Launchpad start-ups Neap and MeatFreed are two of ten successful finalists at the SW Innovation Expo’s Pitchfest competition, which takes place on Thursday 14 October.

Founded by Patrick Huang and Mike Morris, MeatFreed is a digital platform for hyper-local audiences who are passionate about plant-based eating. The team will be presenting their start-up innovation to an audience of investors, business leaders and other entrepreneurs.

Patrick (left) and Mike

Patrick said: “We’re delighted to be shortlisted for Pitchfest. MeatFreed is a very early-stage start-up, so our selection is a great endorsement. We are excited to share our story to accelerate the adoption of the rapidly growing meat alternative or plant-based meat market by building a community of Gen Z, the most valuable demographic for brands including meat alternative brands. MeatFreed offers a new marketing approach for brands by creating hyper-local, passion-led opportunities to engage with Gen Z consumers.

“We would also not have achieved our traction and so quickly without our two key strategic partners, Launchpad and Falmouth University. Both Mike and I were amazed by the opportunities and the level of support offered by our partners and the overall Cornish community. With our focus on Gen Z and sustainability, our partnership with Falmouth University is critical to gain traction with students which is all aligned with Falmouth’s leadership in sustainability and creativity. We’re excited to share our vision to revolutionise how to generate deep engagement with a passionate community that translates into deeper value for everyone involved.”

Mike added: “Although we started only this summer, we are excited to share our traction and our plan for the next 12 months. In only a few weeks, we have gained more than 400 members who receive incentives to choose plant-based from our 30 partner restaurants and 60 plant-based brands. By participating in Pitchfest, we aim to increase our exposure as we start connecting with strategic partners and funders to achieve our ambitious expansion across the UK in the next two years.”

George Fry

Neap, founded by George Fry, is a mindful diabetes management platform that uses psychologist-approved techniques to help with diabetes-related stress.

George said: “Neap is delighted to be sharing our journey at Pitchfest and to be selected amongst such a high calibre of participants. The whole experience has been fantastic, with lots of valuable learnings delivered by the SETsquared team throughout the qualifying rounds. We’ve been lucky enough to have been supported by two innovation programmes here in the southwest, including Falmouth University’s Launchpad programme and Plymouth University’s EPIC2 challenge.

“Pitching at a regional business event like Pitchfest will provide an excellent opportunity to further our network in the southwest. We’re looking forward to showcasing our innovation and sharing how we plan to break down the psychological barriers to promote better adherence to diabetes self-management.”

The SW Innovation Expo, which takes place on Thursday 14 October at Sandy Park in Exeter, brings together innovators, entrepreneurs, businesses, academics and investors to explore cutting-edge technology developed in Devon, Cornwall, The Isles of Scilly and Somerset.