General 2/22/13 3:14 pm • Casey York
Last night’s Spark event brought innovators and investors from all over Tennessee and the surrounding states together in an atmosphere that transitioned gracefully through waves of gregarious laughter and then near silent candor as attendees raptly listened to the pitches and interview.
Beginning the night was an informal chat between editor in chief Walker Duncan and Nashville startup pioneers Marcus Whitney and Nicholas Holland. The two founders regaled the audience with stories of their own entrepreneurial experiences along with a healthy dose of advice. The primary take-aways included the pararmount importance of a peer network, which will help founders deal with the inevitable dark times that come with starting their own companies, and the sage advice of not shelling out the ridiculous amount of cash needed to launch a company properly at South By Southwest. SouthernAlpha has previously linked to similar advice from outside sources as well.
After the conversations, 11 young companies took the stage and pitched their ideas, ranging from “DineTouch”, a mobile application, which will allow restaurants to maximize turnover and reduce operational costs, to “GreenPal”, a platform where a homeowner may find, schedule and pay user-rated landscapers.
Chattanooga’s Physicist turned auto mogul Saphura Long presented autoWALL, an inventory management and customer relations software, which has shown great success running in Long family dealerships her hometown.
The presenters used their three minutes wisely and completely covered the finite details of cash-flow while painting a lucid understanding of user interaction with their product or service.
Taking home the top prizes of $1000 for the Judges award, and an iPad mini for the crowd favorite were VirtuComp and SucraTrend respectively.
As the night rolled on, the name “Spark” became more than just the title of an event. It became clear that there were sparks flying more in the crowd as Nashville’s community mingled and reconnected.
The bulk of the crowd stuck around chatting even as the unrelated band began to play following the night’s conclusion.
We’ll have pictures and videos from the event posted soon.