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Special Item: The Dragons’ Den

Thu 03, 05 2018

In the ever more rapidly changing world of broadcast and media technology, never has timely innovation been so crucial to success. Recognising this, IABM introduced a vibrant new strand at this year’s conference – the Dragons’ Den. Three entrepreneurs were given five minutes each to pitch their latest ideas to a panel of experts – and the audience. Three high quality presentations made it a very close contest – with Dr Rob Oldfield of Salsa Sound the eventual winner. Here’s what the contenders pitched and their comments.

Dr Rob Oldfield, Co-Founder and Director, Salsa Sound

  • Please give us a summary of what you were presenting at the Dragons’ Den

    I presented innovative broadcast tech startup Salsa Sound that I co-founded in July 2017. My presentation at the Dragons’ Den covered how we are making Quality and Efficiency improvements in the broadcast audio production of live football through our automated and augmented mixing technology. I also highlighted how our patented technology can provide useful metadata for other parts of the broadcast chain. I communicated this by having three footballs on stage representing the three ‘goals’ of our technology (Quality, Efficiency and Data), kicking each into a pop-up goal on stage when summarizing my points at the end of my presentation.

  • Based on your experience at the conference, what advice would you give to other people presenting their ideas in a Dragons’ Den?

    Keep it snappy and to the point and try and stick within the five-minute limit, be confident and engage with the audience.

  • Is the experience different from presenting your ideas to potential buyers – and if so, how?

    It was different pitching to a larger audience and really good practice to only be given a strict five-minute time limit. I focused more on the broad-brush aspects of the technology rather than the commercial model details. It was also different to talk to the Dragons and the audience at the same time, knowing there were some difficult questions coming from the former at the end of the pitch!

  • What would you change if you were to present at another Dragons’ Den?

    I would probably reduce the amount that I tried to share so I was not rushing so much at the end. You don’t have to communicate everything, just enough to get everyone excited about it.

  • Finally, what were your top takeaways from other sessions at the IABM conference?

    I found the conversations/sessions around the move to IP and remote production really interesting. I was also inspired by René’s motivational keynote and what it is to be a leader through culture and finding your ‘spike’.

Ian Sharpe, CEO, Promethean TV

  • Please give us a summary of what you were presenting at the Dragons’ Den

    The Promethean team has created and wholly owns a platform that delivers interactive overlays into any live and on-demand video. Powered by Promethean, any broadcaster can serve intelligent commerce and engagement opportunities to viewers in real time.

  • Based on your experience at the conference, what advice would you give to other people presenting their ideas in a Dragons’ Den?

    Erm – prepare for things to go wrong? Seriously, know your material inside out. So when things go wrong – through tech hiccups or errant questions, you can pivot and proceed.

  • Is the experience different from presenting your ideas to potential buyers – and if so, how?

    Yes, it’s a five-minute affair as opposed to hours of meetings, business plans and due diligence.

  • What would you change if you were to present at another Dragons’ Den?

    Set up time so plug-and-play is a reality… Get real investors from VCs as Dragons, people used to putting money where their mouth is. Remove the audience vote – they aren’t investing.

  • What were your top takeaways from other sessions at the IABM conference?

    Dragons’ Den format was a great change of energy, and a welcome format change from ‘death by PowerPoint’.

Neil Anderson, Director, NMR

  • Please give us a summary of what you were presenting at the Dragons’ Den

    I was pitching the Realtime Content Analysis and Processing (ReCAP) Project – an EU funded, consortium led, Machine Learning software product development. ReCAP analyses live video feeds and batch processes existing video and audio content, to automatically identify faces, logos, objects, Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and on-screen text extraction (OCR), to aid fast turnaround production workflows, improve QC, compliance and rights management challenges and for archive content metadata enrichment.

  • Based on your experience at the conference, what advice would you give to other people presenting their ideas in a Dragons’ Den?

    Practise your five-minute pitch – it’s over before you know it! Do try and show off your product if possible. Try and finish with something memorable for the voters to remember you by.

  • Is the experience different from presenting your ideas to potential buyers – and if so, how?

    Absolutely, Machine Learning is a new and interesting subject to almost everyone we speak to and there is plenty to discuss, which takes longer than five minutes!

  • What would you change if you were to present at another Dragons’ Den?

    I’d make sure I got to show off the product, before running out of time!

  • Finally, what were your top takeaways from other sessions at the IABM conference?

    I really enjoyed the conference sessions – especially the B2B technology sales training session – it was an interesting day overall.

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