Remember the names: Financielle, Birl, Hexis, Cubode, Gaia Learning, Heatio, Ittybit and Yuty.

The eight companies formed part of the inaugural cohort of the Liverpool-based Baltic Ventures’ startup accelerator.

After a four-month programme, which included a £50,000 equity investment, masterclasses, workshops and mentorship, it culminated on Friday with The Accelerator 2023 Demo Day.

Around 200 people packed into Camp and Furnace in Liverpool to hear pitches from eight companies who all have ambitions of becoming a unicorn.

  1. Company: Financielle

Founders: Sisters Laura Pomfret and Holly Holland

Description: Financielle is an app that helps women to take back control of their money via a combination of useful tools, engaging content and a supportive community.

Laura Pomfret Financielle

Laura Pomfret, Financielle

Pitch: Laura Pomfret’s opening line was almost as bold as the bright pink suit she wore. “Are you shit with money?” she asked before making the point that women are responsible for 85 per cent of the world’s spending. Hardly surprising then that Financielle has been downloaded in 188 countries and received 23 million views on Tiktok in 2023.

Investment: Financielle is raising £1m in seed funding, of which around half has been committed.

  1. Company: Birl

Founders: Cam McGimpsey and Peter Lydon

Description: With 75 per cent of used clothes sent to landfill, Birl’s platform aims to tackle the environmental impact of the fashion industry by allowing customers to trade in used clothing for credit on their favourite brand’s websites.

Pitch: Peter Lydon and Cam McGimpsey said Birl has the ability to turn on resale through a single button. The double act ended with this message: “Whoever gets this right is going to be a household name.”

Investment: Looking to raise £250,000 with £180,000 already committed.

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  1. Company: Hexis

Founders: David Dunne, Dr Xiaoxi Yan, Dr Rodrigo Mazorra and Dr Sam Impey

Description: AI-powered personalised nutrition app that enhances your performance at sports by tailoring nutrition recommendations to your lifestyle, workouts and goals.

Pitch: Wearing a black turtleneck, Dr Sam Impey sparked  a comparison with Apple founder Steve Jobs. He took the comment in good spirits and gave a confident performance. Hexis is targeting nutritionists; trainers and sports organisations with its technology.

Investment: £1.2m already raised. Looking to raise another £300,000.

  1. Company: Cubode

Founders: Rebeca Garcia, Ben McLoughlin and David Garcia

Description: Cubode is platform that aims to make coding more accessible than the current no-code and generative AI solutions on offer by enabling users to accurately fine-tune code through a combination of no-code, AI, and data analytics.

Pitch: One of the most striking parts of Rebeca Garcia’s presentation was the slide that screamed: ‘SMEs are f*cked.’ If that’s the problem then Cubode has the solution with an AI platform for coding and data. Cubode was the only pitch to talk about investment in terms of dollars.

Investment: Looking to raise $1.5m for an 18-month runway, with $400,000 committed from angel investors.

  1. Company: Gaia Learning

Founders: Kate Longworth and Kirstin Coughtrie

Description: Gaia Learning supports neurodiverse children through personalised education, which parents and educators can monitor via a dashboard that provides insights into a child’s learning experience. The model leads to reduced anxiety, more personalised learning, and better overall learner experience.

Pitch: Founded in 2019, Gaia Learning is attracting an increasing amount of interest and there was no missing Kate Longworth and Kirstin Coughtrie in their matching orange jackets.  “We are the experts,” said Longworth. “The education system is ripe for change.”

Investment: Bootstrapped business is looking to raise £500,000 investment for a two-year runway.

  1. Company: Heatio

Founders: Simon Roberts and Thomas Farquhar.

Description: A CleanTech startup that analyses energy use in your home to enable you to optimise the way you use devices such as heat pumps, electric batteries and solar panels to cut your bills and carbon footprint.

Pitch:  Thomas Farquhar was the one speaker to mention the possibility of becoming a unicorn and the statistics are in the startup’s favour. The UK fits 1.7 million fossil fuel boilers every year but only 1 per cent of households have a heat pump. In other words, the growth potential is huge and Heatio have won a number of contracts.

Investment: Raised £560,000 in pre-seed funding last year. Now looking to raise £2m, which they expect to be oversubscribed three-fold.

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  1. Company: IttyBit

Founders: Paul  Williams and Paul Gardiner

Description: An API that simplifies the handling of rich media in applications, providing developers with easy ways to upload, store, transform, and extract data from video, audio, and image files, while ensuring compatibility across different formats and browsers.

Pitch: Paul Williams has been making videos all his life, evidenced by the photo of him as a child in the back garden that formed part of his presentation. As a result he knows the limitations of the technology, which is why he launched Ittybit. The business delivers media to the end user with only a few lines of code and is targeting £5m revenue in two years.

Investment: Raising £750,000 with about 30 per cent committed.

  1. Company: Yuty

Founders: Simi Lindgren

YUTY's founder Simi Lindgren

Yuty’s founder Simi Lindgren

Description: An AI-powered platform that enables brands and retailers the ability to offer customers hyper-personalised product recommendations that drive engagement and build customer loyalty.

Pitch: With her sparkly shoes and measured delivery style, Simi Lindgren, knew her numbers. Yuty’s appeal is easy to understand. The user uploads a selfie to their platform and Yuty’s technology analyses it to match them to the right beauty products. If the hyper personalised approach to eCommerce works, the potential is huge.

Investment: Seeking £285,000 investment.