Held recently at the exclusive Le Méridien Ra Beach Resort and Spa in El Vendrell, just an hour’s drive south of Barcelona, the White Bull Pathways 2017 event proved to be a spectacular success for iNovar EMEA Limited. We proudly scooped the prestigious Bully Award 2017 at the gala dinner which ended this 3 day event.
Flying to Barcelona on Sunday my adventure started at Gatwick with a mix-up over dates on my flight out. However, thanks to some excellent customer service from EasyJet (how often do you see that sentence!), I was re-booked and managed to catch my intended flight.
I had booked a hire car via an outfit called Firefly at a steeply discounted rate of only €0.83/day and expected to find that I’d hired rent-a-wreck but was pleasantly surprised with the zippy little Fiat 500 I drove down to El Vendrell – the toll on the motorway turned out to be more than it cost me for 4 days car hire!
Monday morning saw me renewing my acquaintance with the organizers of this highly regarded event, Farley Duvall and the ever gorgeous Elizabeth Perry. It was then a deep dive into an all day session (called the Bullpen) which took myself and other selected startups through a high intensity session on improving our pitch. The advice provided to all was sound and based upon years of experience as this was the 7th anniversary of the event. The coaching helped the participants to hone their pitches down to stay within the allotted pitch time.
The event proper opened on Monday evening with a networking cocktail party held on the roof of the Conference Centre. With a backdrop view out over the infinity pool where the waves of the Med crashed onto the beach outside the hotel, there was ample opportunity to forge new connections as well as renew old ones before heading off to prepare for the following 2 days.
Tuesday started with a motivational session led by Mats Venndahl, a well known coach and motivational speaker who started his address to the assembled audience of startups, investors, media folks and VC’s with the instruction “Follow me to the beach!”
There, with our toes sinking into the warm sands of the El Vendrell beach listening to the waves rolling in, Mats had us all concentrate on focusing our attention on listening as a precursor to the various speeches and pitches we were about to give and receive. Everyone joined in and the water for those of us who insisted on trying it was delightfully warm.
However, after this delightful introduction, it was soon down to business and during the course of the next 2 days we sat in on sessions from well know VC’s such as Neil Dempsey from Bay Partners, Oriol Juncosa from Encomenda, Karen McCormick from Beringea, Hussein Kanji from Hoxton Ventures, Nick Gainsley from Kreos Capital, Jason Ball from Qualcomm Ventures, Blair MacLaren from Active Venture Partners and GP Bloodhounds, Joy Sioufi – all extremely interesting and thought provoking stuff.
Interspersed with these were the 5 minute pitches given by the selected startups, iNovar included, to compete for the Bully Award 2017 as well as the 3 minute pitches given by those taking part in the White Bull equivalent to Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank known as the Bull Market where startups were either given the thumb’s up or down by a panel of the VC’s mentioned above as well as specialist such as Daniel Kahn of RedBridge Law or Peter Finnie of GJE Intellectual Property.
More networking over dinner that evening resulted in yet more contacts being made and then it was into the final day with more sessions, more pitches and more Bull Market contenders.
Finally all of this culminated in a gala dinner at the magnificent Summarroca’s Heretat Sabartés Estate which is one of Catalunya’s premier wineries (see below).
I was delighted and honoured to receive the Bully Award 2017 on behalf of iNovar to the applause of all the new friends I’d made over the previous few days!
So armed with a bulging contact book, lots of newly distilled wisdom and an award trophy that BCN airport security insisted on checking I set off from warm sunny Barcelona to rainy Gatwick with a resolve that should we be fortunate enough to be invited again to the White Bull Pathways event in future, we take the whole team!