Guest blog Start-up

Jisc/Emerge Start-ups Programme Pitch Day

Introducing Michael Murdoch of The House, a key contributor to the Jisc/Emerge start-ups programme with a guest blog:



By Michael Murdoch, CEO of The House –

The Panel:

  • Emerge: Nic Newman
  • The House: Michael Murdoch
  • Jisc:  Paul Feldman, Jon Tucker, Phil Richards & Pete Scott

The Startups:

  1. Aula is a communication platform dedicated to education
  2. Hubbub builds a culture of giving in universities, making alumni, student and staff fundraising fun, engaging and inclusive
  3. Lumici halves the time it takes to plan lessons
  4. Vineup nurtures a culture of alumni volunteering
  5. Bibliotech is the Spotify for textbooks.
  6. Wildfire have created the world’s first AI content production tool that creates online content in minutes not months

The Process:

  • Each team had 10 minutes to pitch, followed by 10 minutes of questions from the panel and 5 minutes of questions from the audience in the room.
  • The panel de-brief then agreed to assess each startup based on the following questions…
    • Is Jisc interested in pursuing further?
    • What does Jisc want to offer them?
    • Is Jisc able to assist further with the startup needs?  

In March 2017, the shortlisted startups attended Digifest in Birmingham to pitch their ideas to the panel.  This was the start of their journey to join the latest cohort of the Jisc/Emerge Startup Programme.  After a long day of pitches privately to the panel, the teams had the chance to pitch to the attendees of Digifest in the main hall and encounter their fate via an online voting system. The six teams named above were chosen to complete the programme starting in May 2017.

Throughout the programme the energy was high, with in person workshops every other month, online discussions monthly, weekly check-ins, monthly deliverable report and six specialist sessions for each venture on subjects like brand, tech, SEO, growth, UX and UI.  It’s all part of the startup journey helping each team develop their ideas, test out their hypothesise and grow as organisations.

On Friday 24th November, months of hard work for each team culminated with a 10 minute presentation and time for questions from the panel and the room.  It was a chance for the startups to show their progress, refine and test their offering and to pitch for further support from Jisc.  Each team did brilliantly, keeping their presentations succinct and to time with plenty of questions flowing from the panel and audience in the room.  Of course, some were more challenging than others, but this was the point, helping the startups further strengthen their proposition so they are ready for sales, partner or investor presentations in the future.

The panel reviewed all pitches after the morning and afternoon sessions and had a difficult time making their selection.  After much discussion the feedback was collated and will be shared with the teams in the coming week.  

On a personal note, it’s been a pleasure to support the Jisc Startup Programme again this year.  From initial selections to the final pitch day, it’s a joy to see the teams develop over the course of the programme taking on ideas and thoughts from a range of practitioners who have the experience and knowledge to fast-track their progress. I look forward to being involved for the next cohort in 2018 too

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