VOOM: How we're preparing to pitch to Richard Branson

Next week, six entrepreneurs will face the biggest challenge of their lives when they pitch their businesses in the Virgin Media Business VOOM live finale.

But how do you prepare when you're about to showcase your ideas to a panel of some of the best and brightest minds? We caught up with the finalists to find out they're getting ready to pitch to Richard Branson, Tyra Banks, Marcus Butler, Sara Blakely and Peter Kelly.

Toby McCartney, MacRebur

I've been preparing by going for extra walks through the woods with my dog (who's name is Branson, of course!) and talking extra loudly to myself so that my voice echoes and I can hear it back.

I found myself pitching to a tree today, and saw one of my neighbours hiding behind a bush pretending not to have seen me. I think she's probably phoned social services to have me sectioned... I hope the judges react better to my pitch than the tree though as it gave me no feedback. I need help!

Iseult Ward, FoodCloud

I have been practicing non-stop since the workshops this week – I am even pitching in my sleep at this stage! I've found that recording myself pitching and watching over it is a great help too – and getting as much feedback as possible.

David (our amazing pitching coach from Narratively) and the LinkedIn Professionals kindly offered to watch our videos so I am looking forward to improving the pitch with their feedback.

As for on the day, I’ll be making sure to have my favourite lip balm with me for the big pitch – the watermelon smell is always calming when I’m nervous – and, of course my favourite pre-pitch tip, do the superwoman stance before going on stage for a quick confidence boost!

Luke Massie, Vibe Tickets

I've worked with different members of the team on all the different parts of the script, brain-storming, mind-mapping- the lot.

Before I start frantically memorising, and summarising I want make sure I really have all the key points in the pitch, because when I'm up there, even though it's for such a short space of time I want to make sure the judges really feel involved in my pitch, get a true sense of Vibe and what we are trying to do.

I thought about splitting my pitch onto prompt cards - but last time I did that for the Pitchathon I spent ages writing them out, colour coded them and everything, and I didn't look at them once!

I think as long as I practice, and remember it as much as possible....I'm hoping when I'm up there it'll all come flooding back to me!

Arthur Kay, bio-bean

My training ritual for a pitch is important as this is regular coffee consumption!

I really want to show the VOOM audience and judges the social and environmental impact of what we do here at bio-bean.

That is, getting the world powered by coffee. 

Sumi Wang, eFOLIDi

The biggest challenge for me at the moment is how to "show and tell" exactly what my product is and does within that precious two minutes.

eFOLDi is a very visual product, and I'd like really to show how it folds from scooter to suitcase and to chair in seconds. But, when we had our preparation day this week I found out that the stage where we'll be standing to pitch from is very narrow and there isn't a flat platform available to do the demo.

To combat this, I'm thinking I might have to learn a couple of acrobatic moves in the next few days...

Mehdi Meghzifene, Sibberi Tree Water

Obviously we'll be touching birch wood!

In fact, an interesting ritual we have at the office is that we always touch a birch tree before every important meeting. Since the birch tree is the most common tree in Europe we always find one on the way which is quite handy.

It's worked out really well so far so we have asked the team to always touch every birch tree they might come across.

So if you see crazy people touching trees around Clerkenwell, don't worry too much, it’s just the Sibberi team.

Log on to Virgin.com on Tuesday June 28th at 10.30am (BST) to see whose preparation pays off in the livestream of the VOOM live finale with Richard Branson, Tyra Banks, Marcus Butler, Sara Blakely and Virgin Media Business MD Peter Kelly.


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