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Cumbrian startup reveals competition prize-winner

Pitch Fika 2017 finalists. Back (L-R) Yasmine Åkermark, Maureen Colohan, Harriet Chappell. Front (L-R) Noel Doyle, Tara Vallente
Pitch Fika 2017 finalists. Back (L-R) Yasmine Åkermark, Maureen Colohan, Harriet Chappell. Front (L-R) Noel Doyle, Tara Vallente

[T]he historic process of bartering is set to be given a 21st century revamp thanks to a Cumbrian startup.

Carlisle-based app and web development company Fika Apps announced the winner of its Pitch Fika competition and winner of a £20,000 prize fund on Wednesday.

Following a day of pitching to the judges at The Halston in Carlisle, it was Tibba, a London-based startup aiming to bring back the barter system, that secured the five-figure top prize.

Pitch Fika 2017 judges. (L-R) Jonathan Lowe (Fika Apps), Richard Rankin (Armstrong Watson), Vaughn Jones (Burnetts), Toby McCartney (MacRebur) and Aaron Gibson (Hurree)
Pitch Fika 2017 judges. (L-R) Jonathan Lowe (Fika Apps), Richard Rankin (Armstrong Watson), Vaughn Jones (Burnetts), Toby McCartney (MacRebur) and Aaron Gibson (Hurree)

Tibba is a peer-to-peer skill sharing platform that enables individuals and small businesses to exchange skills and services – from social media marketing to yoga training.

Yasmine Åkermark, founder of Tibba, said: “I am so excited to be the winner of Pitch Fika. This is exactly what I needed to take Tibba further.

“It’s game changing for Tibba. I’ve already got a lot of legal, accountancy and design advice so I’m really looking forward to working with the Fika Apps team.”

The five finalists from Carlisle, Keswick, Manchester, London and Northern Ireland, pitched their app ideas to the Pitch Fika judges which included Toby McCartney, CEO of MacRebur and winner of the Start-Up category in the Virgin Media Business VOOM competition last year.

Pitch Fika 2017 winner Yasmine Åkermark
Pitch Fika 2017 winner Yasmine Åkermark

Pitch Fika judge, and founder of Fika Apps, said: “Tibba is a fantastic app concept and Yasmine presented a very strong pitch.

“From the judge’s point of view it was the passion and the commitment to the way of life that shone through in her pitch.

“Overall the standard was extremely high and the judges were impressed by all five Pitch Fika finalists. All four of our runners-up will receive a share of the £100,000 total prize fund too. The Fika Apps team look forward to working with them all to take their app ideas to the next level.”

The competition opened in January and after closing in March, entrants were narrowed down to a shortlist of 25 before a panel of industry experts and innovators picked the finalists.

Sponsors of the competition include Hurree, the marketing automation platform for apps.

Rachel Davis, Hurree’s chief marketing officer and Pitch Fika panellist in the earlier stage of the competition, said: “The top 25 were brilliant. It was really good to see a wide variety of ideas. But congratulations to the top five. It’s a massive achievement to have got this far.

“I’d like to say good luck too. By getting to the final, each app has the potential to go further and the feedback the judges give will help to build an amazing end product.”

After launching in Dubai in 2016, Tibba successfully secured over £10,000 funding through a Kickstarter campaign in June. Tibba is in private beta testing in Dubai, Bali and Bangkok.

Maureen Colohan, Pitch Fika runner-up and inventor of The MindSlide™, said: “Close but no cigar. Yasmine Åkermark was a worthy winner with an app where people share their skills.

“The winner is a lovely girl and she’s asked me to coach her and she’s helping me with social media so it’s win-win. Well done to all the Fika Apps finalist. It was a joy to meet you.”

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