‘Dragons’ Den without the nerves’ joins crowdfunding space

New website www.pitchfor.it will offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to attract potential investors by uploading video pitches. SmallBusiness.co.uk talks to founder Peter Hart.

How did you get the idea?

I had been on Dragons’ Den looking for finance for a separate business and I was offered investment, but the whole experience was a nightmare. These programmes are often a caricature, they mock companies rather than help. I came up with pitchforit, an online platform where people can look for funding in a relaxed, friendly environment and not be ridiculed for it.

Overall, I wanted to create a service that made it easier for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to potential investors and mentors.

How did you raise money and market it?

It was £50,000 of my own savings. On the marketing side, we appeared at the Olympia business show last year which was well received. We’ve just taken on a PR company too. We’re still in our launch period now but the initial reaction has been great so far.

What’s the revenue model?

It’s free at the moment, but it’ll be about £49 to upload as many pitches as you like. For about £70 we’re going to create animated videos for people who perhaps don’t want to appear on camera, and we’re hoping to have a group of mentors you can have live chats with for a nominal fee.

What’s different to the other crowdfunding operators?

We’re going for the mass market. Most crowdfunding businesses have relatively few pitches on their sites, but we want to get to a stage where there are up to 300 pitches on the site at any one time.

How will crowdfunding sector develop?

I think the industry will see massive growth in the next two years. However, a lot of legislation needs sorting out. Whatever replaces the FSA will have to look at regulation. In the US they are starting to see some new laws; people are trying to find ways of taxing the industry.

Crowdcube just recently got FSA regulation and more will. The more people that get involved in crowdfunding the more accessible they’ll have to make it on the compliance side because to take two or three years to get through an application process for the FSA is ridiculous.

There’s a long way to go to make crowdfunding more visible. In this day and age it needs some sort of TV show perhaps that offers an interactive element. Something that offers features like people investing live over the phone or online, something which sees the average Joe given a chance to get involved. This is important because entrepreneurs 20 or 30 years ago were a certain type of person from a certain background, but now anyone and everyone is being encouraged to start a business.

Looking for finance? SmallBusiness.co.uk is working in partnership with trusted lenders to find the best business funding deals. Find out more here.

Ben Lobel

Delphine Hintz

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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