[Dave Birch] You know we like to try something new every year at the Digital Money Forum. As part of the 13th Forum in London on 10th-11th March 2010, we’re going to have a kind of talent show for entrepreneurs and inventors with new ideas in the retail electronic payments field. It will be called “The Dragon’s Factor’s Got Talent” and will involve a number of people making “elevator pitches” of 10 minutes each with no slides, sprinkled throughout the two days. At the end of the Forum they will then be “judged” by a panel comprising an entrepreneur, a VC, a business person and a payment expert. The panel will award a prize to the pitch they think most likely to succeed as a business, the audience will award a prize for the best pitch. The attraction, (I hope) for the contestants is that if their ideas are any good, they will get attention from people who can make them happen. So we’ll have fun, we’ll see some new ideas and perhaps see a new business launched.

We’ve already had our first contestant confirm, and that was after a mere mention of the idea in passing, so I think we may end up having too many contestants. Hence, if you’re going to be in London on 11th March 2009 and you’d like to present your idea for a new retail e-payment product or service to a distinguished panel, get your “application” to me as soon as possible and we’ll choose a somewhere in the region of six to eight shortlisted pitches. If you’re chosen for the shortlist, we’ll even cover a room for the night at the conference hotel so that you can stay and join in the fun.

I’ll make sure that the short list of contestants will be notified a month before the Forum so they’ve got plenty of time to make sure that their IP is protected appropriately, hire a top-quality coach to hone their presentation skills (no slides, Powerpoint, flipcharts allowed) and refine their pitch to ensure success. And remember: if you really do have a good idea, there will be plenty of people in the audience, not only the judges, who could help you to turn it into a big business. The panel will be.

Entrepreneur Alex van Someren, one of the founders of NCipher, sold to Thales in 2008 for a large amount of money.

Businessperson Sandra Alzetta, Senior VP Innovation and New Product Development at Visa Europe.

Venture Capitalist Jof Walters of Shilling Investment.

Potential customer Alasdair Gray of the British Retail Federation.

There will, of course, in true Consult Hyperion fashion, be a prize, but real prize will be the opportunity to showcase your startup to an informed audience that may well include just the kind of angel, VC or next round investor that you are looking for!

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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