Vishal Gulati

5 Things I Learnt at #PitchatPalace 5.0

March 8, 2016



14 healthcare companies — 3 minutes each — drinks & networking

  1. Healthcare is hot again: I have been in the healthcare ecosystem for over a decade and UK has been a great place for healthcare innovation but the current level of enthusiasm is higher than what I have seen anytime before.
  2. Innovator diversity is growing: Diversity of founders is growing on all three major axes (age, gender and ethnicity). Most companies had women founders / c0-founders and several had non-UK / non-white co-founders. The winning team was an all women team (justmilk) and runners up (doctify) had one female co-founder. Founders also looked younger than what I remember from the past but that may just be a function of me getting older.
  3. Being funny is still the best way to engage the audience: Being funny gets you noticed (promising to cure cancer also works ;-). It is not easy to make a pitch about blood filtration device funny but asking the audience for Bill Gates’ phone number makes them laugh and maybe remember you. Being funny alone will not make you a successful entrepreneurs but charm and humour helps you navigate the social environment around entrepreneurship.
  4. NHS is still on top of healthcare entrepreneurs’ minds: Most entrepreneurs talked about how their innovations will help the UK’s National Health Service, many talked about selling their product to the NHS. Historically, NHS has had a poor track record of adopting innovation coming out of small, innovative companies but recently this problem is being taken seriously. Tony Young was in the audience. No pressure Tony 🙂
  5. Entrepreneurship is becoming a source of national pride: Defining the British character on the basis of winning wars and conquering nations has not been easy for a few decades. Meanwhile, entrepreneurship has been growing at a phenomenal rate but it hasn’t been something which had the buy-in as national identity material and now it seems that the nation is embracing startups, scaleups (and upstarts) like never before.

BONUS: All 14 companies finished their pitch under 3 minutes of allotted time. Very pleased to see that going over your allotted pitch slot is going out of fashion.