Two Northstar Ventures backed tech companies have progressed through to the next stage of a Royal competition.

Brand Ami and TryLife were voted through to the bootcamp stage of the Pitch@Palace 7.0 competition at an event at the Sunderland Software Centre last week (Wed 18).

Pitch@Palace is an initiative set up by The Duke of York to guide, help and connect entrepreneurs with potential supporters, in order to accelerate and amplify their businesses, and has helped over 247 businesses grow to date, with some now enjoying huge global success.

Businesses developing solutions or services in the ‘Human Tech’ space were invited to apply to pitch at the Pitch@Palace On Tour event at the Sunderland Software Centre, with 14 selected to pitch to Prince Andrew for the opportunity to make it through to the final stages of the competition at St James’s Palace in April.

The audience and a panel of judges voted through three companies to progress onto the Pitch@Palace bootcamp, with Northstar Ventures backed Brand Ami and TryLife securing two of the winning votes.

Brand Ami is an innovative child safety solution founded by mother of one Ami Davis.

‘My Little Explorer’, is a ‘smart’ wristband that links to an app on a parent’s smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Technology, giving parents control over monitoring their child’s whereabouts in crowded public spaces, with the option to set boundaries, awareness and time to react before their child goes past their boundaries.

In 2015 Brand Ami received £60,000 of investment from Northstar Ventures through the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund to finance a suite of prototype products.

TryLife, the Newcastle-based company behind an interactive soap opera received £145,000 of investment from Northstar Ventures in 2012, and has since grown an audience of over 5 million people.

TryLife allows users to shape the storyline, helping young people to evaluate and understand the impact of issues such as drug use and violence, with plot routes based on real statistics and data.

Michelle Cooper, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures, said: “We were really pleased to see our investees shine in the Pitch@Palace competition and wish them all the best for the bootcamp.  We would also like to thank Sunderland Software City for inviting us to be involved and hosting the successful event.”

Realrider, an industry-first app for motorcyclists that detects if a rider has had an accident and notifies the Emergency Services of the rider’s location, secured the final vote.

The three companies will now attend the Pitch@Palace 7.0 bootcamp at The University of Nottingham in March ahead of the final at St. James’s Palace on 25 April.

Billy Webber, COO of Sunderland Software City said: “We are delighted to have hosted HRH The Duke of York and Pitch@Palace On Tour.

“The standard of entries was exceptionally high, and the event has been an inspiring demonstration of the creativity and innovation of the tech sector in the North East of England.

“We look forward to seeing the winning businesses progress onto the bootcamp and final stage of the competition.”