Steve Case’s visit to Atlanta was the expected pomp and circumstance. He posed for selfies, took a stroll on the Beltline (Atlanta’s most tangible example that the creative class actually thrives here), and checked out the startup spaces that have popped up en masse over the past two years. What was unexpected was the candor of his interview before the main pitch event. It came across very raw, with honest feedback and an optimistic vision for the South. His rallying cry? “The rest is rising and innovation is dispersing.” We’ll beat our chest to that.
A rundown of his main talking points:
- More connections and network density is needed.
- Build on our local core competencies – potential in the strength of corporate & startup partnerships, diversity and inclusive entrepreneurship, and our pipeline of engineering talent
- There have been two waves of tech innovation, and a third that we’re about to enter:
- 1st- build the internet
- 2nd- build on top of the internet (sites, applications)
- 3rd- integrate the internet into every aspect of our lives (internet of things – energy, healthcare, food, transportation)
- To succeed in the third wave we need:
- partnerships- we’re going to be less able to go it alone
- policy- we need to engage with government since they are the biggest customer in many markets
- perseverance- this effort will require more pioneering, he expects less over night success
The pitch event:
PartPic, a local favorite, won the $100K investment. Partpic provides a simple way to find and order parts using images, which is a relief when the name or part number is unknown. You simply snap a picture, their apps’s algorithm finds an identical replacement part, and lets you know where you can buy it. The company was founded in 2013 by Jewel Burks and Jason Crain (more about the rest of the team here). Burks had the idea to create this app after working as a sales supervisor at one of the top parts distributors in the country. She claims 40% of callers had no part name or number to help the sales reps search for the correct part.
We met Jewel in January of 2014 when she came in for an interview to became a resident of our past coworking space. Her enthusiasm, poise, and solid tech background nabbed her a free office to grow Partpic. Since then we have seen her win at the One Spark crowdfunding festival in Florida, walk away with the “Best Enterprise Disrupter” award at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014, chat it up with the founder of Reddit on his video web series Small Empires, and land first place at the 2015 SXSW Accelerator competition for “Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies.” There’s no doubt Jewel and team are killing it. We look forward to keeping a close eye on them as they use their recent round of funding to build out the product and bring it to market.
The afternoon in photos: