Last month, the eight startup founders participating in Cohort 4 of The Harbor Accelerator pitched their startups to a panel of judges in front of 400 attendees at Perfect Pitch. Accelerator mentors, advisors, experts, investors, community/ business leaders, friends and family all showed up to support the startups and see what they’ve been working up to the past 14-weeks in the program. It’s now been a couple of weeks since the entrepreneurs stepped into the spotlight for their all-or-nothing moments on stage, but it’s safe to say that no one forgets it. If you were not one of the 400 attending, let us recap this awesome experience for you.
November 18th’s Perfect Pitch was the result of an energetic collaboration by The Harbor, the College of Charleston ICAT program, DIG SOUTH, and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. The purpose? To showcase entrepreneurs to elevate their chance for seed money, visibility and launch support during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Here’s how it went down:
Each of the participating companies in the Cohort 4 Accelerator Program and CofC’s ICAT program had a whopping one minute to woo the judges with their startup story and do some major convincing why they should be one of the three companies in their program to move on to the final round. For The Harbor, this meant a chance to pitch for a full 4 minutes and compete for the $10,000 grand prize.
Let's introduce the lucky judges that were given the difficult task of determining the finalists (and future winners): Jonathan Zucker, president of The InterTech Group; Rebecca Ufkes, president of UEC Electronics; and Patrick Bryant, co-founder & lead mentor of The Harbor and partner in Bidr, Go To Team and Cigar Row.
While the judges deliberated and the audience anxiously awaited the results, previous pitch winners from the Charleston Metro Chamber took the stage to each provide “Where are they now?” updates and inspirational stories about their journey and lessons learned along the way. These folks were:
Patrick Marzett, Founder of MZ7: Smart Power Station
Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie and Riley Csernica, Founders of Tarian Orthotics
Bryan Ransom, Founder of Moondog Animation Studio
In case that wasn’t enough inspiration to fill the room, we also got to hear Chief Revenue Officer and co-owner of Vapor Apparel, Christopher Bernat, share his experience as a successful, Charleston-based entrepreneur and DIG SOUTH Advisory Committee member.
NOW for the results. Drumroll, please...
Finalists for CofC ICAT:
Moneta - a financial tool that allows users to automate financial stability by determining their financial needs and helping to meet them.
Dew - an e-commerce platform for locally sourced produce.
Wedding Mashers - a system that enables wedding couples to aggregate their guests’ cell phone videos.
Finalists for The Harbor Accelerator:
HomeTrackr - a platform that provides home buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals with easy access to critical information about the history of a home.
Pueri Elemental - an award-winning design company specializing in the development, manufacturing and distribution of innovative consumer products for kids and adults.
harborGood - a sharing economy marketplace that scales philanthropy, benefiting causes that matter.
The finalists then got their pitch-faces on and prepped for the big leagues. With no time to lose, the full pitches began immediately starting with the three CofC finalists, followed by The Harbor’s. After on-point, captivating and impressive pitches, only one winner from each program could emerge.
CofC ICAT winner of $10,000:
Moneta - “Because Money Matters”
Founders: Christian Ruppe, Hank Stocker and Jared Kopelman
Harbor Accelerator winner of $10,000:
Pueri Elemental - “Reinventing Fun for Everyone”
Founder: Donna Brin
Pueri Elemental is a design company specializing in the development, manufacturing and distribution of innovative consumer products for kids and adults. Donna Brin enrolled in the Harbor Accelerator focusing on her premiere product, customizable and versatile bop bag toys, which she showcased at Perfect Pitch. Congratulations to Pueri Elemental and all participating companies in Cohort 4 for completing the Harbor Accelerator program!
A very special thanks to our emcee, Earl Bridges - Founder of Good Gone Great, to our after-party sponsor, Salesforce, and to our Cohort 4 Perfect Pitch sponsors Lincs, Steven Goodwin, and Lenna MacDonald for making this event incredibly special and memorable for the Charleston entrepreneur community!
Are you or someone you know working on something new to the game? The Harbor Accelerator program could be your next big move to bring your idea to life. Check out the following article "Why you should apply for the Cohort 5 Accelerator Program”!