Startup Riot, the biggest and most interesting tech event (in my mind) hits Atlanta for its third year. You might remember the first two Startup Riots which I blogged about: I presented at the Startup Riot 2008 and covered Startup Riot 2009. I'll backtrack a bit first. Startup Riot 2010 is a startup pitch event and this year 50 startups in Atlanta, GA will take the stage for 3 minutes or less and talk about their startup company with just 4 slides. It's an all day event and by far a pillar event for the growing Atlanta tech community. That being said, Robert Scoble came into town this week to attend Startup Riot. He works for RackSpace Building43 and RackSpace bought local startup Jungle Disk last year, so they decided to fly out from California to meet with the Jungle Disk team and network with local startups. Skribit Co-founder Calvin Yu and I went to the Jungle Disk offices yesterday for a video interview with Scoble that I'll post up soon.
Now on to the point of this post. I am going to attempt to live blog Startup Riot today. This is my first time live blogging so there will likely be some snags along the way. Thanks for reading!
The event will be also be streamed live at live.startupriot.com.
Live Blog Coverage
8:20am Just getting to the Fabulous Fox Theater:
8:28am People slowing coming into the Fox theater. There's a busy lobby area where several startups have demo booths setup. A/V crew is doing some sound checks.
Startup Riot Organizer @Sanjay
The Egyptian Ballroom of the Fox Theater in Atlanta
8:39am Sanjay is prepping the first batch of speakers.
8:44am Wi-Fi is acting up, hopefully they're just rebooting it or something.
8:53am Voice over the PA says everything will start in 2 minutes.
8:58am Sanjay up making jokes and trying to stop people from eating doughnuts and come sit down.
9:01am Sanjay starting his 41 slide deck. Talking about success of Startup Riot. 400 people in attendance today.
9:02am Sanjay telling people how to pronounce his name. He does this a lot.
9:04am+ Sanjay talking Startup Riot basics. Big sponsors: Georgia Tech ATDC (disclosure Skribit is a member) and Jungle Disk. Other sponsors include Georgia Research Alliance, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Imlay Investments, MailChimp, Microsoft BizSpark, One, Siavage Law Group LLC, Silverpop, Development Corporate, Epilog Laser (laser engraved the netbooks that are prizes for the winning startups), Friendly Human Productions, Mashable, Mixergy, TechDrawl, Whynatte.
9:12am Wi-Fi keeps crashing. This makes Stammy sad.
9:13am Sanjay talking about his startup gossip mailing list. I've been subscribing for a while and have advertised in it for the last 2 months. Also mentioned Shotput Ventures.
9:15am Sanjay introducing the keynote speaker, Bo Peabody:
Bo is an accomplished entrepreneur and investor. He co-founded Tripod.com in 1994 and co-founded Village Ventures in 1999. Bo’s book, Lucky or Smart?, is available on Amazon. Wikipedia entry on Bo here.
You should also read this recent Washington Post piece that Bo did on social media, startups, and advertising models.
9:16am Bo takes the stage. Dude looks at least 15 years younger than I thought he would be.
9:17am+ Bo talking about his titles. He has been CEO of various companies and is now a venture capitalist. He also has a few restaurants.
Bo talking about how he wanted to be an entrepreneur when young and how his friends were all getting high-paying jobs right out of college. "What exactly does an entrepreneur do?" Talking about meeting women in a bar and how saying you are an entrepreneur is like "this guy is unemployed."
9:25am Wi-Fi keeps dying and being slow. Sorry for the delay guys.
9:26am Bo talking about how every successful company at one point was very close to shutting down. At Tripod they wanted to provide 90% of the content and the audience would add 10% of the content by talking about it... was actually the other way around once they started working with it. This was in mid 90's. Once they started seeing how the Internet worked, it took off.
Bo is now talking about his restaurant group Mezze. Tweaked to success: raised the lighting in the restaurant and made meals larger portion sizes, attracted an older crowd and got more business out of it.
Entrepreneurship is all about passion.
9:30am Bo takling about his sections of his book: Humilty - don't believe your own press, and Level-Headedness - Best defense is a gracious offense. Just because he had a great piece on the USA Today, he shouldn't have scrapped his great talk assuming that everyone read the great news piece. He was at a speaking gig on a book tour and asked the audience who read his book - no one raised their hand.
9:34am Story about a big meeting with some movie producers. Made tons of plans. Movie producer assistant called.. had to change meeting. Bo changed plans again. Two days later they call back again saying that day isn't going to work. They reschedule again. Another call, that day won't work either. They schedule once more time, Bo is pissed but talking about being gracious. Being an entrepreneur - constantly getting screwed. Time changed again, he told them "look, I'm going to be out in LA for an entire week.. if there is any 30 minute point at which I can meet with him, I can do it." Assistant says "great".. calls back right before the trip and has the final date. Bo goes to the meeting and gets the deal done. Enterpreneurship - gotta stick with it.
9:38am Bo talking about the VC fund he works with, Village Ventures - currently 134M. I need to pitch this guy..
9:39am Q&A starting...
"I'm trying to raise funding... I'm getting blown off a lot as well. Meetings cancelled, etc. Tell me the story of the first time you raised funding. Also, if you don't have any connection.. how do you get in when you've got no lead?"
Bo says: you have a connection. Think about who you know and you'll find someone with money - they might not be a traditional investor but they can connect you with who you're looking for.
"What cosmic set of circumstances must occur for you to say yes to a deal?"
Bo says: Running a venture firm is just like running a business, just like you. When we're dealing with a limited partner as a customer, we tell them a story. They remember that story pretty well.. if we veer from that story it creates problems with them as a customer. The story he tells them: I'm investing primarily in vertical media companies. Ones that are building out audiences in particular set of verticals that he has marked as being valuable to advertisers and consumers. First thing that has to happen - you have to be doing something that is interesting to me. Tells entrepreneurs to do their homework, look at their websites to find what they invest in and look at their portfolio companies.
"What are the verticals that you invest in?"
Travel, Health, Beauty & Fashion, Parenting, Technology Media, Financial Services Media, Food & Wine, Education
"Hi Bo - I'm trying to raise capital for a startup in Zambia, Africa. Investors are scared in funding in an emerging markets. Advice?"
Bo says: I think your best bet is to get to individuals who have an interest in Africa. Have invested in startups in Africa, et cetera. My guess is that a venture firm is not your best route.
"How much does geography play a role in investments?"
Bo says: It's hard for me to invest in a company in LA, even though I think there is an opportunity out there in video and content creation etc, it's really hard for me to manage a relationship that is a 3 hour time difference and 3,000 miles away. Focus on getting to local people in regards to funding.
"First Round Capital put together this entrepreneur equity share thing... diversification"
Bo says: Diversification is a good thing but I don't want to back a company that is giving away their own companies equity. They should value their company's equity very highly, more so than someone else's startup.
10am Bo is done speaking. Sanjay is back on stage. We have a break now.
10:19am The pitches are starting...
Transaction Tree Problem with juggling receipts. Product gives consumer opportunity. Have their receipt emailed including marketing, survey, ads and coupons relevant to their current and past purchases. Not spammy. Saves retailers 30% over receipt paper overall. Looking for funding.
Mediasode Multi-media manager product enables you to coordinate a video stream along with other types of content. People absorb content in the order of their choosing. Term "sync the story" - fully augmented media. Not just a collection of links. Embed app on any website or device. Target cost-aware verticals with big media libraries. Designed for new touch applications like the iPad. Information at your fingertips with Mediasode.
Othernum.com Small biz and need a phone number with no crazy contract or pricey hardware? Virtual PBX platform that scales with your business. 9 a month for a number and get conferencing etc. Been working on it for about 10 months now, both co-founders still have their day jobs. Went through a private beta and now in public beta. Launched 2 weeks ago. An ATDC company. Fully operational. Needs customers. Use code "startupriot" at othernum.com
Ultralite Phototherapy machines to solve things like psoriasis. 2-3% world population have psoriasis. Typical treatments are drugs or phototheraphy. Phototherapy usually involves the patient visiting a clinic many times a week. Phototheraphy is somewhat dangerous as people can overdose on it. To prevent this, Ultralite has developed a prescription system for phototheraphy. The prescription is on a flash drive that is placed in the phototheraphy machine. FDA approved. Seeking funding for development and marketing.
CritSend Email delivery service. Ensures all emails go to inboxes. Easy setup and online reporting setup. Lowest price on the market. Showing example customer that got 3x better email delivery using CritSend. They are scalable. 24/7 monitoring system with people watching it worldwide. Setup takes just minutes.
Placevision Web development for urban planning. Communication gap between government and citizens. Government is confused as to what tools to use to close this gap. Product focuses on consultants such as architecture and urban planning firms to facilitate community outreach. They need a website to spread this info.. as it stands it is just a bunch of PDFs on a website. OnlinePlanGuide.com is 90% complete - comes with all architecture, visualization tools and plugins necessary. Raising funds to finish final development.
LessAccounting Most small biz owners use QuickBooks. "QuickBooks is fucking horrible." All accounting applications suck, we just suck the least. LessAccounting helps small biz owners get back to working and making money. Data entry is a thing of the past. We import your bank transactions every night. All their tech support is book keepers.. they can help you sort your accounts. Integrate with lots of services. Packages from 12-300/month. Here to take some money. Here to spread the gospel of LessAccounting.
Artisanal Influence Pair wine bloggers with wine brands. Wine bloggers are "our last best hope" to wineries. Sales are down in the wine industry. Many wine magazines are on the verge of bankruptcy. Product is a weekly mailing list. Wine marketers pay 50 to submit a promotion. Pair blogger with opportunity. Looking for additional funding.
neybor Free listing service that allows you to create online reports.. make money by partnering with real estate photographers that use their virtual tour product. Also local newspapers.
Drive Safe Glucose Monitoring System - Making driving safter for Diabetics. Product is patent pending, has a monitor watch device that monitors blood sugar 24/7 and alerts drive when too low. Ultrasound for measurement of blood sugar lows.. 98% accurate. Expect to launch within next 13 months and be able to save over 600 lives every year.
Viral Prints Lets users shop for merchandise inspired from their favorite videos and also create their own merchandise and profit from its sale. T-shirts and things. Website is seamlessly integrated with all the video services. Link between video and merchandise helps conversions. Over 100,000 uniques. Cash Flow positive, custom design application.
learn it live Online service marketplace. Like Guru and Elance do for outsourced labor we for top training. Consumers meet with business professionals. Interactive experience.. networking and communicating in an online forum. World of experts in the palm of your hands to find the information you need to know to succeed. For example Spanish teacher in Bolivia helping you brush up on your Spanish.
Gold Brothers Entertainment Mobile company creating (iPhone) applications. Games, educational apps and so on. Also building for the iPad. Also "agent" product helping authors get published. Received 250k funding.
NetParty, Tribester, We Just Click Properties devoted to making new connections and bridging gap between online and offline business connections. NetParty is "worldwide young professionals network" with sponsoring "networking with a twist" events in over 15 events in the U.S.. Ranked #1 in a CNET post "Professional social networks that take on LinkedIn." Younger crowd than typical LinkedIn user. Tribester.com - Nation's biggest singles event (4k ppl each year in NYC), biggest Jewish Facebook group (100k) competes with JDate.com. And in development property called We Just Click - like a mix of The Huffington Post, match.com and reality TV.
Rank'em "Accelerating Music Discovery" Rank songs from favorite artists. Private Beta at gorankem.com. Use their search engine to browse artists. Money made through affiliate partnerships. Helps artists change set lists based on location and what fans like.
napstay Marketplace for vacation home rentals. Vacation homes are generally cheaper per person compared to hotels. Huge market potential. Consumers - online bookings, no deposits, flexible stays. Owners - standardization and distribution. Currently building up inventory of properties.
jobtitled Career Analytics product. Problem - uninformed career decisions. Solution - data mining and statistical analysis. Crawl the web looking for CVs and resumes.. see how people move through careers and what industries they work in. Given any job title they can provide a list of next and previous positions, average time between positions. Give user an idea of how long to get to their end goal/ideal job. JobTitled.com - patent pending, public peta, tripled source data. JobTitled Edu - GA Tech, GA State joined pilot, alpha prototype completed. Here to meet with investors and advisors.
looxii Part of inaugural Shotput Ventures class. Social media analytics space. How do you best deal with a large amount of qualitative data and make sense of all of it? Then how do you interact with and engage? Looxii is social media analytics made simple. Site beta live at looxii.com
11:17am Lunch time!
1pm And we're back for the next batch of presenting companies at Startup Riot 2010!
High Road Craft The Ben & Jerry's for restaurants, hotels and resorts. Ice Cream on the market by this June. Already secured investment. Delicious premium ice creams, apparently.
CoreMotives "Detect, track and target online visitors who express interest." Capturing and analyzing traffic on sites, landing pages, email interactions and look at where traffic is coming from. Secret Sauce - cross reference this data with sales data that their customers are already tracking so they can identify patterns and find people who exhibit buying behaviors. Four pillars: Web Analytics, Email Marketing, Lead Capture, CRM.
Ninja Post "Finally — a message board built for today's internet." What can I do to make my website more social? Modern Message Board software with a modern twist - real time updates, elegant design, integration with Twitter, Facebook and WordPress. Your site + Ninja Post = Sales leads, customer loyalty, web visibility and SEO. Business model - SaaS + premium services like SSO. Looking for angel investment of 150k and looking for customers. Also a Shotput Ventures incubator program company.
CoThrive Hard to drive accountability and track work my scouring your inbox. CoThrive takes email, messaging and communications and converts them into actions that can be tracked without having to leave the inbox. Reads and parses keywords like who is it for, who is responsible, et cetera and converts them into actions without having the user do anything unnaturally. Dashboard created entirely with emails. Paying customers, secured 1M funding and strong management.
Bee Well Wishes "What to send when you don't know what to do." Most gifts - "flowers die, food goes bad, not helpful, not useful, not memorable." Bee well wishes are "lasting, useful gifts of comfort" like blankets, onesies and so on. All delivered in bright orange box with a personalized card. "Smart, infinite growth potential, non-seasonal, always relevant, endless customer base, personal."
Nexpense Simple online receipt management system that lets you capture receipts real time with your iPhone, Blackberry or Android phone. Receipt goes off to the cloud and your expense report is sent to you via email weekly. Export expenses how you like. Freemium model. Tier 1 has limited receipts and limited history, second tier is 4.95 month for unlimited receipts and history. Tier 3 has a sliding fee structure for multiple users. Launching Alpha in mid-April, seeking users.
Quotejuice Online platform to quote, compare and purchase individual health insurance. Recurring commission revenue for each seal. Nobody wants to get hassled buying an insurance policy. User provides basic info (A/S/L), goes out and finds price quotes then matches plans. Not looking for investors but looking for customers.
SkyBuyHigh In-flight Luxury E-Boutique. "The only in-flight shopping service on private jet flights... and tax-free." Electronic and displayed on wireless devices in-flight. They have no competition. Based in NYC and Atlanta.
HydroCoal Technologies "We Make Clean Coal Affordable." Gasification systems for industry. An affordable approach to clean coal - scalable, efficient, reliable. He talked about techie stuff about coal gasifiers and stuff. "disruptive product" for where the GE industry doesn't play. Seeking 1M for 6 month 2010 pilot.
CitiSync Helps college students discover and share events and specials happening in their city. CitiSync helps local businesses get their specials and events in front of students at the point of decision. I'm skeptical about these types of products. Lots of competition and an ADHD target market..
ElectronicNapkin.com A Show & Tell system for connecting people with ideas. Camera with mounting device.. like interactive whiteboard. Currently reviewing revenue models.
Regator Find the best blog content on the net - using editors and algorithms. "We make it really easy for everyone to find the best blog content and trends." They have two iPhone apps (one free and one paid). 2010 plans - redesign for trends + social coming up, api to spread the love and app updates and iPad support.
Mobilization Labs Product is Wildfire Platform, helps causes and brands manage, mobilize and measure their support base. SRM — supporter relationship management tool. Like CRM with layer of social data and activities - how they are engaging with your brand. Looking for partners and customers.
Candeo Product is YouHaveAPackage.com and live and creating revenue. Every day thousands of packages are delivered to apartments, business and so on - mail room, front office staff, concierge deals with burden to tell person they have a package. That's about 4 minutes of time for them each. Candeo's service with handheld device takes only 20 seconds. Automatically text messages, calls or emails recipients.
Smart Video Interactive Product is digital signage panels. Model - take a huge market and niche it. Revenue positive and expense neutral. Content is key. Seeking 250k funding. Large HVAC distributor currently testing program.
LessMeeting Run effective meetings. Plan meetings, send out meeting minutes and follow-up to see how meeting went. Rate and analyze meeting. Long-run measure meeting productive at the personal level and across the enterprise level. Been around for 3 months with a beta version out. Subscription model starting at 5/month.
PawPawMail E-mail for Grandparents. Live product, lots of positive feedback so far. Moving towards groups - assisted living facilities, libraries and so on.
OpenStudy Get-Help Give-Help Study Network. Piloted with teachers, universities and students for the past 12 months. Students want to collaborate - more effective way to study. Revenue from student subscriptions and charging partners for data about how students using the service. "Connect & collaborate in real time." Funding from NSF and GRA and looking to raise this summer.
3:05pm And we're back with the last batch of pitching startups.
eCampus Wide Events calendar. Easy to create, organize, integrate and share. Embed on sites. Freemium model.
Kabbage Product for online sellers. Provides financing for online sellers as they list products for sale. First sellers list products for sale like eBay or Amazon. Then Kabbage makes offers for them and funds them in as few as 10 minutes - money directly put in their online checking accounts. Why Kabbage? It comes down to data. Take data to leverage FICO credit scores.. how much they should lend to them. Raised 1.4M in capital. Completed partnership with bank to fund all these loans online. 60 days from launch.
Chatfé Start conversations with like minded people. "post or find an entertaining comment or question, chatfé finds like-minded people and connects you, speak in real time with people who share your interests." Both peoples' phones ring - no phone number or other info is exchanged. Public beta is out now.
the plan is... Plan out your projects. Not exactly sure how it works. Description was confusion. "Visualize your plan, use trial and error, nothing to install, theplanis.com/sur". Now in private beta.
Abundant Closet "What's in the Closet?" Product is a patent pending outfit engine. Kind of sounds like Polyvore.com? Abundant Closet raised 350k in founder and family money.
itsFound.org The Craigslist of Internet lost and found. "Make it easy for finders to return items back to losers." How it works - create unique identifier, print stickers, electronically collect. "If found, return via..."
Savont Helps people build ROSCAs using your social network. For example, saving cycle. Borrower and Saver. Let users pay down interest-bearing debt. Savont is an equal, paying member in every ROSCA.
Uvestor Problem: Inefficient real estate transactions to close any deal. "Uvestor is real estate in real time." Makes it easier for bank, seller, broker, buyer, appraiser, agent. Monthly subscriptions to small businesses, realtors and individuals. Scaling revenue model.
GetUnBored Picture-based city and events guide. Affiliates and partners include ticketmaster, citysearch, entertainment book, facebook with valpak coming soon. I still don't really get it. Need more screenshots.
Toomah "Interviewing made easy." He mentioned an Easy button. Isn't that trademarked by Staples? InterviewPlus product - review phone screens over the web. Voice-recorded and embedded back into the website.
Medivity Minimally-invasive medical devices. Go through natural openings instead making incisions. "PuncSure" advantages: safer, easier and faster. Market - up to 1.5M proceedures.. a 1B market. Looking to be a FDA Class II device. Exit strategy would be sale or licensing to a larger company.
doleaf Grow your garden. Online marketplace to find and buy plants from mom and pop specialty nurseries and garden centers. "Etsy for plants." Looking to get the word out. They are asking for links to boost their PageRank.. (hint dont explicity ask for links..)
Softmaxx The FedEx of wireless software - a middleware that hooks modems together. Cellular M2M Market - every modem needs software.
MakeSmallTalk.com Become part of the conversation. "Content destination site." First place to go when researching new topics - typical articles are short and concise, with a few facts up top.
3:49pm Pitches are done. Sanjay on stage talking about how voting is going to work. Each attendee is to give one pitching startup their lanyard.
And the winners are...
LessAccounting wins first and then Regator and Nexpense tied for second. They all won Startup Riot laser engraved netbooks along with some other prizes.
That wraps up Startup Riot 2010. Thoughts? Are there any events like this in your city? What do you think about fast-paced startup pitching events like this?