Finding the UK and Irelands’ best new startups: the #VOOM finale
We were extremely excited to head to the Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 finale at London’s ITV studios recently. For months the best UK businesses had been competing to win a slice of a huge £1 million prize fund from Virgin Media, with many Virgin StartUp-funded businesses throwing their hats into the ring. Now it was time for the winners to be announced – but only after pitching to a live audience and a judging panel made up of supermodel Tyra Banks, founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, YouTube sensation Marcus Butler, Virgin Media Business MD Peter Kelly, and Richard himself.
With two categories, Start Up and Grow, we were particularly excited in the Start Up category. We knew the judges would have an extremely difficult choice ahead of them. The finalists in the Start Up category were:
MacRebur use waste plastic to fortify and build roads. The method ensures that roads are 60% stronger than traditional bitumen, but also uses up plastic that would otherwise end up in roadfill – helping both create safer roads, and having a hugely positive impact on the environment.
eFoldi is three things in once – a suitcase, a chair, and a battery-powered vehicle that can drive for tens of kilometres before needing to be recharged. Developed to provide less mobile users with convenience and freedom, it’s a truly ingenious feat of engineering.
Most music fans will have found themselves stung by ticket touts in the past, forced to buy a ticket for more than the original cost. Vibe tickets aims to make the process of reselling tickets easy, safe and fair, by connecting fans together so they can sell unwanted tickets.
Each pitch was amazing, but in the end there could only be one winner in the Start Up category – and that winner was MacRebur, with their innovative road-building technology.
With so many of the finalists focussed on social goods and running businesses that have the potential to change the world, it showed just how important startups are for our future. Thanks to Virgin Media Business for their commitment to finding and rewarding entrepreneurial business – we can’t wait to see what next year brings!