How to enter the The Cambridge Start-up Billion Pound Scale-up Challenge

13th February 2020

Get expert business help from executives and founders of tech titans including Amazon, Microsoft and Arm when The Cambridge Start-up Billion Pound Scale-up Challenge returns for 2020.

The challenge will take place at Amazon’s development centre at One Station Square, Cambridge, and will see three start-ups delivering a three minute pitch to the expert panel, who will then come up with three actions they could take to help them grow. The interactive event will see  the panel and the audience working together to come up with ideas, tools and contacts of how the startup could solve this problem.

On the panel will be:

The event is being organised by Adelina Chalmers, aka The Geek Whisperer, and is supported by The Tech Corridor and Cambridge Wireless.

The panellists, from left, Wendy Warham, David Hardcastle, Amali de Alwis and Jamie Urquhart

The challenges

Growth challenges could be:

  • Should our business focus on B2B market on B2C market? We have traction in both.
  • How can we decide if we should we go with pricing strategy A or B? Our research shows they are both equally valid options for our customer segment.
  • What is the company’s maximum potential for growth? Should we consider selling to a large corporate? Considering our model, what should be our exit strategy?
  • Should we go for Series B or C investment, raising money to grow faster but owning less of the company; or bootstrap for longer, enjoying greater autonomy but possibly experiencing slower growth as a result?
  • How do we build and lead our teams through significant business change? As companies grow and spread across continents founders often face challenges around hiring people who can scale the company, as well as people from different cultures and professional backgrounds (salespeople for tech founders and visa versa)
  • How do we launch in new markets? How do we open up offices in other places like the US?
  • Any other growing pains your business is experiencing where you feel you would benefit from expert advice

What do start-up CEOs say about pitching at the event?

“It helped me focus on aspects of the business that would have otherwise lacked it and highlighted that the scatter-gun approach to marketing and sales is not good. I sold a system to one of the audience members, so that was good too. There can be a tendency to become introverted and stuck inside your business and so having the opportunity to get out and breathe is good.” (Karl Gibbs, CEO, Acticheck)

“As startups we always have to pitch to prove ourselves all the time: to investors, to customers, even to new staff. This event instead we get to pitch and instead of competing with each other or justifying our decisions we get support, advice and ideas.” (Graham Mills, MD, Techspert)

“As founders were able to ask key questions relevant to our businesses. In addition to PR, we received very valuable practical suggestions from the high level panel of experts.” (Mark Kotter, CEO, Elpis Biomed)

“The event was an incredible opportunity for Logically to have a genuine, relaxed, and meaningful dialogue with a diverse range of industry experts and leaders. As a result, the discussions delivered a tremendous amount of value, insight, and direction for us a business.” (Lyric Jain, CEO, Logically)

How to enter

If you would like to attend the event as an audience member, register on Eventbrite here.

Apply to pitch: The challenge is open to Cambridge startups that have secured a minimum of £500,000 investment (or £300,000 client income), are growing, or even those that have achieved multi-million pound turnover but have challenges as a result of rapid growth. Entries are welcome from companies with turnover of up to £20m and a staff of up to 300 employees.

To apply to pitch, fill in the form below: