I enjoyed attending the Start-Up Riot conference today in Atlanta. This is an annual conference hosted by Internet Entrepreneur Sanjay Parekh, founder of Digital Envoy and I also recently enjoyed having Sanjay as a guest on Small Business Roundtable.
The event featured 50 technology start-ups presenting 5 minute pitches with 3 companies winning the award of pre-screened pitch meetings with 10 venture capital firms. I was very impressed with the quality and innovation of the presenting companies and I found it interesting that many of the companies were not looking for funding, but actually product validation from the tech savvy audience.
The winning company was Trip Lingo, which helps users engage in local cultures while traveling internationally. Trip Lingo learns your interests and creates customized phrase lists according to each traveler and makes it easy for you to find the right phrase, whether you are in a taxi or dining out.
I also enjoyed the Keynote presentations from Andrew Warner of Mixergy and David Hauser of Grasshopper Group. Andrew has a wonderful site at Mixergy.com interviewing entrepreneurs and he has some wonderful programs including an interview with Groupon’s founder Andrew Mason, which was very interesting to learn how different their model started and what it is now. Mason was humble in this interview about how they started and was really willing to share tips for success. David’s company is also very cool – they provide inexpensive products that make an entrepreneurs life much easier such as their Grasshopper Virtual Phone System and Chargify a simplified recurring billing system. I was also impressed how both Andrew and David were willing to give back their time to help entrepreneurs succeed and they truly enjoy helping others reach their dreams.
I was not surprised to see that most of the companies presenting were in the mobile media and social media space and were solving problems for people on the go. Several companies have created business plans around making Facebook, Linked In and Twitter more efficient and easier to use. It’s fascinating to watch how many sub companies are launched under these social media behemoths.
I was intrigued by Gabacus and their ability to condense tweets down to relevant information according to your interests. Their CEO Radhika Subramanian was very sharp and they actually stumbled upon this idea from a major client asking them to meet this need. Gabacus is getting strong interest from politicians, celebrities and Fortune 500 companies wanting a condensed version of what the world is saying about them. Gabacus is still in beta so stay tuned for launch updates.
I look forward to attending next year and thanks to all the volunteers that helped to on this event and thanks to Sanjay for giving back his time to the entrepreneur community. John H. Martin – Host of Small Business Roundtable