Bidr auction platform wins $10,200, first place at Dig South pitch event

Bidr auction platform wins $10,200, first place at Dig South pitch event

Charleston-based Bidr won first place and $10,200 Friday at the Dig South Wild Pitch event.

A few minutes before the winners were announced, Manoj Govindan, a pitch event judge, crowdsourced more money for the first-place prize from the attendees. A few people stood up and offered to donate, for a total of $2,700 to add to the $7,500 prize.

Bidr received the money for its silent auction platform, which allows people to text in their bids rather than signing sheets of paper.

Eight startups competed in the event, all of which had been through an accelerator program. They each had three minutes to make their pitches on the last day of the Dig South Conference at Cinebarre in Mount Pleasant. Judges then had two minutes to ask questions and poke holes in their concepts.

Frank Silva, senior associate of Boston Millennia Partners; Jake Zeller, an investor in early stage tech companies; and Govindan, a business development executive at Wells Fargo, were the judges.

After the pitches, the judges deliberated in front of the audience. Audience members asked questions, shared insights and applauded for their favorites.

Judges considered how well the companies pitched, how large their prospective markets are and whether the companies could pivot and continue growth once they started solving customers’ problems.

“Sometimes when you solve a problem, your customers go away. How do you anticipate keeping customers while solving problems?” Govindan asked Bidr during the question-and-answer portion of their pitch.

Bidr founder Sam Staley said the market for his product is growing because the platform helps nonprofits, schools and companies grow their revenue. Marketing head Mindy Taylor said Bidr increases auction revenues by 47% on average. Staley said fundraisers are making plans to increase the number and types of events they host.

Staley came up with the idea for Bidr after attending several auctions in the Charleston area that had him filling out bids on paper.

“I thought there had to be a better way,” he said.

Bidr graduated last year from Cohort 2 of the Harbor Accelerator, a 12-week program run by The Harbor Entrepreneur Center.

Export Abroad, a platform that helps companies expand overseas, placed second, and Group Hub, an enrollment platform for insurance brokers, took third place. Both companies are from Mountain View, Calif.

Originally posted in Charleston Regional Business Journal by Liz Segrist.