Steve Case: Passing Immigration Legislation Victory For Startups

Steve Case, Startups, ImmigrationWhile Nibletz isn’t going to pontificate on the southern border issue in the United States, the recently passed Senate Immigration Bill is solving a huge problem for startups. One that the likes of Steve Case, Scott Case, Marc Nager, Brad Feld, and others have been championing.

In the most basic of laymen’s terms, it’s somewhat easy for a foreigner to come to America, attend an accelerator, get funding for their company, and go home. It gets rocky when they want to stay and build their company in America, one of the reasons Startup America and other organizations are even around.

It’s also somewhat easy for a sharp foreigner to come and work for Google, Microsoft, or Facebook, but when they have that great idea and want to build their startup in the U.S. things get a lot more dicey.

The new immigration legislation includes “startup visas” that according to The Washington Post, will “allow entrepreneurs from around the world to start firms and create jobs.”

Earlier this year at SXSW Steve Case and Scott Case (no relation) spent a lot of time celebrating startups across the country. However at Startup America’s huge SXSW party, Steve Case took to the stage to talk about immigration and how we needed this reform in order to help spur innovation from great minds who, in most cases, have come over to the United States and seen what they can do here.

Steve Case told The Washington Post: “This important step demonstrates the capacity of our elected leaders in Washington to come together across party lines to advance what is clearly in our nation’s best interest – an immigration system that meets the needs of our 21st century economy. The Senate’s bill will attract the world’s best entrepreneurs and innovators and be a key ingredient to sustaining America’s long-term competitive edge.”

Steve Case, the founder of AOL and Revolution has done some major lobbying on Capitol Hill over the past 4 years to help spur entrepreneurship and innovation across the country. He is the founding chairman of Startup America, which recently merged resources to go global with Startup Weekend as UpGlobal.

Steve Case is also trying to save social local commerce


Sprint Becomes Latest Corporate Sponsor For Up Global

Sprint, Up Global, Startup Weekend, Startup America

Sprint, the third largest wireless carrier in the United States, has signed on as the newest sponsor of Up Global, the organization formed when Startup America and Startup Weekend joined forces last month.

When Startup America was originally formed, it was decided by chairman Steve Case and the other entities involved that they were going to see what kind of disruption and innovation they could shake up across the country in three years. As the organization began to approach that third year, they wanted to continue to impact the Startup America regions and push further.

That’s why on May 22nd it was announced that the two organizations would merge. Startup Weekend is the organization that promotes and ignites innovation, startups, and entrepreneurship through 54 hour hackathon-style events. To date Startup Weekend has done over 600 events in over 300 cities and over 100 countries.

Startup Weekend has now branched out a bit. They are the organization behind the weekly Startup Digest, a curated list of startup events in cities across the country typically curated by the local startup community leaders. Over the last two years they’ve also started doing vertical oriented Startup Weekend events like Startup Weekend EDU and a maker’s edition of Startup Weekend. With all of the various touchpoints for Startup Weekend, they were a natural partner for Startup America and had already collaborated with Startup America for Startup Weekend Next.


Startup Weekend, Startup America, and now Up Global have been attracting some of America’s largest corporations as sponsors for their entrepreneurial efforts. Current Up Global partners include Coca Cola, Google, Microsoft, Dell, The Case Foundation, and The Kauffman Foundation.

On Monday it was announced that Sprint, the Overland Park, KS-based wireless carrier, was signing on as Up Global’s latest sponsor. Sprint is no stranger to innovation.  They were the first wireless carrier to host a developer conference, they’ve supported local startup initiatives in the Midwest, and keep open channels for developers and startups looking to utilize their network and devices for their software and companies.

“The move to team with Sprint is a result of a shared vision for the necessity of entrepreneurship and stronger communities built around innovation. Like us, Sprint understands that the future of our economy rests largely on the shoulders of entrepreneurs and new businesses. We’re excited to create more meaningful impact with the support of such a forward-thinking company,” Marc Nager, UP Global CEO, said in a statement.

“Sprint recognizes that corporate involvement is important to the success of any entrepreneurial or startup ecosystem,” said Kevin McGinnis, Vice President of Product Platforms at Sprint. “Our UP Global relationship enables Sprint to bring new resources to Kansas City and also extend support on a national scale. In addition, it allows Sprint visibility to high-growth technology startups across the country that we may not be able to identify through our more traditional VC and business development efforts.”

You can find out more and join Up Global here at



Startup Weekend & Startup America Join Forces, Launch UpGlobal &

Startup America, Startup Weekend, UpGlobalWith an official announcement forthcoming on Thursday morning at 7am, Startup America and Startup Weekend are joining forces for a new initiative called UpGlobal.

The Startup America partnership, started two years ago by AOL co-founder Steve Case and the Case Foundation, isn’t winding down, but rather “Winding Up” according to Scott Case (no relation), the current CEO of Startup America.  The new global partnership will connect entrepreneurs with their communities and the resources they need most.

While Startup America is based in Washington DC and received the blessing of President Barrack Obama at their launch, the new organization will be based at Startup Weekend’s headquarters in Seattle.  The collective new organization promises that “startup communities everywhere can expect stronger support and resources to better empower local leadership.  The root of Startup America, Startup Weekend and now Up Global is to enable and support entrepreneurs and startups to grow in their hometowns as companies and entrepreneurial communities.

UpGlobal is funded by the Case Foundation, Google Inc, Microsoft, Coca Cola, The Kauffman Foundation and more, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Startup America Regional Champions, myself included, were informed that this partnership was on the horizon at both the last Startup America Summit in Phoenix Arizona last month and in a regions conference call last week. Others not familiar with the plans have been wondering why with Startup America, still a startup itself, are they already merging. Startup America founder and Chairman Steve Case told the Wall Street Journal:

“We designed Startup America from the get-go as a three-year sprint,” says Mr. Case. “The idea was to see what could be accomplished in three years and go from there.”

“After evaluating the situation, Plan A was to stick to our knitting and wrap things up (as initially communicated and planned) and option B was to find a ‘go forward’ strategy.” Scott Case said.

That go forward strategy is Up Global. Over the past several months Startup America and Startup Weekend began growing closer and closer in their relationship to serve entrepreneurial communities. Late last year Startup Weekend Next, with Steve Blank was launched in partnership with Startup America. This curriculum is provided to entrepreneurs looking to grow and dive deeper into starting up and entrepreneurship.  Startup Weekend and Startup America held an abbreviated form of the curriculum during SXSW this year in Austin.

Startup America laid the foundation for their work in their first year. In their second year they focused on growing regions, over 30 of them to date, through launch events, networking opportunities, educational opportunities and other resources.

At nibletz we attended, participated in and reported on several Startup America events including the launch of Startup Georgia, Startup Arkansas, CES’ Eureka Park, SXSW and several others. Most events helped forge new relationships between like minded entrepreneurs that could be across the street or across the country.

Each Startup America region participated in the nationwide organization in the way that fit them best. Some regions were extremely successful as Tech Cocktail founder Frank Gruber pointed out in this article, Startup Tennessee launched a major network of accelerators and brought together entrepreneurs from Tennessees larger cities like Memphis, Chattanooga and Nashville. Washington DC’s Startup America Champion Evan Burfield, and former Startup America Director Donna Harris formed 1776 the new hub of entrepreneurship in the nation’s capital. Other regions like Startup Maryland, Startup Arizona, Startup Florida and Startup Indiana have been very active throughout their time in the organization.

upglobaldirectorsThis looks like a natural, and great move for the Startup America Partnership.

As someone who’s been deeply involved with Startup America and a big participant in Startup Weekend I hope that going forward the organization grows as the directors of the new organization have laid out. My biggest concern comes from the “event nature of Startup Weekend.

In several cities that have had multiple Startup Weekend events the entrepreneurs who participate have continued to meet up, network and support each other. This is usually dependent on the frequency of events and the resources already on the ground, or forming in those cities. In other cities, like Memphis by experience, after the Startup Weekend event in July resources were somewhat limited.

With the intellectual, and social capital from the collective new organization it looks like UpGlobal will be able to provide ongoing support to the regions that Startup America has built to date.

You can find out more at their new site

Check out more of our Startup America coverage here.


American Airlines And Their Partnership With Startups [video][AAMRQ]

American Airlines, startups,startup newsWhen startup people talk about airlines and airplanes they are typically talking about some new startup to order up a jet plane or to help you find the cheapest fares. Well lately we see more and more American Airlines signage, and people at startup events.

Are they scoping startups for their next talent? Are they trying to find the next innova

tion? Are they looking for their next customers?

Quite frankly the answer is all three. American Airlines has been partnering with startups to get the conversation going about entrepreneurship and innovation.

They found that many people taking American Airlines these days are entrepreneurs, startup founders and small business owners. While every airline has a program for huge enterprise corporations, no other airline has started working on partnerships to fuel the next w

ave of American business, startups and small business.

Now, Amer

ican Airlines has a team set up across the country to talk with startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses everywhere about the benefits of American Airlines.

Through their Business ExtAA program, American Airlines offers similar benefits to entrepreneurs and startup founders that Fortune 500 corporate officers get. Their Business ExtrAA rewards program offers increased mileage earnings, discounts and amenities that are second to none.

They’ve also partnered with several startup organizations like Startup America, Startup Weekend

, Tech Wildcatters, Tech Cocktail, Launch Tennessee, and even Nibletz and They know the importance of making that connection and developing brand loyalty early on.

While programs like the Founder’s Card are great, many entrepreneurs have found out the hard way that most of the benefits to programs like those require at least a series A round or even a series D. American Airlines has made their programs accesible to even bootstrapping founders.

Their team across the country isn’t just a bunch of sales people hawing American Airlines, all of the team members are engaging and they’re connectors. While they are very up

front about their goal, to get more small businesses and startups in the habit of booking American, they are eager to connect startups with other startups and other resources in their network. For instance the everywhere else conference in 2014 will offer a special rate from American Airlines and a special rate from their partner Avis.

Down at South By Southwest Aleda Schaefer and Paul Swartz, two of the people on American Airlines’ startup team, were frantically running around introducing people, meeting people and even engaging in startup pitch contests and other events. Their attitude and likeness to startups couldn’t be more genuine.

American Airlines was one of the key sponsors for the Launch Your City trip to Silicon Valley. This trip allowed several startups and ecosystem partners from Memphis Tennessee to spend a week in Silicon Valley touring VC firms, accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces and networking. The American Airlines team also set up meetings for the group including a tour of RocketSpace and they took some of the group to a startup job fair Thursday morning to meet other startup founders, who were at the stage where they were hiring employees.

American Airlines has strategically placed one of their “startup liasons” in Boston, New York, Dallas and San Francisco, adding their Silicon Valley rep last, because they realize the importance of startups everywhere.

Check out the video below where Schaffer offers a little more insight into American Airline’s involvement with startups:

Quick Concise Pitch From Realty Mogul, Eye Catching, And Prize Winning At SXSW [sxsw]

RealtyMogul,Los Angeles startup,startup,startup pitch,startup america,sxsw,sxswiRealty Mogul, a crowdfunded real estate platform and graduate of the TechStars Microsoft Azure accelerator wowed multiple audiences at last weeks SXSW Interactive festival.

We got the chance to see Realty Mogul pitch on the Startup America Live stage before the Hatch Competition. It was the intense coaching they received both in the accelerator and from their Hatch coach, that got their pitch down to almost perfect.

It also resulted in them winning the Hatch Pitch competition, and judges calling the startup “Histrionic”.

The Hatch competition was in it’s second year and narrowed down the field from over 100 applicants. It’s an intense pitch contest with startups selected getting one on one coaching from industry leaders and previous Hatch winners.

“A big piece of what pitches needs to happen is to make the audience relate. What made us successful last year was we told a story about the problem. A lot of the companies don’t engage the audience that well. When you tell a story in four minutes, it’s really hard to be concise with the message. You have to treat it like you have 30 seconds instead of four minutes. That forces you to get the message down.” Distil Inc CEO (and judge for this years Hatch competition) Rami Essaid said to SiliconHills.

When you watch the quick pitch video below you’ll understand how all this work has paid off and how it led to the Realty Mogul team winning the Hatch competition. You can find out more about Realty Mogul, here or here on their Angel List profile.

Cincinnati Startup Repp Pitches At Startup America Live At SXSW [sxsw]

Repp,Cincinnati Startup,SXSW,SXSWi,Startup Pitch,Startup America,BranderyCincinnati startup Repp was one of the great startups we saw at the Brandery 2012 demo day back in October. Repp is a service that allows people to validate their repp or reputation.

Repp waited from October until now for their first big marketing push. We bumped into Michael Bergman, Repp’s co-founder in the lobby at the Hilton where he was wearing a hot pink Repp t-shirt and handing out breakfast tacos. Startup founders will do anything they can to get much needed exposure at SXSW.

They were also one of the startups invited to pitch at the Startup America Live pitch sessions, which included feedback from top members of the startup community.

Have you ever met a girl that you tried to date, but a year to make love she wanted you to wait… oh wait that’s a song lyric. Have you ever met a girl that you tried to date and after she stood you up you found out she “pre date stalked you”? Well that’s exactly what happen to REPP founder Michael Bergman, when he actually met his now wife. Luckily for Bergman he’s got a pretty popular name. In fact, [Chris Bergman], the founder of Chore Monster (which is a previous graduate of The Brandery) isn’t even related to Michael.

So sure we internet stalk everyone now. The first thing I do when I get a new business card or meet someone at a conference I find intriguing is go right to good ole Google. The problem with that in the dating world is that there is a lot of stuff out there that may be better suitable after a few dates.

Now take a situation at the complete other end of the spectrum. It’s time to sell your iPhone 4s on Craigslist. Now this is a hot item and you may want to know a little bit more about the man who just pulled up to a panel van and appears to be packing a pistol in his sweatshirt.

In both of these cases you want more information about someone. If you were the someone in question, with REPP at, you can control that flow of information.

REPP aggregates your social graph and can even integrate a background check into a profile that you can give people access to. You can also control how much information is given out in that profile.

You may want the ladies to know a little more information than the guy you’re buying the stolen Xbox from. Nonetheless both the Craigslist seller and the nice young lady would be more comfortable with more information about you.

The service is free at the moment but moving to a freemium model with added features. Check out Bergman’s pitch from the Startup America Live stage below:

We’ve got even more startup coverage of SXSW here.

Please take a look at this.

KillSwitch, The Ultimate Broken Heart App With A Touch Of Slacktivism [video][sxsw]

KillSwitch,Clearhart Digital,New York startup,startup,startup interview,sxsw,sxswiWe bumped into Clara DeSoto and Erica Mannherz,  of Clearhart digital, in the Startup America Live lounge at SXSW 2013. Clearhart digital is a digital agency and app creation studio out of New York, that just happens to be founded by women.

They told us all about their first app, KillSwitch. This app is for the broken hearted, and does exactly what the name suggests.

After you break up with someone you use KillSwitch in conjunction with your Facebook account. It quickly purges your entire Facebook and gets rid of any references, photos, status updates, etc, of your X. Useful, huh?

Now both ladies are well aware that there are different degrees of breaking up, and KillSwitch allows for those degrees. If it’s a soft break up, you can easily get your photos and statuses back. If it’s a hard break up, and it’s totally over, you can neturalize your account from any reference of your X.

The idea for KillSwitch came about when Mannherz and DeSoto were talking to a third mutual friend. The girlfriend of theirs had just gone through a break up and was doing what most people do when they break up with someone, she was deactivating her Facebook account.

That can really suck for all your other friends though, they can’t tag you in photos, invite you to events or send words of wisdom over the break up on your Facebook wall.

KillSwitch makes it seamless. Now the broken hearted can just move on. And, of course it makes playing the field the next time around, much easier.

As for the slacktivism piece, a portion of the proceeds from the KillSwitch app are going to the American Heart Association so you can help fix broken hearts when you’re broken hearted, pretty neat huh?

Check out the video below. Geeks are going to love DeSoto and Mannherz, who’s agency Clearhart Digital, they liken to a double edged light sabre, you can find out more about that here. For those looking to make break ups suck less, check out KillSwitch here at

See more of our Startup Coverage at SXSW 2013, here

Where Do You Go With An Idea? Startup Weekend Of Course! [video][sxsw]

Marc Nager, Startup Weekend,Startup America,SXSW,SXSWi,Startup Weekend is a great event. To date they’ve done over 560 Startup Weekend’s in 107 countries and that keeps on growing. While they hold events in Silicon Valley, Startup Weekend is a huge, community catalyst “everywhere else”.

Many cities like New York, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dallas and Los Angeles have had multiple Startup Weekend events, Startup Weekend CMO Joey Pomerenke told they still get excited when newbies organize their first event.

So what role does Startup Weekend play in the grand scheme of startup communities and startup ecosystems?

Well at a panel at SXSW, Startup Weekend CEO Marc Nager, talked about that role specifically. “Where do you go with an idea” he asked the audience. Do you go to an investor, no that’s not going to work out. Do  you go spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer, and team just to start AB testing?

Startup Weekend provides a great platform to see if ideas have what it takes to move to the next level. During the 54 hour experience your peers will vote on whether they like the idea, then you’ll create something, do market research, and present it again. Doing this on your own, could take weeks, or months, with Startup Weekend you have 54 hours, and you’ll know whether to move on or not.

Does it work? Absolutely, companies like Zaarly, Rumgr, and Fundable are all Startup Weekend graduates.

Startup Weekend’s roots in the community go much further than a testing platform though. Nager said on the panel that they are working on getting different components of their own ecosystem to function in unison across the country and around the world. Startup Weekend is looking for their Startup Weekend, Startup Weekend NEXT and Startup Weekend EDU facilitators to work together in their communities. They are also looking to the Startup Digest curators to do that as well.

When all of the components work in harmony the entire Startup Weekend ecosystem, and the hundreds of communities it touches, benefit.

On the panel, moderator Lesa Mitchell, of the Kauffman Foundation, a major supporter of Startup Weekend, kept prying with Nager to find out what doesn’t work. He was hard pressed to find something that doesn’t work. Obviously at the entrepreneur level there can be issues. Egos can get in the way and even underhanded moves, like this, can get in the way.

Overall though, Startup Weekend continues to do a great job of driving communities worldwide.

Here’s that video. We’ve got more Startup Weekend coverage here, and you can find out more at

Check out more of our SXSW 2013 coverage here.

Cookbook Create Brings The Family Cookbook Into The Digital Age [pitch video][sxsw]

Cookbook Create,startup,startups,startup america,sxsw,sxswi,startup pitch videoAnna Curran, pitched her startup, Cookbook Create, to the panel of dolphins in the Startup America Dolphin Tank. The Dolphin Tank was designed to offer startup founders feedback rather than criticism, on the Startup America Live stage at SXSW.

Curran’s company is taking the old family cookbook and bringing it into the digital age. Many families have a cookbook (or two or three or more) that have been passed down from generation to generation. These cookbooks often times have a lot more than just recipes in them. Some have family notes, or reasons why the recipe in the book. These family cookbooks tell stories through food.

Cookbook Create, is a collaborative platform that allows users to create a cookbook, that tells stories through food. The cookbook’s are then manufactured and delivered to the users home as an actual book.

Back in February Curran announced that they are taking the Cookbook Create platform and creating an official SXSW cookbook that will tell the stories of the evolution of SXSW through food.

“When I attended the SXSW Festival for the first time, I was struck by the vibrant, interesting community,” said Curran. “These were the people who are making the culture we live in, and I wanted to share that spirit with the world. Cookbook Create helps people share their story through food — and we wanted to help SXSW tell their story with this cookbook.”

“SXSW Interactive celebrates massive creativity,” says SXSW Interactive Festival Director Hugh Forrest . “Cooking is one of the many areas where this innovation manifests itself. So compiling a cookbook featuring recipes from some of our most interesting speakers is a great way to show what SXSW is all about.

The published volume will be available for sale at the 2014 Festival in the SX Bookstore. It will include 100-200 recipes selected from SXSW Interactive’s 8000+ past speakers telling their fascinating stories of how the SXSW community has evolved.

Cookbook Create combines the best of Web 2.0 and Print-On-Demand technology to deliver a fun, easy-to-use tool to make personalized, custom cookbooks featuring recipes, pictures, commentary and more. Families, aspiring cookbook writers, or even at-home chefs can use to make a collection of their favorite or most cherished recipes.

In the video below you can learn more about Curran’s company,by watching the pitch she made in “The Dolphin Tank”

We’re bursting at the seems with statup coverage from SXSW 2013, check it all out here.


Juan DotCo Takes A Break From His Birthday Party To Talk To Nibletz [SXSW]

.co,Startup,Miami Startup,Juan Diego Calle,Startup America,SXSW,SXSWiSeveral people lay claim to being “Mr. DotCom”. Of course there’s Mega Upload founder Kim DotCom who reportedly, legally changed his last name to DotCom, then there’s former Vice President Al Gore, who some still believe invented the internet.

One thing’s for sure though, and that is that Juan Diego Calle, is Mr.DotCo. As the founder and CEO of .co, it was his vision that turned an old country top level domain into the top level domain that’s being used by startups and their support organizations across the country. In fact we use a .co for our annual conference and conference series, “ The Startup Conference”.

On Friday at SXSW 2013, Calle celebrated his birthday with about 100 of his closest startup friends at a luncheon held at the Capital Factory. The celebration continued late into the night at Pete’s Piano Bar, where Calle was a great sport as the piano players roasted him.

Calle celebrates his birthday with entrepreneurs, founders and Startup America by being roasted at Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar at SXSW

.co is actually the ccTLD for Colombia. Through a unique partnership and licensing agreement with Colombia, .co the company has become the official registrant for sites ending in .co. There are over 1 million domain names registered as .co and some of the biggest brands in the world, took advantage of single letter domains that .co had to offer. Of course there were only 26 of them and 9 of them are gone.

Google (g.c0), Twitter (, Startup America ( and ( are just a few of the companies that have taken advantage of the single letter domain.

Calle is no stranger to entrepreneurship. The native of Colombia, grew up in a family of entrepreneurs in the beer and wine distribution business. When Calle was 15 though, his parents had him, his brother and his sister move to the United States for safety, while his family stayed back and ran the family business. He and his siblings’ first entrepreneurial roots came in the form of a car stereo installation company.

At age 22 he went for his first internet startup, a hybrid between and Askjeeves. That company succumbed to the internet bubble burst, but that didn’t deter Calle from continuing as an entrepreneur, and keeping the servers on at the company, TeRespondo. He eventually sold that company to Yahoo in 2005.

As for .co, before launching the registration company that is now known as .co, Calle commissioned a research study of the top level domain .co. 80% of the respondents thought that .co was short for company and 3% knew it stood for Colombia. The country Colombia soon realized there was opportunity to be had with the .co domain name but didn’t have the know how to execute a plan. Calle did, and he responded by providing an outline for all the problems that the country we need to overcome to start making money off the TLD.

“In addition to having very strict registration requirements, an ill-conceived effort to protect the country’s identity on the Internet resulted in the extension existing only in the third-level (for example, prior to our administration,” Calle said. “It was also the reason why Colombia, the 30th largest economy in the world, with a population of 40 million, had only 28,000 domains registered as of February 6th, 2010.  There were 4 times more .coms registered by Colombians than’s!  If anything, the effort to protect the country’s internet identity through restrictive policy, was in fact killing it.” Calle said to dn journal in 2010

Calle ended up bidding on the administrative rights for the .co TLD and through a joint venture with Neustar Inc .co the company was born.  With the partnership in place Calle declared “Colombia is now a player on the internet”.

Calle is still operating as a startup. His small team is based in Miami where they handle the administration duties of the domain extension. They are also deeply entrenched in the startup scene. They quickly realized that .co was becoming a preferred extension of startups. They also entered into a partnership as a major sponsor of Startup America. Startup America’s website is

As an entrepreneur himself Calle gets excited talking with and hanging out with other entrepreneurs, which is why his entire birthday was spent doing just that.

He took a break from his luncheon festivities to talk with us in the video interview below.  For more information on .co visit

We’ve got more sxsw stories here, a LOT more.

You can help us on our sneaker strapped nationwide startup roadtrip here


Bad Ass Startup Chicks: Jeannette Balleza Director, Ark Challenge

Jeannette Balleza, Ark Challenge, Bad Ass Startup Chicks, startup,startup arkansasAs you probably heard, women in startups played a big roll in the inaugural The Startup Conference. The conference which had over 1200 attendees on site featured panels like “Kick Ass Female Founders From Everywhere Else” and other panels which featured startup founders from everywhere else.

One of those bad ass startup chicks that was in the audience and networking all conference long was Jeannette Balleza the director of Ark Challenge, Arkansas’ premiere startup accelerator, and member of the Global Accelerator Network.

Balleza is no stranger to startups. After college she went straight to startup life launching her own company, Scribe Marketing. She is also the co-founding archivist of the award winning family history website DeadFred.

Balleza is a busy busy woman but always finds time to strengthen the Arkansas startup community every chance she gets.

She serves as a Board Member of the Northwest Arkansas Entrepreneurship Alliance, advises a number of small businesses and non-profit organizations and is part of the team spearheading the region’s first co-working space, The Iceberg. She is a member of The CEO Forums of Northwest Arkansas, and she coordinates the Professional Women’s Network Washington County. She was honored as one of Northwest Arkansas Business Journal‘s “40 Under 40” in 2008, and in 2009 she was selected as one of 135 U.S. entrepreneurs by British Airways to attend The Face of Opportunity Global Business Summit Conference in London.

We caught up with her, not in NorthWest Arkansas but rather in Central Arkansas for the ThinkBig Arkansas event and the kick off of Startup Arkansas. She provided a quick speech to attendees with an update about Ark Challenge and the exciting new Iceberg coworking space. Check out our interview below, the first of many to come in our series Bad Ass Startup Chicks.

 Ark Challenge is still accepting applications for their second cohort, click here for more info.

The Eve Of The Startup Arkansas Kickoff With Startup America & Company

Startup Arkansas,Scott Case,Startup AmericaStartup America, Nibletz, Work For Pie, and the Startup Arkansas crew really hammed it up on the eve of Startup Arkansas’s kick off and Think Big Arkansas. This video really needs no introduction.

The event kicks off bright and early at 9:00am with check-in starting at 8:30am. It’s being held at the Hendrix College Student Life & Technology Center.

Think Big Arkansas has a whole day of programming lined up including a startup alley exhibition area, a parade of startup ecosystem startups and partners, several sessions and of course Scott Case and Brad Feld. Case will be speaking at noon during lunch (bring $$ for Food Trucks and guided by Truckily) and Feld will be speaking at 6:30. He’ll also be signing copies of his book “Startup Communities”.

15 startups will be featured during the event in a startup alley, and demoing throughout. Kenny Tomlin from Rockfish and John James from Acumen will be speaking on starting up and the importance of serial entrepreneurship.

It’s not too late to register for this great event, click here.

We’re on the nibletz sneaker strapped nationwide startup road trip 

Startup America Bring’s Steve Blank’s NEXT Program To SXSWi

NEXT, Steve Blank, Startup Weekend,Startup AmericaBack in October, Startup Weekend, Startup America and Steve Blank teamed up to give an uber intensive startup program on customer discovery to startups across the country. The curriculum in the NEXT program is a kin to the courses taught at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, Caltech,Princeton, the University of Michigan and Georgia Tech.

Ten startups attending SXSWi will have the chance to go through a condensed version of the program taught in person by top industry veterans.

“In just the few short months since its launch, NEXT has enabled hundreds of startups across the country to refine their customer development process, a critical component for any young company trying to reach their goals,” stated Scott Case, CEO of Startup America. “We’re excited to partner with Startup Weekend and Steve Blank to introduce this curriculum at one of the leading startup events in the country: SXSW Interactive.” 

Participating startups will receive hands-on feedback throughout the four-day period, including morning program sessions and one-on-one mentoring. In addition, the teams will then spend their days engaging potential customers, honing their business model, participating in office hours and receiving invaluable feedback from investors, media, and large corporations.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for startups attending SXSW to learn from the man who literally wrote the books on Customer Development,” said Marc Nager, founder of Startup Weekend. “We’ve put together an incredible schedule for the startups and can’t wait to see what they can accomplish in four short days in Austin.”

This is just one of a number of great events hosted by Startup America at SXSWi. For the full schedule visit Startup America’s SXSW page, here.


American Airlines Takes Notice Of Tennessee’s 9 Accelerator Regions

American Airlines, Launch Tennessee, LaunchTN, Startup Tennessee,Startup AmericaAmerican Airlines is truly committed to startups and innovation. They are a corporate sponsor of Startup America and offer a huge benefit to Startup America members who sign up for their free Business ExtrAA rewards plan.

American has relationships with several startup organizations and entrepreneurs across the country have noticed there efforts. In 2012 American entered into a partnership with startup and technology blog and events company TechCocktail. They’ve provided sponsored transportation for several startup related events across the country including flights to DEMO in Santa Clara and last year’s SXSW. They know what it’s like for boot strapped entrepreneurs and startups.

Over the summer American Airlines partnered with Startup America for a huge contest. The video contest asked that startups and entrepreneurs tell a story about how travel connection has helped their business. They gave over half a million Business ExtrAA points away with the grand prize winner getting 100,000 points which was good for 50 round trip tickets. That’s a lot of conferences and investor meetings.

American Airlines has now taken notice of Tennessee’s nine startup accelerator regions and Startup Tennessee, the second Startup America Region. Launch Tennessee the public/private partnership that oversees the 9 accelerator region has entered into a relationship with American Airlines.

The company has also entered into a relationship with LaunchYourCity (LaunchMemphis), and The Startup Conference. American is helping an initiative for LaunchMemphis that will see local Memphis entrepreneurs venture out to Silicon Valley for a four day outreach trip.

Through and The Startup Conference American will be sponsoring the 2014 conference including offering a considerable discount to those traveling on American to the conference (February 17-19th 2014 in Memphis). To take full advantage of the discount attendees should sign up for the free Business ExtrAA program.  The discount will be announced in the coming days (and it’s a good one).

While every traveller doesn’t always have the experience they want no matter what airline they travel on, we are always hearing stories about how American Airlines has come through for our fellow entrepreneurs. On stage at The Startup Conference, Lean Entrepreneur co-author Brant Cooper talked about a string of delays in getting to the conference. Rather than waiting for Cooper to complain, he reported on stage that American Airlines went proactive and gave him a number of extra Business ExtrAA points for the trouble.

For more information on the benefits American Airlines offers Startup America members sign up for Startup America at and look under the member benefit section.