Hundreds of entries. Eight shortlisted Pioneers. Thousands of votes. Four finalists. But ultimately, on 2nd May, the only figures that mattered were the five judges and four minute pitches.
From the applause that followed their pitch, it was clear that High Spirit's pitch had been well received by the audience, and when the judges returned from conferring they revealed that they had made a unanimous decision to name High Spirit the winner of Pitch to Rich 2013.
Congratulations to the founders of High Spirit, Joshua and John Okungbaiye! The brothers founded the leather, theft-proof rucksacks following a trip to New York where they repeatedly heard warnings about pickpockets on the subway.
After their pitch, they were quizzed by Sir Richard and the panel of other judges, Pioneer-at-Large and founder of SB.TV, Jamal Edwards; Thea Green, the founder of Nails Inc; Hummingbird Bakery founder Tarek Malouf; and last year’s Pitch to Rich winner Dan Watson who had been invited out of the audience by Sir Richard to join the judging panel. In the three minutes Q&A session that followed their four minute pitch, they shared more information about the patent they'd already taken out on the unique rucksack design, how many hours they had dedicated to getting their business off the ground and why they were so committed to making their business a huge success.
Before leaving the stage, they thanked the judges with a rucksack each, including a red bag for Sir Richard and a green version for Thea.
I was very impressed by High Spirit and their innovative take on the rucksack. I’ll be using my red bag and I’m very happy to be one of their first brand ambassadors - Sir Richard Branson, Pioneer-at-Large
The £5,000 winners investment package includes mentoring and specialist advice for their start-up business.
The other finalists each received £1,000. Barbara Jones runs Straw Works, an innovative design, building and training company that specialises in using natural materials such as straw bales to create affordable and efficient home and offices. Dr Stephen Terry has established TCK engines and has developed a fuel injection system which maximises the efficiency of combustion and hybrid engines. Imran Merza and Taz Basunia have established The Jealous Life which makes ‘sweets for grown ups’ containing no gelatine, gluten or artificial flavours.