fully usable prototype model, and it was ready to buy in small or large batches. This was a really strong pitch, and it’s just a shame the inventor wasn’t a bit more bullish about his product, which was inexpensive and technically impressive. I’d give it at least 4 stars, and maybe 5. He was looking to build a team, to help him commercialise and find customers. I think this would be a pretty easy sell into many areas of the security industry.

BioMEMS had a novel take on biosensors. They’d created a tiny vibrating plate, onto which you can place a single cell. Apparently, by analysing the effect the cell has on the vibrations, you can tell a lot about it – such as whether it’s moving, thriving, or dying. This is some really sci-fi technology, but with obvious and simple applications – such as testing for antibiotic resistance. Apparently it can also be used in disease diagnosis. I can’t possibly appraise whether the technology will deliver or not, but if it does, it could be revolutionary in its niche.

Cognition Matters is a University of Birmingham spin-out, which is looking to find its feet in the commercial world, and expand sustainably. The firm provides help in stroke care and rehab, by training health care professionals in the skills needed to ensure the best possible patient outcomes. They clearly need support in moving from a centre of excellence to a systematic training company.

Settle is a potentially revolutionary phone app. It’s something akin to a cross between Barclays Pingit and Paypal. The idea is that people will use the phone as a digital wallet. Settle works a bit like a pre-pay debit card, in that you load it up with money before use. Amazingly, the Settle team propose to do this all for free. They’ll apparently make money with ad-on products such as discount vouchers and retailer advertising. This seems a bit of a crazy market to try to dominate, bearing in mind that the biggest tech companies in the world are currently gearing up. However, the team was impressive and the pitch was simultaneously inspired and insane. If any small team can pull off this David-and-Goliath trick, I could easily believe that it would be them. With a combination of incisive business thinking and messianic zeal, they might just have the X-factor. Only time will tell whether this is magic or mania.

All in all, an interesting and impressive range of pitches, and well worth the trek for. Food is also available, and at only 20 quid for the event, the spread is pretty respectable – even if you don’t bother with the pitches!

The venue was a great choice. Birmingham can seem like a bit of an economic backwater at times. However, one diamond in the rough is the Aston Science Park, which always manages to impress me whenever I visit. It’s a hive of exciting startup activity in an otherwise underwhelming metropolis. Not only that, but it’s very easy to get to by train or by car. I expect to be clearing my diary for the next event.