This Monday saw the fourth instalment of the Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace programme, where 15 budding business people make pitches to a gathering of investors in the hope of drumming up support and making connections in high places.

The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace to support Entrepreneurs with the amplification and acceleration of their business ideas by connecting them with potential supporters including CEOs, Angels, Mentors, and key Business Partners.

Also attending the venue at St James Palace with Andrew was Sarah, Duchess of York along with their daughter Princess Beatrice.

The programme has been described as a cross between successful television formats Dragons’ Den and The X Factor and in the last 18 months, it has helped generate £103 million of economic activity.

Turning The Palace Purple

Purple WiFi, were responsible for providing social WiFi connectivity on the day, in partnership with Cisco Meraki, who provided the hardware access points. Pre-event, the Cisco Meraki dashboard was configured by the Purple team before visitors arrived at The Palace, making for an easy install within minutes.

Thanks to both Purple WiFi and Cisco Meraki dashboards both being in the cloud, management and monitoring of the network during the event was also easy.

Surprisingly, total traffic for the event was 27GB (19GB down, 8GB up), which is relatively a high proportion overall – likely to be due to ‘cloud sync’ of photos.

We also saw 246 unique devices connect, with 60% of these being iPhones. If you add in the other Apple devices we saw on the day too, a total of 79% of the devices were Apple. 

The chattiest client was a laptop in the Social Media area which downloaded a 3.7GB software update. While Twitter was the 7th most popular destination, ahead of Facebook at #14

Winners all around

More than half of the entrepreneurs making pitches hailed from outside London, Prince Andrew told the crowd. He also added: “It shows that the ecosystem in this country as a whole is actually generating some very, very good ideas as a country and it’s irrelevant, to some extent, where your geography is.”

Pavegen, one of those entrepreneurial companies involved in the programme, makes floor tiles that convert the pressure from footsteps into green energy. Expected to be installed as a trial in Kensington Palace next year, its founder Laurence Kemball-Cook took the Duke for a walk over sample tiles at the reception.

He said: “The great thing about the Duke is he really does get technology, engineering and design.

“An entrepreneur speaking to a Duke may be slightly intimidating … but he completely understood what we’re doing and how it worked, and I could talk to him like I talk to a fellow technologist.”

The fourth round of Pitch@Palace was won by start-up Knyttan, which was co-founded by mechanical engineer Hal Watts.

The company aims to turn clothing into a digital product, allowing people to design their own garments.

Although the idea was previously knocked back by the Pitch@Palace events and the Duke said that was not a reflection on Mr Watts’s ability, but more to do with the sector in which he fitted.

He said: “It shows that if you keep on going, things will change.