Meet the CoHort 8 participants!

Charleston S.C.The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in Charleston, has selected eight startup businesses to participate in CoHort 8 of its startup accelerator program. The Harbor Accelerator launches companies through a 14-week program with mentorship, weekly curriculum, free workspace, and other valuable resources and support to help grow their business, test the market, and become viable companies. Cohort 8 began on Monday, August 14th and will culminate with a high-impact pitch event at the Charleston Museum.

The Harbor has accepted the following startups into CoHort 8: Envies Flavor Shot, a natural flavoring for cocktails and carbonated beverages; AWaiver, an electronic waiver signing software that enables customers/clients to sign liability waivers prior to arriving at event locations; Interloop, delivers predictive analytics to sales organizations, providing new visibility into forecasts and at-risk deals; Case Status, an app designed to solve the communication disconnect between attorneys and their clients; Green Blox, a lightweight, interlocking alternative to traditional bricks, blocks, and pavers made from 100% upcycled plastic; Brass, simplifies the software evaluation process for businesses and provides free, instantaneous expert recommendations based on their needs; Taste, an app that helps people find the best local places to eat and drink based on favorites; and Collective Force, a mission based company serving local schools, churches, and non-profits through a free mobile fundraising platform.

The startups will present their final pitches on November 15th. More information about the participating companies, along with contact information, websites, and social media pages can be found at www.harborec.com/cohort8.

About The Harbor: The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in the Charleston Region. Through an accelerator program for innovative startups, Forum Groups for further-stage founders, high-impact events, and offering workspace throughout the region, The Harbor consistently creates ways to collide the most motivated, smart and capable entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.harborec.com

The Harbor team grows by two!

Charleston, S.C. The Harbor Entrepreneur Center on boarded two players to their team this summer. New members Alex Cottingham and Jennifer Tyson were hired for positions vital to The Harbor’s continued success.

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Alex Cottingham is taking on the role of TOW MOS (The One Who Masters Our Story) where she handles internal communications and operations, event planning and marketing.

Cottingham has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the College of Charleston and will earn her master’s degree in communication from the College next spring. She was recently a teaching assistant for the Department of Communication and is also involved in several campus organizations where she holds executive positions in most of them.

Jennifer Tyson assumes the title of TOW TAL (The One Who Targets All Loot) and she is responsible for submitting grants, securing sponsorships and national partnerships that are essential to The Harbor.

Tyson has a master’s degree in Education with a focus on Math and Science. Through her board positions on PTA, Girls On the Run, and Shotgun Fairies, she has been fundraising for the last 8 years. As a marathon runner and fitness coach, her motivation and enthusiasm are a great fit for The Harbor’s culture.

These ladies are valuable additions to The Harbor team. Their fun and fast-paced nature will be great assets to support and nurture the entrepreneurial community of Charleston.

The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in the Charleston Region. Through an accelerator program for innovative startup companies, a Propel program, and Forum Groups for further‐stage founders, high‐impact events, and offering workspace in the region, The Harbor consistently creates ways to collide the most motivated, intelligent, and capable entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.harborec.com.

Meet the teams of Cohort 7!

Cohort 7 Harbor Accelerator

Charleston S.C. – The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in Charleston, has selected eight startup businesses to participate in Cohort 7 of its startup accelerator program. The Harbor Accelerator launches businesses through a 14-week program with mentorship, weekly curriculum, free workspace, and other tremendous resources and support to help grow their business, test the market, and become viable. Cohort 7 began on Monday, January 23rd and will culminate with a high-impact pitch event at DIG SOUTH on April 25th.

The Harbor has accepted the following startups into Cohort 7: Jyve, a live music booking tool that connects musicians to local music venues by streamlining the entire music booking experience; CornerOffice.Network, a confidential and secure compatibility tool helping companies and executives find the right hire; iScape, a garden and landscape design app that is used to easily create and share virtual renderings of outdoor spaces on the go; CostProjections, a platform that provides calculations of future medical costs of injured people for lawyers to use in litigation; Turnkey, a mobile application that helps high-end rental properties engage with residents to make money; PT on Demand, a proprietary platform that delivers personalized therapy regimens to customers directly on their smart device or computer; Citibot, technology that connects citizens with their local governments by integrating with popular apps such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as basic text messaging; and Modal Biotech, a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of biotechnology products that solve real world environmental problems with green technology.

The startups will present their final pitches on April 25th at the fifth annual DIG SOUTH, a multi-day conference highlighting the Southeastern tech industry. More information about the participating companies, along with contact information, website and social media pages can be found at http://www.harborec.com/cohort7.

About The Harbor: The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in the Charleston Region. Through an accelerator program for innovative startups, Forum Groups for further-stage founders, high-impact events, and multiple sites offering workspace throughout the region, The Harbor consistently creates ways to collide the most motivated, smart and capable entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.harborec.com

"Pitch to the People" will feature Harbor Accelerator Cohort 6 Startups

In mid August,  seven startup businesses were selected to participate in The Harbor Entrepreneur Center’s sixth cohort of the Harbor Accelerator Program, a 14-week “bootcamp” for founders of innovative and scalable startups. These seven companies will culminate their participation in the program on November 17th at The American Theater for “Pitch to the People”, Charleston’s first ever pitch event where the audience decides the winner via text-in voting.

Throughout the duration of the Harbor Accelerator program, the following businesses were provided tremendous resources and support to grow their businesses quickly, test the market, and become viable: Mama Lights, Torpsy, Badfish TV, Barista Vending, The Southern Trapper, Rad Tab, and Vaetas. This included free workspace, weekly curriculum sessions, pitch practice, a team of entrepreneur mentors who have each founded and scaled at least one multi-million dollar enterprise, and much more. Each of these startups will take the stage to pitch their business on November 17th and showcase their growth in the program. The event will also feature an appearance pitch by the winner of Launch Pad Charleston's Blast-off Pitch Competition.                

The event will take place from 4-6 PM at the American Theater located at 446 King Street in Downtown Charleston. General Admission tickets are $10 and include one free drink at the after-party from 6-8PM at Republic Garden & Lounge at 462 King Street. Tickets, more information, and a list of sponsorship opportunities can be found at https://bidr.co/events/pitchtothepeople    

About The Harbor: The Harbor Entrepreneur Center a non-profit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in the Charleston region. Through an accelerator program for innovative startup companies, a Propel program & Forum Groups for further-stage founders, high-impact events, and multiple sites offering workspace throughout the region, The Harbor consistently creates ways to collide the most motivated, smart and capable entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.harborec.com.

Announcing companies accepted into The Harbor Accelerator Program: Cohort 6

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CHARLESTON, SC – The Harbor Entrepreneur Center has selected seven startup businesses to participate in Cohort 6 of The Harbor Accelerator Program. The accelerator is a 14­-week high intensity “bootcamp” for founders of innovative and scalable startups. Throughout the duration of the program, the participants are provided tremendous resources and support to grow their businesses quickly, test the market, and become viable. The Cohort 6 startups officially began the program on Monday, August 15th and will culminate on November 15th, 2016.

The Harbor has accepted the following startups to participate in Cohort 6: Vaetas, a software company offering video-­based mobile and web tools for business development;  Mama Lights, a website that provides families LED safety lights and toys that illuminate their active lifestyle; Torpsy, a business toolkit provider which supplies organizations of any size the tools needed to propel their businesses forward; Badfish, a modern media network for the outdoors industry that creates a variety of stimulating content and experiences where outdoorsmen and women can be entertained on all platforms and devices; The Southern Trapper, a company providing consumers with a reliable and safe way to travel with a handgun via heirloom­ quality impenetrable leather goods with accident prevention technology; Radtab, a mobile app that allows bar goers to both open and close their tabs, bringing convenience and peace of mind to their bar­ hopping experiences; Barista Vending, a locally roasted cold brew coffee on tap for offices, resale, catering, events, and more.

The Harbor Accelerator will match each participating startup with free workspace, weekly curriculum sessions, pitch practice, connection to investors and local talent, and a team of entrepreneur mentors who have each founded and scaled at least one multi-­million dollar enterprise. More information about the participating companies, along with contact information, website and social media tags can be found at http://www.harborec.com/cohort6.

About The Harbor: The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is a non­-profit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in the Charleston region. Through an accelerator program for innovative startup companies, a Propel program & Forum Groups for further-­stage founders, high ­impact events, and multiple sites offering workspace throughout the region, The Harbor consistently creates ways to collide the most motivated, smart and capable entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.harborec.com.

The Harbor Announces Collaboration with BoomTown

THE HARBOR WILL OCCUPY 8,400 SQ FEET OF BOOMTOWN'S FUTURE HEADQUARTERS ON UPPER PENINSULA

CHARLESTON, SC – BoomTown, a leading real estate sales and marketing technology provider, is anchoring the renovation of an 80,000 square foot warehouse being developed by the Raven Cliff Company on the upper peninsula. The project, referred to as the "Pacific Box & Crate", will serve as the company’s new headquarters and is scheduled to be complete in the last quarter of this year. The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is thrilled to announce their agreement with BoomTown to occupy 8,400 sq feet of the future headquarters in January 2017.

The Pacific Box & Crate project, developed by Stephen Zoukis and Michael Wooddy of the Raven Cliff Company, will transform the warehouse into a modern office space with custom amenities including an Ashley Bell yoga and wellness studio, food hall (headed by Butcher & Bee owner & Harbor Mentor Michael Shemtov), the 20,000 sq ft Edmund's Oast Brewing Company, and several new structures to accommodate additional companies/office users. When completed, the redeveloped site will have 130,000 sq feet of space, including the warehouse.

The Harbor operates multiple sites around the Charleston region providing entrepreneurs the workspace and support they need to move their businesses forward. The new dedicated space in the BoomTown development will increase the amount of workspace infrastructure available in Charleston, and will offer private offices ranging from 200 sq feet to 3,000 sq feet, flexible workspace, meeting rooms, call rooms, and more. The Harbor sees this collaboration as a great model of a win­-win scenario that will continue to strengthen entrepreneurship in Charleston and community development of the upper peninsula.

“At BoomTown we’re committed to driving innovation and passionate about supporting the Charleston tech community," said Grier Allen, CEO & President of BoomTown. “We’re very excited to have The Harbor join us in our new home to help foster our culture of innovative thinking and provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to grow their companies and build the products of the future." John Osborne, Co­Founder and Director of The Harbor, is equally excited about this expansion. "I love everything about this opportunity!” said Osborne. “Elements I love about it include the collaboration with BoomTown, providing additional flexible term infrastructure to the entrepreneurial community, being a part of the new Pacific Box & Crate Development and emerging Upper Peninsula activity. Wins all the way around with this deal."

About BoomTown: BoomTown combines a powerful real estate sales and marketing platform with success management services to help real estate brokerages and teams across the country grow their business and build lifelong relationships with their customers. An established and growing SaaS company dedicated to simplifying and modernizing the business of real estate, BoomTown has nearly a decade of proven results in all stages of a buyer and seller’s journey. The BoomTown real estate sales and marketing solution includes: a customized real estate website integrated with local MLS data, a predictive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with real estate marketing automation, client success management—and through its position as the only Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner in the real estate industry—personalized lead generation services. To learn more, visit www.boomtownroi.com.

About The Harbor: The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is non‐profit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in the Charleston Region. Through an accelerator program for innovative startup companies, a Propel program & Forum Groups for further‐stage founders, high‐impact events, and multiple sites offering workspace throughout the region, The Harbor consistently creates ways to collide the most motivated, smart and capable entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.harborec.com.

Contact: Jackie McKelvey (jackie@harborec.com) / Lee Bressan (lee@boomtownroi.com

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MUSC FRD and The Harbor Develop “PriMed” Accelerator Program

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 PRIMED SUPPORTS ENTREPRENEURS DEVELOPING PRODUCTS IN THE LIFE SCIENCE INDUSTRY

CHARLESTON, SC – The MUSC Foundation for Research Development and The Harbor Entrepreneur Center have formed a strategic partnership to help entrepreneurs working on products specifically in the medical device or pharma/bio industries. This new 28-week accelerator program has been named “PriMed” (pronounced “primed”) and will provide entrepreneurs the foundation needed for long-term success of their life science endeavor.

Starting in September of this year, early stage companies will receive tremendous resources critical for growth and success. In alternating weeks, the participating companies will receive two-hour curriculum sessions held at MUSC and led by subject matter experts tailored to the life sciences, one hour meetings with mentors with industry-specific expertise, and constant interaction and connection with other life science startups also trying to grow their business and skill sets.  Ideal candidates for PriMed are early-stage companies developing products in the medical device or pharma/bio industries. Projects in the medical device field will need to have at least CAD drawings of the device, and projects in the therapeutics field will need to have a lead compound identified with in vivo supporting data. Applicants will be selected according to an evaluation of the company’s stage of development, capability of their assembled team, innovation/IP, and compatibility with the mentor, expert, and community resources available.

Companies interested in applying for PriMed or wanting more information should visit http://www.harborec.com/primed-accelerator/

About FRD:  FRD has served as MUSC’s technology transfer office since 1998. During that period, FRD has filed patent applications on more than 400 technologies, resulting in over 150 U.S. issued patents. Additionally, FRD has executed more than 150 licenses and spun out more than 50 startup companies.  MUSC startups have had products approved by the FDA and acquired by publicly traded corporations while attracting substantial investment dollars into South Carolina. Innovations from MUSC, including medical devices, therapies and software, are positively impacting health care worldwide.  For more info on MUSC Foundation for Research Development, visit:  http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/frd/

About The Harbor: The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is non‐profit organization dedicated to growing entrepreneurship and scalable companies in the Charleston Region. Through an accelerator program for innovative startup companies, a Propel program & Forum Groups for further‐stage founders, high‐impact events, and multiple sites offering workspace throughout the region, The Harbor consistently creates ways to collide the most motivated, smart and capable entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.harborec.com.                     

Contact: Christine Thiesing Dixon (dixonthi@musc.edu) /  Jackie McKelvey (jackie@harborec.com)

Social Engagement and the Cocktail Party Problem

How do you pick a voice out of the all the chatter, and attend to what they’re saying, especially when the conversations around you are louder than the one you're having? This is called the cocktail party problem. Yet the brain is able to defuse the ambient sound and channel the voices we’re interested in. In scientific terms this has been explained as "selective cortical representation of attended speaker in multi-talker speech perception." No matter how you describe it, although we give it little thought, it’s a remarkable and critical ability we use every day.

I often hear this question, in one form or another, “How can I, or my Web site, be heard in the worldwide crowd?” It’s easy to view the Web as a cacophony of voices in which it is impossible to expect to be heard over all the noise. That’s a reasonable conclusion. Why would you want to be heard over the voices? When you enter a crowded room are you inclined to yell in order to get everyone’s attention? It doesn’t make sense and yet some consider this to be the aim of social marketing. It’s an unattainable goal. A better approach is the cocktail party problem. Rather than trying to get everyone’s attention, enter the room, look for someone to talk to, ignore unwanted noise, and pay attention to what the other person is saying. This is exactly how we all “work the room” in real life. Also, don’t forget, the most interesting people are very good listeners. The Bible put’s it another way, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak.” (James 1:19) This is excellent advice and a principle that works online as well. Rather than clamoring for attention, if you listen carefully to online conversations, you can filter out posts about your brand, your products, customer issues, trends, and so on, allowing you to engage meaningfully with customers to bring to them real value and to bring to your business real money (to put it bluntly). More on social listening in a moment.

Social Engagement vs. Social Marketing

This is why social engagement is so much more effective than social marketing. Let’s take a moment to discuss social marketing. Marketing implies getting your name out there, brand recognition, top-of-mind awareness, and a million other buzz words. Abbreviations like SEO, for search engine optimization, and SEM, for search engine marketing, are the catch phrases of social marketers and unfortunately the esoteric language of online “snake oil salesmen.” SEO and SEM are passive marketing approaches that wreak of old world thinking. Consider it mathematically. Let’s say there are ten search results on Google’s home page and thirty car dealerships in your town. They all hire the best SEO and SEM marketers in the world. Can they all achieve first page ranking? For the sake of argument let’s say we lived in the world of quantum mechanics and they did manage to get thirty dealerships in to ten results, will this translate into clicks? Does this automatically translate into real business? Show me the money!

Sometimes very successful brick-and-mortar businesses appear to lose their minds when they open an online storefront. To illustrate let’s create a hypothetical retail store called Fred’s Fun Stuff. Fred spent years building a business, building relationships with customers, carving out a niche, and as a result he enjoys increased profits year over year. He knows he needs to go online so he launches an online store. He buys all the hoopla about social marketing and spends out the wazoo to get good search engine placement. It works, he gets good site traffic, but he’s not selling much online.  He learns that nearly everything he has in his store can be bought on Amazon for less so he starts to cut his prices to compete with Amazon. His customers find out they can buy from him cheaper online. Now he’s moving the same amount of products, has less foot traffic in his stores, and due to smaller margins he has less profit. Well done Fred! The problem? Fred lost his mind.

In his brick-and-mortar store Fred doesn’t try to compete on price with the likes of Walmart. Why? He knows he can’t. So what does he do? Fred listens to his customers, engages with them, supports them, cares about them, and he builds relationships. “I go to Fred’s because of the personal attention.” “He has the coolest store and lets me try stuff out. If I don’t like it I can bring it back.” “Fred always stands behind his products.” You get the point. In a nutshell Fred does stuff Walmart can’t and won’t do. These are called differentiators and it is one reason some retailers stay around when others go under. There are many differentiators that make your “real world” business successful. The key is to bring those same factors to your online venture. Success tends to beget success.

Social Listening

In the cocktail party problem it's all about attention and how that attention can change your brain. The same is true for social listening. A system has to be put in place to serve as your ears to listen in on all the conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on. Of course listening requires more than just ears. The system must be able to filter conversations by triggers like products, competitors, geographic location, key phrases, and then be able to bring these conversations to your attention. A dashboard shows you the conversations you want to “hear” in real time. Now you can engage. This is active, not passive, marketing.

To illustrate let’s say you’re listening to social networks for any mention of a competitor and you find several customers complaining because a product is out of stock. You have the product in stock so you engage the customer and let them know about the availability. Not only have you made a sale but, just as important, you’ve begun a new relationship. Relationship marketing, the differentiators, kick in, focusing on customer retention. (Check out my blog for more details on Social Listening)

I don’t mean to give you the impression there isn’t a place for SEO and SEM. These are important components for the same reason you may list your number and put a sign above your brick-and-mortar business. There is a place for passive marketing as there is a place for advertising. Online success isn’t about achieving good search engine ranking only to wait for someone to click on your site in hopes of a sale. Online success is about pursuing relationships. To put it in the framework of the cocktail party problem: You enter the worldwide social networking mixer, you have on your SEO/SEM name tag, and you listen to the conversations to identify that next opportunity. You work the room, you engage, you follow up, and you build relationships.

 

Scott Muniz
www.linkedin.com/in/smuniz
scott@drware.com
www.drware.com
(843) 442-2724

 

 

Press Release: Startup Grind and The Harbor Develop Strategic Partnership

A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT TO SUPPORT ENTREPRENEURS, INNOVATION, & TECHNOLOGY GROWTH IN THE CHARLESTON REGION

CHARLESTON, SC – Startup Grind Charleston and The Harbor Entrepreneur Center are forming a strategic partnership to continue to strengthen entrepreneurial efforts and activities in the region.  Specifically, Startup Grind will work closely with The Harbor Entrepreneur Center to align the Harbor’s “Entrepreneur Studio” series events with the monthly Startup Grind events starting in April 2016.  The Harbor will become an annual strategic partner of Startup Grind Charleston.

Startup Grind was brought to Charleston in January 2014 by local entrepreneurs Jeremy Berman and Daniel Drolet.  Startup Grind was founded in Silicon Valley and is the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting over 215,000 founders in over 185 cities.  Startup Grind is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and has helped millions of entrepreneurs find mentorship, pursue funding, connect with partners and reach new customers. It holds monthly “fireside chats” along with other workshops and events allowing entrepreneurs to become inspired, get educated and connect with other entrepreneurs and make friendships.  The next Startup Grind is featuring Earl Bridges, CEO of Good Done Great, and is scheduled for 5:30pm on April 7th at Launch Pad.

Since 2013 The Harbor Entrepreneur Center has lifted the Charleston entrepreneurial community by providing an accelerator, flexible workspace, mentorship, connections and other resources for local entrepreneurs.  With locations in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant & Summerville; founders John Osborne and Patrick Bryant started the organization to fuel collaboration and collision among the entrepreneurial community. The Harbor’s Entrepreneur Studio series previously featured high impact entrepreneurs Grier Allen, Mason Holland, Steve Swanson, Anita Zucker, Steve Case, Rebecca Ufkes, and Dick Elliott.

Both organizations will continue to perform their independent mission and vision. By aligning Startup Grind and Entrepreneur Studio, the two organizations strengthen the support for the community by providing more efficient access to entrepreneurial inspiration and education.

For more info on Startup Grind Charleston, visit:  http://startupgrindchs.com/

For more info on The Harbor Entrepreneur Center visit: http://www.harborec.com/

Contact: Jeremy Berman (jberman@startupgrind.com) /  Jackie McKelvey (jackie@harborec.com

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