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Million Pound Startup – London launches global hunt for the next £100 million technology company to come to London

A ground breaking global competition to bring a high-growth technology company to London with £1 million of investment has been launched today at London’s Digital Shoreditch 2013 festival. The Million Pound Startup aims to showcase London as a prime location for building global digital and technology businesses. Today the official start of the global competition went live at www.millionpoundstartup.com.

The competition is facilitated by Digital Shoreditch and supported by a growing number of leading businesses and organisations, including The Mayor of London, The Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO), Taylor Wessing, Seedrs, City University London, London & Partners, London First, Schools for Startups, KPMG and Ketchum. The winning company will not only receive £1 million but will also receive dedicated support and assistance from the partners, as it sets up its operation in London.

The dynamic young company will need to show that they have the capability of using the £1 million equity investment to build a £100 million company based in London. Entrant turnover must be less than £1 million per year and the company must have been trading for fewer than 10 years. The competition is open to entries until August 29th, 2013, with the final taking place December 2013.

The £1 million is being sourced through a combination of angel funding, institutional capital and equity crowdfunding. The FCA-regulated investment platform Seedrs is running the investment process. The contest partners and judges will work together to ensure the winning company is of high-calibre and successfully completes due diligence. Potential investors can learn more on the MPS website and invest directly through the Seedrs platform.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “London is a terrific home for technology start-ups and a world leader in this booming sector. This competition is an aptly innovative approach which I hope will unleash even more of the entrepreneurial talent for which this city is renowned.' 

Minister of State for Business and Enterprise Michael Fallon, said: “The UK is a great place to do business, with constantly improving infrastructure and a skilled labour force. This initiative can provide a real boost for entrepreneurship and start-ups with high growth potential and help to keep London ahead in the global competition for talent, innovation and success.”

Benjamin Southworth, Deputy CEO of Tech City Investment Organisation, said: “The Million Pound Startup competition perfectly demonstrates how London and the UK are open for business. Entrepreneurs based here can benefit from the world’s most ambitious package of policies, businesses incentives, tax and visa support as well as the diverse and vibrant start up ecosystem in Tech City. It is exactly the sort of initiative that will continue to drive the creativity, collaboration and community that makes Tech City Europe’s digital capital and I’m sure we’ll see some incredible success stories as a result.”

Kam Star, founder of Digital Shoreditch, commented: “The east London digital and tech cluster around Shoreditch is an amazing place for startups with high growth potential due to first class support networks and like-minded entrepreneurs. We're running one of the world’s largest competitions in history to attract high growth potential companies from the digital and tech space around the globe to London.”

City University London is glad to be supporting such an international competition on its home patch.

“We look forward to welcoming entrants from across the world to London, and hope they will be excited by the offers of knowledge and support extended to winners by globally-networked teams from City University London and Cass Business School.  Our enterprise-friendly educators, scientists, funding experts and incubator teams are passionate about helping tech ventures build talent and grow,” said Dr Sue O’Hare, Director of the Enterprise Office.  “This type of Tech City cluster initiative helps us fine-tune our university’s offering to match the innovation and growth needs of a dynamic global community,” she added.  “It also provides an opportunity for student journalists from City University London to deliver online news about the competition.”

Andrew Tibbitts, Programme Director, TMT, London First:  “We often forget the plethora of things London has to offer growing businesses – London has the world’s brightest, most innovative and creative minds, whilst also being a stable, safe and connected city that loves to embrace new ideas.  The competition is a great way to shout about these things across the globe.”

Gordon Innes, CEO at London & Partners, said: “As the world capital of business and a leading centre for talent and creativity, London is the ideal location to launch the ground-breaking Million Pound Project. London & Partners’ support for start-ups particularly within the Tech City environment has helped to secure a 700% growth in this area in just three years, with industry giants such as Google at Google Campus, Amazon and Yammer already calling it home. We are delighted to be supporting Digital Shoreditch on their innovative programme and are excited to see the next big thing to come out of Tech City”.

Simon Walker, Partner at Taylor Wessing, said: “"Taylor Wessing has provided legal advice to tech start-ups for many years and has been working at the heart of the Tech City community for some time.  We are delighted to be involved with the Million Pound Start-up initiative and look forward to working with the winner and runner up."

Tim Kay, KPMG’s Technology Start-up lead for the team in Shoreditch, comments: “KPMG are delighted to be able to support the entrants and winners of the Million Pound Start-up programme. Our own research shows there is a massive global race underway for innovation, talent and success, and in order to put the UK on the global map of ‘tech innovation hotspots’ it is vital that we have programmes in place to attract the best companies here.”

David Gallagher, CEO of Ketchum in Europe, comments: “Ketchum works with many of the world’s biggest technology brands and is committed to helping grow London’s technology and digital footprint by helping new technology start-ups increase their visibility.”

Jeff Lynn, co-founder and CEO at Seedrs, said: “Seedrs is a proud partner of the Million Pound Startup, and we are honoured to have the opportunity to facilitate the investment process. We’re excited to be opening up access to the contest to eligible investors, who can invest from as little as £10 into a potentially great new company.”

Serial entrepreneur and founder of School for Startups, Doug Richard said: “This competition represents a great opportunity for global technology entrepreneurs and provides an impressive package to transform a start-up into a successful technology company based in London. It is initiatives like this that help create new jobs, and help London and the UK take the lead in tomorrow’s digital economy.”

Modwenna Rees-Mogg, Founder of Pitching for Management, said: “We are excited to be partnering with Million Pound Startup because that is the kind of money that can truly change a small start-up into a sustainable business. We believe that money isn’t the answer to every problem and that getting top talent on board at an early stage is the best way to aid growth, but with money like this, the winning company can ensure they have a whole team of experienced professionals to help them”.

John Barradell, Chief Executive and Town Clerk of the City of London Corporation comments: “We fully support the growth of the Tech City cluster, centred on the fringes of the Square Mile itself but increasingly spreading wider across London. Through our support for a range of initiatives providing growth in our neighbouring boroughs, including those encouraging access to finance, we acknowledge the key role that early stage businesses play in creating jobs and prosperity. We warmly welcome the £1 Million Start-Up Competition. It is a major way of raising the profile of London as a growth centre for innovative start-up enterprises.”

Duncan Swinhoe, RIBA, ARB – Principle/ Managing Director Gensler London, said:We are excited by the million pound start-up programme. It is innovative and entrepreneurial, which aligns with Gensler’s philosophy. We expect to work with some great start-ups and leverage our design expertise to help them flourish.”

Finally the competition also offers 1% of the equity stake in the winner to the company or individual who has promoted the winner. To win this prize promoters are required to pre-register on the website, fill out the form in the Million Pound Start-up promoter page and enlist their details on the “Where did you hear about the competition?” When the winner is announced if there is a specific promoter registered to the winner of the competition they will receive a 1% of the equity stake.

Notes to Editors

The Million Pound Startup competition process:

Initial round: Closes August 29th, 2013.

Entrants create a profile on the site and answer a series of basic questions about their company. This information will be public and people will be encouraged to examine the idea and provide feedback.

Assessment rounds: Successful applicants will enter the assessment round from September to November 2013.

Entrants who have made it through will be required to fill out one or more detailed questionnaires about their company. The competitive assessment process will include various pitch stages (online or physical).

Final round: The final round and eventual winner will be announced during December 2013.

In this last phase, each of the finalists (approximately 20) will pitch to a panel of high profile entrepreneurs and investors With the guidance of the panel the people who invested in the £1 million will vote to determine the winner, and completion of the transaction will be subject to due diligence.

The competition terms and conditions and contestant pack can be found here.

The competition process is being run on behalf of Digital Shoreditch by Digital Innovation Solutions with support from the partners.

Investors can invest through the Seedrs platform (www.seedrs.com) at any time until the £1 million target is reached. Those investors seeking to invest £50,000 or more will be offered additional forms of involvement in the contest.

Million Pound Startup Partners:

Digital Shoreditch

Digital Shoreditch is a not for profit, industry-led community dedicated to fostering connections and celebrating the outstanding talent in East London’s flourishing digital community.  The community hosts the annual Digital Shoreditch Festival, as well as arrange monthly meet-ups, run competitions, organise workshops and host awards. For more information visit www.digitalshoreditch.com

KPMG

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 145,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. For more information visit www.kpmg.com

London & Partners

London & Partners is the official promotional organisation for London. Our company attracts and delivers value to business, students and visitors. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and a network of commercial partners. Our remit is to drive leisure and business visitors as well as bidding to secure major events in London, to unlock the city for overseas businesses who want to set up or expand in London and to promote the capital’s world class universities to international students. Our intention is to work in partnership with organisations in London and across the world to deliver our goal - that London be globally recognised as the best big city on earth. For more information visit www.londonandpartners.com   

London First

London First is an influential business membership organisation with the mission to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. It achieves by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of its members, the capital's leading employers in key sectors such as financial and business services, property, transport, TMT, creative industries, hospitality and retail, to develop and seek the implementation of practical solutions to challenges facing London.  The membership also includes London's universities and higher education institutions. For more information visit http://londonfirst.co.uk/

Seedrs

Seedrs is a revolutionary, new online platform for investing in startups. We let people invest from £10 up in the equity of startups they choose through a simple, online process. And we provide startups with a straightforward way to raise investment capital from their extended networks and independent investors. For more information visit www.seedrs.com

Ketchum

Ketchum is a leading global PR and communications firm with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. Named 2012 PR Agency of the Year (PRWeek) and the winner of an unprecedented three consecutive PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards, Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. Ketchum is part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. For more information visit www.ketchum.com

Taylor Wessing

Taylor Wessing is a leading international law firm with a single-minded approach: to help its clients succeed by thinking innovatively about their business issues. Taylor Wessing offers an integrated service across the full range of practice areas, with around 900 lawyers working across 22 offices in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. For further information please visit: www.taylorwessing.com

The Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO)

The Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) was established by UKTI to support the growth of the tech cluster in East London. Our aim is to help Tech City become Europe’s centre of innovation and the location of choice for tech and digital companies and investors. TCIO bring new companies and investors to East London, and provide support to local companies seeking to expand internationally. For more information visit www.techcityuk.com

School for Startups

School for Startups was founded by serial entrepreneur and angel investor, Doug Richard in 2008 and has since taught over 20,000 budding entrepreneurs and small business owners from across the globe. For further information please visit: www.schoolforstartups.co.uk

Pitching for management

Pitching for Management is a series of over 50 pop-up events across the UK where innovative exciting companies pitch their businesses to an audience of experienced, talented business professionals that are looking for a new challenge and thrive on the buzz of working within entrepreneurial companies. Our aim is to help early-stage companies grow quicker and more effectively by focusing on building the right team for their businesses. For further information www.pitching4management.com

The City of London Corporation

As the body providing local government services to the “Square Mile” business district around St Paul’s, the City of London Corporation’s primary role is to support and enhance the business City – a world-leading international financial and related business hub. The City of London Corporation is also committed to providing a range of other services for wider London, including working with its neighbours to support communities and promote enterprise including in the growing Tech City cluster centred on the City’s immediate fringes.  For further information www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Gensler

Gensler is a global design firm networked across 42 locations on five continents. Consistently ranked by international industry surveys as the leading architecture and interior design firm, Gensler leverages its deep resources and diverse expertise to develop design solutions for industries across the globe.  For more information www.gensler.com

About City University London

City University London is a global University committed to academic excellence, with a focus on business and the professions and an enviable central London location.  It is in the top five per cent of universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012/13 and in the top thirty universities in the UK according to the Times Higher Education Table of Tables 2012. It is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for both graduate-level jobs (The Sunday Times University Guide 2013) and starting salaries (Which University?).

The University attracts over 17,000 students (35% at postgraduate level) from more than 150 countries and academic staff from over 50 countries.  Its academic range is broadly-based with world leading strengths in business; law; health sciences; engineering; mathematical sciences; informatics; social sciences; and the arts including journalism and music. The University’s history dates back to 1894, with the foundation of the Northampton Institute on what is now the main part of City’s campus. In 1966, City was granted University status by Royal Charter and the Lord Mayor of London was invited to be Chancellor, a unique arrangement that continues today. Professor Paul Curran has been Vice-Chancellor of City University London since 2010. For more information http://www.city.ac.uk/

Contact

Richard Botley / David Vindel
Ketchum                                             
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7611 3788/0207 611 3660

richard.botley@ketchum.com; david.vindel@ketchum.com