Posted on November 29, 2017 by staff

ORCHA triumphs in ‘amazing’ Tech 1sts competition


Health and fitness review platform ORCHA took home the title of winner at BusinessCloud’s ‘Meet the game-changing pioneers of tech’ event on Tuesday.

CEO and founder Liz Ashall-Payne’s four-minute pitch wowed the judges and 60-strong audience, beating 14 other businesses doing something completely new with tech to win a prize of a ticket to CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

The event was a celebration of the upcoming ‘Tech 1sts’ list in our magazine which showcases 51 businesses with first-to-market products.

Food-waste smart packaging solution Mimica was voted second place by the audience and judges after an impressive pitch from Italian food scientist Giorgia Raci, who said afterwards it was her first pitch in English.

The judges were impressed with the quality and range of businesses that took part.

Judge Jonathan Welsh of Havas PR, the sponsor of the list and event, said: “It was a really interesting event and I was made up with how it went – I couldn’t believe the quality of the businesses taking part.

“I was impressed with the international reach of the businesses – in a modern market place with the challenges UK businesses are looking at, domestic and international reach is a big advantage.”

For first-to-market businesses the key is to keep it clear and simple, says Welsh.

“Have a narrative, make it simple and stick to it,” he said.

“Too many tech start-ups try to be all things but confuse people. If you can explain how tech can innovate in a way that will help people that’s great.”

Fellow judge Sarah Novotny, who is a digital and creative coach at Business Growth Hub, said she was impressed with the range of businesses from across the country.

“I was surprised how amazing it was, frankly,” she said.

“It really stood out as an event for me because of the quality and spread of businesses from all sorts of different areas.

“It was nice they were from all over country too and not just the prominent area.”

Damian McGann, an executive leader with specialism in financial services, was also on the judging panel.

He praised the event for highlighting quality tech businesses from the region.

“There’s always a lot of debate around the quality and number of great tech business in this part of the world and the other parts of UK,” he said.

“It’s great that this is attracting people into Manchester and the North West as a hub, because the quality is there.”

McGann also spoke of the scalability of many of the businesses that pitched and talked of the importance of thinking about how to adapt businesses for different markets.

“Thinking about scale at a really early stage is the right thing to do,” he said.

“The businesses pitching did it across the board – it wasn’t just established businesses thinking about scale. The winning business had a super model and was looking at the US and China.

“They already had an element of a road map in terms of broaching new markets and recognising that they’re subtly different.

“People just think you do the same things when you go overseas and it’s not like that.”

He ended by commenting on the collaboration opportunities for the businesses that attended and the longer-term good events like this can achieve.

“It was a really good thing to do,” said McGann.

“A lot of good come out of today for those businesses. There are lots of people after today working out where the potential synergies are and others saying things like ‘I’m looking for fundraising can you give me some help?’”

Anastasia Kenyon, founder of Palette and CEO of Lifestyler, was also a judge at the event.