The BioEscalator hosts the annual Pitch Battle competition to provide a platform for its resident companies to practice their investor pitches in a competitive yet supportive environment. The primary goal of this event is to help these budding entrepreneurs refine their pitches and receive valuable feedback from a panel of industry experts. Over the years, the event has showcased the impressive breadth of groundbreaking work carried out within the facility.
The Pitch Battle format
Participants were tasked with delivering compelling presentations covering key aspects of their ventures, including the unmet need, the solution, the competitive market, the timeline and milestones, the team, risks and mitigations, and investment requirements.
The presentations were followed by a Q&A session with the expert panel, allowing for deeper insights and clarification of various aspects.
This year’s judging panel
Cathy Gouveia - COO, MoA Technology
Cathy has wide experience in operational and strategic leadership, scientific project management, and health and safety. She has worked in Agrochemical, Biotech and Pharma sectors and co-founded and established from the ground up a proteomics-based CRO. She holds an MBiochem and a DPhil in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford.
Donmienne Leung – Director, Abbvie Ventures
Donmienne is a strategic thinker and a passionate drug hunter with decades of experience in pre-clinical research, where she delivered valuable clinical assets to treat the unmet needs of patients. She broke boundaries to stride the interface of small molecule chemistry and biologics research with a collaborative mindset to connect scientists in her expanding network worldwide.
Emilie Syed – Investment Manager, Parkwalk Advisors
Emilie joined Parkwalk from Oxford University Innovation, working in the Investments Team and leading the Startup Incubator, managing over 80 projects and companies from inception to exit. She moved into technology transfer after 14 years as a research scientist, directing pioneering experiments in systems neuroscience in Oxford, Bordeaux and Hamburg. Emilie holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Hamburg and an MBA from Warwick Business School, specialising in Strategy and Finance.
Claire Shingler – Business Manager, BioEscalator
Following an academic career in chemistry and cancer research, culminating in postdoctoral work in a joint-venture biotech startup at the University of Edinburgh, Claire’s career has focused on multidisciplinary team management in the biomedical and university sector. Formerly Head of Strategic Intelligence at an Oxford-based pharmaceutical consultancy company, Claire joined the University of Oxford in 2008, working in research and departmental management in Experimental Medicine and Oncology. Claire took up her role in the BioEscalator as it opened in September 2018.
Pitch Battle 2023 awards
The BioEscalator Pitch Battle 2023 winners were selected based on their exceptional performance in specific areas. The award categories were:
Best Pitch: Awarded to the company that delivered the most compelling and persuasive overall pitch. The coveted title went to Bioarchitech for its exceptional presentation.
Best Speaker: Recognising the individual who demonstrated exceptional communication skills and captivated the audience, Andreas Halner from Oxford Cancer Analytics was acknowledged as the Best Speaker.
Best Scientific Explanation: Given to companies that effectively conveyed complex scientific propositions, Alethiomics and Oxford Silk Phage Technologies both received this award for their exceptional explanations.
Small but Mighty: This category celebrated the smaller, recently established companies that delivered outstanding presentations. Evolvere Biosciences impressed the judges and took home this award.
Most Likely Future Unicorn: An accolade for the company that showcased the greatest potential for becoming a future industry unicorn. Orfonyx was the standout choice for this title.
Most Impactful Visuals: This award recognised the company that creatively utilised visuals, videos, graphics, and demonstrations to make their presentation highly impactful. Hutano Diagnostics secured this award for its visually impressive pitch.
Most Mentions of the BioEscalator: Hutano Diagnostics, an exceptional performer, also earned recognition for repeatedly highlighting the role and support of the BioEscalator in their pitch.
A resounding success and a showcase of excellence
The event was undoubtedly a resounding success. All participating companies exhibited remarkable passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to their respective projects. The event provided a valuable learning experience for the participants and was a testament to the innovation and scientific brilliance thriving within the BioEscalator community.