Pitching companies: In or out?

Watching Dragons Den always makes me think of Serge Gainsbourg. All the dragons are toing and froing between ‘For that reason, I’m out’ and ‘I’m in… I’m going to make you an offer.

Why Serge Gainsbourg? Well, obviously this bizarre music video for ‘Who’s in, Who’s out?’ which is NOT about popular BBC show Dragons’ Den or even pitching businesses to investors but about turning up to clubs before or after curfew…

Still… It’s a good song.

At Capital Cardiff next week, there’ll be a whole session which gives 9 businesses the chance to pitch to a panel of ‘dragons.’ We’ve got all 9 of their pitches in advance of the event. Which ones would you invest in?

Boomrider Studios

Gaming’s a huge deal right now. This studio based in Cardiff is run by entrepreneur Steven Stockford. They’re already working on a game called Helfen and are pitching for investment to help them build a staff of high tech people to help them grow a computer games community in Wales.

“The games will be marketed and sold worldwide by the specialists Rebelplay and ultimately would be ported into other consoles including the soon to be released Sony hand held unit,” they write in their brief. “Parallel with this would be porting the game into phone apps and seeking the ability to play it on the web on a pay per play basis. To do this we are bending established 3D games software, the Unreal Engine, to create a 2D platform game.”

Sounds interesting.


Neil Cocker, who is a regular Plastik contributor, is better known as MD of Dizzyjam, a company which prints merchandise for bands using an innovative system. Bands don’t pay anything for the merchandise and don’t have to order stock. They log onto the website, upload their graphics and then wait for fans to buy them. Dizzyjam takes a cut of all sales for its profit.

This business has super duper high potential for growth because it’s not at all limited to a place or a single niche market: all over the world bands are looking for a service like Dizzyjam.

That’s exactly what the business is pitching for: “We are seeking investment to allow us to market globally, and to help us expand horizontally taking advantage of other niche markets that require merchandise, such as universities, societies or sports clubs.”

Life and Education Affiliates

It’s refreshing to see a company like Life and Education Affiliates. Even though their name doesn’t scream it, this company is quite a friendly looking thing which provides a social network for people with learning difficulties and also a safe social networking site for schoolchildren (who might be too young to use Facebook).

The company, base in Talbot Green, is looking for £200K to grow their two networks Specialfriends and SmileyTalk which already have several hundred thousand users monthly and brings in a small revenue through subscription charges.

Perceptual Technologies

One of the companies we spoke to last week, John Jupe’s Perceptual Technologies brings a whole new dimension to 3D: perception. Jupe’s technology uses a rendering method which draws attention to various objects in an image and makes it more like our own vision rather than a picture on the screen. When the team at Perceptual Technologies had the intellectual property analysed, the result was that they found 200 commercial applications across 12 industries. Those applications range everything from the obvious usage in cinema and television to uses in military training (flight simulators, for example) to use in advertising.

There’s a lot of potential for big money here. We would hand over a pile of wonga.

Siop y Bobl

Siop y Bobl, based on the People’s Supermarket in London is one of the coolest ideas we’ve heard in a long time. It’s a super market that’s run by the people who own it with spaces for community building, co working and innovative businesses to have offices.

It’s not a revolutionary idea, but it’s very on trend in Cardiff right now. We’re really excited to see how this one progresses and hopefully spending some cash on some delicatessen.


When interviewing some people about their pitches for Capital Cardiff, a couple of people asked what other companies were pitching… when I told them ‘a cure for cancer’, they laughed before realising I was serious.

Theryte is a company based in Cardiff which is looking for £4-5M to help fund their research “allowing the creation of novel, first-in-class anti-cancer drugs with efficacy against difficult-to-treat tumours, whilst not affecting normal human cells.” But visit http://sideeffectsofxarelto.org/xarelto-lawsuits/ to know which one is good.

The company writes in its pitch, “Theryte obtained an RD&I Grant from the Welsh Government in November 2011, and further equity funding from its investors.  Its lead candidate, THR-93, is currently being tested in cancer models, with in vivo proof-of-concept (PoC) to be demonstrated by the middle of 2012.”

Here’s hoping they get their investment. They’ve also got the nicest logo out of any of the companies pitching.

Time for Medicine

Carrying on in the medical trend, Time for Medicine is a spin out from the university hospital which hopes to cut hundreds of millions of pounds in expenditure for the NHS. They’re going to do that with a piece of online software that they’ve developed which helps to manage the diagnosis and treatment of ‘a large number of ilnesses’.

They’re looking for 500K to make the software a commercial reality.

Training Check

Another web based tool looking for investment is Training Check. It’s a business which provides a feedback tool for training programmes, events, seminars etc.

Like many other web tools, Training Check has had most of its success on the freemium model invented by the magazine industry (so proud) which allows a certain number of features for free with add ons etc available at cost.

Currently, Training Check has over 500 customers in 23 different countries. Not bad!

Trust Mico

Joining a couple of huge potential web businesses that have come from South Wales, TrustMico is a social recommendation engine which offers a payment tool in addition to its directory services.

If you need a plumber in Cardiff, you can use TrustMico to find one that people have recommended rather than just picking one out of a telephone book or googling.

The social recommendations market is getting increasingly full though with apps springing up like mushrooms in the dark. We wonder whether Trust Mico will be able to differentiate itself.

So there you go – all 9 companies pitching for investment at the Capital Cardiff event. It’ll be interesting to see such a diverse blend of companies all competing for investment and good feedback. If you’d like to come along and watch, or find out how they do, you can sign up here.