Life changing, and even life saving start-ups, are among the firms chosen to pitch at the final of a business competition led by the Duke of York.

The 12 finalists will present in front of an audience of powerful mentors, investors, partners and influencers at the Pitch@Palace 7.0 final at St James's Palace on 25 April.

Since the initiative began in 2014, the scheme has helped 247 businesses, creating 637 new jobs which has generated £246m of new economic activity. 

One of the most notable stories is technology business Magic Pony. The founders met their investors at a Pitch@Palace event and in 2016 the company was sold to Twitter for a reported $150m.

The theme for the 2017 competition is human tech with all of the businesses focused around how technology can disrupt and improve our everyday lives.

The 12 finalists are:

  • BLINK: Humanising Autonomy: A communications device that redefines the relationship between pedestrians and self-driving vehicles
  • BrainwaveBank: A neuroscience platform that takes sophisticated brain imaging out of the lab and makes daily in-home brain health monitoring accessible to everyone
  • Caervest: A quantum leap forward in life saving medical tech that has already saved lives by providing ultra-early powerful cooling to heat compromised patients in remote locations
  • CENTURYTech: A company that uses AI technology to engage learners with a personalised learning experience, whilst empowering educators with real-time data insights
  • Desolenator: A clean technology with the potential to affect the lives of millions by transforming seawater or contaminated water into low cost drinking water using solar power
  • Limitless Travel: An app is harnessing the power technology to make the world accessible to all. It is their mission to revolutionise travel for people with disabilities.
  • OpenBionics: A company that creates smart prosthetics for children with limb differences to transform them into their favourite superheroes
  • Oxford Heartbeat: Technology that makes cardiovascular surgery more accurate and safe, enabling clinicians to rehearse surgeries to choose the best option for each patient
  • SafetyNet Techologies : Technology for fishermen that can lower by-catch by 90%, saving fish, helping fishermen, and protecting an increasingly essential food source now and for the future
  • Smartify: An app that uses advanced image-recognition and Augmented Reality to help people make meaningful connections with art
  • Tech Will Save Us: A digital toolkit that allows adults and children to build tools that help kids to make, play, code and invent
  • TryLife: A platform that creates interactive films, allowing users worldwide to make life choices on behalf of film characters and see the consequences of their actions

The Duke of York said: "I am immensely proud of the achievements of the entrepreneurs in the Pitch@Palace 7.0 programme.  

"In less than three years, there have been over 500 pitches at events all over the UK and they have shone a light on the diversity and imagination across the country, clearly demonstrating that pursuing an idea or dream can be realised with knowledge and determination."

Wes Sugden-Brook, founder of Drenched and winner of Pitch@Palace 6.0, added: "The Pitch@Palace process enabled me to meet some incredible mentors whilst making connections that I simply couldn't have envisaged a year ago, all of whom are going to have a genuine impact on the growth of Drenched over the next few years.

"I wholeheartedly wish the Pitch@Palace 7.0 entrants the very best of luck and, if I could pass on any advice from my own experience, it would be: Embrace your mistakes as they'll help to shape what's next; have an unwavering belief in yourself and others will follow; and finally, just have fun! The journey you take will undoubtedly be tough, but that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable."

The 12 companies are also among a group of 43 competing for the Pitch@Palace People's Choice Award. See the entries and vote here.

Enterprise Nation will be attending the Pitch@Palace final on 25 April. Look out for our live updates on Twitter.

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