Start It Up!

December 2013
Written By: 
Harold Rohrback
Photographs by: 
Ryan Amanda Smith

Big ideas are formed at Georgetown’s Startup Weekend



Why not the beach? With the limitless connectivity available online, technology startups and companies are finding they can exist anywhere, so why not live in an area with a high quality of life and a low cost of living?

One of the recent strategies to lure tech entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to the Grand Strand to experience our growing tech community was a Startup Weekend held at the Winyah Auditorium on High Market Street in Georgetown. Startup Weekend is an international non-profit that has played host to more than 1,000 events in almost 500 cities worldwide. This event was a collaboration between the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance for Economic Development of Georgetown County and Cowork MYR.  

“The Grand Strand has a growing number of passionate tech entrepreneurs with world-class experience and talent just looking for like-minded people to stimulate their creative spirit,” says Mike Schroll, co-founder of Cowork MYR.

The concept of the weekend is a business competition where there are no losers, only winners. Individuals come to the event to pitch new ideas and concepts to find out if their startup ideas are viable. The panel of judges decides which ideas appear to be the most viable, and those with the best ideas form teams with the conference attendees. What began as one person with an idea is now a team of tech entrepreneurs with differing skill sets coming together to polish and bring to life a concept or idea.

Saturday and Sunday are spent focusing on customer development and building a minimal viable product. The teams demo their prototypes on Sunday evening and receive feedback from a panel of experts. If viable, the team can now form a company and pitch the product to an enterprise like Cocelerator, a startup incubator, which helps develop it further. When ready, the product can be presented to a private capital investment company like the Grand Strand Regional Capital Exchange, whose goal is to promote the creation of capital market infrastructure for technology companies in the region.

Coming out of the competition as winning teams were:
1st Place: WANNA—An app to record things you “wanna do” and also provide analysis to businesses.
2nd Place: Embr Analytics—A data mining app that helps efficiently deliver content through improved consumer analytics.
3rd Place: goHippo—It makes impromptu get-togethers easy. The app collects data from each person attending and selects the location and sends a notice to each person within 15 minutes of the get-together.

Special Mention: Cogniscents—It is a system to reinforce what you study by introducing a scent while you study and then re-introducing the scent while sleeping to reinforce the material.