20 Over 20: One Of The Coolest Hackathons We’ve Heard About

20over20, Dallas startups, Dialexa, hackathonStarting now and culminating with a four day hackathon beginning at noon on Thursday, September 19th, the 20 Over 20 hackathon is looking to solve problems that have been lingering, unsolved for the last twenty years.

The hackathon was jointly created by Dialexa (www.dialexa.com) and Dallas Venture Partners (http://dallasventurepartners.com/). Co-CEO and founder of Dialexa, Mark Haidar told Nibletz: “With all the technology we’ve seen in the internet age over the last 20, years there are still problems out there that can be solved.”

That’s what they intend to do during the hackathon. Dialexa is already solving big problems ranging from surveillance at a Nigerian naval base to GPS tracking to building 3D tooth models from 2D scans. All problems that Haidar’s company has solved with technology.

Do you have a problem that’s been nagging at you that could be solved with technology? You can submit that problem now, here. On the evening of Wednesday September 18th, the 20 Over 20 team will select the 20 Over 20 Problems. From there, the preselected teams will have 18 hours to decide which of the problems they want to solve. If you submitted a problem and your problem is selected, you’ll receive a $20 gift card.

If you choose to participate on one of the teams, you’ll be competing for a $10,000 cash prize, winner takes all. The teams will work from noon on September 19th through 4pm on September 22. Each team will have 20 minutes to present their solution and 10 minutes for Q&A. The winning team will be incorporated free of charge by law firm Strasburger and Price. The prize money will be a $10,000 common stock equity investment for 2% to DVP.

Teams will be judged on four criteria:

  • How well does the idea solve the problem that was identified?
  • What level of disruption of innovation does the idea bring to the problem’s market?
  • Current operational functionality.
  • Technical feasibility of product roadmap

Stay tuned to Nibletz for more information on 20 Over 20. You can submit a problem and register a team here at the20over20.com



Dallas Startup Be Pawsitive, Buy One Give One For Dogs!

BePawsitive, Dallas startup, Texas Startup, Social Entrepreneurship, startup interview

Buy one give one charities have become one of the most popular forms of social entrepreneurship. I don’t mind buying my family Toms, because I know I’m doing my little part for charity in my already busy life.  Over the past couple of years, monthly subscription box startups have become equally popular.

Now Dallas-based entrepreneur Travis Watson has put both concepts together in a startup he calls Be Pawsitive.  Be Pawsitive is a monthly subscription box of organic treats for your favorite canine companion. The “home baked” treats taste great to dogs, and they’re good for them as well.  But, in addition to your dog, when you sign up for Be Pawsitive, the same box will be sent to an animal shelter so those dogs can enjoy the treats. For every purchased box, one is donated.


“After learning that more than 3 million dogs end up in shelters across the country each year, I felt compelled to do whatever I could to help,” Watson said in a statement. “The treats we donate not only provide a healthy snack for the dogs but also help with obedience training to get them ready for new homes, and also serve as an “ice breaker” for the dog and potential adopter during their first meeting. The treats are really making a difference.”

Treats come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors including; The Original, Rise and Shine, Cheesy-Berry, Pizza Party, Power Berry, Banana Split, Pumpkin Pie, Relax, and Iron Dog.  In addition to the delicious snacks, Be Pawsitive also tries to include other things for their canine customers like toys and for their first box a $25 gift certificate to Rover, another startup that helps dog owners find experienced pet sitters.

Check out our interview with Watson below:

EE-FORENTREPRENEURSWhat is your startup called?

Be Pawsitive

What does your company do?

We sell a monthly subscription box for dogs. The box is full of our delicious oven baked dog treats and a few other fun dog items. Each box of treats we sell provides a box of treats we donate to animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country. We operate with a Buy One, Give One business model. Each month customers get a new treat flavor in their box as well as other sponsored products (ex. gift cards, dog toys, misc dog stuff).

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Travis Watson (me) is the founder of Be Pawsitive. I have a background in design and finance. I graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a BBA in Management in 2009.

Where are you based?

Dallas, Texas

What problem do you solve?

Each year over 3 million dogs will enter into animal shelters across the country. We are working to help make their (shelter dogs) lives better and increase adoption rates. Our treats are used during obedience training to help dogs get ready for new homes. Dogs that are leash trained and obedient get adopted faster. Our treats also act as an ice breaker during the first meet and greet with a shelter dog and person(s) looking to adopt. Some of these dogs come from abusive past or are just a little scared being in an environment with so much going on. Being able to give the dog a treat shows that your intentions are good and allows the dog to feel more comfortable and hopefully leads to a long term relationship with those people. And finally they are a healthy snack for the dogs. Many of our treats provide additional nutrients and are packed with healthy ingredients. We are also working to raise awareness to adopt instead of buy from a breeder or pet store. The over supply of shelter dogs can be lessened with more people adopting.

Why does it matter?

People have a special connection with dogs and we want to provide a way for them to reward their own dog with amazing dog treats and also provide them with a way to help other dogs out.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We had a successful launch of our website www.bepawsitive.com on June 1st and have been gaining traction within the subscription box (for dogs) market.

What are your next milestones?

Our next big push will be a mix of online marketing, social media engagement, and grass roots marketing. We hope to keep gaining new relationships with shelters and rescue organizations that will benefit from our treat donations.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?


twitter @bepawsitive




Check out this startup, it’s Fitbit for dogs.

Texas’ Cowtown Angels Announces Largest Investment To Date

Cowtown Angels, Dallas Startup, Wisegate, Startup FundingThe Fort Worth Texas based Cowtown Angels, part of TECH Fort Worth have announced their fourth and largest investment to date. Cowtown has invested $620,000 into Wisegate Inc.  This was also the first time that Cowtown Angels have led a round of financing.

The Cowtown Angels members have invested $1,415,000 in four companies to date and currently have two more deals under consideration. In addition to Wisegate, members have invested:

$345,000 in PerioSciences, which has developed a line of antioxidant oral care products

$125,000 in National Dental Implant, developing a non-surgical tooth replacement for non-functional teeth

$325,000 in Inview Technology Corporation, a developer of compressive sensing cameras.

Wisegate is an online community designed to enable IT professionals to exchange ideas and solve problems. The company was founded in 2007 and is generating revenue from their $3,000 annual memberships. Wisegate CEO told the Austin Business Journal that the company has “thousands of members”

Cowtown Angels were the lead investor in a $2.8 million dollar round with 23 participants.  They previously raised $461,000 in 2011 and $900,000 in 2010.

TECH Fort Worth receives applications of companies who want to “pitch” to Cowtown Angels members at their monthly meetings, presents the qualified applicants to the Angels’ screening committee and helps companies selected by the screening committee prepare their presentations. Angel members decide individually whether they want to invest in a company.

“I see this investment as validation for our idea that there was a need for a local angel network,” said Darlene Ryan, Executive Director of TECH Fort Worth.  “We believe that the Cowtown Angels program increases the amount of entrepreneurial activity here and helps the entire community.”

There are currently 20 members in the Cowtown Angel network.

Have you seen Dialexa, one of the coolest startups in Texas.



Mike Muhney The Godfather Of CRM & 22 Others To Speak At Chicago TechWeek

Mike Muhney, VIPOrbit, ACT, Chicago TechWeek, Dallas StartupCustomer relationship management, or CRM has been big business since the late 1980’s. Sure these days everyone is very aware of Salesforce the cloud based CRM solution, but before there were clouds, the internet, mobile devices and salesforce there was ACT. ACT was the standard in CRM solutions starting in 1987. There are thousands of companies that still use ACT today.

While the backbone of any CRM software is a robust database, by name and by virtue CRM software is designed to help manage relationships. How do you know somebody, what do you know about somebody, how is one person related to another. These are all things that effective sales people, marketers, managers, and entrepreneurs count on to help reach the bottom line.

Mike Muhney is one of the cofounders of the original ACT software and over the past year he’s been taking over 25 years of experience in customer relationship management and pouring it into VIPOrbit, barnone the best mobile CRM solution out there.

We first met Muhney last year at Chicago TechWeek where he was introducing the world to VIP Orbit. We spent a lot of time with him during techweek and learned so much about not just VIP Orbit but about effectively managing relationships. Stuff that hundreds of books have been written on since the introduction of ACT.

I remember in earlier parts of my worklife reading about CRM and using ACT. ACT and by proxy now, VIPOrbit, allow you to manage the littlest details that can result in so much more when applying that information down the road.

For instance back in the 90’s during my radio career as a Music Director and Program Director I had the chance to use ACT at various stations. I would keep my ACT up to date with little information about record reps that would call on me, what we could get from them, who they could help us out with and even kids names and birthdays. They would keep a lot of the same information on the radio people they called on. It would insure great birthday cards but in one instance I vaguely remember one rep that was courting me on a record who knew I loved Jerry’s Subs and Pizza from Washington DC. I had moved on to a station in North Carolina but that rep brought me down a steak and cheese on a visit. I asked him how he remembered and he said he put it in his ACT.

The same holds true today for me and my VIPOrbit database. It’s easy for me to keep track of who knows who in the startup world and where I met them. I even have notes about various gate keepers. You can charm your way past a gate keeper if you know the right information.

While the application is phenomenal, what Muhney can teach people about relationships and how to apply it them in the entrepreneurial world will really help in the long run. The amount of data you can find on the internet and then apply to your CRM solution can give anyone the cutting edge.

VIPOrbit will be set up in booth 8-9121 near the Bar TechWeek area during the conference. There you’ll be able to find out all about VIPOrtbit and how it can really help you manage your relationships. You can test drive the iPad and iPhone apps. You can also pick up a copy of Muhney’s book, “Who’s In Your Orbit, Beyond Facebook, Creating Relationships That Matter”.

More importantly Muhney is one of 23 top shelf speakers who will be speaking during TechWeek. His talk  “The Business of Meaningful Relationships: Perils & Opportunities” will be presented at 10:30 am on Saturday June 29th. I highly suggest if you’re attending TechWeek you don’t miss it.

Some of the other great speakers include: Matthew Bellows ,founder & CEO of Yesware; Robin Chase, founder and CEO of Zipcar and now Buzzcar; Tony Conrad, founder of About.me; serial entrepreneur Adam Goldenberg; PJ Hyett founder of Github; Matt Jacobson VP at Battery Ventures, and many more.

You can still register for Chicago Techweek happening June 27-29th at the Merchandise Mart. Follow this link to registration.

Check out these stories from last year’s Chicago TechWeek!

Muhney will also be keynoting here:


Mark Cuban Crowdsources Next Maverick’s Uniform

Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks, Crowd Sourcing,startups,Shark TankEver since our co-founder and CEO Nick Tippmann got Mark Cuban to come to his Shark Tank Season 3 Premiere party in Indianapolis, we’ve covered Cuban and his investments in startups. Cuban’s personal blog, blogmaverick, describes the billionaire investor, Shark Tank Shark and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, to a “T’. Not because he’s the owner of the NBA team with the same name, but because he’s a maverick himself.

Cuban isn’t one to do things the “normal” way. After a dismal season this year, Cuban has decided that maybe the Mavs need a change in uniform. He wants to implement the change in the 2015-2016 season.

On his blog, Cuban announces to the world and the Maverick’s fan base that this change is coming. More importantly though, Cuban isn’t hiring some big shot consultant or spending millions of dollars to come up with 10 mediocre designs. He’s crowdsourcing. He wants fans of his beloved Maverick’s to design the teams next uniform.

sneakersNow he wants the uniforms to fit the NBA uniform format. He also wants to keep the logo intact and try not to stray far away from the current color scheme. Of course he’s looking for creativity stemming from the great people that love his team.

He’s quick to point out that any design submitted immediately becomes the property of the Dallas Mavericks and if you don’t want to adhere to that you need not submit.

“Who will own your design ? The minute you post it, the Mavs will.  If you think its horrible that the Mavs own your design. Do not post. If you think its cool that the Mavs could possibly use your design and you will have eternal bragging rights , then post away.” Cuban writes.

If Cuban feels up to it he may throw in some tickets for the designer. There’s no promise of anything except bragging rights, and he may not select any fan design at all. “That is life in the big city. Move on.” Cuban adds.

The contest is open until the end of May, click on over to Blogmaverick for more.

Check out more of our Mark Cuban coverage here at nibletz.com


Dallas Startup University Passion, A Collaborative Community For College Students

University Passion,Dallas startup,startup interview,Tech WildcattersWhat are you passionate about? Chances are if you’re a college student there are other students on campus that share your passion and collaborating could make your projects come together. Before the world of online platforms a college student with a side project, or that wanted to tackle an issue with a club, would post something on the bulletin board. From there they would get responses, presumably by phone, note or even email. Next, the students would meet and have to weed out those that were serious and could really contribute, and those who just want to be involved in something.

Enter Sam Hicks and his startup University Passion.

Collaborative platforms are nothing new. There are a ton of collaboration tools out there for almost every special interest. But, nothing out there is addressing college students, while they are college students. Sure there are students using cofounderslab and other platforms to get a jumpstart on startups but within the closed communities of campus there’s nothing out there.

Hicks is a marine biologist by trade and education. He’s an extremely bright guy and was able to get to the finals in TechWildcatters. The young entrepreneur from Mississippi left his home state the day before college graduation to head to Dallas because of their startup scene.

Check out our interview with Hicks below.

What is your startup, what does it do?
University Passion is a cloud based collaboration platform for student projects that creates a dynamic e-portfolio for college employers…
There are lots of interesting possible features: The website will contain a lot of valuable data about student projects, skills, education majors. Etc. I envision a web platform that could leverage the data of college student’s academia validation through projects.
A unique collaboration platform that connects students from across the globe to help complete projects – whether they’re building, brainstorming, or expanding a business.
Here’s a quick overview of how, the cloud based platform looks like:
Who are The Founders and What are Their Backgrounds?
Sam Hicks
Sam Hicks, Founder and CEO of University Passion, a student by occupation, an entrepreneur by profession, graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi and started a custom aquarium business known as, Pristine Aquatics LLC.
Sam is a chemist, and biologist who know everything about marine life like the back of his hand; he’s a small business guru, tenacious salesman, and social media addict. His skills and experience earned him a $2,000 grant proposal from a world recognized and nationally known College in the States.
His passion for salesmanship earned him a top spot as the best salesman in his firm.  As an entrepreneur, he believes in, passion, determination, persistence, and ACTION.
Chris Greene
Chris Greene is a computer nerd, writer, and webmaster for the University of Southern Mississippi Student Printz newspaper. He’s an avid blogger and drupal developer who loves using programming languages to help spread the knowledge and make it free for many to access it.
If he’s not writing programming languages, he can be found hanging out with friends and   giving lives a meaning…
Where are you based?
I love hanging out mostly in Mississippi and Dallas, Texas.
What is the startup culture like where you are based?
Dallas is a beautiful city with a very affordable cost of living for growing startups. Since  my early days in College, I’ve had the passion of participating in the Tech Wildcatters Spring 2013 class but I never knew I’d come out as a finalist.
In fact, University Passion was invited as a finalist to pitch to 30 perceptive Investors in the spring class of nationally recognized Techwildcatters.
Tech Wildcatters is a mentorship driven micro-seed fund and startup accelerator. Founding teams endure a three-month accelerator program ranked by Forbes as top 10 in the USA, and boasting a 4% acceptance rate. Learn more: http://techwilcatters.com/
The founder of Launch DFW, Alex Muse and the Co-founder of Shop savvy have been supportive; every month, they host successful tech entrepreneurs which gives us the opportunity to network and work hand in hand with over 100 techies.
Dallas universities are blessed with geniuses for interns and co-founders; few can be found in Southern Methodist University, and University of Texas at Dallas, Art of Institute.
Dallas is endowed with thriving startup communities such as Austin and Houston Texas.
What problem does your startup solve?
Like I said earlier, there has been no platform with good interface that makes networking among students easy. University Passion is the first of its kind!
Students normally find it challenging recording their academia experiences in efforts to become marketable to employers but with the University Passion cloud based platform, they find it easy to create and keep portfolio’s.
University Passion wants to inspire College students to make a living doing what they love and create businesses that support their passions. As a result of this, University Passion have produced remarkable College students who’re now making impact in their campuses.
What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Getting the validation of the first customer was a big challenge.
We have to develop the minimum viable product first, beta test it and address the issues. It has been an exciting journey so far; it’s an overwhelming experience when someone validates your company’s product which you helped grow from inception.
What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?
We’re excited that Colleges and education institutions appreciate this platform; we’ve received over 100,000 responses from universities, which has geared us to take advantage of the niche market.
We’ve also partnered with 4 universities to launch the University Passion on their campuses.
We’ve pitched technology giants like: Tech Stars, Tech Wildcatters, and Kaplan and we’ve received positive feedbacks on the usability of the networking platform.
 What are your next milestones?
Like every other growing startup, developing a strong technical and web development team has been our top priority. We’re also working on building connections and expanding the University Passion platform.
Who are your mentors and role models?
I’m  a ‘’do it all alone’’ person, but I’ll always be grateful to Tech Wildcatters teams, program manager and the startups who’ve been solidly behind me.
Under30CEO has always made my day by delivering great contents.
Role Models:  Steve Jobs has always been my mentor since my teenage years; here’s one of his favorite quote that always make my day:
“It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing’’
Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Aristotle Onassis are also in my ‘’book of mentors’’.
What are some of the advantages/disadvantages growing your startup outside of Silicon Valley.
I don’t believe that the success of my business is in a location; I don’t believe one has to be in Silicon Valley to be successful. In fact, I’ve never been to Silicon Valley (though, I’ve heard that the streets are paved with gold); but I’ve witnessed startups scale and grow in other cities.
A businessman is like a man on a mission; if you allow the location of a place tie your business growth, you won’t go far in business; but if you’re hardworking and determined to face business challenges, you’d definitely succeed (even without being in Silicon Valley).
What’s next for your startup?
We believe in the possibility of a bright firm; and we’re constantly working hard to ensure that University Passion becomes a NO 1 cloud collaboration platform for college students.
Presently, we’re investing our time and resources in networking with other startups and upgrading the University passion platform.
Where can people find out more, and what is your Twitter username?
I’m more of a Facebook addict; but you can hook me up on Twitter; here’s my Twitter handle:@3amgrind; when I’m not on Twitter chit-chatting with my fellow entrepreneurs, you can hang with me via, Facebook or via, Angel list: https://angel.co/university-passion  or just email me directly: sam@universitypassion.com

This young woman from Memphis took her startup from a 48 Hour Launch event to the finals for Black Entreprise’s Elevator Pitch Competition.

No Really Dialexa Is The Most Bad Ass Startup In Dallas

Dialexa,Dallas starutp,startup,TechCrunch DisruptThis year marked my third trip to TechCrunch Disrupt NYC and my 7th trip to a TechCrunch Disrupt event overall. Typically we expect to see some cool big data startups, social mobile startups, food startups and over the last two years, hardware startups. I don’t think in all the startup events I’ve ever been too, I’ve seen anything quite like Dialexa.

Dialexa is a startup themselves, but what they actually are is a technology development company. The company, formed by entrepreneurs Mark Haidar and Scott Harper, Dialexa was founded upon recognizing a huge market demand for innovative and scalable technology solutions. Mark and Scott serve as Co-CEOs jointly spearheading operations, strategy, local and international sales, product development and engineering for clients and Dialexa Labs.

Harper and Haidar met each other at 2GO Software where Haidar was the CTO and Harper joined as Head of Operations. 2GO was the recipient of the 2010 Honeywell Scanning and Mobility ISV Partner Of The Year.

Prior to meeting at 2GO, the founders had a multitude of experience in technology and starting companies. Previously Mark led the development of a state of the art research and development project for the US Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC).  He was able to successfully research, design, develop, and validate an original service-oriented intra and inter-vehicle communication system for transportation, robotic, and military systems. This technology enhances each vehicle’s situation assessment and awareness in military combat situations and has the potential to help create safer and more efficient highway systems. Scott previously started a web based marketplace for tutors in the college tutoring market, a web based suite of software tools that helped non-profit organizations enable their supporters to give money for free, and was part of an initiative to start up a bank focused on the medical community that heavily leveraged technology and eventually led to the buyout attempt of a several hundred million dollar bank.

So what are they working on at Dialexa? Oh just little stuff like:

A surveillance and protection system for the Nigerian navy. The Nigerian navy is losing $6 billion dollars a year in crude oil. They don’t have the man power or equipment to cover their entire shoreline. Dialexa is developing a system using drones, small submarines, cameras and a monitoring system to alert the navy when people, or machines are stealing their oil.

They also have a GPS system in the works that will allow someone to track anything. The system can track packages, people, kids, money in armored cars, etc. What’s unique about this system is it’s designed to require just a charge once a week and works through a variety of mobile systems.

They also have a system in development that will print 3D teeth from 2D scans. Haidar told us in an interview the entire process of evaluating a tooth for surgery could take months. Now it is down to just hours.

Haidar credits the team they’ve assembled to the success they’ve had so far and the team continues growing. No project or startup is too big or too small for Dialexa. They even have your general mobile startups within their portfolio of companies that they are helping take to market.

Watch our video interview with Mark Haidar below and for more information visit dialexa.com

We’ve got over 25 more startup stories from TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 here at nibletz.com the voice of startups everywhere else.


Dallas Startup: Adscend Media Co-Founder Fehzan Ali In Our Startup Spotlight

Adscend Media,Dallas startup,Texas startup,startup,startup interviewFehzan Ali is the co-founder of Adscend Media and serves as the Chief Executive Officer. He is responsible for driving and implementing the strategic vision of the Company. Since inception, Fehzan has secured business with high revenue publishers and top advertisers through his deep relationships and experience in the sector. He is an industry thought leader, providing editorial content about ad-based solutions through strategic opportunities.  Follow him @fehzan1.

Who is your hero? 

My parents. They raised me with a foundation focused on morals, values, and being the absolute best I can be. Their entrepreneurial spirit also cultivated mine.

aliWhat’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?

Above all else, believe in yourself. This is a foundation for both success and happiness. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? In my earlier years as an entrepreneur, I was filled with doubts. What if I fail? Is entrepreneurship right for me? What will I do then? I created backup plans for my venture, and then backup plans for those backup plans.

In my opinion, that’s a mistake. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be fully invested in your business. You have to believe in yourself and your ability to succeed even when you fail, even when you are under close scrutiny. Persistence and determination is the cornerstone of success. The day I really started believing in myself is the day that I became successful. I’ve failed more times than I can count with new solutions and product launches, however, I’ve also learned so much about myself, what I’m capable of, and the value of persistence. Never give up.

What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?

There’s a difference between an entrepreneur and a manager. Most successful entrepreneurs that I’ve met are great leaders and know how to create a product/solution and inspire their vision into the company. Once Adscend reached a size where it required us to hire additional manpower, we went out there and found great talent and delegated a loose set of tasks to each new team member. We continued this process until we realized that we had a very talented team, yet they were all lost and confused on how to help accomplish the company vision and goals.

Therefore, the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in business is a lack of organization/structure of the company. After consulting with my team and other resources, I spent a few months implementing organizational changes based on feedback I received from the team, and it was actually surprising to see how happy our team was with the new changes. The changes led to increased satisfaction in the team and helped us position the company to scale for growth moving forward. Furthermore, I had more free time after the changes to focus on innovation and the company vision.

If you are an entrepreneur struggling with scaling your company or getting started, pay attention to structure! If management is not one of your strengths or if you simply do not have time to set up the structure, hire someone else to do it. As a smaller organization, sometimes the leader has to be the manager as well. This is something you don’t want to overlook.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?

I usually spend the first hour of my business day reading up on industry trends and new innovations within my industry. In our fast-paced world, you have to be vigilant to remain relevant and create innovative products/solutions that fills in a gap in the market. This research is important to maintain an edge in the market over competitors as well.

What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?

Focus on the bare necessities for success to cut your operating costs. For example, you don’t need a fancy office or a secretary to get started. By running a lean organization, you are able to minimize your risks, reach profitability quicker, and build cash flow to establish a healthy financial foundation for your company. Assess the needs of your company on a set schedule to ensure that you are maintaining a lean, yet efficient organization that scales as needed.

Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?

Keep an open mind and constantly seek knowledge. Never stop learning.

What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?

I personally believe success is more comprehensive than simply financial gain. To me, success means being passionate about what I do, spending time with friends and family that I love, enjoying life in general, helping others, and of course being able to generate an income from my passion.  As for success in regards to just my company, I knew I was successful when I signed up our first large client to my ad network and started generating revenue. It was a snowball effect from there, and we took off. Although that may seem like a small accomplishment to attribute as success, it really bolstered up my confidence, and we soon became one of the consistently top-rated companies in our industry.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab , a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Now Check out:

Indy Couple getting their grit and grind on at Memphis’ Seed Hatchery Accelerator


Dallas Entrepreneur Launches HealthSparx Web Series On Startups & Innovation

HealtSparx,Michael Walsh,Dallas Startup,Health startup,startup podcast

(photo: meetup.com)

Dallas based entrepreneur Michael Walsh has been extremely busy lately. First off, his Austin Texas based startup, Cariloop, just launched. We interviewed Walsh about his startup that uses the “Expedia” model for geriatric care back in January.

Walsh also just recently launched a new web series called “HealthSparx”. This online web based radio show deals with the intersection of three important industries: health, technology and business.

Each webisode runs about 30 minutes and features commentary, information and an interview with an influential person in health or technology.

Healthsparx is already on it’s fourth webisode.

Episode #1 English majors rock as much as mechanical engineers

Episode #2 How IT plumbing will help healthcare

Episode #3 Every little bit helps in healthcare

Episode #4 Creating the perfect social and private experience

Walsh explains the three big reasons he decided to launch HealthSparx:

1. There is seriously so much cool stuff going on in healthcare right now that no one knows about, and that’s thanks to the innovative entrepreneurs and technology that are finally giving this industry the makeover it so desperately needs. Make no mistake, this makeover is going to take a LONG time for us to really see how great it looks, but we will get there…I am sure of it! I want to share these great stories from across the country and make people more aware of the cool products and services being born. If you have one of these stories for me, go submit your info to me on the “Be A Guest” page, I want to hear from you!


2. No easy way to say this, so I’ll just level with you…Healthcare has gotten ridiculously confusing. This confusion is affecting everyone – you, your business, your employees, on and on. I want to pull the curtain back a bit on what’s going on so you might finally make heads or tails of it. Maybe here, in the HealthSparx community, we can even come up with some things that the “powers that be” aren’t thinking about.


3. I love entrepreneurship – I love talking about entrepreneurs, I love helping entrepreneurs, and I love trying to light a spark within an entrepreneur who doesn’t yet know they are an entrepreneur. So, I’m going to do just that, bring people on the show that might be able to help someone else build that amazing idea they’ve been thinking about. This might include developers, designers, lawyers, financial advisors, investors, accelerators or any other people who think they know what it takes to bring a product or service to life. Take this information, digest it, and if possible, make something happen with it!

The shows are well produced and thought out and if you fit into one of HealthSparx categories feel free to apply to be a guest here.

There’s much more to Dallas than oil and JR, check out these Dallas startup stories here.

Dallas Startup Dormitup To Save College Bound Students Trips To Target

Dormitup,Dallas startup,startup,startup interviewAs the college school year starts to wind down next month, dumpsters will start filling to the brim with all the colorful stuff students purchased headed into the school year from Target. A lot of the housewares and dorm room goods will still be in new packaging. Why? Because gearing up for dorm life can be confusing. Often times it involves lots of trips to the store for things students are told they need but actually don’t.

Well two cousins, Sagar Hemani (Missouri University alumn) and Shanil Wazirali (Texas A&M alumn) have set out to make moving into the dorm much simpler.

Their new startup Dormitup just opened its doors and offers a great new way for students and parents to get everything they need for the dorm in one click (or two). Dormitup provides predetermined packages that are filled with the things students actually need for dorm life.

Inbound college students and their parents can go to Dormitup’s website and order everything in one package. They can also customize their dorm room packages by color. Then everything is delivered to their home (or dorm room) ready to go.  Students and parents can spend their last few weeks preparing for college, saying their good byes and having fun.

We got a chance to talk with Wazirali. Check out the interview below:

What is your startup, what does it do?

Dormitup.com offers a convenient, affordable, and exciting way for incoming college students to purchase their campus essentials! We focus on providing everything that an incoming college student needs and wants, while maintaining an affordable price and providing high quality products!

Our Story:

Entering college was an exciting moment for us! We were both convinced that the next four years were going to be the best years of our lives!

After receiving our room assignments, we started our research on what to bring to college. This was a tough process. We both felt the need to buy everything on the 3-4 checklists we could get our hands on. We didn’t know any better. All we kept hearing was to make sure to purchase Twin XL bedding. We didn’t even know what Twin XL meant. We dragged our parents from store-to-store trying to find the bare essentials. It wasn’t easy. We both spent nearly a week trying to find these essentials because everything was sold out in stores. Our parents were overwhelmed and extremely frustrated by this process. We don’t blame them; entering college was supposed to be an exciting moment, not a burden.

Just as we thought we purchased everything, we entered our rooms and noticed that they were completely empty. Our parents had to make 3-4 more trips to local retail stores just to make sure we were fully prepared and weren’t missing anything. Both of our parents spent nearly $700, countless amount of gas money, and valuable time through this process.

We knew there had to be a better solution to all this madness?

All throughout college we remembered this horrifying process and came together, wanting to save the lives of all students entering college. We didn’t want other incoming college students to experience what we went through. Upon graduating from college, we knew it was time to launch Dormitup.com to provide incoming college students and their families a way to get all of their dorm room essentials, without having to waste time, money, and their sanities.

Where are you based?

Dallas, TX

What is the startup culture like where you are based?

More and more businesses are growing, especially by young entrepreneurs. It seems as if entrepreneurship is starting to be well accepted by people, and more and more people want to own their own businesses.

What problem does your startup solve?

We provide an enjoyable, hassle free, and affordable college shopping experience for parents and students. We do this by offering incoming college students the ability to choose between our four dorm room essentials packages, the opportunity to customize their essentials by the colors and styles of their choice, and the convenience to receive their customized dorm essentials package at their door steps.

What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

We’ve faced many challenges throughout our startup process. We’ve struggled anywhere from developing the products, to bootstrapping how we market our company to the public, to developing partnerships. The only answer to how we’ve overcome these challenges is being diligent. We’ve conducted years of extensive research and spent many late nights working and scratching our heads to develop the right products and business structure. Our investors and mentors have instilled in us to start small, but dream big, and that’s what we’ve been following. It’s diligence and perseverance that has brought us to launch our website today.

What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?

We have our own Dorm It Up brand of products, which students will love! We also have a partnership with a major University!

What are your next milestones?

To aim to create a word of mouth business and a well established brand. Our objective is to have people talking about Dorm It Up when they think of college shopping. We aim to develop more and more University partnerships throughout the years, provide the best customer service to our Dorm It Up members, and get our packages in the hands of as many incoming college students as possible!

Who are your mentors and role models?

Our fathers and their third brother are our mentors and role models. They came from nothing and made themselves into successful businessmen. They have taught us the importance of working extremely hard with passion. Our mentors have also emphasized on being the start of something new and leading by example. They mentor us on a daily basis on what business decisions to make, how to be patient with business, how to make quick, yet intelligent decisions, and much more

What are some of the advantages/disadvantages growing your startup outside of Silicon Valley.

We’ve had the pleasure of having our family and friends, as well as our mentors to guide and support us on a daily basis here in Dallas, TX. We have all the resources we need here for our business.

What’s next for your startup?

We are marketing our eGift cards at this time, which allow parents to purchase eGift card packages, and let their graduate customize their package the way they want it. We are continuously working to develop new partnerships and find opportunities to market to parents and graduating high school seniors.

Where can people find out more?

Visit dormitup.com for any information. Our Facebook link is facebook.com/dormitup. Find us on Twitter @dormitup

Now check out Austin startup Burpy

Interact Expo At Capital Factory: Crowdery Interview [video][sxsw]


It’s standing room only, for the second time in the last 12 hours, here at the capital factory in downtown Austin Texas. Last night The Capital Factory was one of the hosts for the ATX Startup Crawl. Today, they’ve teamed up with Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) to host the InteractExpo.

This event is showcasing the best of the best in early stage startups, really from across the country.

The first startup we caught up with is Crowdery.

Crowdery is a Dallas based startup that is big data disguised as what the cofounder Aditya Viswanathan calls “Hot or Not meets Groupon”.

His innovative platform allows ordinary customers of brands to engage with them by helping to select the next product. If the consumer votes for the product that actually gets released they get to purchase it at a discount.

The retailers and manufacturers get access to mountains of useful customer data that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in focus groups.

Check out the video interview with Viswanathan below and for more info visit Crowdery.com

Cariloop The Expedia Model For Geriatric Care

Cariloop, Austin startup, Dallas startup,startup, startup interviewElder care and geriatric care are on the rise. As the baby boomer generation starts turning towards assisted living and geriatric care, the industry continues to grow. In 2013 we’re starting to see a new trend of somewhat computer savvy seniors, and their kids, turning to the internet to help find care and services.  We’re also at a time where more and more seniors are trying to prolong their independence by living at home. However, they still need resources.

Austin based Cariloop is a startup that is applying an Expedia like model to finding elder care and geriatric services.

Cariloop’s co-founder Michael Walsh tells us in an interview:

:Cariloop is a web-based platform designed to help geriatric care and service providers digitally market their capabilities. Cariloop’s search engine then allows anyone – healthcare professionals, consumers, patients – to get a more current, accurate snapshot of the providers in their area, reach out to them directly, or share their information with others…all in real-time.”

This gives users access to information that used to take months and months and hundreds of brochures to sift through. Now it’s all accessible at your fingertips and easily comparable.

Check out the rest of our interview with Walsh about this exciting new trend in elder care:

Read More…

Replace Your Next Events Sign In Sheet With Dallas Startup SimpeSign.In

Simplesign.in, Dallas startup,startup interviewA brother and sister founding team have come up with a new Dallas based startup, SimpleSign.in, that will replace the sign in sheet for your next event. We know that eventbrite has event management tools like sign in sheets, however SimpleSign.in allows groups and event organizers that don’t need everything else that comes with eventbrite to have an equally as easy to use sign in system.

Once on site, event attendees can use their smartphones to sign in to your event. Once they’re signed into the event they are “logged in” to the event. You can use this “login” to hold votes during your meeting and solicit instant feedback through the course of your event.

Professional and civic organizations, universities, clubs, churches, conferences and businesses can all benefit from the ease of use of SimpleSign.in

Simplesign.in has baked in features of much larger event software into something that can be used and planned for well in advance or set up on the fly.

Users hosting an event just log into simplesign.in and from their they can create an event in under a minute. An event host can set up how much info they want to capture at sign in including name, phone number, address, email address and other fields. When attendees arrive they’ll either scan the events QR code or insert the events password and then they’ll be logged into the event.

After everyone has signed in the event organizer will be emailed a .csv spreadsheet file that has all of the information they requested when they set up the event.

When event hosts use simplesign.in for the registration process ahead of the event the organizers can use the spreadsheet to create email lists, name badges and other important documents that go along with an event.

Nate Bleker and his older sister Anna Bleker are the founding team behind simplesign.in. Nate is handling the technical aspects while the design is being handled by Anna.

We got a chance to talk with Nate about SimpleSign.in, check out the interview below.

Read More…

Dallas Startup: VIPOrbit Named Number 1 By i.Business Magazine, To Be Featured At CES

VIPorbit,Dallas startup,Mike Muhney,startup,startups,startup news, CES 2013We first reported on Dallas startup VIPorbit back in June as part of our Chicago Tech Week coverage.  VIPorbit is a robust relationship management system for iOS devices founded by ACT co-founder Mike Muhney. ACT is the original Customer Relationship Management software, that paved the way for companies like SalesForce.

VIPorbit users organize their entire contact list into orbits, and can add as much or as little relationship management information to each contacts record. Track every conversation, email, activity and more across contacts and orbits. VIPorbit is by far the best mobile CRM solution we’ve tested and we’ve used it consistently since June.

The folks at i.Business magazine must agree as VIPorbit has beat out such widely known enterprise mobile apps as FileMaker Go, Quick Office Pro, DropBox and Evernote to claim the number one spot in the magazine’s “Top 50 Business Apps”.  The online version of the latest issue has already hit digital news stands and the hard copy version will come out shortly and be given away free to the hundreds of thousands of attendees of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January.

“We are dedicated to providing the most robust relationship management experience available on the iPhone and iPad—not just another useful app but full-featured relationship management software that empowers users to build relationships and grow their businesses,” said Mike Muhney, VIPorbit CEO and co-founder. “VIPorbit gives users instant recall of all past, present, and future activities with those in their network, setting them apart from their competition.”

“We are excited to announce the Top 50 Business Apps Edition of i.Business Magazine, and to name VIPorbit as the number one app on the list. It gives professionals everything they need to stay on top business relationships, a mission-critical business activity. It manages contacts, schedules, tasks, Email, social feeds, and more—all in one easy-to-use app, available for both iPhone and iPad—two platforms widely used by businesspeople,” said Carmine De Santo, founder and publisher of i.Business Magazine

Muhney is a serious influencer in the CRM and mobile CRM business. He also penned this guest post for us here at nibletz.com.


Check out VIPorbit here

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