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Tuesday 24 July 2012

The UK & Europe Startup Competition Guide - 1st Edition

Note: We have an updated version of this database. The links and competitions listed here may be out-of-date.
In the last few days I have been asked several times how, in one week, we featured in both the Startups100 and the Pitch80 competitions as one of the UK’s most exciting, disruptive, and innovative startups. Here are my 3 (Flat-Club) rules for success:
  1. Always look for opportunities
  2. Apply on time
  3. Make a brilliant pitch!
I have already discussed the third point in an earlier post about how we won the 2012TechCrunch One-Sentence Pitching challenge, so this time I’ll focus on the first two points.
Finding opportunities and applying. Together with Chris Ramshaw from Flat-Club, we have built the most extensive and detailed database of competitions, grants, and prizes for UK and EU based startups. There are business plan competitions, awards, government grants, pitching opportunities and all the information you need to win!
Yes, we included the deadlines, requirements, and links as well – you just need to apply. This list contains 85 competitions, and links databases of many more. The prizes range from some good publicity and a couple of thousand pounds or some mentoring all the way to £1,000,000! Or for a very special prize, the opportunity to ring the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange. Each competition has its own merits, so pick what you think your business needs.
They range from Pitch battles to Business Plan Competitions and we've even included a section for social enterprise. There is also the link to the website for UK Government Grants which offers another source of funding. Get applying and good luck!

UK Competitions:

Business Plan Competitions

  • Competition Name: National University Entrepreneur Competition
  • Criteria: strong Students and Grads with a totally new idea.
  • Deadline: End of March
  • Prize: Investment Opportunities
  • Competition Name: Innotech Summit
  • Target: Seeking Seed/Venture Investment
  • Deadline: Beginning of April
  • Prize: £5K Mentoring and Support
  • Application: Enter a Business Plan then finalists Pitch.
  • Competition Name: Enterprising U
  • Criteria: Any Student or Grad from the last 5 years
  • Deadline: Mid June
  • Prize: 1st Prize is £25K, 2nd - £10K, 3rd - £5K

Social Enterprise

  • Competition Name: Richmond's Den
  • Criteria: Company earning less than £30K grants/annum.
  • Application: Describe your idea in 500 words, then finalists pitch
  • Prize: £10K Package
  • Deadline: Late June

Pitching Competitions

  • Competition Name: Orange Different Business
  • Application: Finalists Pitch to a panel of judges
  • Prize: Package of £200K
  • Deadline: End of March
  • Competition Name: The Pitch UK
  • Contest: 3 Minute Pitch
  • Prize: Package worth £50K
  • Deadline: May
  • Competition Name: Thinking Digital
  • Contest: 3 Minute Pitch to a panel of Startup Stars.
  • Deadline: Mid-Late May
  • Competition Name: DublinWeb Summit
  • Criteria: No more than 3 years old, no more than €5M revenue in the previous year, no more than €5M in funding.
  • Prize: Largest fund to date TBA
  • Deadline: End of July
  • Competition Name: Derry'sCulture Tech Festival
  • Criteria: Digital Business in Derry
  • Country: Ireland
  • Prize: £10K 2nd/3rd £5K
  • Deadline: Held at the end of August
  • Competition Name: Discovering Startups
  • Criteria: Technology Startup
  • Contest: Pitch
  • Prize: Package worth £2K
  • Deadline: Mid-November

Startup Awards

  • Competition Name: UCL Bright Ideas Awards
  • Criteria: UCL Students and Alumni
  • Prize: Share of £50K Funding
  • Deadline: Announced end of March therefore check early in the year
  • Competition Name: Market E-Test
  • Criteria: New Business Idea
  • Prize: Up to £1000 Market Research
  • Deadline: Mid-April
  • Competition Name: House to Home
  • Application: Download and fill in an entry form
  • Criteria: You must have a country based business
  • Prize: £6K of advice
  • Deadline: End of April
  • Competition Name: British Innovation Gateway
  • Application: Enter your idea online
  • Criteria: UK Based small businesses and startups with technology based prototypes/proof of concepts.
  • Prize: $200K Package inc. $100K Cash
  • Deadline: Beginning of May
  • Competition Name: Million Pound Startup
  • Criteria: Less than 10 years old, less than £1M Turnover, willing to relocate to London
  • Prize: £1M in equity investment
  • Deadline: 1st May 2013
  • Competition Name: Conservative Party Startup Hub
  • Criteria: Less than 2 years old, UK resident, Over 16 years old
  • Prize: TBC/Showcasing your business at the party conference
  • Deadline: May
  • Competition Name: Future 50
  • Application: 400-500 words on why your firm has outstanding potential
  • Criteria: Less than 4 years old, steady turnover and employment growth, innovative and disruptive
  • Prize: Media Coverage and Prestige
  • DeadLine: Published around the end of September – Get entries in over the summer
  • Competition Name: Startup Awards 2012
  • Criteria: Less than 3 years old
  • Application: Online form – 4 questions, answer all 4 for each of the 13 categories you are entering
  • Deadline: 14th September 2012
  • Competition Name: Shell LiveWire Grand Ideas Award
  • Criteria: Aged 16-30 – Open to international entrants
  • Prize: £1000 – Awarded Monthly
  • Deadline: Last day of each month
  • Competition Name: PEA Awards
  • Criteria: Demonstrating Sustainability
  • Application: 500 words
  • Prize: Prestige
  • Deadline: 24th September 2013
  • Competition Name: Competition Wayra UK
  • Criteria: Businesses in Cloud Services, Financial, Mobile, Digital/Video, E-Health, Social Networks, Internet and Mobile Applications and E-Learning. Open to International Entrants
  • Prize: €50K-€70K + Support for 10% Equity
  • Competition Name: Young Foundation Accelerator
  • Criteria: Businesses that have a positive social impact, are ambitious about growth and are able to demonstrate successful delivery in at least one location.
  • Application: Online application form at
  • Prize: Training and Support Package/
  • Deadline: 16th September 2012
  • Competition Name: Young Entrepreneurs' Challenge
  • Criteria: Businesses that have been trading for under two years and with a maximum of 20 employees or prospective start-ups with a credible idea and business plan that is close to maturity.
  • Application: A detailed business plan (no more than 10 pages).
  • Prize: £10,000 investment from the judges; £10,000 from Investec Specialist Bank; £5,000 of consultancy from creative agency Albion London; A year's free financial and tax advice from Berg Krapow Lewis; Profiling in the business pages of the JC and via its digital channels.
  • Deadline: 9 November 2012

Non-Entry Top 100's

  • Competition Name: Guardian - Top 20 Startups to Watch

Non-Government Grants

  • Competition Name: BT Startup Grant Competition
  • Application: Complete an online form with details of your business
  • Grant: Depends on your business

Government Grants

  • Name: R&D Tax Relief
  • Criteria: Fewer than 500 employees, less than €100M annual turnover, balance sheet no exceeding €43M
  • Application: Visit the website for more
  • Grant: For SME's 200% of R&D Tax Relief (Corporation Tax)
For a full list of all the Government Grants available visit:


Business Plan Competitions

  • Competition Name: BBVA Open Talent
  • Criteria: Tech, Innovation, Banking and Financial Services
  • Country: Spain
  • Prize: €100K for 10% Equity
  • Deadline: End of April
  • Competition Name: Arctic15
  • Criteria:Baltic and Nordic Startups
  • Countries: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
  • Prize: €15640
  • Deadline: 31st August 2012

Pitching Competitions

  • Competition Name: European Student Startups
  • Criteria: Only Students can enter
  • Prize: As much investment as you can get
  • Deadline: Late January
  • Competition Name: Le Web
  • Criteria: Received less than €1.5M in Investment, address consumer or business users, Launch at Le Web
  • Cities: London/Paris
  • Deadline: Mid-May – London/ Beginning December – Paris
  • Competition Name: Tech All Stars
  • Criteria: Less than 3 years old, less than $1M Capital
  • Prize: Exposure
  • Deadline: Mid-May
  • Competition Name: InnoPitch
  • Criteria: Under 36, EU Resident, Company no more than 18 Months old
  • Prize: Promotional Opportunities and Award
  • Deadline: End of May
  • Competition Name: MLOVE Confestival
  • Criteria: Raised less than $2M since previous January
  • Application: Online Questions followed by Presentation
  • Country: Germany
  • Deadline: Mid-June
  • Competition Name: SWITCH
  • Hosted by: Startup Pirates
  • City: Lisbon
  • Deadline: Being held 15th and 16th June
  • Competition Name: Tech Garage
  • Application: Elevator Pitch
  • Country: Italy
  • Deadline: Beginning of July
  • Competition Name: CleanTech Open Spain
  • Criteria: Less than $1M Private Investment, Less than 5 years old
  • Country: Spain
  • Prize: Package worth $100K
  • Deadline: Beginning of July
  • Competition Name: Webit
  • Criteria: EMEA Startup
  • Application: Apply Online
  • Country: Turkey
  • Prize: Worldwide Media Coverage
  • Deadline: Mid-July
  • Competition Name: PitchSlam
  • Application: Apply Online
  • City: Berlin
  • Prize: Tickets to the Tech Open Air Festival
  • Deadline: Being held on August 1st
  • Competition Name: European Pirate Summit
  • Criteria: Minimum Prototype
  • Prize: Free Web Hosting and More
  • Deadline: August 15th
  • Competition Name: MIPCube Lab
  • Country: France
  • Prize: Networking and Pitching to potential investors
  • Competition Name: European Venture Forum
  • Criteria: Must win regional version – Italian, Balkan, Nordic or Turkish.
  • Prize: €90K
  • Deadline: Varies by Region – See Below
  • Competition Name: Balkan Venture Forum
  • Criteria: Balkan Registered Company
  • Prize: Entry to European Venture Forum
  • Deadline: Held at the end of March so apply at least a month before
  • Competition Name: Nordic Venture Forum
  • Criteria: ICT, Life-Sciences, or Clean-Tech and Nordic or Baltic Headquarters - Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
  • Prize: Entry to European Venture Forum
  • Deadline: 5th October
  • Competition Name: Turkish Venture Forum
  • Criteria: High-Tech Turkish Entrepreneurs
  • Prize: Entry to European Venture Forum
  • Deadline: Held 18th October so apply at least a month before
  • Competition Name: Italian Venture Forum
  • Criteria: Italian Registered Company
  • Prize: Entry to European Venture Forum
  • Deadline: Held 13th November so apply at least a month before

Startup Awards

  • Competition Name: Lovie Awards
  • Criteria: Web Based, Created by a European Company
  • Application: Online Form
  • Prize: Media Coverage and Prestige
  • Deadline: Mid-July
  • Competition Name: Startup 2.0
  • Criteria: Video Gaming, Not older than 2008 and European
  • Prize: Prestige
  • Deadline: End of May
  • Competition Name: ICT Spring Europe
  • Criteria: Less than 3 years old
  • Application: Online Form
  • Prize: ICT Award – European Startup of the Year
  • Deadline: Not Given – Held in Mid-June
  • Competition Name: TheEuropas
  • Criteria: Formed in the Last 2 years, not taken Series B funding.
  • Awards: 13
  • Deadline: 7th October
For further EU startup events please visit:


Business Plan Competitions

  • Competition Name: Q Prize
  • Criteria: Less than $2M Funding
  • Regions: Held in 8 worldwide – Brazil, China, India, Israel, North America, South Korea, Eastern and Western Europe.
  • Prize: Up to $250K
  • Deadline: 17th August 2012
    Competition Name: Startup Open Criteria: Started trading from 22nd November 2011 - 21st November 2012 Prize: Conference Tickets, Mentoring Deadline: September 15th 2012

Social Enterprise

  • Competition Name: Global Social Venture Competition
  • Application: Enter a Business Plan
  • Prize: 1st £25K 2nd £10K 3rd £5K
  • Deadline: Join Mailing list for Notifications

Pitching Competitions

  • Competition Name: InnoTribe 100K Startup Challenge
  • Criteria: Financial Tech, Less than 3 years old and no more than $1M Revenue and Investment combined in the last year
  • Cities: New York, Belfast, Singapore
  • Prize: $50K Cash
  • Deadline: NY – Mid Jan, Singapore – End of March, Belfast – Mid May
  • Competition Name: Microsoft BizSpark Summit
  • Criteria: Cloud Based
  • Prize: $20K Seed Funding, $60K Cloud Benefits from Azure, Mentoring
  • Deadline: Mid-July
  • Competition Name: Amazon Web Services Startup Challenge
  • Criteria: Implemented AWS in your business – Hold an account
  • Application: Online followed by Pitch
  • Prize:$50K Cash + $50K Vouchers for AWS Links to compilations of US based competitions that already exist? Did we miss anything? Add your comments below.
  • Deadline: Not open yet but you can register for updates.

Startup Awards

  • Competition Name: TheCrunchies Awards
  • Application: Nomination
  • Deadline: End of January (For voting)
  • Competition Name: James Dyson Design Award
  • Criteria: Product Design or Engineering Students within the last 4 years
  • Countries: All
  • Prize: £10K for you and £10K for your University
  • Deadline: Early August

United States:

  • Competition Name: MIT100K - Consists of 4 contests
  • Competition Name: Business Plan Competition
  • Prize: $100K
  • Deadline: Mid-March
  • Competition Name: YouPitch
  • Prize: $5K
  • Deadline: Late April
  • Competition Name: Elevator Pitch
  • Criteria: Received less than $15K funding
  • Prize: Cash Prizes
  • Deadline: Mid-October
  • Competition Name: Accelerate
  • Criteria: MIT Student, received no more than $100K
  • Prize: $100K
  • Deadline: Early December

Business Plan Competitions

  • Competition Name: VentureLabs Investment Competition
  • Criteria: Entrance by Invitation Only or by winning one of several smaller local competitions
  • Prize: $135K Package
  • Deadline: End of March
  • Competition Name: NY Startup
  • Prize: From 1st - $15K up to 5th – $1.5K

2. Pitching Competitions:

  • Competition Name: TNW Startup Battle/Startup Rally
  • Criteria: Part of an accelerator/ Left one no later than a year before
  • Application: YouNoodle Questionnaire, Followed by Video Pitch, and then Comprehensive Interview
  • Countries: EU, Latin America, US
  • Prize: Prestige
  • Deadline: Europe – Beginning of March /Latin America – Beginning of July US – TBA
  • Competition Name: Funding Post
  • Prize: As much Investment as you can get
  • Deadline: Regular Event
  • Competition Name:Startup World
  • Criteria: Launched in the last 2 years, no more than $500K External Funding
  • Application: 10 Online Questions
  • Prize: Package worth $332K
  • Deadline: Unspecified
  • Competition Name: Launch: Silicon Valley
  • Criteria: Not been launched for more than a few months
  • Prize: $25K Investment and $75K of Benefits and Services
  • Deadline: Mid-May
  • Competition Name: Startup2012
  • Prize: $75K
  • Deadline: Early May

3. Startup Awards

  • Competition: NYSE Big Startup Competition
  • Criteria: Member of Startup America or EO
  • Prize: To ring the bell at NYSE opening
  • Deadine: Mid-April
For a list of competitions in the US please visit either:
or for a list of predominately University based competitions:
Did we miss anything? Please add more competitions in the comments and we’ll update the list.
Nitzan Yudan
Co-founder & CEO

Thursday 19 July 2012

Join The Club!

Want to make your flat posting more attractive? Hoping to rent out your property to someone you trust, allowing you to travel abroad with peace of mind that your flat is in safe hands?
Well, join the club! This is exactly what Flat-Club want and that is why we emphasise for you to become a part of your club(s) today – it’s free!

Joining a club is beneficial for both the host and the guest in several ways:

  1. Trust:

    Our research has shown that one of the primary foundations to trust is the sharing of common values or experiences. The ability, therefore, to rent out your flat to someone that went to the same university or worked in the same company as you, builds on this concept of trust. You are no longer just opening up your home to a stranger but instead to a friend or a friend-of-a-friend from within your professional or academic network. Joining your exclusive club allows you to immediately make the most out of the loyalty and ‘bond of trust’ that comes with shared values and a common academic or professional background.

  • Make your flat posting more attractive:

    We are proud of the way in which our company focuses on leveraging existing academic and professional networks to create trust and clearly you are too. Our research shows that being a member of a club is a particularly great way of making your flat posting more attractive. Club members are more likely to be drawn to the rooms or flats of other members within their same network. Joining a club also increases your ratings as a ‘trusted’ host, making you appear higher in search results. So don’t hide your top academic or professional background, make the most out of it to attract more people to your posting.
  • Networking:

    Renting out a room in your flat to someone from within your academic or professional background also provides the perfect opportunity for networking. Joining a club allows you to host a guest or a rent out a flat from someone that attended the same university or worked in the same business as you, immediately forging a link of common interests and shared experiences. The concept of club membership therefore immediately changes the focus of hosting and renting; no-longer does short-term accommodation need to be just a necessary place to sleep, it can be a means of getting to know your host/guest, learning about their experiences and comparing them with yours. In fact, many of our users have given excellent feedback about the way in which Flat-Club offers them a great networking opportunity to meet and chat with other alumni of their top university, business school or company.
  • Browse a greater variety of flat postings.

    Finally, some of our users choose to only share their rooms or flats within their exclusive professional or academic network. Therefore, if you are eligible to become a club member but you’re yet to join, you could be missing out on some great accommodation postings.

  • How to Join?

    It couldn’t be simpler:
    • Login to your account.
    • Select Join a Club tab on My Account and enter in the email address for your particular university, business school or company; you can join as many clubs as are relevant to you.
    • Verify
    • That’s it. You’ll then become a member and can start to reap all the benefits that come with being a part of our exclusive club network.
    To read more about how our clubs work, click here.

    Search for your club now, and request to add yours if it isn't on FlatClub yet!

    Friday 13 July 2012

    A Relocation Guide To Paris

    As part of our program to help you when relocating to a new city, we are launching today a relocation guide to Paris, written by the people who moved and lived there.

    Before you go

    • Make sure you have all required documentation, including visas, work permits, marriage certificates, driving licence and copies of past bank statements.
    • Brush up on your everyday French phrases – it’s not guaranteed that every Parisian can or will want to speak English with you!
    • Finding your ideal place to live in Paris is certainly no mean feat, so ensure to arrange short-term accommodation for the first few weeks following your arrival. It’s great to have somewhere comfortable to stay whilst you get to know the city and embark on your search to find more permanent housing.
    • Make sure you write down the address and the number of the district (arrondissement) of your accommodation – pronouncing a Parisian Rue with a good French accent is not an easy task and the taxi drivers don’t tend to wait until they understand you. Having a written-copy of the address to hand will make your arrival run that bit more smoothly…

    Finding a place

    • Walk around the different arrondissements, soak up their very diverse atmospheres and decide which area suits you (and your budget) the most.
    • Once you have chosen the arrondissement you want to focus on, you can begin the search for your ideal place to live. Visit as many estate agencies (agences immobilières) as possible, set up several house viewings and weigh up your options.
    • Have a look through local newspapers and magazines. There are always new properties available and it’s a great way to see what’s on the market and in your price range.
    • If you are not a confident French speaker, be sure to research some key French phrases or take a dictionary with you on the property viewings. You want to be in an able position to ask important questions, such those regarding deposits or agency fees, without any misunderstandings or confusion.

    Setting up a bank account

    • You will need plenty of paperwork when opening up a bank account. This could including any or all of the following documentation: passport/ID (often two different types), proof of address, health insurance confirmation, student status confirmation (if applicable), and work permit (if applicable).
    • Don’t rely on your account being open and ready to use straight away. In some cases you may have to wait for up two months before your account is activated and you can start to withdraw money. So, make sure you have access to other funds during your first few weeks in Paris.
    • Ask about account/withdrawal fees. Different banks offer different services so make sure you have a look around to find the best option for you.

    Health Insurance

    • Don’t underestimate health issues: get your health insurance before leaving. If you are a British citizen, make sure you apply for you EHIC card around 6 weeks in advance. If you come from outside the UK, research the best medical insurance package for you.
    • Keep your healthcare insurance documents safe – not having any medical insurance is illegal in France!
    • Once you are a French citizen, you are entitled to the same healthcare insurance as your Parisian neighbour. If you are working or a student, you most probably qualify for the state medical insurance, Securité Sociale. If not, there are plenty of services willing to inform you of the best healthcare insurance options for you (see the links below).
    Useful Links:

    Staying safe

    • Emergency number is 112
    • Shield your PIN at cash machines, avoid empty Metro carriages at night and never get in an unlicensed taxi (only use taxis with a roof-top sign saying ‘Taxi Parisien’).
    • Ensure your valuables are concealed from view when using public transport, or walking through a busy area.

    Travelling Around

    • Buy a detailed street map and walk! It certainly is one of the most scenic, healthy and environmentally-friendly forms of transport.
    • Buy a Velib pass and make the most of the abundance of public bikes in Paris. You’ll also get to know the city much better and much more quickly.
    • Buy a Navigo Pass if you need to use the Metro frequently – it can help save you a lot of money.
    • You can find Metro/bus maps in every Metro station (situated within about a 5-10 minute walk of each other).
    Useful Links:
    You can read a further extension of this guide as well as top tips from a local on the best places to eat, drink and shop in NYC.

    Need accommodation in Paris? Our free Expert Search can help! Give us the details of your trip and we'll help set you up with a great place to stay.

    Friday 6 July 2012

    Relax, Revitalize, Research in Rome: Something for Everyone

    Roman Retreat:
    Undecided about your travel destination this summer? Ever considered Rome? With Rome’s abundance of beauty, history, culture and sun, it remains one of the most attractive cities in the world. Whether you enjoy spending your time exploring museums, visiting the theatre, roaming through the streets or simply lounging in a café soaking up the atmosphere and sampling the local cuisine, Rome certainly won’t disappoint. The city is rich with antiquity yet breathes a young vibe; cultural artefacts and historical buildings inspire the mind by day while the lively piazzas are the perfect place to relax and enjoy an aperitivo at night. This summer, with so many exciting events taking place in Rome, we’re sure you’ll find something to tempt you to travel to the Eternal City.

    Here are our top Roman highlights for this July and August:


    Imagine listening to the finest Italian Opera singers or watching a first-class Ballet performance underneath the stars on a warm Roman evening as Teatro dell’Opera relocates its shows to the open-air ancient ruins of the Baths of Caracalla this summer. What could be more relaxing than that? If pop concerts are more to your liking, there is no shortage of famous voices taking to the stage this July and August in Rome. The Cure, James Morrison, Paolo Nutini and Morrissey are among many others performing in Rome this summer. This broad variety of musical entertainment perfectly complements the diversity of Rome’s culture and history.
    Useful Links: Teatro dell'Opera


    The many Roman festivals that take place during the summer months bring to life the art and culture of this historic city. Whether it is watching a dynamic dance show in the squares of Rome, sampling local artisan foods and wines or enjoying the open-air cinema on Tiber Island, the Roman festivals offer it all. Some key festivals to look out for include Estate Romana which runs from 16 June until 28 September and brings to the city a whole variety of exciting events, from jazz concerts and art exhibitions to dance performances and writing workshops. Expo Tevere is an authentic arts and crafts festival which runs throughout June and July and is the perfect place to purchase traditional Roman gifts.The Gran Ballo di Ferragosto is held on Assumption Day, August the 15 and brings together the Roman community in a lively celebration of energetic dance shows and a great concert held in the Parco Archeologico of Teatro Marcello.
    Useful Links: Estate Romana, GoItaly


    Interested in digging up the past? For the first time ever, the Vatican has opened its Secret Archives. This summer you can read through some of the most fascinating documents in history, including letters from Henry VIII regarding the dissolution of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the abdication of Queen Christina of Sweden and the 1521 decree excommunicating Martin Luther. Just head to the Musei Captiolini from Tuesday to Sunday and you can make the most of this fantastic opportunity to delve into the past.
    Useful Links: Vatican Secret Archives

    Where to stay?

    As always check our website to find the best deals for short-term accommodation. Click here and start searching for rooms and flats in Rome. Or take advantage of our Expert Search, a free 'matchmaking' service for guests to find perfect accommodation & hosts.

    Buon viaggio!