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20 start-up business owners showcase ideas at Pitchfest event at Harwell campus

Half the size but twice the power is how Mike Edwards describes high-performance electric motorcycle engines being developed by his firm Meteor Power.

He was one of 20 business owners at Dragons Den-style event Pitchfest, which highlighted life science and tech start-ups.

Other ideas presented to investors at Harwell science and innovation campus last week included an app for healthcare diagnostic tests and a new treatment for bladder cancer.

Investor Paul Mattick of Oxford Capital said: “An event like this means we are able to see a large number of companies in a short period of time.

“Some of the companies pitching here are really exciting.

“They are not polished but that’s where we can add value by supporting the management team and advising on strategy and process.”

Others looking for investment at Pitchfest, run by the team behind Venturefest, included Trust on Tap, described by co-founder William Cotton as “Uber for care”.

He said: “Using technology, it’s possible to provide services at a significantly lower cost than traditional agencies.”

His plan is to attract a new group of workers into the market, which is experiencing a chronic shortage of carers.

He added: “It could be as simple as mums in their 50s or 60s spending eight hours a week giving an elderly person a lift to the shops, cooking lunch or sitting with them when they go to the doctor.”

Mark Evans, chief executive and co-founder of Adaptix, was another using the five-minute pitch opportunity to talk about his firm’s lower-cost, portable X-ray technology.

He pointed out: “Oxfordshire has been guilty of hiding its light under a bushel, in not taking its fantastic innovations to market but that is changing. We have some of the world’s most advanced technology here, including the Diamond Synchrotron and the heritage through firms like Oxford Instruments, which started in a shed.”

He added: “Pitchfest and Venturefest are part of building that vibrant economy and this is a great place to bring entrepreneurs, investors and ideas together.

“Some of those pitching here have potential to become £100m-plus businesses.” 

 Source: Oxford Mail