They called our name and I looked at Tanner and started screaming
10 pitches, 10 judges, $250,000. Those were the stakes Saturday night at the StartSLC pitch competition finale, an event that contained everything from phone smashing to pure badassery. When the smoke finally cleared, ViDi — represented by Spencer Taylor and Tanner Yarro — had emerged as the undisputed winner of the night, taking home first place from the judges ($150,000) in addition to the audience vote ($50,000). PlanGrade cleared the remaining $50,000 with a second-place finish.
“To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect for the entire event,” Taylor told Beehive Startups. “I’ve already told a number of people since Saturday night, anybody who is anybody was there. All the different companies that were involved and received awards, I was just kind of star-struck by the whole thing. This is the catalyst for Utah’s entrepreneur community that everybody has been waiting for.”
ViDi has swagger. Walter White-level swagger. Everyone who attended the pitch competition and listened to Taylor and Yarro win over the crowd with jokes, beards, and snazzy t-shirts can verify that. While style helps, substance is still needed. Enter the approval of StartSLC’s judging panel, whose positive vote speaks more to the promise of ViDi than any amount of swagger ever could. When the big dogs start taking note — and awarding $150,000 — you’re onto something.
“I’m a performer and you know when you connect with a crowd immediately,” Taylor said. “At that point, I thought we might have a chance at walking away with some money. They called our name and I looked at Tanner and started screaming. After we got off the stage, we both were feeling physically ill because of the nerves.”
So who are they? ViDi makes the People’s Action Camera, a creation blending equal parts HD-recording capabilities with cost-effective price. They don’t ask you to borrow money from your parents — in fact they’ll probably hate it if you do — all that’s needed is $100 and a desire to film yourself doing things that might end badly. ViDi doesn’t condone sitting at home, getting fat watching Robot Chicken. They only want three things: Come. See. Conquer.
“People have frustrations with GoPro,” Taylor said. “People have frustrations with the people who use GoPro. Skaters and snowboarders kind of have a chip on their shoulder, they’re not the rich kids. So we realized we could cozy up to these guys and create a brand/ecosystem that would resonate with them.”
StartSLC was created as a platform to connect the Utah entrepreneurial base and recognize the multitude of amazing things happening inside this state. Saturday night’s event became one of those amazing things. In front of a packed house of more than 800 people, containing many of Utah’s top startup names, ViDi stood tall in winning the hearts of the audience and judges alike. $200,000 later, the winners have not only the funds to enhance the brand they’ve created, but an opportunity to move up in weight class. All in all, just one more Utah startup on the rise.
All in all, just one more reason why StartSLC was such a game-changer for Utah’s startup ecosystem.
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