Frequently asked questions

The Pitch supports startups across the UK, whether you’ve just launched or you’re getting ready to grow. It’s designed to boost your skills, network and confidence. We’ve outlined some key questions people have asked about The Pitch below.


Applying for The Pitch

What is a pitch competition?

A pitch competition is where startup founders pitch their business idea to a panel of investors and successful entrepreneurs, with the winner securing funding or other support for their business.

It’s also a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to practise, so that they can hone their pitch in preparation for meeting investors.

For your best shot at success in The Pitch competition, we recommend clearly covering the categories that judges will be marking you on: the idea, proof of traction and the team.

Judges will also mark you on the quality of your pitch. To get pitch perfect, we recommend practising regularly and in front of different people.

For more information on preparing for The Pitch, check out our article on preparing a pitch for angel investors.

The perks of pitching competitions isn’t just getting cash for your business – they also provide valuable networking opportunities, getting insightful advice from successful entrepreneurs and gaining exposure and meeting other founders.

At The Pitch, we also supply educational content throughout the entire programme, including articles, videos, webinars and coaching sessions.

The Pitch programme is designed to give you the skills and connections you need to succeed. You’ll have the chance to:

  • Work with a pitching coach to improve your pitch, confidence and delivery
  • Meet other startups working in the same industry as you
  • Pitch to seed investors
  • Boost your exposure by putting your business in front of over 35,000 people

The competition is open to UK-based businesses that have been trading for less than four years.

To get the most from The Pitch and support on offer, please make sure it’s the founder or co-founder who attends the event. That said, we don’t mind who fills in the application form.

The Pitch strives to help startup founders perfect their pitch and secure investment for their business. We do this by providing a full programme of support, consisting of four different stages.

  • The first stage is an online application form that helps our judges assess the potential for the business and what you’ve achieved so far. We then choose the top 100 applications to progress to the semi-final stage.
  • You’ll attend an online pitching workshop with one of our pitching coaches to get feedback on your pitch.
  • Only 50 founders will then compete in a live regional event, giving a 90-second pitch to investors and industry experts. After the session, we’ll share the judges’ feedback with you and the scores will be added to our leaderboard, which will be seen by thousands of people.
  • We select the top 10 businesses to pitch at The Pitch Final, where our judges will select the champion.

The Pitch applications will close on the 7th of August 2024.

During this time we’ll reach out with new event updates and exciting opportunities so make sure you keep an eye out for our newsletters and follow our social channels (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn) to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

The Pitch is open to companies across all sectors and funding stages. The majority of applicants have started making sales, but pre-revenue businesses can also enter. If you haven’t launched your startup yet, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate traction or proof that there’s market demand to be in with a chance of winning.


Pitching at an Event

How long do I have to pitch?

You have 90 seconds to give your pitch and, in the interests of fairness, we time each pitch. While it’s okay to go a couple of seconds over, we’ll cut you off after that to ensure everyone gets the same amount of time. After those 90 seconds the judges will then be given the opportunity to ask you questions.

Judges mark each of the finalists out of five (one is poor, five is excellent) in four categories:

  1. The idea: Is the business solving a problem consumers care about? What potential is there for the product or service?
  2. Proof of traction: How much demonstrable market interest is there? This could be in the form of research, customer reviews, users, revenue etc.
  3. The team: Is the founding team right for the challenge? Does their support network have the expertise necessary? Their network includes employees, mentors and advisers.
  4. Quality of the pitch: How strong is their pitch? Good pitches are engaging, memorable and effectively communicate the problem they’re trying to solve.

Startups will be judged based on the progress they’ve made for the stage they’re at, including company age and funding.

Yes! We offer free coaching sessions to work on your pitch. These take place online a week or two before the event and usually last about an hour. We’ll email you once they’re announced.

You’ll attend the coaching session alongside the other founders who are pitching at the events. We’ll run through some general advice at the start, then you’ll have the chance to practise your pitch and get feedback from the pitch coach and other founders.

Like all our events, we aim for these sessions to be friendly and fairly relaxed, to make it less daunting to test your pitch. It’s also a great opportunity to see how other founders have structured their pitch in advance of the event.

Coaching sessions are optional, but we recommend that you attend if you can.

No slides are permitted for your pitch. However, we’ll have a slide with your business name, logo and main social account displayed behind you.

Yes, you can bring your product on stage. However, it should be something that’s easily portable that doesn’t take a long time to set up.

Yes, it’s absolutely fine to bring notes on stage with you. We recommend limiting these notes to bullet points rather than writing out your entire pitch, so you can stay focused on addressing the judges (rather than the floor!).

After you’ve given your pitch, our judging panel will have five minutes to ask you follow-up questions about your business. This is a great opportunity to talk more in depth about anything you couldn’t fit into your 90-second pitch.

If you want to know what questions the judges are likely to ask, you’re in luck. You can read the most common judges’ questions in this post.

Yes! All pitchers will be offered a number of tickets for family and friends to join them, so your co-founder or team are welcome to come along too.

Please make sure they book a ticket in advance, as events do sell out and we may not be able to guarantee an extra space on the night.

Yes, they can. We know that co-founders have different specialisms and roles in a business, so we don’t expect you to answer everything yourself. If you’d like your co-founder to join you on stage for the questions, please ask them to come up to the stage right after your pitch.

We announce the winners of each event on the night. It’s usually about half an hour after the pitching finishes, which gives you plenty of time to network and enjoy some food and drinks.

We’ll upload all the pitches from each event to YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, and ask people to vote for their favourite. The pitch with the most likes will win the People’s Choice award and pitch at The Pitch Final as a wildcard.

To be in with the best chance of winning, we recommend sharing your pitching video across your social channels and encouraging your network to like the video. Human likes only please – anyone using bots will be automatically disqualified.


General questions about The Pitch

Will my idea and IP be protected?

Your application will be viewed by The Pitch team and panel of expert judges. If you make it through to the regional semi-finals, you will have to pitch in front of the other attendees and so need to be happy with your idea being made public.

However, you are welcome to leave out particular elements to keep your IP secure. To our knowledge, we’ve not had any issues with ideas being copied from events in the many years that we’ve been running them.

If you have any concerns or questions, please send an email to hello@thepitch.uk and we’ll do our best to guide you through what to disclose.

The Pitch was launched in Bristol in 2008 and has since grown into one of the UK’s biggest startup events.

Over the years, The Pitch has helped thousands of small businesses succeed (see some of our alumni here) and in that time we’ve done a fair bit of growing ourselves. Since starting as a traditional pitching competition, we’ve evolved into a complete programme of support.

The Pitch is produced by Inkwell, a Bristol-based agency. Inkwell helps companies create conversations with business owners.

We love to hear from founders who’ve taken part in the past. If you’d like to give us an update or have news that you want to share, please send an email to hello@thepitch.uk and we’ll be in touch.

We couldn’t run The Pitch without the support of our partners and all the people in our network that provide advice and content. It’s always amazing to see the level of support everyone’s willing to put into the event and we are incredibly grateful.

If you think you could help the competition or are interested in partnering with The Pitch, email chris@thepitch.uk or visit the Meet our partners page to download an introduction deck for the 2024 programme.

Get in touch

More questions? Get in touch!

We hope our answers give you an insight into how you can get involved with The Pitch, but if you’re still not sure, please use this form to get in touch or tweet @The_Pitch – we’d love to hear from you.