No.10 Downing Street opens its doors to start-ups for first time

Comes a week after Techworld revealed government is pulling £50m Tech City fund
  • Sam Shead (Techworld)
  • 02 August, 2014 04:26

Prime minister David Cameron invited young technology companies to pitch at No. 10 Downing Street for the first time ever yesterday in a move that suggests the politician is keen to be seen supporting the tech start-up community.

At the Pitch10 event, 10 high-growth start-ups, largely in fintech or security, pitched their businesses to an audience of 70 venture capitalists, angel investors and invited guests. Digital minister Ed Vaizey and the newly appointed tech advisor to the PM, Joanna Shields also attended alongside Cameron.

Those invited to pitch included: Certivox, Digital Shadows, DueDil, Huddle, Kykcloud, LumeJetMimecast, ROLI, Swiftkey and Transferwise.

While the event makes it seem like David Cameron is getting behind start-ups by inviting them into his home, it's worth noting that the PM failed to spend the £50 million he promised London's Tech City community at the end of 2012, as revealed by Techworld last week.

Furthermore, the Tech City UK organisation - set up to support digital start-ups and chaired by Shields - is only funded with £1.7 million of public money, while quangos like the Technology Strategy Board receive half a billion pounds of taxpayer's money.

Downing Street described Pitch10 as an event for digital companies to showcase their technology.

It's not clear whether any of the financiers in the audience will actually be making any investments and it's fairly likely that most of them will already be familiar with the companies that presented.

A programme of the evening's agenda can be found here.

The event was spearheaded by two high profile figures within the tech community: Passion Capital investor Eileen Burbidge and TechStars founder and CEO Jon Bradford.

It was revealed that over 600 people were invited to attend Pitch10, after an aid at No. 10 accidentally Cc'd instead of Bcc'd those invited.

Techworld asked the prime minister's office for an invite to the event but a spokesperson said media weren't invited.