Coca-Cola Changing The World, Not Just Making Sugar Water, With 9 Accelerators

Coca Cola, Startup Accelerators, Accelerators, Coca Cola Innovation

I was one of the first people to see the Jobs movie at an early showing on Thursday evening. One of the big highlight scenes in the movie is when John Sculley recounted the conversation he and Steve Jobs had in New York when Jobs went to recruit the then President of Pepsico to become the CEO of Apple. Jobs once considered it to be the worst move of his career (or at least that’s what the movie and Walter Isaacson’s book suggest). In that conversation Jobs reportedly asked Sculley if he wanted to sell sugar water the rest of his life, or if he wanted to change the world.

Well it looks like Coca-Cola isn’t content on just selling sugar water either. Coke has made another global move towards innovatino by supporting startups with nine global accelerators. The company made a bold show of support for startups back in April when it was announced that they were a large corporate sponsor of Startup Weekend and now UpGlobal.

VentureVillage reported on Thursday that Coca-Cola has already started accelerator programs in San Fancisco and Sydney. They also just recently kicked off a program in Mexico City, with Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bangalore, Berlin, Singapore, and Istanbul all on tap as well.

Coke isn’t looking for the next wild flavor or even a revamp of its bottles or cans. They are looking for innovation in distribution and well being. Coca Cola’s global Vice President of Innovation David Butler gave a presentation in early August in Sydney outlining the programs.

“About a year and a half ago, the company stepped back and said – what are we not doing in terms of innovation?” Butler explained. “You can get lost in that word but essentially what we came down to is that there was a lot going on in this ecosystem, this community, that we weren’t part of…”

As to what Coca-Cola is looking for, Butler said it was up to the individual programs across the globe. When asked by an audience member;  “So it could be as broad as a Coke-branded wearable device that helps you be healthy or it could be, actually Coke will do your deliveries for you?” one audience member asked.

Exactly, Butler replied. “Those are two ideas we’re working on right now.”

Venture Village also reports that this isn’t Coca-Cola’s first shot at startups and accelerators. In 2001 they formed a startup incubator in their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, that offered $250,000 in seed capital for up to 12% equity. Bloomberg reports that the program eventually fizzed out for unknown reasons.

Check out Coca Cola’s “Innovation Stories” blog here.




Atlanta Startups Transforming The Business Of Healthcare

Venture Atlanta, Startups, Healthcare startups

Health care billing in the United States is a notoriously convoluted process routinely leaving doctors – the backbone of the health care system and entrepreneurs in their own right – to worry about their practice’s cash flow and their own bottom line. Two Atlanta startups are giving doctors affordable new tools to increase revenue, eliminate lost charges and manage their offices more efficiently, allowing doctors to focus on what they do best, providing their patients with excellent health care.

Transforming the Waiting Room Experience

With their iPad-based PatientPad, Digital Assent is transforming the patient experience from the moment they arrive at their doctor’s office.

“PatientPad is designed to improve the quality of the entire patient visit, from start to finish,” Digital Assent’s CEO, Andrew Ibbotson, said. “And nearly everything about the PatientPad is easily customized for each practice.”

The company’s recently shipped second-generation device is a specially configured iPad optimized for use in a doctor’s office. Housed in a proprietary enclosure protecting the iPad from drops and water damage (and making it easy to disinfect), the PatientPad 2 runs a custom iPad app that wraps a full-screen web browser.

Aimed primarily at the “cash-pay” segment of the health care industry that includes cosmetic dermatologists, plastic surgeons and high-end medical spas, the tablet is designed to give patients a great first impression. To accomplish this, each PatientPad “includes a customized welcome screen with the practice’s name and welcome message, custom-configured patient check-in questionnaires, and content that is hand-picked by each practice to educate and entertain their patients while they wait,” Ibbotson said.  Additional options include the ability to display before and after pictures, notify patients of upcoming events and promotions, apply for healthcare financing and enroll in loyalty programs – all before the patient leaves the office.

“As you can imagine, practices that specialize in aesthetic medicine are very image-conscious,” Ibbotson said.  “Many of our customers cite the importance of appearing modern, current, and cutting-edge in every facet of their practice. PatientPad sets the tone that an office is modern and technologically advanced.”

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Some Of Atlanta’s Top Startups Talk About Competing For Talent

Atlanta startups, MailChimp, Scoutmob, Venture Atlanta, Startup Tips

Startups face a myriad of challenges as they evolve from concept to validation, launch to revenue generation. None of these stages is easy. All require effort, perseverance, and talent.  Attracting and retaining top talent is not a number one priority when held up against other pressing issues such as product development and, in some cases, attracting capital.

But when they are ready, startups have to vie for talent in a tight market.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for IT professionals is in the low single digits. Projections indicate that by 2016, the increase in technical hiring will more than double the growth rate of all other occupations. In this hyper-competitive market where the competition is large, established corporations that can afford to extend attractive compensation packages and startups with personnel needs face an uphill climb.

In this red-hot labor market, wise startups realize that it’s not always about cash.  Instead, offering a unique culture and creative perks can be just as compelling. It also helps to recruit in places that others do not.

MailChimp CEO Ben Chestnut knows firsthand how hard it is to attract talent, but it’s not because Atlanta is a barren wasteland.  He uses the fact that Atlanta is a top market in the region to his advantage. “It’s very much a ‘leave no stone unturned’ approach we take, and I’d add that we tend to look under really weird stones. It helps a ton to be in Atlanta, because we’re an attractive city for talent in surrounding areas to move to.”



Soletron CEO A.J. Steigman, an Emory graduate, uses being in Atlanta, and connections with the local universities to his advantage. “The business conditions in the city are superb for startups,” says Steigman. “The positive business environment plus the ability to recruit top notch talent from local universities were the primary reasons for us getting our Buckhead office.”

Startups know there are intangibles that come into play when trying to attract talent. Founders and CEO’s alike find themselves having to sell their vision to potential employees. This is difficult in the earlier stages of a startup’s life but does get increasingly easier as it gains traction. Consistency and clarity of vision is key.

“Our sell is always the same,” offers up Michael Tavani, co-founder of Scoutmob.  ”We have a huge and unique opportunity to do something magical that’s never been done before and doesn’t happen much, if ever, out of Atlanta.”

Scoutmob is one of the few business-to-consumer startups showing traction in a town known more for successes among business-to-business startups.

Unique perks go a long way toward attracting Millennial and Gen Z candidates who make up much of Scoutmob’s employee base. Located in the hip Krog Street area, this is Tavani’s description of the “vibe” at Scoutmob: “a casual environment, no set hours or vacation policy and working with a bunch of people that are determined to create something delightful that millions of people will use.”

Continue reading, and see what Adam Bitzer cofounder of Pardot and Bill Fasig CMO at Sports Challenge network have to say.


SoftWear Automation Bringing Garment Industry Back To U.S. By Way Of Atlanta

SoftWear Automation, Atlanta Startup,Startup, Venture Atlanta

Steve Dickerson, founder SoftWear Automation (photo: TedX)

Five years ago, retired Georgia Tech automation professor Dr. Steve Dickerson was getting ready for a seminar on the future of robotics.  In preparation, he asked what the biggest need in robotics was today?  The answer came quickly – automation of the garment industry.

To the Lowest Cost Provider Go the Manufacturing Contracts

Dickerson, a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur, grew up in Commerce, Georgia, where at one time there were three sewing operations. Today, most sewing is done overseas, where manufacturers have sought cheap labor.  Pricing pressures are so intense that clothing manufacturing has moved from China to countries with even cheaper labor like Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam.  Dickerson plans to change that trend and bring garment manufacturing back to the United States.

Dickerson, who co-founded SoftWear Automation, Inc. with Dr. Wayne Book, envisions technicians specializing in robotics supervising an entirely automated process, which will replace the need for seamstresses in factories and make the United States competitive in the garment industry again.

According to Plunkett Research, Ltd., in 2012 America imported more than $100 billion in textiles and apparel, while exporting only $22 billion. “In order to manufacture in the U.S., [you] have to be automated,” Dickerson says. “[Businesses] have to eliminate direct labor to make it profitable.”

Old Problem, New Solution

The loss of U.S. apparel manufacturing is not a new problem. In the 1970s and 1980s, government agencies recognized the issue and began developing projects to bring it back. These efforts failed in large part because an economical way to bring the industry back remained elusive — until now. In 2012, SoftWear Automation received $1.2 million from the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is required by law to purchase military garments made in the United States.

SoftWear Automation’s robotics focus on more than just sewing. In place of seamstresses, the system will guide fabric through machines and transferred from one machine to another.

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Atlanta Startup AppPax Is Making Life Easier For Enterprise Developers [interview]

Apppax,Atlanta startup,startup,startups,startup interview

There are a lot of enterprise developers out there that are grinding their gears working on similar projects for different companies or clients. While developers need to stay competitive and productive, there are several menial tasks that could be done in a much easier way.

For instance, right now hundreds of developers are building enterprise enrollment modules. Typically these enrollment modules are just one tiny part of the overall finished project. A lot of time is being wasted with all these different engineers working on the same things as just part of the bigger project.

While we’re not suggesting some kind of socialist, round all the developers together in one circle and sing kumbaya kind of thing, there’s an Atlanta based startup that has a solution.

AppPax offers a cloud based platform delivering pre-built business modules that are customizable and accesible through a robust API. Their AppPax Central hub offers “cross everything” for all platforms mobile, web and desktop. This means that developers using AppPax can get the nuts and bolts from their cloud based hub and work on the actual project rather than building the initial tools.

AppPax was founded by Bill Forsyth an enterprise software engineer with 29 years experience.

We got a chance to talk to Forsyth. Check out our interview below:

appaxscreenshotWhat is AppPax?

We offer pre-built business modules running in a cloud-based hub — all accessible via a robust API and configurable through AppPax Central. Our webware is cross-everything. No more choosing between platform or device. No more deciding whether to develop a mobile app, mobile site or desktop experience.

In layman’s terms, how does it work? (In other words how would you explain it to your grandmother)

Developers can now call ready-made, integrated business modules from any device (web app, mobile app, etc.) instead of building features from scratch. Right now, hundreds of developers are building enterprise enrollment modules.

That’s a waste. With AppPax Access, for example,  they don’t have to build it, they can just call it and load in their data. 

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

For the past 29 years, Bill Forsyth has been conceiving and building enterprise systems, merging the technical with the aesthetic, all to create simple solutions to complex problems. He’s held technical and leadership roles at S1 Corporation, EDS, Gemstone Systems, Bellsouth, and Platinum Software.

Where is AppPax based?

AppPax is based in Atlanta, Ga.

What is the startup scene like there?

Young, but growing. And the influence of Georgia Tech is helping to fuel it. 

How did you come up with the idea for AppPax?

Bill created AppPax after years of building business systems using unnecessarily complex processes, working on system integration, playing World of Warcraft, observing the rise of mobile, and realizing that half to three quarters of all data models and features of business applications apply to other business applications. Why are we still building them from scratch?

What problem does AppPax solve?

AppPax eliminates the need to spec, design, model, and develop the majority of any business app’s features from scratch. It also makes all app features available via secure API to all devices. It’s already built. So don’t build it. Just call it, with AppPax.

What’s your secret sauce, what makes you different?

Pre-built, integrated enterprise business models in a cloud-based hub built on universal data models. The hub is the difference.  

Why now?

We’re entering a new phase in the evolution of software development. Common features of apps (access, people, products, requirements, agreements, files, etc.) will simply exist in the cloud for you to call, already built, already integrated with each other. In the old days we coded everything every time. Then we went to libraries you could “link” in. Then to SDK’s and open source. And you still needed to create and operate your database, backend, and now do that cross-device. 

BaaS tried to help that but as it exists right now it might actually be a retrograde since it once again requires you to design, model, and build most everything all over again. But at AppPax we’ve invented a way to provide core, integrated business features you can simply call in the cloud yet still use your own data. 

Developers already no longer consider building their own maps. They simply call GoogleMaps, Mapquest, or something in the cloud. Nor would most developers think of building their own payment processor. They just call PayPal, Chargify or something in the cloud. AppPax now provides similar services but for core business features. We believe in the near future you won’t have to build or assemble most of your app. You’ll simply call the features you need from your front-ends, cross-device, allowing you to focus on your own unique front-ends. AppPax aims to lead and dominate that market.

What are some milestones you’ve achieved?

We just released AppPax Beta with our first five Pax: People, Access, Tracking, Files, Contact. We have more waiting in the wings.

You can find out more at

New York startup Problemio wants to help other startups fail less.

Atlanta Startup Medicast Is Uber For HealthCare [video][sxsw]

Even though it’s 2013, Obamacare is kicking in and people are clamoring for insurance, there is a wave of “old school” healthcare sweeping the nation. It’s not about going retro to the olden days, but more about convenience in the hustle bustle, no time to stop lifestyles that plenty of American’s have grown accustom too.

What is it you ask?  House calls, and doctors are starting to make them again.  That’s where Atlanta startup Medicast comes in.

Medicast is an on-demand, doctor hailing application, similar to Uber for black cars.

Medicast,Atlanta startup,startups,sxsw,sxswi,techcocktailUsing the app, a patient would say what kind of doctor they need, order the doctor and then the doctor would come to their home or office to administer care. Doctors on the system will have another version of the app, designed for the medical provider. They can respond to requests by type of service, distance or what the patient is ready to pay.

Medicast founder Sam Zebarjadi came all the way down from Atlanta to Austin for TechCocktail’s celebration of startups event. It was there that he got to pitch Medicast during the Pitch Jam session and where we caught up with him.

Check out the video interview with Zebarjadi below and for more information visit

Check out over 30 stories we’ve already filed for SXSW 2013, here

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David Cohen, That Ideas Market Startup Has Arrived And It’s Called ThoughtMarket

ThoughtMarket,Atlanta startup,startup interviewI’ve seen a handful of interviews where Techstars founder talks about ideas being worthless without follow through and execution. He’s absolutely 100% right. I’ve seen him throw a reporter for a loop in an interview where he gets all hyper about a startup that sells ideas, and when the reporter asks him the name of the startup, he confesses it doesn’t exist, again, because ideas are worthless.

Atlanta startup ThoughtMarket is actually more in depth than just a place to hash out and sell ideas, it’s about creating and being creative even if you aren’t the person taht executes.

“The Thought Market is a unified platform for the exchange of all forms of creative media and intellectual property.  We believe that the human mind truly is the most valuable resource in existence and seek to create the modern, technologically advanced equivalent of the ancient Greek agora for the trade of this resource.” Ben Burger co-founder of ThoughtMarket told us in an interview.  “By this, I mean that your imagination has the potential to create things that can change the world – but it has always been limited by technology’s ability to spread and share your creation.  An author could have the best idea ever for a book that would sell millions of copies and change the world, but without a pen and paper, it is only a story in their mind that gets spread by word of mouth (even the mouth can be interpreted as a technology).  With every advancement that technology makes, the mind’s potential to create advances as well.  From the mouth to the pen, to the printing press and now the Internet – every advancement had enormous implications on the ability of an individual to become wealthy or change the world just by something they write.  Every day, people use technology to create.  They create music, books, code, businesses, inventions and numerous other unique works on an ever-growing list of things that technology has enabled.  There are so many of these works or pieces of content being created that the Internet is flooded with them and an unknown number of magnificent and valuable things go completely unnoticed – while cat memes go viral.  But the important thing is that entire industries rely on these intangibles because they are immensely valuable to them, and more people than ever are creating today than ever before – both amateur and professional.  ”

To sum that all up Burger says “what the Thought Market will do is create the World’s first unified and all-inclusive trading platform for these intangible resources of value.”

So the concept seems intriguing, are you actually selling anything?

“We are not directly selling anything, just like stock exchanges don’t sell anything.  The trading happens between the users of the site.  We have adopted many of the same tools and concepts that modern investment trading sites implement to give their users total control over their investments.  So for instance, you can see how many android apps have been posted within a given period of time, how many of them sold, what they sold for, what the asking price was for the ones that didn’t sell, what the rating was for a given sale price etc.  Anything you could possibly want to know relating to the value of your investment in intellectual property will be made available to our users/traders.”

Ok so now that we’ve got that down, how does ThoughtMarket actually work?

“So let’s say that you are a musician.  You might have a day job and do it as a hobby or you might just not be a good performer – for whatever reason, you aren’t in a band for a living.  But you have just written the best song ever and you know that it would be a hit, making someone a lot of money.  So you go and post your song on the Market in its respective category for sale (this is the basis of how the econometrics aspect works).  Audio -> Music -> Country music -> etc.  There are many security measures we are implementing to help assure the value of your creation, but for this example, we’re listing it unrestricted so anyone can listen and rate it.  All of the users of the site may listen to it, rate it, comment on it, and most importantly, make you an offer.  So you are selling your song for 50k (Country music is infamous for song buying and songs often go for hundreds of thousands of dollars) and it has been given a good rating by the other traders of 9.2/10.  So someone wants to buy the rights to your song.  They can pay you the full 50k, or negotiate an offer with you. ”

Burger has also explained that ThoughtMarket isn’t just about music, it can be for book ideas, like starts to manuscripts, website ideas, even business ideas. So the site is just as it suggests, a thought market, with a whole lot more.

 And how does ThoughtMarket make money?

“As far as our revenue, we are still refining our model because we want it to be as conducive to all trading as possible. We are considering up to a 10% commission of the initial total sale price of an item (taken from the seller.  They get 90% of the sale price.)  For trades involving no money, we will take a $5 fee from both parties.  Advertising will be bare minimum if at all and custom designed to fit the design scheme of the Market. ”

Burger is a native of Atlanta Georgia and returned there after three years at the University of South Carolina. He agrees that the Atlanta startup scene is on fire.

“It’s amazing.  Earlier this month I attended an entrepreneurial event called Startup Rally.  I think I saw your tweet about the coverage so you know about the event.  But in general, Atlanta really is a growing community for entrepreneurs.  Hypepotamus sounds like the shit.  I haven’t had time to get involved there yet but I am very excited to do so.”

So how did you come up with this idea?

I was actually watching a TED talk last summer while taking summer classes at USC.  It was an unbelievably hot day, something like 109 degrees and humid.  Needless to say we were indoors.  But I was relaxing and watching Don Tapscott’s Four Principles for an Open World.

The talk is about how all of humanity is becoming connected into a system via technology.  “Humanity is building a machine” I think was what he said that kind of sparked the whole idea.  If humanity is building a machine, who is making the parts?  And how are they being compensated?  So that’s kinda how it happened. 

ThoughtMarket plans to go into beta later this spring. You can learn more at

We’re sneaker strapping it again across the country, on our nibletz sneaker strapped startup road trip part deux. Learn more and help us out here.

Holy Peaches Atlanta’s Airwatch Raises $200M Series A

Airwatch,Atlanta startup,funding news,startup newsAirwatch, a company that has been bootstrapped since 2003, just closed a $200M series A round led by Insight Venture Partners.

The company helps untangle the mess created by companies that are going the BYOD (Bring your own device) to work trend. BYOD is saving companies a lot of money by allowing employees to use their own smartphones, tablets and laptops. The company cuts hardware expenses but headaches for IT departments mount.

Airwatch, offers a device management solution for IT departments that helps companies manage overall compatibility and security within their enterprise.

Business Insider reported that this is the biggest enterprise category funding to date. More at TechCrunch

Body Boss Is A Fitness Startup For Teams VIDEO INTERVIEW

Body Boss, Atlanta Startup,startup,startup interview, fitness startup,startup rally

Body Boss co-founder Daryl Lu explains his startup at Startup Rally (photo: NMI 2013)

There are a lot of fitness startups out there. At CES 2013 back in January, a panel of media big wigs actually talked about the fact that there may be too many fitness startups these days. There’s a lot of noise in the fitness space and you’ll have to be unique to succeed.

Atlanta startup Body Boss may actually have that uniqueness people are looking for. Body Boss isn’t just a fitness app, but it’s a fitness app for teams. High School, college and even professional sports teams can use the Body Boss platform to track the fitness performance of their players.

Coaches can use Body Boss to track workouts from individuals as well as the entire team. The platform gives coaches the analytics they need to compare each player, how fit they are and where they need improvement.

Body Boss is making it easier for college recruiters to get a better picture of the high school athletes they’re looking at.

“This is a great tool for tracking and recruiting high school athletes.  I like the competitive aspect, accessibility on smartphones and tablets and instant updates. There is nothing on the market that is this professional looking” John Sisk, Director of Football Player Development at Georgia Tech said about Body Boss.

The competitive aspect that Sisk mentions is a feature in Body Boss that allows intra-squad competition. Virtual weight room crap-talking can be done through Body Boss, and whether athletes want to admit it or not, that can be a powerful tool.

Real time updates and an easy to understand UI make it a great way to create accountability for players and coaches. It also eliminates paperwork coaches would have to do on athlete’s workouts.

As the platform grows, Body Boss co-founders Daryl Lu and Don Pottinger hope that teams will be able to use Body Boss to not only keep up with their own team but other teams as well. A network for collaborating and sharing is already baked into the platform.

Check out the video below:

For more info on Body Boss visit 

Atlanta Startup Plisten Is Bringing Pinboards For Brands VIDEO INTERVIEW

Plisten, Atlanta startup,startup,startups,startup interview, startup rallyWhile we will stay away from calling Plisten, Pinterest for Brands, that may be a very good description of exactly what Randy Mitchell and Eric Yu are doing with their Atlanta based startup.

Mitchell tells us in this video interview that Plisten came about after he had some trouble with major brands. He gives us just one example, citing a problem he had with a major bank where he had been a customer for years. As his situation got escalated he became more and more frustrated with customer service and the way the bank was treating him. Finally, a customer service “manager” told him to get any further he would need to write a letter to the CEO. Plisten is that letter.

But, Plisten is more about good interactions with brands as opposed to bad ones. Facebook, Google+ and even Twitter have taught us that people will communicate about their favorite brands. People will tweet about great experiences and of course bad experiences with any brand from Best Buy to BMW.

Coca-Cola, MTV, Disney, Red Bull, Converse, Starbucks and McDonalds are just some of the top brands on Facbeook today. Those seven brands alone count for over 250 million likes.

Brands are definitely a big play, Yu and Mitchell are hoping to hit a homerun with Plisten, which is a pinboard specifically for brands.

Consumers will be able to talk about their favorite brands, like their favorite brands and communicate directly with those brands. This is a powerful tool for consumers and for the brands themselves. By cutting away the noise from everything else people like, and honing in just on brands, Plisten will be able to deliver captive audiences and in turn those brands will be able to market directly to their most active customers.

Of course in Mitchell’s case, when someone has a problem with a brand they’ll also be able to communicate that problem. Perhaps they’ll find that the problem is more widespread. They may also find it’s isolated, but either way, with the focus strictly on brands, brand managers will have a better way of finding those problems, and fixing them.

Check out our video interview below.

You can find out more at

Athens GA Startup Wagglez It All Began With A Honey Bee Dance

Wagglez, Athens startup,Georgia startup,startup,startup interview, startup video, startup rallySure there are plenty of daily deals startups out there. In fact, one of the most popular Atlanta startups is daily deal startup ScoutMob, but, none have as good a name as Wagglez.

Athens Georgia based Wagglez takes it’s name from a dance that honey bees do when they get back to the hive to tell the other bees where the honey is. It’s that same principal Wagglez is hoping to achieve with deal seekers.

By delivering relevant local deals straight to the smartphone ,Wagglez eliminates the need to clip coupons or use a daily deals site like Groupon.

When a user fills out a profile on Wagglez, their data (minus their personal info like their name) is saved and delivered to participating merchants. Merchants can then analyze the data to see which offers and promotions are working with which demographic. They can then use that data to offer more strategic offers that will benefit both the consumer and the merchant.

Wagglez wants to make the daily deals experience as easy as possible for the end user. There’s no need to print coupons, all of the participating merchants create the deals themselves, along with the stipulations to take advantage of the deal. This makes the experience as easy as walking into a participating merchant and redeeming your Wagglez deal.

Wagglez is incubating at the FourAthens incubator in Athens Georgia along with several other up and coming tech startups.

Wagglez wants to be as relevant to visitors as it is to locals. The idea came about when founder Chris Bell and some of his fellow University of Nebraska alums went to a football game in Seattle. They didn’t know where to go or what to do. They were eventually pointed to a bar which some other fellow cornhuskers had taken over. For travelers, Bell is hoping to make Wagglez a platform where out of towners can easily find the best things to do with the best deals as well.

Bell was unable to be at the Startup Rally event in Atlanta Monday as he and his wife are expecting a baby, who will also become a Wagglez user. In his place we got to talk with Matt Downing, who even does the Wagglez dance for us in the video.  Check it out below.

For more on Wagglez click here

What?? You weren’t at 2013, well don’t make that mistake again, 2014 tickets are on sale now at the 2013 rate (for a limited time) click here

Atlanta Startup TripLingo Is Disrupting The Yellow Box

TripLingo,Atlanta Startup,startup,Startup RallyIn 2011, after my third trip to IFA in Berlin I made a conscious decision to try and learn German. I wanted to be able to know how to order more than just a “cola light” (that’s German for Diet Coke). So I did what everyone in my position would do, I went to Union Station in DC and plucked down nearly $500 for a big yellow box from Rosetta Stone.

Don’t get me wrong, Rosetta Stone seemed great, but it wasn’t teaching me what I really needed to know. How can I hail a taxi, how can I read a mass transit sign, how can I ask someone where the bathroom is, and how can I order a German chocolate cake.  I learned a lot of words I would never need to know, and not enough of the phrases I did need to know.

Well with a trip to LeWeb planned next year, I need to learn French. Since I didn’t pay an ounce of attention in high school, I need to get learning. Luckily at Atlanta’s Startup Rally I bumped into Bijal Nagrashna the VP of Strategy at Atlanta startup TripLingo.  After a couple of real time lessons on how to correctly pronounce her name, she took me on a tour of what language learning software should look like.

TripLingo is a platform for learning languages specifically geared toward travelers. The extremely robust application is intuitive and pleasant to use. You start off by identifying where you are going, what you want to do there, why you are going there and your special needs.

For example, I’ll be going to France on business, to cover LeWeb. I won’t be shopping, but I will be eating. I’m type II diabetic (there’s an option for that), other than that I like just about any kind of food.

TripLingo pulls a bunch of popular, and necessary phrases together and gives the user a bunch of options. You can pick the text book translation, or you can go with something a little more casual or slang. If you’re adventuresome there’s a “crazy” option as well. Once you master that option you’ll sound like any hipster local.

TripLingo leaves no stone unturned (no pun intended). Their app offers the transliteration in text and if you plug in a headset you can hear how it’s supposed to sound.

The app also has the ability to help you out in a pinch, whether you’re having an emergency or you’ve spent all day at a conference and forgot to take a break to eat.

While I haven’t dove into the platform just yet, I’m going to use it and I’m confident that it’s going to be a much better experience than Rosetta Stone (and a lot less expensive).

TripLingo also offers a customized professional version for companies. Say you’re the CEO of a big company with offices in another country. Your company can customize TripLingo for phrases that will be important to people traveling on behalf of your company for business.

TripLingo was one of nearly 100 startups that exhibited at Startup Rally in Atlanta.

Find out more here at

Atlanta Startup Founders Tell Their Stories On “Why Atlanta”

Startup Georiga, Startup America, Startup Rally,,ScoutMob,Jermaine Dupri,Atlanta Startups founder Rob Kischuk speaks on “Why Atlanta” at Startup Rally/Startup Georgia Launch (photo: NMI 2013)

Can startups be built anywhere in the United States? That’s a question the Wall Street Journal Accelerator’s blog and the Huffington Post have recently asked. Between those two widely read publications and last weeks The Startup Conference, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. Just to reiterate that though, Atlanta’s startup community came out in full force Monday night to tell their stories in a “Startup Georgia Parade”.

There was no confetti, or marching bands, but the grand marshall, Scott Case (CEO of Startup America and founding CTO of was in his trademark red, white and blue Chuck Taylors.

Rather than 50 foot floats, the standing room only crowd at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Atlanta celebrated multi million dollar companies, entrepreneurs, founders and investors who’ve chosen to keep themselves, and their businesses in Atlanta.

Event organizer Scott Henderson, pointed out several times that, Monday’s event, dubbed “Startup Rally” was the largest assembly of startups and entrepreneurs since the International Cotton exposition, a 100 day exposition held in Atlanta 118 years ago (1895 for those that don’t want to do the math).

One of the first startup founders to speak was Rob Kischuk founder of He was quick to point out that just the previous week he was at with 1000 other entrepreneurs and startups, using that as testimony to the fact that startups can launch just about anywhere. Kischuk almost got emotional when talking about his decision to stay in Atlanta and that he would have it no other way.

He was lucky that major investor Mark Cuban, is all about raising startups where they are born. Kischuk also commented on how relationships built through Startup America, and specifically with Scott Case, helped engineer a relationship with Cuban that eventually led to a financing round. The introduction to Cuban was made at our co-founder Nick Tippmann’s Shark Tank party as part of Super Bowl festivities in 2012. (You see how fast that happened?)

Finally Kischuk recognized that many of the people in the room at Startup Rally, the influencers of the Atlanta startup community were instrumental in the success has had to date.

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Sig Mosley, Atlanta’s GodFather of early stage venture capital speaks at Startup Georgia Launch at Startup Rally (photo: NMI 2013)

Every state seems to have a godfather of early stage startup funding. In Tennessee Vic Gatto of Solidus is the godfather. In Atlanta it’s Sig Mosley. Mosley was an early stage venture capitalist, took a short hiatus but couldn’t stay away. He stood on stage and talked about the technology sectors that would build the next stage of companies in Atlanta.

Jim Flannery the founder of Four Athens spoke about coming to Athens Georgia with nothing, in fact he moved from Silicon Valley to Athens Georgia, a town made famous by REM and the B52’s. Now they have their own budding startup community. Four Athens serves as the hub for entrepreneurs in the Athens area. Sam Zebarjadi, a wireless entrepreneur, and mentor for both Four Athens and Greenville’s “Iron Yard” also spoke about startup communities, and the power in Georgia.

Paul Judge, an Atlanta based serial entrepreneur has already had two exits to Silicon Valley firms. While the time was ripe to head out west Judge remained in Atlanta where he currently serves as the Chief Research Officer at Barracuda Networks (which bought one of his companies). He’s currently working on his latest company Pindrop Security, which was exhibiting in Startup Rally’s expo earlier in the day.

Many of the speakers made reference to some of Atlanta’s more well known startups like Sarah Blakely’s Spanx and of course Mail Chimp. Neither company raised venture capital and instead made their money the old fashioned way. Now millions of people are buying Spanx’ products and using Mail Chimp to send out emails in droves.

ScoutMob CEO Michael Tavani on stage at Startup Rally/Startup Georgia Launch (photo: NMI 2013)

Michael Tavani, the CEO of ScoutMob praised Mail Chimp when it was his turn to speak, noting that he wants to start his next company in Atlanta and do it without venture funding. Tavani’s local deals startup has raised $5 million dollars to date, but it wasn’t easy.

Tavani said growing your company in Atlanta “…forces you to be scrappy, we were forced to find a business model that made revenues early on. Instagram would have never worked here.”

Being scrappy and grinding paid off for Tavani and his team. When ScoutMob launched, they had created enough buzz, through hard work, that investors called right away, as did merchant partners. “It’s easy to make an impact here in Georgia.  There’s a lot of noise in the valley, the impact we were able to make took a much shorter time” Tavani said.

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Several other startup founders spoke, as did some of the venture capitalists in Georgia’s startup eco system.

All of this was in celebration of the launch of Startup Georgia the official partner region for Startup America. Case stuck around until the end of the event when he and I had time to talk about how Startup Georgia was still in it’s infant stages of forming back in October during the Startup America Regional Champions Summit. The team behind both events really pulled it off.

This all led up to one of Atlanta’s most infamous entrepreneurs Jermaine Dupri who spoked for about a half an hour on building his business, So So Def Recordings, into a multi million dollar empire, all the while growing it in Atlanta, rather than moving to New York or LA.

A celebration of startups everywhereelse, tickets on sale now at 2013 prices for EE2014, follow this link.

Jermaine Dupri And Scott Case To Kick Off Startup Rally And Startup Georgia


Monday afternoon in Atlanta Georgia promises to bring the largest gathering of startups in the city since 1895 when it hosted the Cotton and International Exposition.

Jermaine Dupri, entrepreneur and CEO of SoSoDef Recordings, is set to keynote Startup Rally which will showcase 100 regional startups at the Biltmore Hotel.

The exposition and summer internship fair will kick off at 3:00pm and run until 7:00pm. At 5:00pm Scott Case, the founding CTO of and the CEO of the Startup America Partnership will take the stage to officially launch Startup Georgia.

Dupri is no stranger to startup and entrepreneurship. His homegrown record label has spawned several Grammy award winning artists, and remains in Atlanta to this day. Dupri I also the founder of Global 14, a social network he launched in 2011 because he wanted a real social network vs “social notifying” which he says other social network are riddled with.

Dupri was also one of many top tier keynote speakers at Startup Grind, earlier this month.

”My roots are in Atlanta, and so is my future,” explains Dupri, “I am excited to share the story about So So Def Recordings and Global 14 at Startup Rally and to support the growth of fresh ideas emerging from Atlanta.”

Case continues his cross country evangelism for promoting startups and entrepreneurism. Last week Case kicked off The Startup Conference

“Focusing on high-growth startups is a smart strategy for Georgia to grow its economy,” Case said. “Startup Georgia will provide a state-wide network to help the local entrepreneurs building the next great success story to access the opportunities and resources unique to the state.”

Ticketing information can be found here.