Turns out, the University of Georgia Bulldogs have been making an impact on more than just the football field recently. Scarlet Connect, a hotel-focused startup in neighboring South Carolina, borrows the first part of its name from UGA’s iconic scarlet red color.
The “Connect” part? Well, that gets to the core of what the startup looks to do in the hospitality space.
Co-founder Seth Kines said it is about connecting hotel operators with the essential software tools they need in a one-stop shop platform.
“Most hotels are franchises,” he told Hypepotamus. “They’re owned by families or individuals. It’s a Mom and Pop shop and they don’t have these huge budgets to go pay for a lot of the software solutions that are out there.”
Scarlet Connect brings multiple different solutions – from sales prospecting to guest messaging to credit card authorization – into one streamlined hotel management tool.
Building Tech For Hotels
Based out of Charleston, South Carolina, Scarlet Connect grew out of Kines’ first startup, Scarlet Boom, a platform to help hotels with their sales efforts.
Scarlet Connect is designed specifically with hoteliers and their lean budgets in mind.
Joining Kines is co-founder and CTO Patrick Stewart, who has been building out the tech-side of the business.
Kines is relatively new to the entrepreneurial scene, having built his career in the hospitality and tourism industries. But he’s said Charleston’s budding tech scene has been welcoming and helpful as he navigates the space.
Hospitality and tourism-focused software is something Southeastern startups do well. The region is also home to early-stage ventures like F3TCH (a Wilmington-based startup focused on hotel guest communication and management) and Stroll (a Nashville-based startup working as a local tour guide). Those are alongside startups like Sunday, TabX, Curest, that want to change the restaurant side of the hospitality scene.
Charleston, one of the top tourist destinations, is also a natural space for a hospitality-focused startup like Scarlet Connect.
“For years, hospitality and tourism was what drove the economy here,” added Kines. “But Charleston has really come a long way with its tech corridor.”
That corridor has helped many tech startups launch in the city recently in the SaaS, clean tech, and fintech spaces.
“I’m proud of the strides that Charleston is making from just from an economic development standpoint, but also in the startup and tech industries,” Kines told Hypepotamus.