This Pitch From DC Startup Speek Results In A Monkey Tattoo On John Bracken’s Ass [video][sxsw]

Speek,DC Startup,John Bracken,Danny Boice, Monkey Tattoo,startup,startup pitch,sxsw,sxswiWe’ve been following Washington DC conference calling startup Speek since they were little more than a pitch deck last year at a DC tech event.

The company was founded by John Bracken, one of the cofounders of E-Vite (the precursor to Facebook events lol) and Danny Boice, a startup renaissance man, who even spoke at our huge “ The Startup Conference”.

Anyone who knows the Speek team knows that John and Danny compliment each other greatly. John is the yin to Dany’s yang. Danny is a constant cutup bringing fun into every situation and John plays a playful straight man to Danny’s antics. Well if John had been at Danny’s pitch during the TechCocktail Pitch Jam on Saturday at SXSW 2013, this great stunt, that made the Wall Street Journal, may not have happened.

Danny knows they have something great going on with Speek. It’s by far the easiest way to hold a conference call and it does away with the need for long phone numbers and longer “pin” numbers. You simply go to someone’s speek page, like (my page) and click the call button. Voila. But after partaking in SXSW libations all day long and being couped up because of the rain, Danny had something cool in mind to win the Pitch Jam contest.

After going through is normal 60 second pitch, he added a twist. Call it humor, or a little jealousy, but John had to bail on the event to go have dinner with DC Mayor Vince Gray, and left Danny alone, to pitch, and to say whatever he wanted. And he did.

Danny told the audience at the end of the pitch that John would get a tattoo of Speek’s mascot monkey on his ass if they won. Since there was a lot of spill over from the DC Tech Meetup earlier in the day, there were plenty of people who knew John, and wanted to see him get a monkey tattoed on his ass.

Well low and behold, Danny won. The next day, John got this:

(photo: Wall Street Journal)

And here’s Danny Boice’s winning pitch video:

We’ve got more startup coverage from SXSW than any other site, click here and see for yourself.

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Birmingham Startup NotIt Labs Shows Off iPhone App At SXSW [video][sxsw]

Notit,NotIt Labs, Birmingham Startup,Alabama Startup,startup,startups,startup interview,sxsw,sxswiBirmingham Alabama’s startup ecosystem continues to grow. Joshua Gilmer knows that first hand. He’s a serial entrepreneur that already has a successful web agency and is now putting the finishing touches on his mobile startup NotIt Labs.

NotIt is a mobile app that will debut on the iPhone in the next couple of months. The app makes delegating tasks fun, and a bit more fair.

Say you’re at the office and someone needs to go on a coffee run. Well, using NotIt everyone in the office can basically call “not it” and the last person to respond of course gets stuck with the task of running to the coffee shop.

It’s just as effective with house hold chores, mowing the lawn, picking up the kids, or even an old fashioned game of tag.

“We all know how to play Not It: give out some task arbitrarily to an open forum and all the kids would say ‘not it.’ We are taking that social contract to social media,” Joshua Gilmer,told Mashable in an interview as SXSW.

While the idea behind the mobile app is simple enough, it hasn’t been done before and the UI looks fantastic for an idea so simple.

In the interview below Gilmer talks about how he came up with the idea after reading the book “Reality is Broken”. He wanted to create something that blended the online world with real life.

The iPhone app should release in the coming months. The team plans to resort to KickStarter to raise money to build an Android version as well.

Check out the video below and for more info visit

Here are more startup stories from SXSW 2013

Planning On Crowdfunding Your Startup? DC Startup CrowdCheck Has You Covered [video][sxsw]

Crowdcheck,DC startup,crowdfunding,startup,startup interview,sxsw,sxswiCrowdfunding is about to take the world by storm. With the passage of the JOBSact last year, companies will soon be able to crowdfund early stage investment rounds up to $1 million dollars, from anyone with a pulse and an internet connection.

This will make it really easy for early stage investors to get into some great startups, as well as the person down the street who wants to try out investing in startups.

Crowdfunding will also create a huge market for fraud . Last month we reported on Baltimore startup Asurvest, which will provide insurance to those looking to crowdfund startups.

At SXSW we discovered Washington DC startup CrowdCheck. This company plans to do the due diligence for startups that want to be transparent and offer as much information as possible to potential investors. Startups that utilize CrowdCheck’s services will look more appealing to investors because all of the leg work will have been done already.

CrowdCheck will offer a “badge” or “seal” for startups that use their service. This seal will show that the startup has been through the CrowdCheck process and then link to their CrowdCheck portfolio which will have the information that investors want to know, and that most angel investors look for in traditional angel and seed rounds.

Crowdfunding investors will have a better piece of mind about the startups that use CrowdCheck and they will know they aren’t taking part in a fraudulent transaction.

The team behind CrowdCheck has both legal, and securities backgrounds that make them well versed in all kinds of investment deals. Startups that use CrowdCheck will not only have an advantage while crowdfunding, but should they decide to go for a more traditional angel or seed round, most of the paperwork will have already been done.

Check out our interview video below and for more information visit

Looking for more on Crowdfunding click here

We’ve got more startup coverage from SXSW than any other site, click here

AustinPreneur and Angel Investor Jason Cohen On Deal Flow [video][sxsw]

Jason Cohen, WPengine,Austin startup,angel investor,startup,sxsw,sxswiOn Friday at SXSW Jason Cohen the founder of WPengine, AustinPreneur and Angel investor sat on a panel with other local Texas angels to talk about angel investing. The standing room only crowd was made up of people who want to be angel investor and of course startup founders who want the inside track on what angel investors look for.

Cohen has invested in several companies and prefers a hands on approach. In the video below he says you can treat angel investing like a numbers game. The more deals you get into, you could sit back and relax and probably see some results. But what Cohen, and good angels do, is help cultivate the companies and the founders.

Angel investing can be a heavy gamble, but with the right angel investors, who are actually interested in helping the startup become successful, there’s a better chance of survival. When an angel investor invests their time and mentoring, even if the first deal is a bust, that founder or that team may have another idea that ends up being “the big one”

Cohen also warns that good angel investors need to have an investment thesis. They need to create a plan for their investment strategy that aligns with the things they know and where the investor can understand the deal, the idea, the team and the potential. Investors should then target deals that fit directly into that thesis.

Angel investors shouldn’t be looking for the get rich quick ticket. “The really hot ones go fast and they’re invisible” Cohen told the audience. He likens that to real estate in Austin and San Francisco. If you want prime real estate you’re buying it from someone already in it.

Check out Cohen’s remarks on video below:

Jason Cohen talks about the value of AngelList in this video from SXSW

DC Startup Homesnap Was Back At SXSW After Nailing Investment At SXSW 12 [video][sxsw]

HomeSnap,DC startup,startup,startup interview,SXSW,SXSWi,techcocktailWashington DC startup HomeSnap has got to be the best tool for those shopping for a new home.

The company’s proprietary technology allows anyone to snap a picture of any home and get all the pertinent information about that home. You can see the MLS data, how much the home sold for, what the neighborhood schools are, what other homes in the neighborhood sold for and more.

Their technology allows users to pre-shop for homes without the need of a realtor. However when the user is ready to actually purchase, HomeSnap can easily connect them to a realtor to finish out a deal.

Back in August the company closed a $3.5 million dollar round of funding led by Revolution Ventures. Steve Barnes, Homesnap’s President and co-founder told us that they met Steve Case, head of Revolution, at TechCocktail’s 2012 startup event at South By Southwest.

This year they were back at TechCocktail’s event to show off the newest version of HomeSnap, talk to other entrepreneurs and investors and pitch during TechCocktail’s Pitch Jam event, for which I was a judge. HomeSnap was declared the “Most Disruptive Startup” at the event.

In addition to the app that allows users to snap a photo and get home data, they also have a robust iPad app. The iPad experience allows users to browse entire neighborhoods virtually with an aerial map. Users can then drill down by looking at homes by address.

HomeSnap now also offers HomeSnap for agents. This part of the app allows agents to connect to their customers with a mini profile. Users can then flag properties for their agents to review with them, and use a one click method to ask an agent a question.

Guy Wolcott, co-founder and CEO of HomeSnap told TechCrunch that they have over 300 agents around the country registered for the app and have driven over 10,000 qualified leads.

“However, what we are launching here is a bit different,” Wolcott explains. “The idea is that agents can sign up to have their existing clients use HomeSnap. When the agent signs up, we put them (and only them) in the app for their clients – they won’t see any of our other partner agents, just their own agent,” he told TechCrunch.

We got a chance to talk with Barnes and VP of Product Development Lou Mintzer at this year’s TechCocktail event. The video interview is below:

We’ve got even more SXSW 2013 startup coverage here.

The Sneaker Strapped SXSW TakeOver, and Now We’re Back On The Road

Nibletz,Sneaker Strapped,SXSW,SXSWi,startupsNibletz celebrated their first birthday as “The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else” at South By Southwest 2013. The idea was born last year after the now infamous Startup Bus standoff. That’s when founder, and content director, Kyle Sandler (that’s me and I hate writing in third person), found that there were so many more startups outside Silicon Valley, than inside. 94% to be exact.

With that an idea was born and we immediately went to bootstrapping. Well our two man team, and our photographer put the words sneaker-strapped to entirely new levels. First off we would not have been able to perform like we did if it wasn’t for the “free food for founders” GroupMe group at SXSW. That list kept us informed for 5 days as to where all the great food was.

We also could not have done it without the help of Kelly Krause at the SXSW press office. You see in the previous four years we had press credentials through my previous site thedroidguy. This year, in planning The Startup Conference, we totally forgot the press deadline. A little groveling and some sponsor help allowed us to strike a deal with Krause and the SXSW press team where we came in early, covered the crap out of SXSWedu (which was a great show) and they would let our little oversight get swept under the rug. (that will never happen again).

So now here are some of the milestones, remember one writer (Kyle), One biz dev guy (Nick) and one photographer (Allie) and less than $300 when we got on the ground did all this:

– We were ranked 3rd on Twitter for SXSWi coverage (@nibletztweets) on Sunday and finished top 5

– We’ve already published 40 stories and have another 30 that are still being prepped

– We shot 100 videos

– Made friends with over 200 startups

– Sold a bunch of tickets to 2014

– and didn’t get into serious trouble

We stayed 20 miles out and took a combination of buses to get to and from the hotel. We caught up on a lot of rest in the Hilton lobby. And we truly brought out the voice of startups everywhere else.

Now as we get back on the road to again continue our roadtrip we need some major community support. We’re sneaker strapping it and we’re reader supported. We are charged with being on the road for the balance of 2013 as we wrap up our book that will be released Q4 2013. We’ve already been to 65 cities now and plan on visiting another 40 more.

We stopped in over 60 different cities across the country, went to startup meetups, startup weekends, startup weeks, incubators, accelerators and anything with a startup pulse.  We made some awesome friends and met some great startups, many of whom came to Memphis for

We can’t do this alone. Last year in 4 campaigns we raised around $5,000 on indiegogo. For this leg of the trip we’ve got some interesting things we can offer our sponsors and we’re doing it directly below. Thank you so much for your continued support and let us know what city and state you’re in so we can connect on the road trip.

Sponsorship levels

Attaboys (The Extra Value Meal)   $6.00 (face it $5.00 doesn’t get you an extra value meal anymore)

This is our “attaboy” sponsorship feel free to get us as many extra value meals as you’d like. We’ll gladly thank you with a link in a thank you weekly wrap up on and give you a shot out on our twitter accounts.


A Taco, from Moe’s Or Chipotle $10.00

This sponsorship will help get us a taco from Moe’s or Chipotle, food is fuel, fuel is good . Feel free to get us as many taco’s from Moe’s and Chipotle as you’d like we will be extremely grateful.

For this sponsorship we will give you a paragraph shout out with your link, description and Twitter handle in a per stop thanks for the Taco’s post. We’ll also give you a shot out on Twitter (info captured in the butto below).


Bus Ticket $25.00

We take the Bolt Bus, Megabus and other regional cheap bus services everywhere we can because we boot strap to the point we call it sneaker-strapping. Your $25 donation can get us a lot more places than you would ever imagine on Megabus and Bolt Bus.

For this sponsorship you’ll receive a new “nibz” short form story about your startup (identified as a sponsored nibz) along with a linkback in the logo and at the bottom of the story you’ll also get 2 shout outs on Twitter.


A Tank Of Gas and A Tank You! $50.00

For the stops on the trip that we can’t make by bus we have to drive and your $50.00 sponsorship for gas comes in quite handy.

With your $50.00 sponsorship you’ll get a nibz featured post on as well as a thank you mention in our weekly thank you post with linkbacks. You’ll also get 4 tweets with your Twitter handle and link.


Hotel Money $120

You’ll breathe easier knowing that the nibletz crew will get most likely 2 nights out of this hotel money. We may not sleep, but rather stay up and work all night, but that’s ok with you because we’re all startup founders.

With your hotel money sponsorship you and your startup will receive a “sponsored” nibz feature story about what you do. We’ll tweet the story out on our regular tweet schedule to nearly 150,000 followers and share across all of our social networks.


Sneaker Strapped Patron Sponsor $550.00

The nibletz sneaker strapped patron sponsorship includes one “startup village” booth package for 2013, February 17-19th, 2014 in Memphis Tennessee. The Startup Village booth includes booth space, wifi, a chance to pitch for over $10,000 in cash and several other contest opportunities, name in program, description in virtual village and 3 attendee tickets.

As part of the road trip patron sponsors your website will be mentioned in a rotation with other sponsors on our youtube videos from the road trip (not including SXSW).

You’ll also get a sponsored feature story.  Which will run in our social streams.

Also, if you choose, you can send two t-shirts one XL and one M and we will wear them in videos from the trip.


Sneaker Strapped Saint $1000

With the sneaker strapped saint sponsor package you will get everything in the Patron package including the startup village booth for next years conference. You will also get your logo prominently featured on the 2014 conference SWAG bag.

Provided it fits in the tour schedule we will also stop by your startup for an event or meetup.

If you choose we will wear your t-shirt in our videos as well.

 Nibletz/Everywhere Else Saint Sponsor $1800

This sponsorship includes everything in the Saint sponsorship however the perks will be included during the SXSW 2013 coverage. This is an excellent opportunity for startups that can’t be at sxsw but still want added exposure.

At $1800 Nick or Kyle will wear your startup t-shirt for an entire day and an entire day’s worth of on camera videos. Your startup will also be featured in all of our AOL Radio coverage as demonstrated here.

Finally, we will write two stories about your startup and tweet them out over the course of a week. We will also give you 20 additional Tweets


Platinum nibletz & everywhere else sponsor (3 Available) $2700

This sponsorship includes everything in the  Saint sponsorship however the perks and more

Your startup will be featured in every video that we do during the “outro” see this link for an example.

At $2700 Nick or Kyle will wear your startup t-shirt for three entire days and an entire day’s worth of on camera videos

Finally, we will write two stories about your startup and tweet them out over the course of a week. We will also give you 40 additional Tweets.

Thank you so much for your continued support!


Want To Get Into Investing? Start With $1 And KC Startup TreeSwing [video][sxsw]

TreeSwing,Kansas City startup,KC Startup,investing,startup interview,sxsw,sxswiIf you’ve always wanted to start an investment portfolio, but getting thousands of dollars together was out of reach, than you’re in luck. A new Kansas City startup, TreeSwing, is releasing a mobile app that will allow investors to start investing in mutual funds with as little as $1.

If the company takes off, TreeSwing will open up a new world of investing to people across the country, with no brokerage fees, no minimum balances, and no required monthly investment, investors can contribute any amount they’re comfortable with.

TreeSwing will allow investors to select from a marketplace of professionally managed mutual funds offered by some of the top names in the industry. By keeping the marketplace purposefully small, using plain language, and providing independent data from Morningstar, TreeSwing aims to give investors an easy way to make informed choices.

According to Brian Smith , Design and Product Manager for the TreeSwing application, the app was created specifically to serve the millions of Americans who aren’t currently investing.

“I believe we’ve built something that will lower the financial, behavioral, and emotional barriers to the investment process,” said Smith.

We ran into TreeSwing a bunch of times while in Austin for South By Southwest. Their entire team was at the TechCocktail celebration of startups event at The Stage on Sixth, talking to people about their new way of investing.

We finally caught up with Smith at the SXSW trade show who took a little time to explain TreeSwing in the video below.

While crowfunding is gaining world wide popularity, TreeSwing offers an option for people who want to get their feet with with investing, at a much lower risk and barrier to entry.

Check out the video below and for more info visit

Check out all these other great startup stories we found at SXSW 2013

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.

New Hampshire Startup: Rock Lobby Shows Off At SXSW 2013 [sxsw]

RockLobby,New Hampshire startup,sxsw,sxswi,startup interviewNew Hampshire startup RockLobby is like Yelp for live shows, which is a great reason for demoing at the SXSW trade show which bridges the interactive with the music festival.

RockLobby allows the user to find live shows and venues and write reviews on the shows themselves. If the live show isn’t already there, the user can create it. From there other users can read the feedback and the sliding rating scale to make informed decisions on which shows to attend.

We got a chance to interview Peter Kruger, founder and CEO of RockLobby who also took us on a tour of the app.

The mobile app has a global review feed that allows users to see a list of current live show reviews. The user can then click on the reviews they want to see more in depth. They’ll be able to see the live show’s star rating, comments, photos and even share it on their own RockLobby feed.

When a user wants to review a liveshow the realtime app allows them to click “I’m at a show”, “I saw a show”, or “I’m going to a show” where they can then add their narrative review photos and a star based review.  The review is then published to the global review feed where others can read it, share it and comment on it.

Check out our video interview below. For more info visit

See even more startup coverage from SXSW 2013 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.


Tony Hsieh, Founder Of Zappos And Downtown Project On Startup Communities [video][sxsw]

Tony Hsieh,Zappos,Downtown Project,Vegas Tech,startup,startups,startup communities,sxsw,sxswi

Tony Hsieh proudly points out that he is wearing a Zappos t-shirt. (photo NMI 2013)

Tony Hsieh isn’t just a guy who created a household brand, made money and then decided to give some to charity. Although his Downtown project, an effort to revitalize downtown Las Vegas, is funded largely by him, he is quick to point out that it takes a village to raise a startup community.

At South By Southwest over 200 people who identified as being part of the Vegas Tech community made the trek (on their own dime) from Las Vegas to Austin to be part of SXSW. More than double that number are participating in rebuilding the downtown area of Las Vegas that “tourists don’t really see” according to Hsieh.

Hsieh and other investors have pulled together $350 million dollars to build up the community around the old city hall building, which in six months will be the new world headquarters for Zappos. Hsieh originally thought that Zappos would build it’s own campus around the block city hall is on, but than decided that doing so would be too inward focused. While Google has a lot of real estate in Mountain View and Apple has a lot of real estate in Cupertino, both company’s campuses, for the most part, keep to themselves.

“Those campuses are really insular and don’t really integrate or  contribute to the community around them” Hsieh said of Nike, Google and Apple.

Hsieh is hoping that, by recruiting statup companies, small businesses and others to the downtown area, an ecosystem will flourish and surround his own company with creative, forward thinking people.

The Downtown Project has committed $50 million to invest in small businesses, $50 million to tech startup companies, $50 million to arts, education and music and $200 million to real estate. They are trying to deal with the statistic that when a cities size doubles productivity goes up 15%, but when companies get there productivity generally goes down.

Hsieh and company have already recruited 20 startups to downtown Las Vegas. They’ve also been able to get commitments from folks that love what they are doing in Las Vegas but for some reason can’t move there. Many people have committed to speaking to the Vegas Tech Community, holding office hours or doing other community minded things.

This entire plan was demonstrated in high gear through many events at SXSW where people were packed wall to wall. It wasn’t just the 200 Las Vegas people either, people from startup communities across the country and around the world were clamoring for the opportunity to hang out with the positivity bubble that surrounds Vegas Tech.

The Vegas Tech community was also on hand throughout SXSW Interactive to show off what the community is like in hopes that the SXSW Las Vegas event this summer will be a huge success.

Check out the video below of Hsieh speaking on the Startup Communities panel at SXSW 2013.

Vegas Tech threw an awesome party at SXSW click here for photos and video

We’ve got a ton more startup coverage from SXSW 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

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Eric Ries, Author Of The Lean Startup Offers Great Advice At SXSW [sxsw]

Eric Ries,Lean startup,startup,startups,sxsw,sxswiEric Ries, the author of “The Lean Startup” and creator of the Lean Startup methodology gave a keynote discussion at SXSW on Sunday afternoon.

He offers an entrepreneur some great advice on testing product and preparing for launch. He also comments about the new movement that is becoming Lean Startup and how they are looking to grow the organization both nationally and internationally.

Check out the video below.

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