News article

We say #HelloDetroit with Richard Branson

This week we’ve been working together with Virgin StartUp and Virgin Atlantic on a truly unique assignment – at 36,000 feet above the ocean.

Three lucky entrepreneurs won the chance of a lifetime to discuss their fledgling business ideas with Richard Branson on Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight from London to Detroit.

We were commissioned to dispatch presenter Steven Lamb and a film crew to the Motor City to produce a film about the three-day transatlantic event.



Glow Away’s Charlotte Cramer plus George Edwards, founder of Gas Sense, and Sam Morgan of Paria had launched their initiatives through Virgin Start-Ups, who recently announced a £750,000 loan funding partnership with, our funding platform.

They had been invited to join the assortment of invited guests and press on board flight VS107.

The enterprising trio also had the opportunity to face an expert business panel, featuring Seachange and Crowdfunder founder Rob Love.

He was joined by Rapha trading director Tom Wood and Julie Dean, founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, who also made the 8,000-mile round trip.

On this occasion Rob arrived wearing his hat and explained how the number of businesses turning to the crowd, for funding to turn ideas into reality, is booming over on our crowdfunding platform and shared his invaluable experience with the young entrepreneurs.

“As a huge advocate of Great British business, Crowdfunder is delighted to be working with Charlotte, George and Sam as they all look to develop their business further,” he said.

“We’ve helped projects on Crowdfunder raise the funds that they need to expand. With the combined commitment to British business from Virgin Start Up and Crowdfunder, they are all in good hands for brilliant business expansion advice and enterprise growth.”



Richard Branson also hosted a reception with business leaders from Detroit before heading up an ‘Ain’t too Proud to Pitch’ event – the US equivalent of the Pitch To Rich campaign he launched recently here.

“These three companies are fantastic examples of British businesses looking to make their mark on a global scale,” he said.

He added: “I’m looking forward to working with Charlotte, Sam and George to help develop the next stage of their business plans.”

“Detroit is a city ripe with start-ups and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to gain great business advice and build their understanding of the US market and how their business could expand there. It’s set to be a great trip!”



We’ve worked of course with Steven Lamb many times down the years, most recently on our River Cottage Food Tube and our Crowdfunder LIVE projects, but this brief was altogether different and it came with its own challenges.

“It was a unique opportunity – there was so much going on all the time it was difficult to know which way to turn!” he said.

“The best thing we could do was focus on the objectives of the three young entrepreneurs and then capture the advice from each of the leading business mentors.

“The fact that the first time they all came together was 40,000 feet up in the air sat around a champagne bar was a little strange but the gravitas of the advice brought it together.

“We had to work fast and adapt to the constant stimuli surrounding the trip but it is to the testament of everyone including Richard Branson, who gave us complete access and spoke openly; which made it a piece about inspiration in business and getting to the next level.” 



Read more:

• Start-up advice at 36,000 ft with Richard Branson (via
Inside a Virgin Atlantic inaugural flight (by Steven Lamb, for


In pictures: