Innovating Incubation


Alina Bezuglova, Pitchswag

There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

So when your startup steps in to a crowded market, you run a real risk of being ignored. It’s why startups spend so much time differentiating themselves.

Enter Pitchswag in to the crowded incubator space. There are lots of them — in the big cities.

Based in the big city of London, Pitchswag beats overcrowding by running its operations online, and it claims to be the first online incubator.

It went from MVP to Beta in three months earlier this year, and it plans to launch in January 2015.

Pitchswag has already raised £120,000 (€153,000 or $191,000) and secured sponsorships from three Fortune 500 companies. It has also partnered with f6s to run a pitch competition in the New Year to coincide with its launch.

Thanks to coverage in The Huffington Post and Techmash, Pitchswag already has 3,000 applicants signed up, according to founder Emin Can Turan.

There is a “huge market gap” for Pitchswag, he said. Just 9% of global startups get the benefit of incubation guidance and funding.

“The idea is to be game changing,” said co-founder Alina Bezuglova. Another twist on the incubator idea adds crowdsourcing financial, product, marketing and other advice, she said.

Funding need not be raised in one fell swoop either, Bezuglova said. It can be done according to project milestones.

The team has also identified another improvement in every startup’s routine: the pitch competition.

Pitchswag has decided theirs won’t be a winner-takes-all affair. Eleven startups will be invited to compete but the prize fund will be divided among the competitors based on how well they do in an audience vote.