Uber Jumps In To Help DC’s Furloughed Federal Workers

Uber, DC startup, furlough, shutdown, startups

We’re now in the 16th day of the federal government shutdown. Startups are trying to help furloughed employees in whatever ways they can.

Last week we reported that Washington DC-based 1776 had launched a website to help match employees with job opportunities and volunteer work for startups. Sure everyone needs money, but some furloughed employees have expressed the fact that they are also bored to tears. The site gives them an opportunity to work with something innovative and exciting. It gives the startup access to a potentially high qualified employee base.

Now the San Francisco based car hailing startup Uber has responded to the needs of the furloughed federal workers in the DC area.

Through Friday, Uber is offering their UberX product free for two rides up to $20 each.

While the Uber app is known for it’s black sedan and SUV service, UberX is a taxicab alternative. Rather than sedan service, users of UberX are picked up in midrange vehicles like Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry and similar type vehicles.  All of the vehicles seat up to four people.

Uber is introducing the UberX product to the DC market, where their original service is still going very strong. At the same time it allows them to expose the service to the capital’s federal work force of hundreds of thousands which have gone without pay for over two weeks. It is important to note that the promotion is actually open to anyone in the DC area, but those affected by the shutdown will find that the company’s promotion came at the right time.

How does it work?

  • Enter promo code DCLOVESuberX in the Uber app.
  • Slide the car type selector to ‘uberX’—this promotion does not apply to uberTAXI, UberBLACK, or UberSUV.
  • Take up to two free rides before Friday, 10/18, at 11:59PM.
  • DCLOVESuberX covers DC area rides up to $20. Trust us—at these rates, $20 will get you far!

Here is a list of participating businesses:

201 Bar
9:30 Club
Al Dente
Atlas Fitness
Atlas Underground
Art Jamz
Bacchus Wine Cellar
Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club
Blowout Bar
Boundary Stone
Brasserie Beck
Cactus Cantina
Cafe Deluxe
Capella Washington Restaurant
Capitol Hill Fitness
Capitol Lounge
Cashion’s Eat Place
Charlie Palmer Steak
Chef Geoff’s
Chez Billy
Co Co. Sala
Daisy Baby Boutique
Darlington House
DC Improv
Duo Boutique
Edgar Bar & Kitchen
Farmer Fishers Bakers
Fia’s Fabulous Finds
The Front Page
Granville Moore’s
Gymboree – Play & Music
H Street Country Club
Hela Spa
I.M.P. International Spy Museum
Hank’s Oyster Bar
Lauriol Plaza
Liberty Tree
Lisner Auditorium
Mangolens Photography
Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier
Mellow Mushroom
Merriweather Post Pavillion
Mussel Bar and Grille
Muncheez Mania
Pure Barre
Queen Vic
Qi Spa
Redwood Bethesda
Scratch DC
Sculpt DC
Shakespeare Theatre
Skin Beauty Lounge
Smith & Wollensky
Sticky Rice
Spirit Cruises
The Sweet Lobby
Tango DC
Tom Yum District
Tortilla Coast
Tusuva Body & Skin Care
U St Music Hall
Union Pub
Velocity 5 – Arlington
Whitlow’s on Wilson
Willow Fashion
Wildwood Kitchen 
Zest American Bistro


Speek Partners With Dell, Also Gets Praise From Edward Norton & Sophia Bush

Speek, DC Startup, Edward Norton, Sophia Bush, DellWell Tuesday morning we started working on a big story about Speek, a great Washington DC startup we’ve been covering since before they launched. Speek is the “easiest way to conference” and it really is. Speek’s co-founders John Bracken and Danny Boice are big supporters of Nibletz and Everywhere Else.

So we were excited when Boice emailed us to tell us about an exciting new partnership with Dell. The partnership, which went live yesterday afternoon, has the Fortune 50 computer manufacturer promoting Speek through several of their digital marketing channels to over 10 million+ of the company’s business customers. Speek is the only startup that’s part of this new partnership which Dell calls “Dell Marketplace”.

Dell’s Marketplace is launching on Dell’s Center For Entrepreneurs. That site is a highly curated collection of companies that provide services for the entrepreneur community. Dell has embraced the entrepreneurial community with several efforts including recruiting Ingred Vanderveldt as their Entrepreneur in Residence.

Through the Marketplace Dell offers entrepreneurrs access to special deals from companies ranging from FedEx to Speek. Our good friends at Influence & Co are also featured in the Marketplace.

But that wasn’t the only big news this week for the DC based startup. On Wednesday afternoon the company received tweets praising their conference calling platform from Academy Award winning actor (and Maryland native) Edward Norton and Teen Choice Award winning star Sophia Bush.

Norton started his day off with a string of tweets about Speek




He also tweeted another four messages including a link to a special deal for his followers (hint click here and take advantage)



Also Wednesday morning, Sophia Bush, who played young entrepreneurial starlet Brooke Davis on the CW hit series One Tree Hill, also said she was obsessed with Speek.



What’s all the hype about? Sign up for your Speek account here at Speek.com

You can conference call me anytime at Speek.com/kyle

Check out the new Dell Marketplace for entrepreneurs here. 

See Speek co-founder Danny Boice at this huge national startup conference in Memphis.


1776 Turns Google Doc Into Unfurlough.us

unfurlough.us, 1776, Startups, DC Startup, Government shutfown

Last week we broke the news that the entrepreneurs at 1776 in Washington, DC jumped into action when the federal government was first shut down. The first thing they did was hold an impromptu event which brought together the startups at 1776 with furloughed federal workers in the area.

What came out of that was the Google Doc we reported about last Friday. 1776 found a clear path between workers on furlough and startups that needed paid workers, volunteers or people to do small projects.

They’ve now turned the simple GoogleDoc into unfurlough.us which is picking up a lot of traction. The new jobs site, set up to connect furloughed workers with positions in startups, caught the eye of Mashable on Tuesday.

Mashable revealed that all kinds of people are signing up, even people that aren’t on furlough. 1776 cofounder Donna Harris told Mashable that they aren’t going to take down anyone’s profile.

So is it working?

Mashable reports that Josh Hurd, the founder of Nonprofitmetrics, used unfurlough.us to find a blogger who he is paying a minimum of $35 per post. Lily Bradley who works for the Department of Health and Human Services is also on furlough. She found a temporary job taking pictures for a startup that pays more than her day job.

1776 does have a warning posted on the unfurlough.us website reminding furloughed workers to check their agency’s “ethics guidance” to make sure they are allowed to engage in outside work while on furlough.

1776 even has their own listing looking for someone to do PR & Marketing research.

Building unfurlough.us was a community effort between blen and 1776 and built on the open source platform drupal, reportedly in under five hours.


This WSJ Startup Of The Year Plays Jeopardy For Team Building: Who Is Speek?

Speek, DC Startup, startups, startup tips, WSJ startup of the year

DC’s Speek is the number 4 ranked WSJ Startup Of The Year. This program, put on by the digital arm of the Wall Street Journal, takes 24 startups through a program of mentorship from business, tech, and entertainment titans. While “accelerators” are nothing new, a video series designed around them is a new and exciting concept and as you can imagine WSJ has an amazing mentor pool to tap from.

We’ve followed the path of Speek since we first heard about it over 18 months ago at a pitch event in Washington, DC. E-vite co-founder John Bracken and Danny Boice are making conference calls suck less.

Now what we like even more than simple conference calls (just go to http://speek.com/kyle) is the fact that Bracken and Boice are true believers in remembering their roots and supporting where they came from. While they are themselves part of a “program” of sorts, both Bracken and Boice are passionate about mentoring other entrepreneurs, speaking at events and sharing their experiences.

They’re leaders in the Washington DC startup community, a fact that showed when nearly 500 people showed up for a Speek celebration party earlier this summer.

Speek’s videos talk about the things they know best, simplicity, functionality, team, and branding.

One of the videos they do “speeks” to many startups across the globe. Like other startups Speek has a distributed work force. According to Boice 60% of their work force is local to DC, but the other 40% is distributed across the globe.

As a team-building exercise the guys at Speek played Jeopardy. Each employee completed a questionnaire and put the game together. Check out the WSJ video below.


DC Startup Bracketeers Engages Customers With March Madness All Year Long

Bracketeers, DC startup, startup interviewContesting is one of the best ways to enhance customer engagement. People love to win prizes and are typically willing to give up their contact information and other data to get something free. The problem with this is that after the contest is over, the engagement is over as well.

Facebook and Twitter may seem like excellent forms of engagement, but they have one big drawback. The problem with engaging on these social media platforms is that you’re sending customers to other websites instead of keeping them engaged on your site. Social media is an amazing source of engagement, but there is risk that you could lose your audience.

Well DC-based serial entrepreneur Craig Zingerline, one of the cofounders of Barrel of Jobs, has launched a new startup called Bracketeers. They offer longer tail engaging contests, typically tournament style like March Madness. The goal: keep the customer engaged and coming back.

“All businesses want hardy, exciting relationships with customers and more potential to reach new ones. However, engagement and list building is challenging and costly. Existing social marketing and contest platforms are expensive – often starting over $5k/month – and businesses are at the same time sending users out to Facebook when they could be keeping them on their own websites. We provide a cost-effective, easy-to-use, and FUN way to enhance customer relationships,” Zingerline told us in an interview.

In addition to providing customers with a fun and engaging way to improve a customer relationship, the user, or  brand is getting valuable data from the experience itself.

We got a chance to talk with Zngerline about Bracketeers. Check out the interview below.

bracketeersscreenWhat is your startup called?


What does your company do?

Bracketeers is a SaaS web-based platform for connecting companies & brands to consumers through voting and list contests. We offer “March Madness” style tournament Prediction & Voting Brackets as well as matchup based voting. Our clients grow their audience and marketing list with high engagement contest tools, and have more fun while spending less money doing so.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Craig Zingerline, Co-founder & CEO – Craig is a 15 year veteran of web technology and brings deep team building, product development and strategy to the team. Craig provides pragmatic leadership and direction to the company and started developing web-based applications while in college. He has been both founder and executive of multiple startups, and has also worked for and consulted with dozens of small to large firms. Craig earned his Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Technology from Syracuse University.

Stephen Phillips, Co-founder & CTO – Stephen’s career has spanned close to 20 years, building enterprise applications in a myriad of technologies for major brands. During that time he has held the role of CTO, Technical Architect, Consultant, Senior Software Engineer, and business owner. Prior to founding Bracketeers, Stephen held the role of Technical Architect for Accenture, one of the world’s largest consulting firms, working with major brands like Google, Motorola, Godiva, and Taylormade-Adidas-Ashworth. Prior to this, he founded Cardiff Creative, an interactive consulting firm, building an impressive portfolio of premier life science companies.

Where are you based?

We’re based in Washington, DC and San Diego, CA.

Why now?

We are the only company offering prediction & voting bracket contests that we know of. Our platform is getting great input from the market, and with all of the high profile enterprise acquisitions of social contest tools (i.e. Wildfire acquired by Google) there is an opportunity in the lower cost SMB segment to reach a huge number of clients who have been priced out of other platforms.

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

We have multiple paying clients now, including monthly and yearly subscriptions and are just getting started! Our system has collected tens of thousands of leads for our clients, and we’ve seen over 1.6 million votes tallied so far.

What are your next milestones?

We’re looking to raise a seed round to continue building our team, refining our product, and ramping up marketing and sales efforts – we’ve been growing solely on word of mouth so far.

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

People can follow our updates at www.bracketeers.com. We’re on twitter @bracketeers and facebook

Bracketeers will be in the Startup Vilage at this huge startup conference.


DC Company Social Tables Announces $1.6 Million Round

Social Tables, Fortify.vc, DC Startup, DC Tech, funding

Any event planner knows how difficult it is to juggle all the different tools they use to plan. Microsoft Office, iCalendar, Evernote, paper and pens. It can be a headache to pull of a great event.

Since September 2012 Social Tables has been helping solve the many organizational challenges of event planning. They also provide tools specifically for the hospitality industry and catered events. They are making event planning easy and fun.

And, they are announcing a new round of capital with which to do it.

Yesterday, Social Tables announced a $1.6 million round led by Militello Capital. Most of the new money came from previous investors like 500 Startups and Fortify Ventures, as well as previous angel investors. New investors include Goldin Ventures, Middeland Ventures, K Street Capital, customer-turned-angel (always a good sign) Philip Dufour, and Sameer Gulati.

Jonathon Perelli of Fortify Ventures talked to Nibletz about his firm’s participation in the round: “It was a quick decision for Fortify and other existing investors to increase our investment in Social Tables in this current round. Dan Berger is a unique blend of hacker, hustler, and designer, he is a visionary CEO and he leads, hires, and manages well. Socia lTables is a clear leader in the event planning software arena and we at Fortify are strong believers in the company’s future.

Perelli will be on hand for the upcoming Everywhere Else Cincinnati conference in September.

In the last year, Social Tables has shown plenty of reasons for investors to be confident. Each month they average about 65% growth in booked revenue. Their hotel clients include franchises of Renaissance, Crown Plaza, Sheraton, and Hilton. Nonprofits, corporations, and academic institutions have all used the tools to plan events.

“Over the last year we’ve been able to prove our business model and the company’s true potential.  We’ve decided to take advantage of the market opportunity by bringing in new capital so that we could scale the business even faster,” said Dan Berger, the company’s founder and CEO in a statement.

The new money will be used to expand staff and explore other markets and verticals.

We often hear that it’s too hard to get funding if you start a company outside Silicon Valley. But, Social Tables is proof that the right companies everywhere else can be just as successful at raising money as companies in the Valley.

At the Soutland Conference last month, Paul Santinelli gave startups everywhere else some advice:

Stay put.

Find great talent.

Tackle a big problem.

The money will follow.

With stories like the one from Social Tables this week, the everywhere else ecosystem has reason to believe that’s true.


DC Startup yourClass A Market Place Offering Free Live Classes

yourClass, DC startup,startup,startup interview, EdTechOnline education is broken. Or so says Jacob Ruytenbeek, CEO and co-founder of DC startup yourClass.

Online education has plenty of faults. For starters, although technology is vital to education, in most cases education is the last segment to benefit from changes in technology. Consider this: while there are a lot of startups tackling online education and online learning, most of them are doing it with video courses which are “so 2000s,” Ruytenbeek told us in an interview.

yourClass is connecting real teachers with real learners in a virtual classroom setting. This isn’t new, but what sets them apart is the fact that it’s free for the first 50 live students. The classes are given live and then archived for those that can’t participate during the live date. Students can purchase the archived classes, which is where the revenue comes into play.

The other thing that sets yourClass apart from similar startups is the social component. Student profiles highlight the students social networks where students can get to know each other and collaborate well beyond the live class.

Check out our discussion with Ruytenbeek below.


NIBV2VWhat is your startup called?


What does your company do?

We are a marketplace for live online classes.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

Paul Flynn (Chief Technology Officer) brings his knowledge as an eBay engineer with experience in U/I and marketplace design.

Matt Stock (Chief Learning Officer) is a renowned photographer, educator, and TEDx Coconut Grove speaker. He’s a former University of Miami MD student who decided to follow his passion into photography and teaching rather than continuing medical school to become a doctor.

Jacob Ruytenbeek (Chief Executive Officer) is an attorney who started two previous micro-startups including PaperChace and YachtBlogs Network. He’s a 2009 graduate of the Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Where are you based?

Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

The #DCTech scene is incredible and supportive. We’re surrounded by tech like the huge AOL campus which is about 10 minutes away and comScore, which is located about 2 minutes away. At the same time, we have access to the downtown DC tech scene with places like 1776, the DC Economic Partnership, and a host of other accelerators for startups. People are approachable, mellow, and looking to help each other out.

What problem do you solve?

Let’s face it: Education is broken. Institutions capture much of the value that teachers create in the classroom; the cost of education restricts access to those who need it most; present e-learning solutions are mediocre at best; and MOOC’s are just the internet’s version of overcrowded classrooms. On top of it all, the virtual classroom is stale and boring. Everyone hates them.

Why now?

Education is ripe for disruption. The problem is humongous and growing by the day. Competitors like MOOCs are not sustainable since they don’t fix many of the underlying systemic issues with online education like we do. We need to change it and we can’t wait – so the real question is why not now?

How it works (more detail)

We fix education by creating a marketplace for learning where anyone can take or teach a class on almost any topic. We do it by removing the institution and connecting the prime source of value, teachers, directly with students. Our live classes are 100% free, so that anyone, regardless of ability to pay, can learn on our yourClass. Live classes are capped at 50 people per session and are recorded. Students can purchase forever-access for a fee set by, and shared with, the teacher.

Our virtual classrooms also help form relationships between students with deep social media integration embedded right into the classroom. Learning from fellow students and developing lasting relationships with them has always been a critical element to a successful classroom and we make that possible. Seriously, the yourClass virtual classroom is as good, if not better than the traditional classroom.

Teachers earn at least a majority of the revenue from class sales and are therefore incentivized to develop high quality classes and they’re share depends on the rating of the class (teachers receive a higher percentage share of revenue for five-star rated classes than they do three-star rated classes) .


At it’s core, yourClass is a virtual classroom that offers synchronous one-to-many and many-to-many live video. It has the standard virtual whiteboard, screensharing, notes, and raise-your-hand features that you’d expect to find in a virtual classroom, but it goes further. For instance, to help students build relationships with their classmates, student profiles incorporate information from social media profiles. When you click on a student’s profile, you’ll see information about who they are and how you know them, who your shared connections are, and what your shared interests are. It’s a wonderful way to create relationships in a virtual classroom.

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

1. Passed first successful internal technology test (translation: our software works)


2. Announced our upcoming beta on 7/10/2013


3. Landed our first big partner (can’t say who yet)


4. Reached our first 100 signups within 24 hours of announcing the beta.


What are your next milestones?


1. 1,000 signups before beta opens.


2. 100 live classes at launch


3. Deliver 10,000 hours of live online learning


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

Come by yourclass.net and add your name to our beta invite list. Users can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook (links below) to get free swag like t-shirts, stickers, sneak-peeks, and early access invites.

Twitter: @yourclassedu



This Florida educational startup won 25,000 at the startup conference below.


CoFoundersLab Goes Global!

CoFoundersLab, DC startup, founderdating

Last week, while we were in the nation’s capital celebrating Independence Day, DC’s tech superhub, 1776 announced that they were going global on a number of fronts. 1776 founders Donna Harris and Evan Burfield were ecstatic to report that they are offering virtual memberships, helping other similar centers across the globe, and holding a global contest, bringing founders from across the globe to DC for a huge tournament-style finals. They also announced some pretty big strategic partnerships.

Well it turns out that 1776 wasn’t the only DC-area startup resource to expand outside the borders of the United States. Our friend, Shahab Kaviani announced last Wednesday that CoFoundersLab was opening up its virtual doors to entrepreneurs across the globe.

Kaviani had this to say in the monthly e-newsletter:

“After more than 13,000 entrepreneurs in the United States and Canada joined CoFoundersLab in a short year-and-a-half, we’re proud to announce that membership is now open to any entrepreneur across the globe who is looking for a co-founder, mentor, or advisor.

We have already held numerous Co-Founders Wanted matchmaking events internationally including in Tel Aviv, Mexico, and Chile, and look forward to bringing our very popular Meetups to more cities across the globe throughout 2013.

Allowing international membership was one of our most frequently requested features, and we’re excited to introduce the rest of the world to our community of entrepreneurs!”

We’ve had the chance to meet a bunch of founders that have used CoFoundersLab over other more exclusive platforms, like FounderDating. Last year we got to interview Devin Partlow of Baltimore startup Kithly who found his co-founder, Stacy Weng on CoFoundersLab.

CoFoundersLab was also instrumental in linking the founders of Los Angeles based HaterApp. A startup that’s gained notoriety since launching their platform that lets people say what they hate at SXSW earlier this year.

CoFoundersLab is a valuable online networking tool but they also take it offline with events across the country. People using the platform get more into the nitty gritty and actually get a better glimpse of the people who could possibly be your next cofounder.

Check out CoFoundersLab here.



Meet Your Neighbors And Have A Conversation–A Neighborsation

Neighborsations, DC startup, 1776 DC, Woman owned startup, Allison Sheren

Neighborhoods are everywhere; they come in all kinds of shapes, and sizes. It could be a neighborhood in a metropolis like New York City or a neighborhood in Anytown, USA, or around the world. Chances are you live in a neighborhood and can count on one hand the close friends you have in that neighborhood.

Even in the suburbs, neighborly conversations have become rare, never mind neighborly friendships.

Well DC-based entrepreneur Allison Sheren  is hoping to spark conversations between neighbors with her startup Neighborsations.

Through their online community Sheren hopes to take online conversations off line, learn from one another, teach someone something, get to know your neighbors, and build stronger communities.

The website is divided into four categories that any neighbor can relate to; Town Hall (the bulletin board, safety updates, vendor recommendations), Neighbor Favors (need a cup of sugar or to borrow a lawn mower), Neighborhood News, and Block Party.

Currently Neighborsations is only open to neighborhoods in DC, but Sheren sees the value in Neighborsations anywhere and everywhere in the world.

Check out our video interview with Sheren below:

Now read: DC Mayor Vincent Gray celebrates Speek, DC Tech and 1776.


SocialRadar is 8 Weeks Old, Raises $12.75 Million

Social Radar, DC Startup, Funding, Startups

The 10-person team over at SocialRadar is asking, “What Series A crunch?”

Eight weeks after formally founding the Washington D.C.-based company, they are now announcing a $12.75 million round, led by New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, and SWaN & Legend Ventures. Notable angel investors such as Dave Morin, Steve Case, Kevin Colleran, Ted Leonsis, and others are also joining in.

So, what is SocialRadar? The company’s website describes it like this:

Today over 1.1 billion people have smartphone devices that can broadcast their locations. Over 2.8 billion people have social profiles online. In the future, the power of your smartphone’s location will inevitably be combined with your social network – allowing you to walk into a room and already be aware of the people around you and how you are connected to them.

SocialRadar believes they are building this technology now.

At the 2013 CTIA expo, CEO Michael Chasen explained that they first developed technology that monitored all the top social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. Then, when a SocialRadar user walks into a room, the GPS on their smartphone will locate all the people they might know and explain how they know them. No more standing around awkwardly in a bar, only to realize your best friend from college is sitting just a few seats over. When  you enter the bar, your phone will let you know who’s there.

What differentiates them from other “people finder” apps is privacy. With SocialRadar users control who–if anyone–can locate them.

The company is preparing for their beta launch, coming soon to iPhone and Android. They’re also building a version for Google Glass, which seems to be a perfect fit.

Chasen was formerly a co-founder and CEO of Blackboard, the online learning platform that sold in 2011 for $1.7 billion.

You can sign up for the public beta on SocialRadar’s website.

Distil Networks Is Following Us Around The Country Because They Block Bots

Distill Networks, Southland, DC Startup, startup pitch

We were in Washington, DC and Baltimore last week as part of the Sneaker-Strapped Startup Road Trip. That’s where we ran into Distil Networks CEO and co-founder Rami Essaid. A few days and 665 miles later, we’ve run into Essaid again, this time at Southland in Nashville, Tennessee.

Distil Networks was one of 50 regional startups chosen to exhibit at Southland’s Startup Village. They were also one of 20 startups selected to pitch onstage at the conference as well.

We first reported on Distill Networks back in August when they were going by the name Distil.it. Since then, they’ve added more features, more employees, more users and changed their name to Distil Networks.

The company offers a very useful service. Through a simple line added in a websites DNS entry, Distil is able to quickly check a website and identify and disable “bots” that can often pirate content, hype statistics, and do other aggravating things. Their technology allows content sites big and small to function faster and stop worrying about their content being auto-posted to thousands of blogs world wide.

One of their customers is the site ripoffreport.com. Ripoffreport came to Distill because they suspected that bots were stealing their articles. One quick analysis and Distil found out that they were correct, but that was just the beginning. After turning Distil’s service on they found that they were stopping 50,000 malicious bots a day that were reducing their server load by a whopping 70%. Distil increased the site’s load time by 50% and by stopping the theft of their content, for the first time in years, ripoffreport saw an increase in visitors to their site.

But malicious bots aren’t just about stealing content and hogging band width. As Essaid says in his Southland pitch below, malicious bots steal e-commerce site data, post fake posts to forums, auto-click on ads and other things that are harmful to businesses who rely on their server infrastructure.

Distil is constantly updating their base of malicious bots. When they find a new malicious bot on one of their client sites, they test all of their client sites for the same bot. They also have other safety features in place, like randomizing their code every few minutes so bad bots can’t penetrate it.

Check out Essaid’s full pitch at Southland below and for more information visit them at distil.it


Here’s more coverage from Southland 2013 at Nibletz.com The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else.



Andreessen Horowitz & More Back DC 500 Startups Company Spinnakr

Spinnakr, DC Startup, 500 Startups, Andreessen Horowitz, Startup Funding

We’ve been in DC meeting startups from 1776 DC, hearing Mayor Vince Gray speak, attending a party for Speek, and also attending AngelHack. And, there’s other big news.

This morning Spinnakr announced a substantial seed round led by iconic Silicon Valley venture firm Andreesen Horowitzh. Co-founder Michael Maynerick wouldn’t comment on the exact amount, but he told Nibletz that the round was “substantial.” It also included 500 Startups, Point Nine Capital, Sand Hill Angels, and others.

Last year the Washington, DC company was chosen for the 500 Startups accelerator program in Silicon Valley. While the team moved across the country (and is still out there), Mayernick is still firmly planted in the DC Tech scene. He’s one of the organizers for the DC Tech Meetup, the curator for Startup Digest DC, and was named a Tech Titan by Washingtonian Magazine in 2011.

Back in March when we visited 500 Startups, we spoke to Mayernick, who talked about how important it was to lay foundational roots in Washington DC before trekking out to 500 Startups. Dave McClure, the founder and Managing Partner at 500 startups, grew up and went to college not too far from Washington, DC. Paul Singh, a 500 startups partner who has now ventured out on his own, is also from the DC area.  Markerly, founded by Sarah Ware and Justin Kline, is also a DC startup that went out to 500 Startups for the 2013 winter session.

For the past year, the company has quietly been working on a novel approach to web optimization. “We found it intolerable that users should have to do all this work to extract any value from their analytics,” noted Spinnakr co-founder Adam Bonnifield in a statement. “We saw a future of analytics where insights are simply delivered to you, alongside actionable recommendations that you can deploy instantly.”

Here’s how it works: Spinnakr’s novel real-time insight engines analyze the endless stream of visitor data the instant a visitor arrives to a site. These insight engines can detect changes and trends on the fly, such as the arrival of a certain type of visitor, a spike in a set of search terms, or a surge of traffic from an article. Site owners are notified immediately of the event and are empowered to “respond” to these events by changing their site or adding custom messaging targeted to that visitor segment. These changes can be made directly in the Spinnakr application, sent from an email, or crafted using Spinnakr’s on-site editor. Once the changes are made, this custom messaging is shown to arriving the visitor segment. Over time, this leads to a powerful and complete personalization of a site owner’s content.

Spinnakr’s real leg up on the competition: traditional analytics products require you to analyze meaning by working through charts and graphs, a process that takes time and expertise. “Spinnakr automatically discovers these insights in real-time, and tells you exactly what you need to do to benefit from that intelligence, closing the loop as quickly as the data comes in,” Maynerick said.

Bonnifield adds, “All of our evented insights contain actionable recommendations to boost signups and sales for our users. They can choose to accept the recommendation, and if they like, deploy custom, targeted messaging to their site to respond to the traffic event directly from the app.”

Notably, Spinnakr has found so far that this approach to website optimization produces strong and immediate improvements in conversions that significantly outperform existing approaches. Spinnakr users frequently see over 100% conversion lift on messaging compared to the 10 – 30% typical of traditional web optimization methods like A/B testing.

Spinnakr’s founders believe this represents a new web analytics paradigm for the big data era. “When people think about website optimization they think of a slow-moving, marginal process,” said Mayernick. “But the world is filling up with data, creating an endless stream of opportunities. The real winner is the person who can discover them instantly and react in moments. We see a future where analytics will work this way, and we believe we’re building the product that will help define it.”

Spinnakr currently serves SMB, ecommerce, and emerging enterprise customers, while currently optimizing 10 million page views per month.

Spinnakr founders Mayernick and Bonnifield had previously built some of the first online targeting systems used in politics, working with Congressional, Senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns while setting fundraising records in 2006 and 2008. Spinnakr was previously awarded the top startup at both the Data 2.0 Summit and the Founders Showcase.

Check out Spinnakr here.


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DC’s Free & Easy Conference Call Startup Speek Throwing Free And Easy Mega Launch Party

Speek, DC Startup,startup launch, startup partyA Friday night party at 1776 will be a who’s who of the startup world. Evite co-founder John Bracken and the legendary Danny Boice, the founders of Speek.com, are throwing their official launch party.


Speek eliminates long dial in numbers, bridge codes, and awful elevator music for conference calls. To use the Speek platform to conference call somebody, you just go to their Speek page and click one button. For example, if you wanted to conference call me you would just go to speek.com/kyle.

Speek went into beta last summer and has been iterating over the course of the last year. They’ve added robust mobile apps and packed the website with easy-to-use and easy-to-understand features.

Boice is a party animal, diehard tech guy, and a startup aficionado. In fact, he spoke at Everywhereelse.co with a great talk called “You Only Launch Once”. We next saw him at SXSW in Austin, Texas. As part of his speed pitch he said that if Speek got the most votes in a pitch contest, the slightly more reserved Bracken would get a tattoo of their monkey logo on his ass. Needless to say they won and Bracken got the tattoo.


So to celebrate their official launch, Speek is hosting the launch party of all launch parties at 1776 in DC. Because Speek and the DC tech scene are so intertwined with the fine folks at Startup America, this party will include dueling pianos (will Scott Case be back from Seattle?). In addition there will be an open bar, raffles and giveaways. The picture above is the temporary tattoos of the Speek Monkey that you can put on your ass, to match Bracken’s which it doesn’t come off.

The party starts at 8pm on the campus of 1776: 1133, 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington DC 20005. It’s free, all you have to do is register here.

DC Startup Speek, The Easiest Way To Conference, Comes Out Of Beta

Speek, DC Startup,startups,We’ve been reporting on Speek, the easiest way to conference call, since we saw co-founder John Bracken pitch at TechBuzz in Washington DC last May. If Bracken’s name sounds familiar it’s because he was also a co-founder of e-vite, the easiest way to invite people to an event, which was the precursor to things like Eventbrite and Facebook events.

We quickly hopped on board the Speek train as soon as the beta was ready. In fact I was such an early user that my Speek page is http://speek.com/kyle. This URL allows anyone to conference call me anytime, on the fly and without the use of long, hard to remember toll free numbers, pin numbers and crappy elevator music.

How it works:

1. Head to speek.com
2. register your preferred username (it’s free)
3. direct people who want to conference call you to go to your speek.com page and click the button

It’s that easy. You can also use Speek as a way to give people access to you by phone without having to reveal your number. Speek’s mobile apps deliver the same easy to conference functionality in the palm of your hand.

While UberConference was the winner of the TechCrunch Disrupt battlefield last year at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, we stil found Speek to be easier to use, and much more intuitive. We got to interview the 500 startups backed, Speek team last year as well.

Now Speek is ready to come out of beta. Their official launch is coming with a new app, new ux, new design, new features, pay wall, webrtc client for VOIP and much more. They’ve seen growth double in every key metric every two months since launching in beta. Not only that but along the way Speek’s other cofounder Danny Boice, pitched their startup at SXSW this year on the Tech Cocktail stage, resulting in Bracken getting the Speek monkey tatooed on his ass.

Both Bracken and Boice are diehard startup guys. Boice even spoke at the inaugural everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference, delivering a talk he called “You Only Launch Once” (YOLO).

We’re excited to be joining Speek in two weeks at their official launch party in Washington DC. In the meantime we highly suggest that you get over to speek.com and start using the easiest way to conference.

We’ve been tracking Speek since the beginning.