A local startup is $100,000 richer after the Rise of the Rest pitch competition with AOL Founder Steve Case, held May 6, 2015. Eight companies vied for the big check, but fundraising solution Bidr took it home on the heels of taking home more than $10,000 from DIG SOUTH just a few days earlier.
Here’s how the day started:
A sign reading “It’s a great day in South Carolina” hangs above the USS Yorktown as hundreds of people file inside, eager to see which local startup will win a hundred grand.
First is an interview session hosted by the Harbor Entrepreneur Center’s Patrick Bryant with Case and Governor Haley. The Founder of AOL spoke about his journey building one of the most successful startups in history, the investment bankers that didn’t believe in him, and the fact that AOL was originally called Apple before someone else claimed exclusive rights to it. He also spoke about the city of Charleston in a private chat with Silicon Harbor Magazine.
“I think there’s an opportunity to move beyond mostly tourism, to startups and entrepreneurship [in Charleston],” said Case. “The sense I got was people really recognized that and wanted to rally together to not just help individual entrepreneurs but really build an entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Governor Haley talked about ways to encourage entrepreneurship in South Carolina. Keeping taxes low, keeping regulations slim to none, and making sure opportunities and incubators stay available are ways to do that, the Governor said.
“Charleston is a perfect example of getting all of that together,” said Haley. “But the beautiful part is we’re seeing all that in other parts of the state too.”
That’s when things got fun.
Dynepic, Good Done Great, Eatabit, Bidr, Charleston Gourmet Burger, Open Angler, Bublish and Echovate go head to head, presenting their business plans to Case, other judges, and a crowd of spectators. Five of the eight companies were graduates of the Harbor Entrepreneur Center.
After their presentations, each startup withstood a question-and-answer session with the panel of expert judges. After deliberating, the judges decided that Bidr was most deserving of the prize.
“We liked the diversity of the team. We liked the fact that they identified a problem that hadn’t been solved—and had a product to solve it—and we liked the fact that they already had some initial traction to show that this really was resonating with a market,” said Case.
Bidr designs software that helps event organizers raise money easier. It only takes a few moments to create an event, then you’ll have access to a custom dashboard where you can add auction and raffle items, track your tickets sold, as well as text your attendees outbid notifications, auction results, raffle winners, payment confirmations and more.
“I’m probably the most surprised in the room,” said Sam Staley, the company’s CEO and Founder. “We absolutely believe in Bidr, but there were some really awesome companies here today, and we’re just so excited to be a part of those guys and the community.”
Watch the recap video of the Rise of the Rest action with Steve Case interview: