Some of you might have seen the invitation I received to go to St. James’ Palace from HRH The Duke of York. Here’s how it happened:

It all started off with the UK government’s infamous Pitch 10 competition that resulted in the accidental leaking of 600+ email addresses. Some startups I spoke to were annoyed that the Pitch 10 companies who were selected were much more advanced, and some of those who entered thought it was only for startups.

Being entrepreneurial, I of course took advantage of the situation and told some of these upset founders that I would setup a website called Pitch11.co, where they could pitch me their startups in 11 words or less, and if I liked it, I would put their startup on the website. It even got a brief mention in Mike Butcher’s article about Pitch 10 on TechCrunch. I was then inundated with emails from entrepreneurs who wanted to be on this list.

And suddenly, it happened: I saw an email in Pitch 11’s mailbox with the subject:

“THE DUKE OF YORK”.

At first glance, I thought it was fake; why would the Duke of York’s office email me? But no, this was the real deal – the Duke of York’s secretary had emailed Pitch 11 to ask how the Duke of York could support the businesses listed on there.

In August 2014, my company, giftgaming was named Duke of York Entrepreneur of the Week – which probably helped my application when I applied to Pitch@Palace, as they knew who I was, and what my company did.

And now I’m pleased to say I am invited to attend St James’ Palace. And there is no doubt there will be some highly successful, influential and highly-connected people there, and I am incredibly grateful to have been invited by HRH The Duke of York, and to his special advisors who have helped organised Pitch@Palace.