Voom Judges Announced As Entry Deadline Nears

30 Apr 2018 | 09.30 am

Voom Judges Announced As Entry Deadline Nears

Dublin software startup Cleverbooks still leading the Irish entries

30 Apr 2018 | 09.30 am

The expert judging panel for Voom 2018 has been announced, as the May 8 deadline for entries to Virgin Media’s business competition nears.

The judging panel includes Richard Reed, founder of Innocent drinks, serial entrepreneur and TV presenter Sophie Morgan, Tropic Skincare founder Susie Ma and Virgin Media Business’ MD Peter Kelly. They will join Virgin founder Richard Branson and bring their business expertise to the Voom 2018 judging panel.

Virgin Media ratcheted up its Voom competition for 2018, adding new categories and catering for bigger businesses. The Voom 2018 competition culminates with a live business pitch to Richard Branson at the final in London on May 23. A total prize fund worth more than €1m is up for grabs.

Sir Mo Farah, the UK’s most successful distance runner ever, Director of Going the Extra Mile at Virgin Media, will presenting the winners with a special award on the day.

Irish applicants to this year’s competition are already holding their own, with more than 15 entries from Irish businesses so far. Irish business, CleverBooks, which produces educational texts that use augmented reality, is leading the Irish charge and is currently in second place overall in the Small Business category.

As well as cash prizes, entrants can win an out-of-home advertising campaign from JCDecaux and a first-stage funding programme from G by Grant Thornton.

This year’s competition comes with a number of new business partners, including PayPal, Crowdcube and PwC. The 2018 Voom is opening up to more established small and medium-sized businesses, as well as to startups, with two entry categories: Scale & Grow and Spark & Start-up.

Existing partner Crowdfunder.co.uk will again provide entrants with the option to run a crowdfunding campaign alongside their pitch entry. In 2016, Voom entrants raised over €4.4m in crowdfunding during the public voting process.

Last Year, Coroflo, a Dublin-based medtech firm that has developed the world’s first accurate breastfeeding monitor, was crowned winner of the Dublin Voom Pitch Tour heat, walking away with €6,000 and a lunch with Richard Branson.

In 2016, Irish startup FoodCloud reached the final pitch of Voom, finishing in second place. That secured the company €25,000, a Virgin Media Business broadband package, mentoring and brand support.

Paul Farrell, vice president of commercial at Virgin Media, said that Voom 2018 is giving many Irish businesses the chance to showcase their idea, location and elevate Ireland’s creative business sector. “We really want to see an Irish company make it through to the finals and are asking the people of Ireland to vote for the company they think should get through,” he continued.

“It is an amazing opportunity and past entrants will tell you that first hand.  We would encourage anyone with a great idea to enter now at virginmediabusiness.co.uk/voom.” The application process remains open until 8 May 2018.

Entrepreneurs entering the competition need to be aged over 18, living and working in the UK or Republic of Ireland, and have a business that employs 250 people or fewer.


Photo (l-r): Sophie Morgan, Richard Reed, Susie Ma and Peter Kelly

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