The Great British Startups Cup 2014: Who’s in?

For the next month 32 exciting start-ups will compete to land the Great British Startups Cup, sponsored by Elance. Find out more right now

Caught World Cup fever yet? At we have. But as battle commences on the fields of Brazil, we’ve decided to celebrate some of the best of start-ups right here in the Great British Startups Cup, brought to you in association with online staffing platform Elance.

Handily, it coincides with FIFA’s very own competition, but this tournament means business!

We’ve picked 32 great young businesses (watch this space for names) from across the UK representing eight exciting growth sectors.

Group A = Food delivery
Group B = Advertising tech
Group C = Going out
Group D = Personalised shopping
Group E = Craft beer subscription
Group F = Alternative finance
Group G = Taxis and minicabs
Group H = Cycling

The 32 businesses will form our ‘teams’ and ‘groups’, but who’s going to officiate our stellar line-up?

We’re absolutely delighted to have some of the biggest names on the entrepreneurial landscape taking on the very important duty of refereeing this showpiece event. Try these on for size:

  • Oli Barrett MBE, the man behind Make Your Mark with a Tenner, Web Missions, Startup Britain, and in GQ’s list of 100 most connected men in Britain
  • Doug Richard, one of the original Dragons, a government small business advisor and founder of education and event business School for Startups and School for Creative Startups, which last week hosted Makegood, the ‘Woodstock for creative businesses’
  • Holly Tucker MBE, with Sophie Cornish she set up small business marketplace for independent retailers and was recognised for services to enterprise
  • Michael Hayman MBE & Nick Giles, the PR pair who everyone knows for campaign PR agency Seven Hills, Made and Accelerate conferences, Startup Britain, and making GQ’s ‘most connected’ list alongside Oli Barrett
  • James Layfield, once the youngest managing director of a Virgin Group business under Sir Richard Branson, he set up the Startups Awards-winning small business workspace group Central Working
  • Hayley Conick, as country manager UK & Ireland for online staffing platform Elance, is responsible for the bulging pockets of thousands of British freelancers and is our chief supporter for this major editorial event.
  • Andy McLoughlin & Alastair Mitchell, these founders of London and San Francisco based collaborative working platform Huddle have won business from some of the world’s biggest blue-chips and had time to launch tech meet-ups DrinkTank
  • Nick Wheeler, the man who in 1986 set up £120m-turnover clothing business Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts after buying and selling a classic car – an Aston Martin DB1 since you asked
  • Russ Shaw, a man who strongly advocates things – and the thing he’s most passionate about right now is technology start-ups, which is why he launched Tech London Advocates. He’s also an investor, non-exec and ex-VP at Skype and global innovation director at Telefonica

They’re compiling their referees’ reports and when the action kicks off in Brazil, we’ll be giving you a fix of start-up combat right here on

Of course there are detailed rules and a set criteria our referees have to abide by, which you can find here. We expect fair play and brilliance from the off and when the 18 carat gold trophy is presented to the winning team in Rio, we’ll be crowning our start-up Kings or Queens here too – although the trophy budget may not quite extend to FIFA’s unless we can find a helpful backer in the Middle East.

So, who’s up for the Great British Startups Cup?


(will not be published)