Test Your Drink has made it through to the semi-final of the ‘VOOM 2016’ entrepreneur competition! Owner of the Derry anti drink-spiking start-up, Gary Bates, says Virgin Media Business confirmed the great news yesterday but they were bound to secrecy until today.


“We are delighted to be one of the top 20 in the Start-ups category – edging us closer to the £1million prize fund,” says Gary. “But it’s also a great achievement to get this far in itself, because ‘VOOM 2016’ is the UK and Ireland’s biggest and most valuable pitching competition.”


The top 20 start-ups were selected after 80 businesses pitched back-to-back to a panel of judges over the course of a gruelling 29 hour period, setting a new Guinness World Records title for the longest business pitch marathon. Businesses were selected based on their ability to solve a problem, competitive advantage, potential to shake up the market and profitability.


Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business said: “It was extremely tough to select just 40 businesses – the calibre and variety of all the pitches we heard was of a very high standard and gives us great confidence in the future of UK entrepreneurship. The adventure continues for a small number and I can’t wait to see who’s pitching to Richard and I on 28 June.”


The top 20 start-up businesses will participate in competitive workshops on the 13th and 14th of June, where we will be put through our paces to determine the feasibility, scalability and likelihood of success. The six businesses with the greatest potential will then be selected to pitch in the live finale in front of Richard Branson and his panel of expert judges; Tyra Banks, Sara Blakely, Marcus Butler and Peter Kelly. One winner will then be chosen……Fingers crossed, guys!