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Seed the South: Quick-pitch winners

Attendees of the recent Seed the South event in Charlotte got to cast their votes for their favorite startup from the quick-pitch part of the symposium (via the AVO app, another Seed the South participant).

Seed the South, put on by diversity-centered SoGal and Collective Hustle, was an all-day event dedicated to highlighting early-stage startups and connecting them with investors

The winner of the attendees’ favorite startup was tool-renting platform Xchange Post, which received $1,000 sponsored by Hygge.

“I’m excited and thrilled, especially because this is the first event of this magnitude in Charlotte in a long time, or ever,” said John Alexander, one of Xchange Post’s founders. “This is phenomenal just to be here, so and to win something while we’re here? It’s like a cherry on top.”

The next two winners were based off of stage pitches and questions from judges. Here’s a rundown of the budding startups that pitched:

  • Honeyfi is bringing joint-finances into the 21st century by giving couples the ability to communicate and save in an engaging way. It creates goal-specific saving accounts and joint-finance management.
  • Groove Watersports is a soundtrack to wakeboarding and gives water sport enthusiasts a way to jam out on the water with an impact vest featuring actual bluetooth speakers.
  • Founded by women, MAZE Services give a better way to beauty. It’s an app for hair and nail appointment scheduling that connects clients with professionals in a new way that eliminates salon-based boundaries.
  • Curu helps to clarify the always allusive world of credit. It looks for opportunities to help build and improve credit, so you can help build and improve your material life.
  • Jam seeks to connect coworkers – this employer-provided service matches employees with each other and schedules “Jam” sessions based on their commonalities. The ideal is to foster co-worker interaction thus making the workplace more enjoyable and productive.
  • Freeman Capital’s wealth management app seeks to lower the barriers of entry to investing by making investing easier to access for “underserved investors,” or those that are traditionally not noticed as worthy of investing.

Of all these, the crowd-choice winner of $1,000 from sponsor Castle was Jam, and founder Shea Parikh said that he’s honored to have won, but mainly honored to have had the opportunity.

“Winning was just a great value to add on top of it,” Parikh said. “It feels good–it’s validating to get feedback from people, what they think works, what they think doesn’t work.”

He said that events like Seed the South are catalysts for monumental outcomes for startup communities – they put businesses and investors in the same place in an effort to build a better startup ecosystem.

“I think it’s the first tangible step in getting to that ecosystem,” Parikh said, “where you can look at the bigger cities and say, ‘Yeah, they were young at one point too, and this is how you get there.’”

The overall, judge-chosen winner of $1,000 from Lowes Ventures, a one-year membership from BIG and $3,000 worth of bookkeeping from Reconciled was Abb Kapoor and David Potter’s Curu.

Potter said he is grateful for the opportunity, and that winning at Seed the South is great motivation to keep pressing forward with his company.

“[I’m] feeling good, feeling energized,” Potter said, “with the event in general, for Seed the South, I think a lot of great companies and also a lot of good industry to the companies, so it was exciting to be able to win.”

The winnings, he said, will be going towards closing out their funding round so Curu can continue to build partnerships. He said he’s ultimately thankful he and his startup ended up in Charlotte, because competition and high cost of living in Silicon Valley make Charlotte that much better for budding businesses.

“We fell in love with Charlotte, I think,” Potter said. “Everyone is so welcoming, southern hospitality is really a thing, they proved that over at the event today.”

RELATED STORY: Seed the South: Bridging the gap between startups and investors