25th May 2016
An attempt to set a new Guinness World Records title for the Longest business pitch marathon will take place in London on June 1 – 2 as part of Virgin Media Business’ VOOM 2016 - the UK and Ireland’s biggest and most valuable pitch competition.
The 29 hour live-streamed record breaking attempt will see 160 shortlisted entrepreneurs pitch back-to-back to a panel of esteemed judges. This follows more than 3,000 entries from the UK and Ireland.
The record-setting ambition is announced as the 80 top businesses from each of the two competition categories – ‘Start-up and Grow’ – emerged after over half a million public votes were cast. The successful businesses range from transport themed glamping villages, to luxurious pillows and martial arts coaching.
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business said: “I’m looking forward to hearing 160 innovative and inspiring ideas over the course of 29-hour record attempt, although I am not underestimating the challenge. Like any true entrepreneur – we never do things by halves at Virgin Media Business and achieving this record will add another level of ambition to the ‘VOOM 2016’ competition.”
A sum of over £675,000 has also been collectively raised by the 700 entrants simultaneously running their own crowdfunding campaign through competition partner Crowdfunder, making it the biggest mass crowdfunding campaign in UK history. One business alone rose over £80,000 for their electronic folding scooter. The Crowdfunder element means many entrants will walk away with a cash injection and a bigger profile for their business, even if they don’t make it all of the way.
The ‘pitchathon’ event will have three ‘marathon’ judges who will be present for the entire 29 hours – Julie Deane OBE, Founder and CEO of The Cambridge Satchel Company, Andy Fishburn, Head of Investment at Virgin Startup and Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business. They will be joined by several guest judges including Jamal Edwards – SBTV, Sharmadean Reid – WAH Nails, and Peter Williams – Jack Wills, as well as 12 professionals selected by LinkedIn.
Judges will be challenged to whittle these down to just 40 semi-finalists who could go on to pitch to Richard Branson and international business heavyweights Tyra Banks, Sara Blakely and Marcus Butler, in the VOOM 2016 grand finale on 28th June.
Sam Prosser, Guinness World Records’ Head of Commercial said: “This is an extremely ambitious and exciting title attempt and is the perfect format to convey the determination and drive shown by UK entrepreneurs. We wish Virgin Media Business and the pitchers the best of luck.”
The competition – run by the ultrafast business broadband company – hunts for the UK and Ireland’s most exciting and innovative businesses. A winner will be chosen from each of the two categories.
Notes to editors
The top 160 pitches can been viewed on vmbvoom.com
The guest judges at the pitchathon include: Jamal Edwards – SBTV, Josh Bayliss – Virgin Group, Sharmadean Reid – WAH Nails, Gavin Carpenter – Phonovation, Peter Williams – Jack Wills, Jonathan Saccone Joly, Dina Tokio and Gavan Smyth – Virgin Media Business Ireland.
The two winners will receive:
· A cash prize of £50,000 to help grow their business
· Mentoring from Virgin StartUp and from our VOOM Professionals recruited via LinkedIn
In addition, two runners-up from each category will each receive a cash prize of £20,000, a Virgin Media Business broadband package, mentoring, financial advice and brand support.
This year, the entry and online voting platform is powered by Crowdfunder and entrants also have the opportunity to raise funds for their business by crowdfunding their VOOM entry. The top crowdfunding business will be named Champion Crowdfunder 2016 – and will win £50,000 cash and other great prizes including a bespoke media campaign from JCDecaux.