DIG SOUTH 2016: 10 Powerful Things To Expect

Just days away from kicking off, DIG SOUTH 2016 is bound to pack a punch — whether you’re a burgeoning entrepreneur or an investor looking for the next best thing the digital South has to offer.

On April 26- 28, the South’s entrepreneurs, investors, techies and creatives will romp through downtown Charleston for the region’s biggest interactive festival with #POWER being the overall theme.

Here’s what the 2,500 expected attendees, 650 companies and over 200 presenters can look forward to at this year’s DIG SOUTH:

1. HEAVY-HITTING HEADLINERS

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Listen in on Peter Kafka of Re/code’s LIVE interview with returning serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk on Leadership, Social Media and Self Awareness. Then meet Gary himself at his exclusive book signing event.

Hear what USA Today tech columnist Jefferson Graham says it takes to make it in the New Old South, and learn from other #POWERhouses including Paul Singh of 500 Startups, Chris Heivly of Startup Factory, Cofounder of Yik Yak Brooks Buffington, President of Sharp Electronics Doug Albregts, Pulitzer Prize winning tech journalist Steve Lohr and many more featured speakers.

2. EVEN MORE CHANCES TO PITCH

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Twelve early to growth stage startups will pitch their companies to top-shelf investors, judges, presenters and attendees at Wild Pitch.

The reigning Wild Pitch champs Bidr are taking this year’s pitch competition up a notch with ChargeUP a Startup – the world’s first live, crowdfunded pitch contest. “Through ChargeUp, DIG attendees can contribute directly to the prize and vote on a ‘People’s Choice winner through an exciting, gamified experience at the event,” DIG SOUTH organizers say.

But that’s not all — witness greatness in the making at the Cohort 5 pitch, where eight startups with the Harbor Entrepreneur Center’s Accelerator program will present in front of a live audience.

And get this — at Reverse Pitch, CIOs, CTOs, CISOs and CEOs will pitch to problem-solving entrepreneurs, startups and potential new partners (YOU!).

Not signed up for a pitch event? Your next business partner, investor or mentor could be sitting right next to you at these events happening on DIG VENTURE & DEMO DAY.

3. POWERFUL SESSIONS

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Experience powerful sessions and panel discussions on venture capital, entrepreneurship, connected devices, data and analytics, digital advertising, innovations, social good, branding and workforce development. Learn social strategies from Snapchat celebrity Shonduras, see the power of data in storytelling with Hubspot marketing VP Meghan Keaney Anderson and representation in media with Google Play’s Kamala Avila-Salmon and much more from 200+ presenters.

4. PARTIES ON TOP OF PARTIES

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Let loose at DIG. The festival kicks-off with the Upload Shindig, where you’ll be able to enjoy brews, bites, and bumping music by Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics. The Sync Up Shindig at Mercantile & Mash’s Cedar Room will feature live tunes by Major & the Monbacks, and more food and beverages, of course. The festival finishes strong with closeout parties at the Good Bye Bash and DIG SOUTH Finale.

5. MAKE YOUR NEXT DEAL

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Get the content, contacts and capital you need with investor and mentor office hours in addition to the chance to mingle with startups, investors and entrepreneurs at the Investor Bash.

6. MEET UP, POWER UP, REST UP

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Scared you’ll have too much fun? Don’t worry — there will be several spots to chill out and power up. Play ping pong at the Q Ping Pong Lounge by Qonceptual, snap some new headshots and get recruiting tips at the Talent Lounge by OneInAMil, then catch up on email while meeting fellow hustlers in the Co-Working Lounge put on by PMC, VAGA, Launch Pad, HQ Community, Holy City Collective, and Silicon Harbor Magazine. Take a sneak peek at more unique DIG lounges to experience!

7. DIG A JOB

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Got talent? Need talent? The DIG A JOB Marketplace is the best place to find your next career opportunity, whether you’re a junior coder or a veteran software engineer. Candidates — connect with top employers of the South, recruiting agencies,  job resources and platforms to find your next gig. Employers — find your next wave of top tech talent.

8. SPOTLIGHTS ON STARTUPS

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Take a walk through the Startup Showcase where startups will demo their apps, products and services as investors and attendees discover the best of the best.

9. EXPLORE THE NEW CHARLESTON

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Powerful changes are headed Charleston’s way — but we’ll be sure to keep our southern charm. The Holy City is changing as fast as its population swells, and DIG is being held at one of the city’s latest renovations, Calhoun Street’s newly reopened $142 million makeover, the Galliard Center. Oh, and if you haven’t been to the recently renovated Cigar Factory on East Bay, you’ll get a look inside during the Investor Bash.

10. MEET THE SOUTH’S FUTURE ENTREPRENEURS

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In part with their mission to prove startups can launch, scale and succeed in the South, DIG is giving away 500 badges to new startups. Together, they’ll form what festival organizers are calling the inaugural class of the Startup South.

“This group of 500 innovative young companies represents the very best in the region and bodes well for our collective future,” DIG SOUTH founder Stanfield Gray says.

It doesn’t matter whether you have an established company, homegrown startup, or a new idea — there are opportunities for everyone at DIG SOUTH 2016.

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