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Innovators attending Venturefest South could share in a new £40m fund from Dstl

Gareth Miller

Gareth Miller

Managing Director

Published Thursday 14th March 2019

Venturefest South 2019 has announced an additional fund of £40m pledged by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) for innovators attending the event, taking place on 29 March at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

The south’s innovators, entrepreneurs and investors come together annually at Venturefest South to showcase their latest technology, share thinking and to explore new ideas. The interactive one-day event features talks, seminars and workshops and valuable investor pitching sessions, as well as demonstrations of the latest technology and innovations.

Gary Aitkenhead, Dstl Chief Executive said “Venturefest South is a terrific opportunity to meet potential suppliers and explore ways we can work together. We’re especially interested in companies which have not traditionally worked in defence but have specialist expertise and fresh ideas. SMEs need rapid decisions and it can take as little as a week for a new supplier to be approved.”

Chris Allington, Chair of Venturefest South said: “Venturefest South’s importance has consistently grown year on year to become known as a major driving force behind the region’s innovation economy. This announcement of the £40m fund from Dstl represents a major addition to the already substantial range of existing opportunities available for innovators and investors at the event. We believe the best deals being done on 29 March will be at Venturefest South.”

Last year Connell McLaughlin, then a first-year Aeronautics and Astronautics student at the University of Southampton, pitched his new application, Route Reports, to several investors. Four investors each pledged £100,000 towards his business.

Connell McLaughlin added: “I had a stand in the Young Entrepreneurs Zone and pitched at the Open Mic event. Venturefest South was great and since then Route Reports has gone from strength to strength - the company is now based in San Francisco with a valuation of $2 million. Venturefest South was a really useful event for both pitching and making contacts and I urge anyone with an innovative product, service or even an idea to attend the event, you can’t help but be inspired to do great things.”


To find out more and to book tickets visit: www.venturefestsouth.co.uk.

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