Toby McCartney (centre) accepting the award, presented by Harriet Birchall of Scotland House and Robert Hokin of Greenbackers
An event to connect cleantech businesses with investors saw nine entrepreneurs and business leaders pitch their green innovations to a room full of potential investors and partners last week.
Greenbackers Investment Pitch was hosted by Greenbackers Investment Capital, the cleantech investment specialist, which works with companies and project developers looking to turbo-charge their capital-raising programmes.
Supported by Granted Consultancy, Lindsays and Martin Aitken & Co., the pitching competition was held at Scotland House in London on Thursday 11 October and attracted businesses and investors from across the capital and the rest of the UK.
Robert Hokin, chief executive and managing partner of Greenbackers explained the inspiration behind the event. He said: “We have been operating in the cleantech industry for over a decade and one of the problems that we determined early on is that entrepreneurs have difficulty accessing capital.
“It’s strange because funders are also complaining about a lack of quality deals, so why aren’t they coming together? We determined that Greenbackers Investment Pitch was a potential opportunity for these funders who are looking for good deals to meet entrepreneurs who are looking for good funders.”
Opening the event, Andrew Smith, associate at Greenbackers, said: “We see and talk to investment funds struggling to find deal flow and investing in earlier stage funds to create the kind of bespoke deals they are tasked with finding, and we despair a little bit, but we also see opportunity.
“Crucially, we have just the right degree of arrogance, bravado and chutzpah to think that we can - and we will - inhabit the spaces between and offer up solutions.
“This event is the first of a series and just one of the activities this group is undertaking as our response to the challenges we all face.”
Speaking about how Greenbackers aims to disrupt the pitching environment, Robert Hokin added: “Nearly every pitch event we encountered seemed to be a ‘hit and run’ affair, usually managed by event organisers in the business of selling tickets. After they finish one pitch, they move on to the next with little, if any, follow-up. We determined from the outset to be much more engaged. Our concept differs by engaging pre and post-event with both investors and entrepreneurs to try to ensure that deals actually happen. We don’t leave it to chance”
Each business was given ten minutes to take to the stage and explain their projects and innovations. The businesses were:
Following the 10-minute pitches, attendees were invited to vote for their favourite pitch, with Macrebur being named the winner of the Best Pitch Presentation, sponsored by Douglas Laing.
Macrebur uses waste plastics to replace bitumen in asphalt, to make roads more durable and cost-effective. The business has already worked on roads in Australia, Bahrain, New Zealand and Turkey and is now seeking investment to grow further.
The business was awarded the honour of Best Pitch Presentation, as well as a bottle of Timorous Beastie whisky from whisky specialists Douglas Laing.
Toby McCartney, who presented Macrebur’s pitch, said: “What I have enjoyed about today is that it’s been very relaxed, and winning the pitch is just extra backing. It’s encouraging to know that we’re doing and saying the right things.”
The next Greenbackers Investment Pitch will take place at Scotland House on 11 April 2019.
Scotland House is a membership hub in central London run by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, VisitScotland and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Harriet Birchall from Scotland House said: “We were thrilled to support the first in a series of pitching events for our member Greenbackers – the event highlighted the excellent green innovation coming out of Scotland today, and we are looking forward to hosting the next event in April”
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