Last night Harlem resident Gerrard Larriett took home the grand prize at the first-ever “Harlem Demo Day” startup pitch event. The event was hosted by Harlem Garage (where it took place), Silicon Harlem, and Harlem Co-Working Group, with special guest Mike Street acting as the official emcee.
The event raised more than $1,000.00 through ticket sales, including a matching grant from crown sponsor Spring Bank. All proceeds will go directly to Mr. Larriett along with a free year of business checking from Spring Bank, three free months of co-working space from Harlem Garage, and a free two-week social media campaign from PR/Branding agency Pixel Prose Media. Brian Blake, Vice President of Spring Bank, attended last night’s event and delivered remarks.
Larriett’s business Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Petcare is a luxury-style “pet spa in a box” that offers fresh and soothing products for owners and their pets. His exclusive products are already available for purchase online through the company’s website and in stores in select cities across the country. Said Larriett of his win:“I am so honored and humbled to win the first ever Harlem Demo Day! It was an amazing experience to fine-tune my elevator pitch as we expand our aromatherapy pet grooming product line.”
A diversity of local startups and entrepreneurs submitted applications to pitch their business ideas for the chance to present at Harlem Demo Day, a community crowd-funding series that aims to create a new model for investment in local entrepreneurship and economic prosperity by enabling to residents to participate in the growth of local businesses. Out of the initial pool of applicants, four were chosen as finalists to present before an esteemed panel of judges that featured:
- Silicon Harlem Founder Bruce Lincoln;
- General Assembly lecturer, CEO Coach & Investor McAdory Lipscomb, Jr.;
- Former Freelancers’ Union CIO and Co-founder/CEO of Nethermead Diallo Powell;
- entrepreneur and founder of Red Giraffe Advisors Sapna Shah;
- managing entrepreneurial officer at Cornell Tech Aaron Holiday;
- Paliwoda Ventures Founder Ron Paliwoda.
The finalists (which also included social media sharing app TeamSync, Mobile Dry Cleaning and Delivery App Door2Door, and Construction Management App TrackFlo) were evaluated on such factors as innovation, scalability, execution, business model and others. All of the presenters – and even some attendees received valuable feedback from judges on how to strengthen their pitches and make their businesses more viable.
“It was great to hear the incredibly helpful feedback from the judges and to witness the excitement of the finalists and attendees alike,” said Tasha Williams, founder/CEO of TTW Consulting and Co-Founder/Co-Organizer of Harlem Demo Day. “We are proud to have been able to highlight such amazing entrepreneurs and create visibility around Uptown’s growing startup community. Plans are currently underway for future events, and we look forward to continuing to support local entrepreneurship and economic growth in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.”
Those who are interested in learning about future “Harlem Demo Day” events and others are invited to sign up at http://eepurl.com/F5oBz