Watt announced the shortlist in a social media post on LinkedIn yesterday (Wednesday 3 May).
From food products, to booking apps and protective phone cases, to engineering and laundry products, the list includes a diverse range of business.
Flex-Hex, a sustainable packaging brand, eco fashion brand Ocean R and wine brand Nouveau Wines were also named on the shortlist.
Watt said in his social media post: “We received more than 750 applications and I was blown away by the quality of the applications – shortlisting down to 20 was incredibly difficult.”
The list will now be reduced to the final 12 businesses, who will be invited to an in-person pitch in London later this month.
Watt’s LinkedIn post continued: “All the applicants, whether they make it to the final stages or not will receive a copy of my book, Business For Punks, some BrewDog vouchers and an invite to an online Q&A with myself and other leading entrepreneurs.”
Launched earlier this year, Watt teamed up with funding platform Crowdcube with a view to find the “next billion-dollar company”.
New investment model
Seeking start-ups with the Crowdcube model, Next Unicorn allows the public to invest in firms under the same terms as Watt.
Crowdcube described Next Unicorn as a “new investment model for the 21st century”, while Watt stated it aimed to “disrupt the investment model and make way for the next high-growth businesses to thrive”.
Three winning companies will be flown out to Las Vegas for an all-expense-paid trip will also be guaranteed at least £100,000 of investment each.
A further investment of between £500,000 and £900,000 will then be invested across these businesses.
Watt said: “I’ve got a lot of experience and skill. I want to take everything I’ve learned and help someone else on their journey to do exactly the same. This is my $5m search for the next billion-dollar company.”