Welcome to the Venture Catalyst Challenge 2020 Grand Final

Innovation is what the Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC) is all about! So when COVID-19 disrupted our plans for this year’s Grand Final, we set to work to design something new.

Welcome to the all new VCC Grand Final ūüĎᬆ

Back in March, after an intense 7-week programme of workshops, mentoring and business coaching, 25 teams, divided into 5 themed tracks, pitched to expert panels in the track heats. The winner of each track was awarded £10,000 and competed in the Grand Final in June to win the £20,000 Grand Prize.

You can view all the finalist pitches here. The winner has been decided by our judging panel.  

March also saw three other teams awarded the competition’s Sponsored Prizes: the Social Impact Prize and the Moonshot Prize. You can view their pitches here.

However it‚Äôs not been all up to our judges, we’ve also asked¬†YOU to vote for¬†your favourite non-finalist team to win the ¬£500 People‚Äôs Prize. 813 of you voted, thank you!

Finally our IVMS mentors selected their favourite finalist pitch and awarded them a £500 bonus prize and time with our headline sponsor Blenheim Chalcot.

And the winner is…

Find out the winners of the Venture Catalyst Challenge 2020! Mark Onyett, Partner at Blenheim Chalcot, announces the Mentor Prize. Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost of Imperial College London, announces the People’s Prize and the Grand Final Prize Winners.

Grand Prize

Sponsored by

The Shellworks


Instagram: @theshellworks

Mentor Prize

Sponsored by

Salty Co


Instagram: @saltyco.uk

People’s Prize

Sponsored by



Twitter: @treeconomyltd

The judges

Professor Ian Walmsley

Provost, Imperial College London

Ian Walmsley is Provost of Imperial College London, UK, and Chair in Experimental Physics. His research in optical science and technology ranges from ultrafast optics to quantum information science and
he pioneered quantum photonics for sensing, communication and simulation. He was the Director of the Networked Quantum Information Technology Hub (NQIT). He is a member of the Leadership Team and 
Management Board of the Quantum Computing & Simulation Hub (QCS). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Optical Society (OSA), the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics.

Mark Onyett

Partner, Blenheim Chalcot

Mark is a partner at Blenheim Chalcot, the UK’s leading digital venture builder. With portfolio sales of over £400m, 3,000 employees and a portfolio value in excess of £1bn, Blenheim Chalcot has a successful track record over the past 20 years of incubating, launching and growing 42 companies across Software Platforms, IT Services, FinTech, EdTech and Media. Blenheim Chalcot now has a strong international presence with offices including London, Nottingham, New York and Mumbai. Mark studied Manufacturing Engineering at Cambridge University and helped lead Capital One’s UK team prior to co-founding TDX Group with Blenheim Chalcot which was sold for £200m to Equifax in 2014.

Heather King

Medical Technology & Life Science Executive

Heather King is a Medical Technology and Life Sciences Executive with an MBA from Durham University, leading and supporting boards and senior management in medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to grow organically, merge or acquire new ones, or spin off companies. Proven experience working with universities, venture capitalists and contract research organisations and providing expertise in strategic planning, corporate development, business development, market intelligence and investor relations. She has led start-up companies as Executive Chair from the early start-up phase, fulfilled roles as NED in a number of spinout companies and held corporate development roles in international companies, such as Roche and IQVIA.

Rakhi Rajani

Chief Digital Officer, Genomics England

Rakhi works at the intersection of psychology, emerging technology and design. She has extensive experience observing how people behave, monitoring the world for weak signals, patterns and drivers of change, subsequently creating normative or exploratory futures that lead to innovation in new products, services and business models. Rakhi has created award winning experiences and identified new commercial opportunities for industries spanning health, aerospace, urban planning, hospitality and mobility. She has tackled questions such as how we personalise healthcare, how we transform cities to encourage different social behaviours and how we create new civilisations across planetary boundaries.

Gemma Bloemen

Chief Operating Officer, Elder

Gemma is the Chief Operating Officer at Elder. She graduated from Yale University after leaving her hometown of Utrecht, Netherlands. Gemma then worked as a Strategy Consultant for McKinsey & Company before getting her MBA at INSEAD. In 2014, she joined Uber where she managed a variety of operational teams as Senior Operations Manager and co-chaired the Women of Uber resource group before joining Elder in early 2018. At Elder, she leads the Carer Operations department, as well as being responsible for Marketplace balance and Clinical governance. She is part of the leadership team and helped the company raise its latest round of VC funding. She has an interest in all things tech, politics, workplace diversity and is a dedicated foodie.

The finalists

The five teams below are the winners of each of the five Venture Catalyst Challenge tracks. In March they were each awarded £10,000 at the track heats. Now they are going head-to-head for the Grand Final Prize of £20,000. The prize will be awarded by our judging panel and announced here on 26 June. In the meantime you can view their pitches below.



Bia Care is a platform that supports women during menopause by connecting them with clinicians of different specialties through virtual group consultations. Watch presentation

Salty Co

Salty Co

Salty Co is the first ever freshwater-free fabric, using salt-resistant plant fibres to create woven, non-woven and stuffing materials. Watch presentation



Hippocampus is a virtual reality platform for anyone who needs help with their memory. Watch presentation

Third Eye Intelligence

Third Eye Intelligence

Third Eye predicts the risk of organ failure in Intensive Care Units, with an eye for simplifying data, patient triage and higher survival rate. Watch presentation

The Shellworks

The Shellworks

The Shellworks creates sustainable packaging from seafood waste. Watch presentation

The Sponsored Prize winners

In 2020 we introduced two new sponsored prizes to the Venture Catalyst Challenge: the Social Impact Prize: celebrating a team making the world a better place, and the Moonshot Prize: celebrating a team challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries of innovation. These teams were awarded in March and you can view their pitches below.

Social Impact Prize


Sponsored by



Twitter: @recycleye

Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/recycleye


Social Impact Prize


Sponsored by

Tempo Market


Twitter: @tempo_market

Instagram: @tempomarket.official

Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/tempo-market

Moonshoot Prize


Sponsored by

The Tyre Collective


Instagram: @thetyrecollective


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