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Branson hails next generation of startups at Pitch2Rich

Startups Boxhug and miPic have won the Pitch2Rich competition, run by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Media Pioneers.

Six startups pitched to a panel of high-profile judges at Branson’s family home in Oxfordshire.

The finalists

Startup Award

Innovation Award

Boxhug miPic
Audiowings I Can Make
PecoPoncho Lines

The winners

Premium self-storage service Boxhug won the Startups award, and art marketplace miPic won the Innovation category.

Meanwhile, miPic tied with Audiowings, wireless headphones that store music internally, in the Twitter-based Public Vote.

A democracy

Branson gave a special mention to I Can Make, an educational content provider for 3D printers, saying he “was particularly excited” the startup’s future.

But the international businessman was overruled by his panel, conceding that after all “it’s a democracy”.

I Can Make was one of the 12 startups selected for the current season of Tech City News‘ Elevator Pitch series.

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Hire good people

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Joining Branson on the judging panel were MoonPig founder Nick Jenkins, NotOnTheHighStreet founder Holly Tucker, Jack Wills founder Peter Williams and fashion YouTuber Dina Toki-O.

Speaking to Tech City News afterwardsNick Jenkins had a very simple number one piece of advice for startups:

Hire very good people and let them get on with their jobs.

Women entrepreneurs

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 18.49Holly Tucker told Tech City News that there aren’t nearly enough women entrepreneurs.

I really intend to spend the next ten years doing much more to help allow women to be more successful in business.

And I’d say the number one piece of advice is to stay true to the cause of what it is you’re trying to do.

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Dive in

But for Branson raising money is about more than just pitch competitions.

The billionaire told Tech City News presenter Anastasia Emmanuel he is a big fan of crowdfunding.

I think crowdfunding is incredible and entrepreneurs would be foolish not to dive in.