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“The PR, traffic and exposure you’ll get will be off the charts”: We talk to the PITCH 2015 winners

Think your startup is amongst the best? Apply to ALPHA.

PITCH is our startup competition, where we crown one winner Web Summit’s best startup. Looking back at past winners – a list that includes the likes of re:3D and BaseStone – is a great way to spot the rising stars in the startup world.

We caught up with two of the 2015 winners to see what winning PITCH means for them and what they’ve been up to since a successful Web Summit.

Be sure to watch their winning pitches, included below, to get a sense of what makes a great presentation.

Connecterra

PITCH winner: ALPHA track

What was the most unexpected moment you had at Web Summit?

Getting the email that we had made it to the PITCH final. The calibre and polish of startups in our semi-final pitching group was super high and though we knew we had done a good job, that email we received in the evening was a huge moment.

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Cofounder and CEO of Connecterra, Yasir Khokhar, being awarded the PITCH trophy.

Who was the most interesting person or startup you met at Web Summit?

Too many to name frankly! We had huge queues outside our booth after the announcement went out that we were going to the finals. However, one gentleman in particular stood out: Masatoshi Fukushiwa from Japan. He came over and we had a great chat. Little did we know that he would later become one of our key VC backers in our seed round!

What’s changed for you in the last eight months since winning PITCH?

Everything. We’ve doubled the team size, secured investment, ran months of field trials and are heading into our Generation 2 hardware. Web Summit was a huge boost to us in getting exposure about our startup and that has permanently put us on the map. Winning PITCH is a big moment that startups should prepare for. The PR, traffic and exposure you’ll get will be off the charts and exciting as heck!


Yasir Khokhar, cofounder and CEO, pitches infront of panelists John O’Farrell, Christine Herron, Ryan Smith and Nils Wollny.

Bizimply

PITCH winner: BETA track

What was the most unexpected moment you had at Web Summit?

Our most unexpected moment had to have been winning both the ESB Spark Of Genius and the Audi PITCH.

While I was presenting in the final of the Audi PITCH Competition on the Main Stage, we were being announced as the Spark of Genius Pitch winner on the Marketing Stage. I was still on a high from presenting to thousands of people on the main stage when I heard the news that we had won the ESB Spark of Genius award. It was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

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Cofounder and product designer of Bizimply, Mikey Cannon, pitching on Centre Stage.

Who was the most interesting person or startup you met at Web Summit?

It’s hard not to bump into interesting companies and people at the Web Summit. We had a good chat with Dave McClure of 500 Startups who a couple of months later took part in our most recent funding round. After winning the PITCH competition I spoke to John O’Farrell of Andreessen Horowitz who had some great advice about fundraising in the valley.

What’s changed for you in the last eight months since winning PITCH?

The past eight months have seen us really move from a scrappy startup to a growing business. We have secured investment from some great investors and really started to expand the company. We are now a team of 18 incredibly smart and talented people with new people joining each month. We have really started to execute on our vision for how companies can manage and engage with their workforces and it’s an exciting time for us.


Mikey Cannon, cofounder and product designer at Bizimply, pitches to a packed Centre Stage audience.


If you’re bringing your startup to Web Summit, you’ve already passed the first hurdle: now take the leap and apply for PITCH.

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