Posts Tagged Georgia

Pitch Circus 2018 by the numbers

There’s so much more cooking in Savannah than butter at Paula Deen’s.

By the turnout at the annual Geekend conference put on by my friends at The Creative Coast this past weekend — and in particular to Pitch Circus, the venture pitch event held on Day 1 of Geekend — the digital and tech startup scene in Savannah is one that you’re going to want to put on your radar.

Green Badger wins Pitch Circus 2018

As the ATDC Startup Catalyst in Savannah, I’m extremely proud of the companies that presented and applied to present at this event. Getting up and presenting the merits of your business to 200+ people, 6 judges and to countless people online is no walk in the park.

Here’s quick look at Pitch Circus 2018 by the numbers:

5,500 dollars in cash given to the winner

1,500 dollars in in-kind services

4 sponsors (City of Savannah, Foram Group, Mallabo Communications, HunterMaclean)

1 winner: Green Badger

35 companies applied representing 3 states (Georgia, South Carolina and Texas)

6 companies presented

6 different industries represented

4 companies went through a pitch off for the sixth and last spot at the event

6 judges including 1 venture capitalist

1 emcee (Cindy Hill of Georgia Public Broadcasting)

1 fireside chat (with Mary-Cathryn Kolb, CEO of brrr°)

200+ in attendance

57 mentions in the media

500 views of the Facebook livestream (click image below)


Facebook livestream of Pitch Circus 2018

The only number that really matters is 1.

In my five years in Savannah, much has been said about the lack of integration and growth of the tech ecosystem within the broader business community. But, on Friday night I didn’t see that. I saw a single community with people from every nook and cranny of the area rallying together to support one another.

You did yourself proud, Savannah. Thank you for letting me play a small part.

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Is Savannah the next start up city of America?

When anyone considers coming to Savannah, Georgia for a visit or for work, it’s not for the abundance of game changing start ups. Yet.

Since leaving my last ‘real’ job I’ve jumped back into hanging out with a small, determined group of startups that call the Hostess City of the South home. Quickly, I’ve come to see that there are seeds in place that could add ‘entrepreneurship’ to the list of attributes when thinking of Savannah.

At the Aetho ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate its move into the Creative Foundry, I was invited to moderate a panel with founders from Aetho, Tour Buddy, The Quick it App and Oak.Works to discuss all the elements needed to build a great start up community.

And, in case my questions aren’t so audible here are the notes I was reading from on my iPad. I didn’t get to ask all of them, but maybe next time…

Questions for panelists:

1 – I’ve looked at each of your backgrounds and you’ve each come to Savannah for various reasons. None of you are native to the area. So why Savannah and why found and keep your company here?

2 – There’s a quote that has gotten a lot of mileage over the years about starting the next Silicon Valley:  “Take one part and two parts venture capital and shake vigorously.” What is your reaction to that? Is it over simplified and if its on mark where do you think we Savannah is on that path?

3 – When I launched my last start up (may it RIP) finding partners, vendors and talent of any kind to work at break neck pace, all hours of the night and on a start ups budget was a constant challenge.  Is it something you are facing and if so, how are you getting past it?

4 – Each of your companies has some kind of technology focus — as you continue to grow how to you plan to keep in front of the need for more technology talent?

5 – Are the regional and local universities providing enough talent into the start up community and if not, what more do you think we/they can do to make that happen?

6 – As a Savannah start up, what advice would you give someone who is in the crowd today considering
There’s an adage that you don’t want bureaucratic investors in the early rounds of a start up — how

7 – Do you ever think — hey why don’t we just up and move to the Valley or other community where there are bigger and more established start up infrastructure?

8 – If there was just ONE thing you can have more of here in Savannah that would make growing your company easier or faster what would it be?

The point that Tristan and the others made about the City of Savannah needing to get behind the startups in town is bang on. Hot shot designers coming out of SCAD don’t want to work in tourism or for the port — they want to be self made entrepreneurs.

If Savannah doesn’t get behind them by investing in the infrastructure to incubate their companies, they will continue to put the city in their rear view mirrors when they graduate.

– Jose Mallabo


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