These UK start-ups are in running to win £1m prize from Sir Richard Branson

The six finalists of the VOOM 2016 competition have been announced and will now compete at a live pitch finale on June 28...

The finalists of the VOOM 2016 competition have been announced today, with six start-ups chosen to pitch their business ideas to Sir Richard Branson for the chance to win a share of a £1m prize.

Selected from over 3,000 entries and shortlisted following Virgin Media Business’ world record ‘pitchathon’, the finalists include Startups 100-listed bio-bean; the London-based green energy company that recycles waste coffee grounds into fuel.

The six start-ups will now present their ideas at the live finale, taking place on June 28, to Branson and a panel of high-profile names including Tyra Banks and Spanx creator Sara Blakely.

Formerly known as Pitch to Rich, VOOM claims to be UK and Ireland’s “biggest, most exciting and most valuable” pitching competition and seeks to identify the country’s most innovative and game-changing businesses.

The prize package this year is said to be worth £1m and includes a cash prize of £50,000, a £250,000 marketing campaign with advertising on Waterloo motion, mentoring at 10 Downing Street, and a trip to Necker Island.

The VOOM 2016 finalists, selected in ‘start-up’ and ‘grow’ categories, are:

  • MacRebeur (start-up) – a company which produces road asphalt out of waste plastic
  • eFOLDi (start-up) – an electric scooter that folds into a chair or portable suitcase
  • Vibe Tickets (start-up) – a marketplace that connect fans to buy and sell tickets at face value
  • bio-bean (grow) – clean tech business that recycles waste coffee into sustainable biofuels
  • Sibberi Tree Water (grow) – creator of natural drinks made from tree sap
  • FoodCloud (grow) – social enterprise that connects business with surplus food to charities

Branson commented:

“We set out to find ambitious businesses who will shake up the market, step up on a global stage and who will have a positive impact on the UK economy – this year’s finalists all demonstrate these attributes. I can’t wait to meet them at what’s set to be an energetic and highly competitive finale.”

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