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12 Hungarian Startups Proud to Pitch to a Prince

Incubators

Twelve startups had the opportunity to pitch their businesses to royalty and an influential audience of around 400 business people when the United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew, the Duke of York brought his Pitch@Palace concept to Hungary for the first time at the Pest Vigadó on September 11.

The dozen startups with the Duke of York (at center).

Pitch@Palace Hungary 1.0 (the naming convention suggest the intention already is that there will be more) was hosted by Design Terminal, which describes itself as the leading social impact incubator in Central Europe, along with its partners Századvég and Big Four consultancy KPMG.

The winner on the evening was GlovEye, a device intended to assist the blind and visually impaired by helping them read any printed text as brail. The runner up was CollMot Robotics, dedicated to breathtaking drone shows, with Cogito, a note sharing app focused on education, coming third and also named the Pitch@Palace Hungary People’s Choice Award. GlovEye will now go on to the third Pitch@Palace Global event at St. James’ Palace, London on December 12.  

Speaking at Vigadó on September 11, the Duke said, “This event is about showcasing Hungarian talent, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. There are huge benefits to learning and listening and hearing and working with entrepreneurs. It is an enormous pleasure to welcome these 12 entrepreneurial businesses into our program and I hope we will be able to help all of them in one way or another. We’re looking forward to helping these businesses over the coming months and years.”

The other participants were: Aeriu, which uses drones for inventory management; EVA Vision intended to assist the blind and visually impaired; Clavicont, finding methods for the early detection of the Parkinson’s disease; Hallid.AI, which can be used for e-sports training; Intellyo, an SaaS system for creating content at scale; OrthoPred, which uses AI diagnostic software to predict injury recovery times; Phonic Chat, an app for multidimensional social music production; Revealu, which maps your data footprint; and Walter’s Cube, a digital archive of art exhibitions using VR.

Amplify and Accelerate

The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace in 2014 to provide a platform to “amplify and accelerate” the work of young, innovative technology enterprises. Pitch@Palace has since grown into a global network which spans 53 countries across five continents, building access and connectivity around the world. According to the organization’s own figures, 95% of its 600 startups have survived, creating 2,314 jobs and more than GBP 600 million in economic activity.

Pitch@Palace not only provides a platform from which to pitch and creates a global network of companies, but also guides, helps and connects entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses with potential supporters. One of the most notable success stories from Pitch@Palace is technology business Magic Pony, which met its investors through the program. It was sold to Twitter in June 2016 for a reported USD 150 million.

Speaking after the event to a select group of publications that included the Budapest Business Journal, the Duke said: “This is about showcasing the talent and entrepreneurs that Hungary has, and to encourage another generation to follow on. This is only a start; it is a matter of being able to carry on that follow up activity. If we can support these business and create for them success, not just through events but through follow up – and it is just as important for the audience as well to be able to follow up –, then we can perhaps persuade the next generation… that ‘we can do this, because it is perhaps not quite as frightening as we thought’.”

Asked if he thought entrepreneurship, well established in the United Kingdom, was alive and well in Europe, the Duke was emphatic: “Oh, yes!” he laughed.  

“Certainly, nobody in Britain has what I would describe as cornered the market on entrepreneurialism. No, it is more about the culture and the education system. If the education system is culturally sensitive towards people thinking about entrepreneurship, then the sky’s the limit. And it’s not about teaching anybody how to be an entrepreneur, it’s about letting them live in a culture so some of the learning they do is entrepreneurial, some of the experiences they have are entrepreneurial, so that they learn about decision making, leadership, and understanding that actually starting a business requires people to work as a team. They may be slightly airy fairy, long-term grown up things to talk about, but actually you can do that in school very easily and it is not difficult to achieve that sort of culture whilst teaching them the normal day-to-day things that need to be taught.”

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