Meet The Pitch 2021 Judges

Every year, we invite an experienced team of entrepreneurs and industry leaders to help judge The Pitch. They provide advice and feedback to the finalists and ultimately choose The Pitch 2021 champion.

Our judging panel this year includes business leaders who’ve grown startups into global businesses, active investors and sector specialists. Keep checking back – new judges will be added over the next few weeks. 

John Stapleton, entrepreneur and investor

After founding his first business while studying at university, John Stapleton now has over 30 years of experience in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) businesses.

Starting with New Covent Garden Soup, John has since built several consumer-led businesses around the globe, including Little Dish.

To find out more about what investor John looks for in businesses, check out our interview with him, covering what he looks for in startups to invest in, how he got started and tips on pitching for investment.

We’re excited to announce that he’ll be on the judging panel for The Pitch 2021.

Simon Squibb, entrepreneur, investor and mentor

Simon is the Chief Purpose officer at The Purposeful Project. Created in October 2020, it’s an online platform and a podcast to help and inspire everyone to create their own job, by starting their own business.

His goal in life, after nailing his own success is to help entrepreneurs for free – and after completing several multi-million-pound exits and investing in over 60 companies, we think he’s the man for the job. His mission is to help 10m people start and grow a business of their own and never feel alone doing it.

Simon has been a huge supporter of The Pitch, is an all round great guy and savvy businessman.

Recently, Simon recorded a video for us, with questions he wants to know the answers to from startups that pitch to him. You can test your pitch by answering questions from Simon and other investors here.

Tersha, winner of The Pitch 2021 and cofounder of Terrible Merch

Tersha Willis and Jack McGruer founded Terrible Merch in 2016 after running a fashion brand together. The pair realised that there was a lot wrong with music merchandise and, if they applied their knowledge from the fashion industry, they could build a viable business.

Winning The Pitch has been a confidence boost and helped open up doors for Tersha.

“Winning has broken down barriers in that people who wouldn’t speak to us before are now speaking to us. It’s a phenomenal thing – it gives you confidence going into these meetings because they know you’re going to deliver something that’s award-winning,” she said.

Terrible Merch turned over £1millon last year and works with huge music acts. Having been through the process, we knew Tersha had to be part of the judging panel this year.

Check out this video from Tersha on how The Pitch changed her business and why you need to enter today.

You can also hear more about her journey from her recent appearance on The Millennial Entrepreneur Podcast here:

And last, but not least, this is The Pitch that won Terrible Merch the competition in 2020…

Darren Westlake, cofounder of Crowdcube

Darren cofounded the incredible funding site Crowdcube. Crowdfunding platform Crowdcube believes in “Funding the Wonderful”, supporting entrepreneurs who dream big, push at the edges and want to challenge the status quo.

Crowdcube has helped over 1,300 high growth businesses successfully fundraise, including The Pitch alumni like Small Robot Company and Rockit, and more than £1bn has been invested on the platform to date!

After judging in 2019, he’s back to impart some of his priceless wisdom in the 2021 final.

Stay tuned for further judge announcements…

If you want the chance to be mentored by these amazing judges, then what are you waiting for? Apply for The Pitch 2021 below. It only takes 10 minutes!

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