Turn Your Blog Into A Book With Chicago Startup BlogIntoBook

BlogIntoBook, 1871, Chicago startup, Startup,startup interviewEarly next year we’ll be publishing our first book about startups everywhere else, chronicling our two year sneaker strapped startup road trip.  We were fortunate enough to be commissioned by a publisher for this particular book, but it’s not typically that easy. For actual book writers and authors, there are great startups to help get self published, like Memphis startup ScrewPulp.  But what about bloggers and journalists who may want to memorialize their writings in an actual book, well e-book?

Well BlogIntoBook, currently incubating at Chicago megahub, 1871, is helping bloggers turn their work into books.

BlogIntoBook is an easy-to-use platform that helps bloggers curate and publish their blogs into books. Then they help get the book distributed by Amazon, Apple’s iBookstore, and Google Play. The best part is it’s free, and BlogIntoBook issues a royalty to the author.

We got a chance to talk with the founder Zack Price, check out our interview below.



What is your startup called?


What does your company do?

BlogIntoBook.com turns Bloggers into Authors by curating and publishing their blog as a professionally published ebook distributed to Amazon.com (Kindle), Apple iBookstore (iOS), Google Play (Android), and BN Nook. We provide this service completely free to the blogger and pay them a royalty every time their blog is downloaded.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

Zack Price is a serial entrepreneur who has been starting businesses since age 11. He founded Price World Publishing in 1999 at age 19, and that company still stands strong today. Zack also founded College Auctions LLC in 2004 and successfully exited with a sale in 2007. Already a 14 year publishing veteran, Zack just started up BlogIntoBook.com which launched at Techweek on June 27th.

What problem do you solve?

Bloggers have very few ways to make money from their passion. Many refuse to host ads on their site, and while they would like to be book authors, they just don’t have the time or patience to self-publish. BlogIntoBook.com gives them a completely risk-free opportunity to earn passive income without any investment of time or money, while also gaining new fans from the e-bookstores who may have never found their blog through the web.

Why now?

A few years ago this would have been impossible. The Kindle was in it’s infancy and the iPad didn’t exist. Ebooks have been around forever (as PDF files) but reading a book on a computer screen is not pleasant. Here in 2013 we have a variety of Kindle devices, iPads, Nooks, and android devices … all perfect for reading on the go. Now that these devices are flooding the mainstream there is no better time to publish to them.

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

We just launched at Techweek, but we have signed on BJ Mendelson (@bjmendelson) who has over 750,000 twitter followers. Once we publish his blog into an ebook he’ll be tweeting out the link and it should lead to a flood of sales.

What are your next milestones?

Publishing 100 blogs into books in the second half of the year, and 1,000 blogs by the end of 2014.

Where can people find out more? 




Techstars Chicago Reveals First Class!

Techstars Chicago, 1871,startups,accelerator,startup newsTechstars Chicago revealed their first class today. Back in February Techstars announced that Excelerate Labs the Chicago based accelerator that operates out of the 1871 space was becoming TechStars Chicago. They began taking applications at that time and announced the first cohort on Thursday.

This first official “Techstars Chicago” class will start May 28th and end on August 28th. TechStars Chicago participants will receive a round of seed funding, work space, an intense startup curriculum and mentorship from one of the best accelerator mentor networks in the world.

As with all the Techstars classes there is a wide range of startups across SoLoMo, healthcare, big data, analytics and even fitness.

Here is a complete list of the 10 startups that made it into the first Chicago cohort, as originally posted on the Techstars blog.

CaptureProof – The platform through which patients can securely and easily share photos and videos with their doctors.

HIPOM – A cloud-based solution that gives parents total control of the Internet access on all devices in the home.

Nexercise – A mobile app that makes fitness fun through the use of friendly competition, smart alerts and real rewards.

Pathful – A Web analytics platform that captures every visitor interaction with every element on a website automatically, making it easier for marketers and designers to understand visitor behavior.

Peoplematics – A cloud-based search platform that unlocks the data users store in the cloud with intuitive search and sharing across applications.

Project Fixup – A digital matchmaker that fixes people up on fun one-on-one dates.

SimpleRelevance – An analytics-driven email marketing platform that provides customized digital communication for every customer and every message.

SocialCrunch – The marketing data provider presents a new way to unlock the most provocative human insights for brands and their agencies.

Sqord, Inc. – The fitness platform that makes healthy, active play more fun for kids by allowing them to compete and earn points for everyday activities.

TradingView – A browser-based community for investors and traders to share and discuss their ideas.

Check out these other startup accelerator stories.


Chicago Startup StageBloc Is A Content Creation Platform For Everyone INTERVIEW

A new startup incubating at Chicago’s world famous 1871, has set out to create a new content creation platform that’s perfect for anyone and everyone. If you want to start a blog, you can do that on StageBloc. If you want to create photo and video albums, you can do that on StageBloc. If you want to create podcasts, again you can do that on StageBloc. If you’re into short form posts like status updates, you can do that as well.  In fact you can do al that and monetize whatever pieces of it you want.

Now suppose you want to mix them all together. You can also do that using StageBloc’s robust platform. But even better, you can do as much or as little of it as you want. It’s like an all you care to eat buffet of content creation tools.

StageBloc makes it incredibly easy to create content in any way that you want. StageBloc founder Tom Giles was convinced that while Facebook and other sites are great for exposure, StageBloc is more about developing your brand online and also monetizing that brand.

This all in one approach to content creation means that if you use StageBloc you don’t need a blogger account, flickr account, YouTube account, Twitter account and Facebook account. You get all of those services in one. Now being realistic no ones going to shun their Facebook or their Twitter account but creating content and then having to move to another site to embed pictures and videos is a pain in the butt.

If you’re only in the mood for a short form post, you don’t have to leave the StageBloc dashboard, likewise if you’re in the mood to write a long Tumbler-esque post, you don’t need to leave the platform to do it.

StageBloc also recently launched their Mirrorgram app into the iOS app store and it’s quickly become the 11th ranked paid app in the store.

StageBloc,Chicago Startup,1871,startup,startups,startup interviewWe got a chance to interview Giles. Check out the interview below.

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Jumpstart Foundry Nashville Startup Rentstuff.com Moves To Chicago & Pivots Away From Core

Earlier this year we brought you an interview with Rentstuff co-founder Chris Yaeger. The Nashville startup had quickly rose to prominence in the peer to peer renting category, with the idea they cultivated as part of the JumpStart Foundry program.

With $600,000 raised to help them along the way the startup relocated to Chicago’s 1871 in July and debuted their Chicago based team at TechWeek earlier this summer.

Their original idea, had a lot of holes in it in terms of insurance to the renter, and market viability but the concept was rock solid. One user could rent that DSLR camera that sits in the closed for $30-$50 a day to their local neighbor and make a few bucks on the side. You may have even been able to go as far as to call the idea “AirBnB for Stuff”.

At last look you could find anything from tents and sleeping bags, to weed-eaters and iPads. While I admitted to a friend on the phone just the other night, I would never rent out my personal iPad, if there was a market for it, I may pick a used one up off Craigslist just to rent out on rentstuff.com.

While couchsurfing and AirBnB made it ok to crash at a complete strangers house or even on their couch, it seems that letting a complete stranger rent my crock pot, serving trays or video camera, wasn’t in the cards.

The company, now based in Chicago, has pivoted to a more mainstream, portal to connect folks with businesses in the “Rent To Own” industry like RentACenter and Aarons.  Now, you go to rentstuff.com and you can fill out a form which lets you request rental quotes from local companies. You can attempt to rent anything from a limousine to a laptop, to a sofa, whatever you need you should be able to get it.

A note on the site tells you that letting a rental company call you can get the process done faster. Of course, bidding out your rental should also mean that you get better deals.

Call me crazy though, the original idea was much more innovative. In fact the crazy guys that produced the Wipple video below, used a leaf blower that they rented from the “rentstuff.com marketplace” to produce this video.

There is definitely a market for the new version of rentstuff, similar to the way that there is a market for the pivoted SpareFoot.com which we covered earlier this month.


Check out rentstuff.com new site here

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” here are more startups “everywhere else”

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Chicago Techweek 2012: GoSoapBox Demo & Interview (video)

We met GoSoapBox here at Techweek Chicago 2012.  They began with the idea of a Social Q&A service.  Dave Mulder went to the Lansing Startup Weekend and walked away the winner with Social Q&A.  Dave described it as, “socially-ranked questions and answers for the classroom.”  This idea grew from Dave’s personal experience in college lecture halls and when he originally pitched the idea at the Startup Weekend it squeaked into the competition with the bare minimum requirements.  Dave pitched the idea and captured the attention of John Pytel and Eduardo Serrano – who joined him to build out the idea.

John (who is now co-founder and CEO) described his reaction when he heard the pitch.

When Dave told me about his idea for GoSoapBox, it was an “Aha” moment for me. Give students a platform to contribute to class without a physical interruption and they’ll use it! I know I would have. What I love about GoSoapBox though is that its value isn’t limited to students who don’t feel like participating, it benefits the entire class….even the A+ students sitting in the front row.

Later they joined the 2011 Chicago Lean Startup Challenge – and won.  Dave discussed this with me at length but explained (in a nutshell) that it stressed build fast, fail fast, build again, repeat.  Don’t spend ages trying to “perfect” the app or idea only to find out that you’ve just blown all of the money in the bank and the users hate it.  GoSoapBox built different versions of their app and let users test it, provide feedback, and then they went back and rebuilt.

Why were they at Techweek 2012?  Part of the reason certainly must have included the fact that they work just four floors above Techweek at 1871. Primarily they decided due to the summer downturn by educators and schools it makes sense to look into other options for revenue.  Notice I said other options.  They are bringing in money already.  Techweek seemed to be the perfect time for them to launch their solution for conferences.

GoSoapBox improves audience engagement at your event by giving your audience an anonymous platform to ask questions, and the ability to respond to polls using any smartphone, tablet, or laptop…. all in real time.

No more dealing with complicated clickers, running around with microphones, or hearing from THAT GUY over and over. GoSoapBox makes audience engagement more interactive, more efficient, and more enjoyable than ever before.





When I first heard what the original concept did I immediately thought of any number of conferences that I’ve attended that included a Q&A session.  Typically, if the speaker is very popular, it can be absolutely impossible to have your question asked.  I thought this would be perfect for those situations.  The audience can vote up questions that appeal to the whole rather than just a single person, the speaker could track the crowds interests through live polling, and it can serve to help make it so the person who asked the tough question remains anonymous (giving those of us in the press an edge if we’ve already pre-written our story while betting on the answer we might hear).

Dave and I discuss GoSoapBox, Chicago, and 1871 in the video interview below.


Find out more about GoSoapBox here

Here’s more of our coverage from Chicago TechWeek 2012

Like what we do? Here’s a link worth checking out

Interview: Chicago Startup Toodalu Has It All Figured Out, Reward With Cash, Donate To Charity

Great things happen in Chicago, despite what anybody else says. Toodalu is one of those great things. Founded by three friends that met in (dare I say) Chicago’s thriving tech scene, Todd O’Hara, Ravi Singh and Chris Lubinski, they set out to provide another mobile startup that caters to the reward/engagement/loyalty space but they’ve hit something on the head with greatness, and that is CASH IS KING.

With the new Toodalu app when you shop at a participating merchant you get 5% cash back on your credit card and another 5% donated to charity. Which charity? Whichever one you want. We know that Target lets you donate to a ton of charities but with Toodalu you don’t need to have your charity on a list, it just needs to be a real charity.

“The user can choose ANY non-profit to give to! That’s the key element that excites our users and merchants. In addition, a user can select up to one hundred different charitable organizations to support and select how, exactly, they wish to distribute the giving by allocating percentages.” O’Hara told us in an interview.

Not only is Toodalu of epic greatness because they’ve already figured out the reward and the charity but it’s simple. We got a chance to catch up with O’Hara, who by the way Trevor was up at 10pm answering questions for us, way past the 5pm Pando curfew. The first thing we wanted to know is how did you stumble upon such a great idea:

Toodalu is a new breed of loyalty rewards. Just link any credit or debit card to your Toodalu account and when you use that card any partner location, 5% of every purchase is donated to the charity of your choice. We are proud to help charities raise boat loads of money while attaching purpose to the purchases of our users. The idea was born from the question,”how can we increase participation rates for charitable giving?”

More after the break
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