During the course of the day, many places were visited.
Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, came to Utah in a giant bus. His intentions were simple: to examine the Utah tech and startup community under a microscope, breathing in the fine details and simple beauties that make us Utah. Along with the Rise of the Rest startup tour, he visited on a day that a semi filled with ammonium nitrate crashed on I-15 and shut down traffic for multiple hours — if that’s not a great taste of Utah, what is?
So, if you had one day to taste all that Utah’s entrepreneurs had to offer, what would you do? If you said visit the prison then you also should have co-founded AOL, because that’s where Case and his posse had breakfast, hanging out and chatting with some of Utah’s tech elite about life, love, and being CEOs.
— Beehive Startups (@BeehiveStartups) October 5, 2016
During the course of the day, many places were visited. Case and company stopped in at Salt Mine, the Sandy co-working space that hosted an event on Tuesday where Clint Betts wore a retro BYU hoodie. They dropped by the recently opened Lassonde Studios on the University of Utah’s campus, a place for college students to live and come up with baller ideas. They met with Salt Lake City’s finest immigrant entrepreneurs. They took in the new offices of Sorenson Media and chilled in a room with many tvs, which is always a good way to spend time. They even took relaxed pictures with Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams:
And for those of you who have always wondered what Steve Case would look like wearing a Cotopaxi jacket and experiencing virtual reality, that question was answered:
Just when everyone thought the day couldn’t get crazier the main event arrived, a 1–2 punch of entrepreneurial delight — a fireside chat, followed by a pitch competition. Even more exciting, the fireside chat was between Steve Case and Beehive’s very own Clint Betts, who showed up to the event in blue sneakers and a Jazz hoodie. Less exciting, however, was the fact that no fire was present, though a chat was still held nonetheless. This chat was so scintillating that people started freaking out on Twitter and calling Clint by random names:
For the record, I think we should all start referring to Clint as Clint Bert from now on. It fits better than his real name, especially when he grows a goatee and takes his boat out on the lake: “Captain Clint Bert, let me help you aboard.” After we’re done with the Startup Santa book drive our next crusade is going to be getting Clint’s name officially changed, mark my words.
After Case and Bert wrapped things up, the pitch competition commenced. Eight finalists had been chosen to pitch in front of Case and a panel of guest judges: Amy Rees Anderson, Aaron Skonnard, Cyd Tetro, and Martin Frey. Together, they heard what everyone had to say and then made the tough choice of picking one company to receive a personal $100,000 investment from Case. That company was PK Clean Technologies, represented by CEO Priyanka Bakaya, who beat out the competition with the business idea of converting landfill plastics into fuel.
When it was all said and done, Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, left Utah in a giant bus. His tour included two more destinations (Albuquerque and Phoenix) but he left Utah with a taste of what drives Utah’s entrepreneurs: passion, hard work, and dirty sodas. He met many of the companies and people who have helped turn Utah into the blossoming tech and startup hub it is today, including the newest face of our community, Clint Bert. He personally invested $100K in a Utah startup. And as he headed out on the highway, he left with an indelible image of Utah painted in his mind (and on Instagram):