The 21st Startup Runway Showcase in Savannah, held in June in partnership with SHE HUSTLES, was a remarkable event that brought together exceptional startup founders, VCs, and more. The evening was a huge success, and we extend our gratitude to all the exceptional finalists, the panel of judges, and the invaluable sponsors who made the event possible, in particular The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation.

VC Judges and Finalists gather at the 21st Startup Runway Showcase

The night was filled with anticipation as the finalists showcased their innovative ideas and impressive pitches, competing for $20,000 in grant money. In the end, two remarkable founders emerged as the winners of the pitch competition. Christine Flemming, the Founder of VicTreeFi, secured the esteemed Audience Choice Grant sponsored by the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation. VicTreeFi, a platform dedicated to helping Girl Scouts earn badges and complete activities, has made a significant impact by partnering with Girl Scout councils across the country and Girl Scouts Overseas. Christine’s passion for empowering young girls and providing resources to volunteer Girl Scout troop leaders has driven the success of VicTreeFi.

The prestigious Judges Choice Award sponsored by Georgia Power Company went to CJ Jackson, the Founder of Performer Pocket. CJ’s inspiration for Performer Pocket came from his own experiences as a DJ, where he envisioned a platform that could streamline communication and interaction between performers and event attendees. The Performer Pocket platform allows users to send requests, provide virtual tips, and easily find performers’ social media handles. CJ’s dedication to creating a comprehensive solution for performers has garnered great excitement and support.

We conducted a Q&A with Christine Flemming and CJ Jackson to gain further insights into the winners’ journeys. Here’s what they had to say:

Christine Flemming, Founder of VicTreeFi:

  1. How did your company get started? I noticed that the responsibility to help Girl Scouts earn badges, and complete activities fell on volunteer Girl Scout troop leaders. These volunteers are in need of resources to help with these activities, and they strive to provide the best programming to their Girl Scouts. Having been a Girl Scout, I jumped into action and created the Moneyville platform ( It has been a passion project, and I love creating both virtual workshops and in-person content for Girl Scouts across the country. To date, we have helped Girl Scouts earn over 10,000 badges by partnering with Girl Scout councils across the country (and Girl Scouts Overseas), and I am excited to grow our reach.
  2. What has been the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur? Being an entrepreneur presents many challenges, the most challenging for me personally being successfully navigating uncertainty and effectively wearing multiple hats. Balancing responsibilities across business areas such as product development, marketing, and operations requires resilience and determination. However, I love a challenge!
  3. What has been the most exciting/best part? I LOVE working with Girl Scouts and their families. Helping Girl Scouts achieve their goals and get excited about learning something new is rewarding and fun. I also love working directly with my husband to build this platform and help other volunteers provide quality programming to their Girl Scouts. We have an amazing team behind us as well!
  4. What are your priorities for the next six months? In the next six months, I plan to focus on customer growth and platform development. Acquiring and retaining customers will be a primary focus, involving market research, targeted marketing strategies, and enhancing sales efforts. I will also focus on innovation and refining our products to meet the needs of our Girl Scouts users. 
  5. How do you plan to utilize the funding you won at the Startup Runway showcase? We are thrilled to have received funding from the Startup Runway showcase. The funds will be utilized to help us achieve key objectives. A large portion of the funds will be dedicated to marketing and customer acquisition initiatives to help expand our reach. We will also allocate a portion of the funds to help scale operations and optimize processes. 


Christine Flemming, Founder of VicTreeFi, wins the $10,000 Audience Choice Award sponsored by Partnership for Inclusive Innovation

CJ Jackson, Founder of Performer Pocket:

  1. How did your company get started? After doing countless events where I found myself being hassled with requests, I reached out to my co-founder Will Montague who specializes in app development, and asked if there was a way in which people could scan a QR code and send their requests directly to my phone without having to come up to the DJ booth. Will said that something like that would be easy to put together, and literally the next day, he sent me a link for me to try out at a high school Prom I had that weekend. The functionality and response went so well that I immediately started thinking of other needs this platform could meet, and the “Performer Pocket” was born. I knew that I wasn’t the only person in the performance industry who could benefit from all of the features this platform provides. From taking requests to virtual tips, easy-to-find social media handles, and a “Book Me” button, this platform does it all!
  2. What has been the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur? Aside from the challenge of finding funding other than my own personal income, I would say my biggest challenge has been containing my excitement for the platform and not letting myself become impatient. I’ve had the joy of personally testing every feature we’ve designed firsthand, and the response that I’ve gotten each time has really lit a fire under me to get it ready for a national launch. We’ve been very thorough in taking our time, however, to dot all of our “i”‘s and cross all of our “t”‘s without rushing. Now that we’re officially launched, I’m more excited for the journey than anything.
  3. What has been the most exciting/best part? The process in its entirety up until this point has all been exciting. I am a person who loves and respects the process of things. I’ve enjoyed seeing this idea grow into a platform with several different features. I’ve enjoyed being able to firsthand test it out at several events with different audiences. I’ve enjoyed watching my team form, develop, and grow together along with the program. I’ve enjoyed putting our go-to-market plan together, and I’m looking forward to rolling it all out as we launch this 4th of July weekend!
  4. What are your priorities for the next six months? For the next six months, we plan to really establish our presence as much as humanly possible on a nationwide scale. We realize the opportunity with being one of the first platforms of our kind. From events to endorsements, social media campaigns, and more, we want to spend our first six months making sure that everyone (performer or not) knows about this platform.
  5. How do you plan to utilize the funding you won at the Startup Runway showcase? I’m very grateful to Startup Runway for accepting us as a finalist and giving us the opportunity to get this grant. It was perfect timing, right before our launch. My plan is to apply this funding to better strengthen our go-to-market objectives for Q3. From branding materials to video/content creation to collaborative event opportunities, this grant will help us perform and execute at a level higher than what we originally intended.


CJ Jackson, Founder of Performer Pocket, takes home the $10,000 VC Judges Award sponsored by Georgia Power

As we look to the future, Startup Runway is thrilled to announce the 22nd Startup Runway Showcase, set to take place on September 14 in Atlanta. We invite leading tech founders from across the Southeast to pitch their groundbreaking ideas and join us in paving the way for the future. 

Founders, click here to learn more!