Continuing with looking back at last year's The Pitch finalists, we sit down with Ry Morgan, founder of PleaseCycle, to see what he's been up to. This interview was originally posted on BusinessZone.co.uk as part of 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. Tell us about your business?
PleaseCycle has a product which makes people healthier, happier, more sustainable, and makes a profit at the same time. We combine behaviour change techniques with gamification to get more people travelling in an active, sustainable manner more often - a proven means of reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity, and saving carbon.
2. Why did you decide to enter The Pitch 2013?
Having attended The Pitch finals for the past few years I felt it was time for PleaseCycle to get involved. We've come along way since we founded the company back in 2010, so entering the competition was an opportunity to see what seasoned entrepreneurs thought of the value proposition whilst garnering invaluable feedback.
3. What have you been up to since The Pitch?
Since The Pitch PleaseCycle has continued to grow apace and we've got a lot more planned. That said, in the past few months we've recruited another couple employees who have helped us cope with client demand. Beyond that, we've just signed an incredibly exciting deal with one of the UK's biggest bike retailers to launch a brand new product in the new year which we're working incredibly hard on right now.
4. How has being a finalist in The Pitch helped to grow your business?
Following the pitch I kept in contact with a couple of the judging panel - who have offered incredible advice and insight into scaling the business. It has also attracted a variety of investor interest which is great timing for our growth plans in 2014.
5. What key business lessons did you take away from the event?
The most valuable element of The Pitch for me was the opportunity to network and liaise with likeminded start-ups who are doing awesome things in a myriad of sectors and industries. I've kept in contact with a handful of the other businesses involved and there's been huge reciprocal value in that newfound network of peers. Obviously having to hone a perfect 3-minute pitch for the event itself is also a fast learning curve!
6. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs thinking of entering The Pitch next year?
Be sure to get across the customer pain, why it matters, how your businesses solves it and the resultant means of monetising your proposition. So many candidates only focused on either the problem at hand or why their product was innovative, rather than tying the two together and demonstrating a financially viable market opportunity.
7. What are your plans for the future?
2014 is going to be a big year for PleaseCycle. We're launching a new website; new version of the software; expanding to Europe and the US; hiring a couple more staff; and potentially raising a seed round - all in Q1 2014. So keep an eye out!
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.