Entrepreneurs on shortlist to pitch business ideas to Richard Branson


The race is on for two start-ups both hoping to secure investment from Virgin boss Richard Branson after being shortlisted for his Virgin Media Buisness Pitch to Rich competition.

Teenage brothers David and Jason Lipowicz, who launched a website business from their bedroom, and entrepreneur Brad Frankel have been selected as two of the final 50 competitors from an original entry of 1,000.

David, 19, and Jason, 16, launched their website TeamTourist after going on several family cruises.

The website is aimed at cruise passengers and allows travellers to find and book local tour guides at each of the destinations the ships visit.

David, who studies at University College London, said: “I’ve been making websites since I was 12. I learnt by watching videos online and practising myself.

“We thought, wouldn’t it be good if passengers could go online and book tours directly with the guides, cutting out the middle man.”

Jason said: “It’s great working with my brother, we have different ideas and we bounce back and forward all the time, sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t.

“I’m the calm one.

“It is great to be selected this far and I’m confident we have a chance.”

Brad Frankel made the shortlist for his company, Flooglebinder, a tour operator that combines adventures and education.

The 31-year-old, who is a keen Maccabi League footballer, said: “My idea is to create tours that are educational, unlike other travel adventure companies; we offer tours that tie into the national curriculum.

“It is for parents who want a holiday that will help the kids, or schools and universities, who want to offer a trip that links to the national curriculum.”

If Mr Frankel and the Lipowiczs make it through to the final stage of the competition in June, they will have the opportunity to pitch directly to Mr Branson, with a potential £1 million of investment money to win.

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