The StartUp businesses pitching for £5,000 investment from Sir Richard Branson

They’ve overcome hundreds of other entries and have amassed thousands of votes from the public. Meet the three entrepreneurs who make up the final of Pitch to Rich 2014 StartUp award, now they have the opportunity to pitch their business idea to Sir Richard Branson for £5,000 investment and money can’t buy mentoring.

Headphones dubbed the Google Glass for your ears, biodegradable rain ponchos and a storage company that means you never have to visit a storage unit again are the three businesses who will travel to the Branson family home on the 13th May to compete to win the investment and support to grow their business.

Joining Richard on the judging panel will be British entrepreneurs, Nick Jenkins, founder Moonpig; Holly Tucker, co-founder, Not on the High Street; Peter Williams, co-founder of Jack Wills and Dina Toki-O, up and coming digital influencer and fashion Youtuber.

Finalists in the Start Up Award are:

Igor Rubets, founder of Boxhug

BoxHug, StartUp

    • BoxHug offers First Class Storage by the box; collecting, safely storing and returning customers’ belongings from their doorstep. Igor said: "Wow, I am speechless, thank you everyone for your support and voting for us, this is an opportunity of a lifetime and it means so much for me and my team!"

Lettija Lee, founder of  PecoPoncho

    • PecoPoncho is a brand of biodegradable, disposable rain ponchos. Leetija said, “It's an invaluable opportunity and I'm really looking forward to meeting the panel and presenting my brand."

Carl Thomas, founder of Audiowings:

Carl, StartUp

    • Audiowings is  developing premium headphones that wirelessly connect directly to platforms like Sporify via 3G. Carl said: "It's a massive privilege to have the opportunity to present Audiowings to some of best business minds in the country. We're all really excited about the event!”

The finalists now have one week to prepare their pitch.
“I always look forward to judging the Pitch to Rich final and this year I have been impressed by the quality and ingenuity of the pitches we have received,” said Sir Richard Branson. “ I look forward to meeting all of the finalists and I wish them all the best of luck with taking the stage on the day and showing us what their businesses are capable of.”

Last year’s Pitch to Rich competition was won by brothers Joshua and John Okungbaiye, founders of High Spirit, which makes theft-proof rucksacks.

To find out more about Virgin Media Pioneers and see the other businesses in the innovation category, go to

( Photos from Marc Hayden.)