Motivated by last year’s success of the LSE Polish Business Society Start-up Challenge, we decided to further develop the initiative. This year’s edition, ł.pitch /ɛw/, aims to select, reward and help the best data-driven Polish startups to grow their businesses.
As a pioneer of the oil industry and the inventor of the kerosene lamp, Ignacy Łukasiewicz significantly contributed to the development of entrepreneurship in Poland. He was also an important social activist. His figure has inspired us to name our competition ł.pitch /ɛw/ in order to show that its mission is to promote entrepreneurship in Poland and abroad. Thus, we would like startups to exhibit not only innovative, but also, if possible, prosocial characteristics.
The first edition received vast support from the investors and aroused tremendous interest among startups, with over 75 applications from which 5 finalists were chosen to present their ideas at the LSE Polish Economic Forum (PEF) in front of investors and other professionals. Then, the jury, which included such renowned industry leaders as Sebastian Kulczyk, Krzysztof Krawczyk, Tytus Cytowski, Marcin Kowalik, Wojciech Szaniawski, Karol Górnowicz and Jan Habermann, questioned and assessed the finalists’ ideas in a Dragons’ Den formula, and awarded prizes including dedicated support from an experienced consultant from Bain & Company and a place in the finals of the CVC Young Innovator Awards competition. The competition attracted extensive publicity, with numerous articles covering the initiative and its winner appearing in leading media outlets such as Forbes and Business Insider.