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Startup of the Year Podcast

Mar 24, 2023

On this episode of the Startup of the Year Podcast, we hear a VC panel discussion from the Established Lounge at SXSW 2023 in Austin, which took place just after the announcement of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse. 


The panelists included Erica Duignan Minnihan, who is the Founder and General Partner at Reign Ventures, Maria Pope, who is the Head of Venture Growth and Partnerships at Republic, and Aziz Gilani, who is the Managing Director at Mercury Fund.


Please keep in mind that the conversation took place immediately after the announcement of the end of SVB and since then things have changed significantly as the FDIC stepped in and insured the deposits to help ensure all the startup customers would make payroll, amongst other things.


We also here about our pitch contest that was during SXSW, where ten startups pitched in front of a really amazing group of judges that included:

  • Anita Roberts, who is the Founding Partner at mvmt ventures & Managing Partner @ Silicon Hills Capital
  • Brian Brackeen, who is the General Partner at Lightship Capital 
  • Bryson Hearne, who is the Manager in the Economic Opportunity Practice at Village Capital
  • Candice Matthews Brackeen, who is the CEO at Lightship Foundation
  • Conrad Hollomon, who is the Director of Government Programs at The Engine
  • Darrell Etherington, who is the Managing Editor at TechCrunch
  • Kathleen Hale, who is the Partner at Builders + Backers Capital
  • Khrys Hatch, who is the Senior Associate at Launch Tennessee
  • Martin Ringlein, who is the General Partner at Adventure Fund
  • Michele (Kopp) Konetski, who is the Business Growth Consulting at Konetski Group and The Nour Group
  • Monique Idlett-Mosley, who is the Managing Partner at Reign Venture Capital
  • Trey Bowles, who is the Managing Director at Techstars
  • Wilson Neyland, who is the Credit Card Program Director at Hello Alice


The startups that pitched at the event included: 


We are proud to announce that the judge voted and the winner  was Included (!! Congrats to their co-founder, Laura Close, who gave the winning pitch that focused on customer results and outcomes, which won them a fast-track spot at the Startup of the Year Annual Summit!


We also want to give a quick shout out to some of our sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without Launch Tennessee, and BoothEasy! Also, we want to give a special thank you to event partner America’s Seed Fund.


We invite you all to join our community today to access the support, expert advice, and resources you need to elevate your startup by going to:  


Thank you for listening, and as always, please check out the Established website and subscribe to the newsletter at:


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Startup of the Year helps diverse, emerging startups, founding teams, and entrepreneurs push their company to the next level. We are a competition, a global community, and a resource.  


Startup of the Year is also a year-long program that searches the country for a geographically diverse set of startups from all backgrounds and pulls them together to compete for the title of Startup of the Year. 


The program includes a number of in-person and virtual events, including our annual South By Southwest startup pitch event and competition. All of which culminate at our annual Startup of the Year Summit, where the Startup of the Year winner is announced, along with an opportunity at a potential investment.


Established is a consultancy focused on helping organizations with innovation, startup, and communication strategies. It is the power behind Startup of the Year.  Created by the talent responsible for building the Tech.Co brand (acquired by an international publishing company), we are leveraging decades of experience to help our collaborators best further (or create) their brand & accomplish their most important goals.  Connect with us on Twitter - @EstablishedUs and Facebook -