Funded by The Duke of York, pitching competition Pitch@Palace returns to give startups unprecedented exposure and royal opportunities.

This year, entrepreneurs will be pitching their very best business ideas to an audience of angel investors, VIPs and royalty when the Pitch@Palace On Tour comes to The University of the West of England.

“Future Space is an enterprise hub connecting entrepreneurs and tech innovators with scientists, researchers and graduate talent”


The theme for this year’s competition is ‘The Future of Mobility and Materials’. Pitch@Palace 8.0 wants to celebrate tech that will propel forward our future in mobility including autonomous vehicles and materials that are essential for high-tech products – so expect to hear from the upcoming talent very soon!

Excitingly, the Duke of York will be gracing UWE’s Future Space as he listens to the pitches on Monday 17 July.

A Royal visit to Bristol

As part of Future Space’s official opening – conducted by His Royal Majesty – it will be facilitating new relationships between industry experts and budding startups when it hosts Pitch@Palace On Tour.

“Pitch@Palace is one of the most high-profile events on the start-up support calendar”


Professor Steven West CBE, DL Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, says, “Future Space is an enterprise hub connecting entrepreneurs and tech innovators with scientists, researchers and graduate talent. It provides support to startups and grow-on businesses through the office, work hub, wet lab space and close connection to the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the University.”

The facility has opened as part of a new £16 million University Enterprise Zone. Designed to become an innovation hub of sorts, Future Space will be occupied by science and technology startups and SMEs to use its dynamic resources as well as draw on fellow residents’ knowledge.

What makes Future Space so unique is that it directly connects entrepreneurs with some of the best graduate talent in the region. As Bristol has aptly been nicknamed the ‘sticky city’ because of so many students staying in the region after they graduate, this is an ingenious setup.

The Duke of York commented, “I am delighted to be able to bring Pitch@Palace On Tour to Bristol. Pitch@Palace is designed to support, enhance and add value to start up and scale up companies by providing a platform for entrepreneurs and audiences to meet, network and hear the great ideas that are being commercialised and built by the next generation of entrepreneurs. I wish the entrepreneurs a successful time engaging in Pitch@Palace.”

His Royal Majesty will also be visiting the neighbouring Bristol Robotics Laboratory as part of his time in Bristol.

Queen of the pitches

Bath did the South West proud at the Pitch@Palace 2016 event, with SETsquared’s DoodleMaths being one of three companies to win the overall event!

Nicola Chilman (pictured right), the co-founder of DoodleMaths, was delighted to be selected: “I’ve been surprised every step of the way! On the night, to be part of the 12 was wonderful. I’m deeply competitive, and so really hoped we would stand a chance. I was utterly delighted to be put in the top 3 winners.”

Gareth Williams from Bristol’s SETsquared also came home triumphant from the competition back in 2015. YellowDog, which offers a crowd-sourced supercomputer to animation companies, was one of only 15 companies from across the UK to have the chance to pitch directly to A-list investors at the event.

Ali Hadavizah from the University of Bath’s Innovation Centre (UBIC) urges any startup who is considering applying to do it. “Pitch@Palace is one of the most high-profile events on the start-up support calendar,” says Ali. “By capitalising on the royalty brand and the Duke of York’s global connections, St James’s Palace is able to assemble an impressive gathering of influential movers, shakers and decision makers that could facilitate amazing opportunities for many early stage startups.”

The quest for the throne

In the initial stages, entrepreneurs receive exclusive mentoring with the chance to meet Pitch@Palace Elevators who can help develop their business and Pitch@Palace Alumni who can provide insightful advice on how to leverage the opportunities that present themselves throughout the journey.

Before the boot camp, Pitch@Palace will also go ‘On Tour’ to enable entrepreneurs to connect with local stakeholders – something that could be paramount to a startup that doesn’t make the next stages.

Pitch@Palace Boot Camp involves hearing from leading industry experts as well as the alumni, proceeding a pitch from each of the 42 entrepreneurs. The judges will then select 15 startups to walk down the red carpet at St James’s Palace!

You can apply to Pitch@Palace 8.0 here, or to find out more info check out the Pitch@Palace website. To keep up with its latest news, follow them on Twitter here: @pitchatpalace.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.