Last week, the 20th Startup Runway Showcase brought together the brightest minds from the Southeast’s startup ecosystem. Entrepreneurs, investors, sponsors, judges, and attendees gathered to witness an inspiring day of innovation and competition. With founders hailing from Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, and more, the stage was set at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs in Atlanta for a memorable evening where $30,000 in non-dilutive capital awaited the winning founders.
Among the talented pool of finalists, three exceptional entrepreneurs emerged as the deserving winners of the Startup Runway Showcase. Let’s take a closer look at these remarkable achievements.
Unveiling the Visionary Winners
- Judges Award sponsored by Cox Enterprises: Shaun Andrews, Founder of Mind HAC, was awarded the Judges Award sponsored by Cox Enterprises. Mind HAC stands at the forefront of revolutionizing mental health care, offering culturally specific support through the creative use of music, messaging, and sound waves. Shaun’s visionary leadership has paved the way for a more inclusive and accessible approach to mental well-being by providing tailored resources to individuals from diverse backgrounds.
- Women’s Empowerment Grant: Laura Valentine, Founder of Lavni, emerged as the Women’s Empowerment Grant recipient. Lavni aims to address the pressing need for accessible and affordable mental health services in underserved communities. By providing confidential and convenient mental health sessions, Lavni endeavors to bridge the gap and create a more equitable landscape for mental wellness. Laura’s passion for breaking down barriers in mental health care is inspiring.
- Audience Choice Award sponsored by American Family Insurance: Joshua Afolabi, Founder of Tuggo Technologies Inc (2GGO), won the hearts of the audience and secured the Audience Choice Award sponsored by American Family Insurance. 2GGO operates as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) marketing and retail marketplace platform, providing same-day, last-mile delivery services. Joshua’s innovative vision and commitment to enhancing the retail experience have the potential to revolutionize the way businesses operate.
A Heartfelt Thank You
We extend our gratitude to everyone who attended the Startup Runway Showcase. Your support played a vital role in making this event a success, and the connections made will undoubtedly continue to shape the Southeast startup ecosystem.
Special thanks are due to our esteemed judges, Charles Robinson, Stefanie Diaz, Rachel Wilson, and William Leonard. Their expertise and valuable insights provided invaluable guidance to the participating founders, setting them on a path toward success.
We would also like to express our appreciation to our incredible sponsors who made the event possible: Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, Cox Enterprises, American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, Georgia Power Company, Innovators Legal, Write2Market, Truist Valor VC, Avanta Ventures, Unqork, LeaseQuery, and Hypepotamus.
Inviting Savannah’s Entrepreneurs to the Next Showcase
As Startup Runway looks ahead to its next showcase, entrepreneurs in the Greater Savannah area have an exciting opportunity to apply to pitch. $20,000 in grant money will be awarded to the winners. Taking place on June 22 at The Clyde Venue, this event promises to be a catalyst for entrepreneurial success.
In partnership with SHEHustles, Startup Runway’s 21st Showcase aims to foster a supportive ecosystem that empowers Savannah-based founders. Our sponsors include Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, Savannah Economic Development Authority, Wells Fargo, and Georgia Power. The event also enjoys the support of community partners such as SCORE Mentors of Savannah and Creative Coast.
We are now accepting applications, and Savannah founders are encouraged to apply. By participating in the pitch competition, founders can unlock doors to funding, mentorship, networking opportunities, and more.