Catching up with Arthur Kay, Bio Bean (The Pitch 2013 champion)

Published April 7, 2014

As we kick off The Pitch 2014, we look back at last year’s finalists to see what they’ve been up to since competing in our massive small business competition The Pitch 2013. First up is bio-bean founder Arthur Kay, the overall champion who was also shortlisted for funding. The following interview was originally posted on during their Global Entrepreneurship Week coverage.

If you think you have what it takes to compete in our small business competition then enter The Pitch 2014 today! It's not only a great opportunity to learn and network, but there's a prize package worth thousands of pounds up for grabs.

1. What is your business?

bio-bean is an innovative green energy company with a patented process, to turn waste coffee grounds, discarded by roasters instant coffee producers and cafes, into biomass pellets and biodiesel.

2. Why did you decide to enter The Pitch 2013?

The Pitch 2013 particularly appealed to us due to its focus on small businesses: these are often overlooked in other competitions. The Pitch was able not only to give us great prizes, but as it is one of the most prestigious small business competitions in the UK, its endorsement is invaluable.

3. Why do you think you won The Pitch 2013?

We are a young, enthusiastic team who really believe in what we are doing. We were able to clearly express this to the judges of The Pitch and convince them that our idea has the potential to make a real difference: both to London’s green economy and on a more global, environmental scale. The huge amount of waste produced and carbon emissions from fuel are problems that have really come into the public view in the last few years. We have proposed a tangible solution that simultaneously addresses both of these facets, and backed this up with a strong business proposition.

4. What have you been up to since The Pitch?

Since The Pitch 2013 we have been working hard on developing and progressing bio-bean. We have secured the IP on the technique used to process coffee waste to biofuels and we are about to execute a full-scale trail to demonstrate the feasibility of our business plan. Look out for the bio-bean logo on your coffee cups when we launch in mid 2014!

5. How has winning The Pitch helped to grow your business?

The support that we have received from The Pitch has been invaluable; in particular, Karen Darby [the mentor Arthur received access to as a result of winning the competition] has provided us with great mentoring and advice that has really helped our business grow. The endorsement of The Pitch 2013 has provided us with support when approaching potential investors and collaborators, as well as the publicity to help us reach a wider audience.

6. What key business lessons did you take away from the event?

There were two prominent areas where we really felt The Pitch event helped us:

The importance of networking: the event enabled us to fully appreciate how contacts are key to leveraging success

The elevator pitch: developing the skills of quickly and concisely explaining the idea have been exceptionally useful, especially when pitching to potential investors

7. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs thinking of entering The Pitch next year?

An effective business idea needs to be for a disruptive business that stands out from others of its type and has the ability to make a real impact in its respective sector. But The Pitch isn’t just about a good idea; it’s about the ability to monetise it and present a clear business case. To develop an idea from a seed, you need the right people to be doing it.

8. What are your plans for the future?

Our first aim is to set up bio-bean in London as a fully functioning prototype. As we have developed a flexible business plan, we look to initially scale domestically before expanding internationally. We hope to extend the project to operate in other big cities, particularly in Northern Europe and the US.

We have secured the IP to an EU and US patent which enables us to easily and cheaply expand to a range of other cities. The US and EU are also the two biggest markets for renewable energy and have the highest per capita consumption of coffee in the world.


If you are a UK-based small business that’s been trading for under 3 years, or have a brilliant business idea, then why not enter The Pitch 2014! Not only is there a fantastic prize package up for grabs but you will have the chance to network, learn and improve your pitching skills.