Food on the go company impresses investors to triumph at Venturefest

Ugot's Joe Carnell was chosen as investment champion.
Ugot's Joe Carnell was chosen as investment champion.
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A company that promotes healthy food on the go has been chosen as this year’s winner of the Venturefest Yorkshire Investment Competition.

Ugot, which has two stores in York and Newcastle, impressed a panel which included investors from Innovate UK, Exolta Capital and Silicon Valley Bank. They will now receive a prize package from local businesses worth £49,000.

Ugot director Joe Carnell, who is just 21, was commended for his confident pitch. He fought off stiff competition from seven other start-ups. They included Tickx, whose mobile phone app pulls together event tickets from a number of ticket platforms, and Luminescent who have invented a car security system that flashes ‘STOLEN’ if the car is taken illegally.

The Investment Competition had a record number of entries this year, with a combined investment of more than £13m. Each of the eight finalists was offered mentorship by Growthfunders, an online co-investment platform connecting high growth businesses to investors, run by Growth Capital Ventures.

Norm Peterson, chief executive at Growth Capital Ventures, chaired the contest. He said: “The standard of competition was really high, and there were a couple of very strong performances that clearly connected with the judges and investors in the room.”

A prize package worth £13,000 was also awarded to Rowena Johnson, whose BugBrush invention was designed to combat tooth decay in children. The product took eight years to develop and bring to market, and is now sold in JoJo Maman Bebe stores across the UK.

Venturefest attracted more than 1,000 delegates to York Racecourse, where they had the chance to take advantage of free business and legal advice, networking opportunities and seminars.

The keynote speech was delivered by Lee Strafford, former CEO of PlusNet, who urged digital businesses in Yorkshire to work together to reach new global technology markets.