Last night, three competitors gave their three-minute pitches to a record crowd at Startup Peoria’s fifth KeyStart competition. On a night where ideas ranged from disrupting the real estate purchasing process to making purchases made on WooCommerce more dependable, it was Sol Cool Systems that pitched a product to harness solar energy to cool the cabin of a vehicle that would prove victorious.

Zac Harris, CEO of Prelim, found out about KeyStart online and traveled from Champaign to compete. Patrick Garman, a Peoria-based WooCommerce developer that joking said, “he’s not your stereotypical makeup salesman,” explained that his experience with ColourPop is what led him down the path to the idea of WCSupport.

However, it was Greg Wall, who admitted during the gauntlet of questions that, “I don’t like this kind of stuff, I like working on things,” did enough of the right stuff to sell his idea to the judges. With its patent-pending cooling system that uses the sun to cool the inside of a vehicle’s cabin, Sol Cool’s technology works no matter if the vehicle is running or not. This innovative technology captivated the judges and ultimately brought home the $5,000 prize.

The purpose of the KeyStart initiative is to provide entrepreneurs with fast access to capital in order to turn ideas into real companies. For Startup Peoria and investment backers Attollo, the event marked $25,000 in total investment of startups in the Peoria area.

View a brief recap of the night below and visit for more information on how you can apply for the next competition.




Sol Cool Systems




KeyStart Crowd

Sol Cool Winning

This post was created in collaboration with Startup Peoria, a partner of PEN.