We Caught Up With Charlotte Startup Rawporter At The DNC 2012

While we were at the DNC 2012 we got the opportunity to crash at the Rawporter crib in Uptown Charlotte. Rawporter co-founder Kevin Davis, recently relocated to New York to help grow the citizen journalism startup. Rob Gaige, the other Rawporter co-founder remains in Charlotte to continue their grassroots efforts in their hometown.

For those of you who aren’t aware, or for those of you who hear the name Rawporter on our videos, Rawporter is a social e-commerece platform for citizen journalism.

On Tuesday evening in the thick of an enormous rain storm, and just before the evening session at the DNC where First Lady Michelle Obama brought the house down, I actually got to join Gaige and Davis for a meal at the Dandelion Market in Uptown Charlotte (that’s their downtown), which is the restaurant where Rawporter was born. It was while eating at Dandelion that Gaige and Davis witnessed a horrific car accident. Like any event like this in 2011, people quickly emerged from every establishment on the block with their smartphones, and immediately started shooting pictures and videos.

Davis and Gaige both noticed that it wasn’t until after the emergency personnel had left and the wreckage was almost cleared that the news trucks began to arrive. When the Rawporter duo got back home and watched the news, sure enough there were no pictures or videos of the actual wreckage.

Sure national cable networks like CNN and Fox News, encourage their viewers to send in videos, but there had to be a way for citizen journalists, and the average people to get their videos to news outlets. In effect there needed to be a crowdsourced video news platform. So Rawporter was born.  Davis and Gaige also decided to add another spin and make an e-commerce platform for the buying and selling of these videos and photos.

On the e-commerce side it was quickly discovered that Rawporter was a great way for bloggers with a small staff, or even newspapers and other media outlets with bare bones staff and bare bones budgets, to utilize the platform for great content.

Now news editors and the like can sift through and buy uploaded files, but what’s even better is they can commission a Rawporter user to actually do the work they need. For instance, if there is a convention or conference that the news outlet can’t get to, they can post an “assignment” with what they are willing to pay and the Rawporter community can bid for the assignment.  Rawporter even facilitates the transaction.

Naturally with the Democratic National Convention in their back yard, it was an excellent venue to show off their product.

The Rawporter team also pitched at DEMO this past spring and Chicago TechWeek back in July.

Check out our video interview below:


Check out Rawporter here

Here’s more of our DNC 2012 coverage

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Politico Hosts Energy & The Presidency Panel At DNC2012

Politico hosted a great panel for lunch today. The panel was called “Energy & The Presidency” and talked about clean energy, solar energy and wind energy which are cornerstones to President Obama’s energy plan for the next four years. The panel included: Kevin Book, the Managing Director at Clearview; Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Congressman Ed Markley; Former New Mexico Governor and Former Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson; and the Former Governor of Colorado Bill Ritter Jr.

As you can see Politico provided a powerful line up of speakers who carrier Obama’s message of finding other forms of cleaner, sustainable energy going forward. Conversely, as Congressman Markley pointed out, Mitt Romney’s campaign has just received $6 million dollars from big oil and his energy plan includes oil above all else.

The Republicans have taken to the airwaves to confuse the people when it comes to energy, the costs and the savings. Kevin Book mentioned that “It’s hard for people to see the monetary effects of these energy changes through ads”.

While education is always a big part of bringing home any initiative and the statistics under the current president include a 50% drop in the price of solar energy. Also, before the end of the year 15,000 more megawatts of power will be added to the grid this year and that will come from solar and wind energy exclusively.

If you’re a frequent reader to nibletz or our former site you may be very familiar with Congressman Markley. While Markley sits on the energy committee, and has since 1976, he is very active in the world of privacy and data and also a strong advocate for startups. In fact the entire state of Massachusetts is as well.

Former Secretary Of Energy Richardson pointed out that global energy demand is going to increase 47% over the next five years, so regardless of previous election cycles, energy is very important this year.

Not only is energy an important issue because we need it, it will also fuel jobs for many years to come. From the corporate world, cleaner energy companies will need to hire workers to build infrastructure, wind mills, solar panels etc. On the startup front, even the government is watching the great ideas that are coming from the CleanTech and green space.


More coverage of the DNC

Uber Hits Mega Capacity In Charlotte At The DNC 2012 And Issues Uber Users Credits

As our long time readers know Uber is the only Valley based startup that we cover on nibletz.com  we do this because they are building out their business across the country and around the world, and each new Uber city is treated as it’s own business. We’ve got great ties to Uber in Washington DC, and New York as well as in San Francisco.

So picture this, we were at the huge StartupRockon, Startup  America party last night featuring The Roots and Uber started tweeting away from their special Uber DNC Twitter account. Uber isn’t officially in Tampa or Charlotte but they’ve put together “pop up” Uber shops for both the DNC and the RNC (last week in Tampa).

Anyway, back to the story. I was standing in line and I was actually next for a Taxi when low and behold a small group of people runs out in the street and jumps my cab. When I confront the gentleman in the group about taking my cab he politely tells me to use Uber and gives me one of their “black cards” that we’ve come to know and love here. Well, ok I’ll take that $20 Uber trip and use it in DC or New York. As for tonight though, I found it alarmingly odd that the Uber team was getting in a yellow taxi.

As I had found out earlier in the day Uber was extremely backed up. Around 2pm on Monday afternoon I was able to get an Uber ride with minimal effort and a mild 40 minute wait. Last night though at midnight we started getting messages that Uber was way over capacity and they were sorry.

An email from Max arrived in my box with an additional credit for trying to use Uber last night and failing miserably.

Of course the story here is the great job, no make that phenomenal job Uber has done looking after their customers (except for jacking my taxi last night). It’s that same die hard enthusiasm for their customer base that has them fighting cities around the country so that they can deliver an uber good Uber experience.

As for getting Uber at the convention, it may be tough, but this morning I waited two hours for a cab so do whatever you can and stay hydrated.


More DNC 2012 coverage from Nibletz here

Follow Uber’s pop up shop here @uber_dnc2012

Here’s Uber’s DNC 2012 page

Video Interview With Charlotte Startup: WeRX Winners Of The StartupRockon Contest At The DNC

Just prior to the StartupRockon kickoff part at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte North Carolina we got to meet Amir Khoshnevis the Chief Strategist for Charlotte startup WeRx.org. They were one of the three finalists for the $5,000 StartupRockon grant contest. The winner was announced just before The Roots took the stage.

WeRx.org is an innovative crowdsourcing platform that would definitely be considered in the social entrepreneurship space. Khoshnevis and his co-founders discovered that people are paying way too much for their medication. Of course we’ve known this for years but what the WeRx team found was something that will blow most people’s minds away.

Take Lipitor for example. In it’s generic form the WeRX team found some pharmacies sold the drug for $11 and on the high end, $180 and that’s right in the Charlotte metro area. The unfortunate reality is that most people who require medication may do a limited cost comparison, and if they do they check the few pharmacies close by. If they can’t afford the cost of the medication close by they often decide to not take it. This can ultimately lead to death.

As another example Khoshnevis and the WeRx team found that in West Charlotte diabetes medications cost two to three times as much as they do in the Ballentine suburb of Charlotte. Why? Because the demographics skew more diabetic in West Charlotte.

So what did they do about this problem? They created WeRx which is a platform that allows people to crowdsource prescription prices. WeRx encourages those taking medications to input what they paid for it. Then then end users can geo-discover the best prescription prices and make the trip to  another pharmacy to get the best price.

Ultimately the idea is to build such a large platform that big pharmacy companies bring their pricing system back inline with each other.

WeRx gives those that report prices a feel good “pill heart” so they know they’ve done their part to help people find the medications they need and hopefully drive the cost of prescriptions down.

This idea was so good that the startup that launched just last week, won the $5,000 StartupRockon grant contest. There win was announced Monday evening at the StartupRockon party featuring The Roots.

An ecstatic Khoshnevis tracked me down by the bar so proud that such a socially important startup won the contest. They plan on putting the $5,000 right back into the company that they’ve been bootstrapping since inception.  Check out a video interview below with Khoshnevis just prior to the start of the party:


Check out WeRx here at werx.org

Here’s more DNC 2012 coverage brought to you by rawporter.com, and kiwi.ly

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DNC2012: National Comedian Tone X Needs Help Getting Obama Tickets VIDEO

I remember the feeling like it was yesterday, standing in line at the Obama Inauguration freezing my butt off at 4am on K Street in DC. People everywhere were still looking for tickets to get up close and see Obama get sworn into office. Or perhaps you were looking for an Obama ticket 4 years ago at the DNC.

Well critically acclaimed national comedian ToneX turned to @startuptechguy and @nibletztweets to spread the word. He is a sharp dressed, articulate brother that wants to be in the house Thursday night to see Obama deliver his address to the delegates.

With a plea like this we’re sure if you know someone you’ll help him out. You can tweet to him at @tonexcomedy or just drop us a line at info@nibletz.com and we can get a message to Tone’s people.

ToneX brought the house down at the PPL headquarters at the Packard building downtown which is serving as our center of operations today for our DNC coverage. We’re headed to the big StartupRockon party next. It’s refreshing to be here. Here’s ToneX is message, and he approved it himself.


More nibletz DNC coverage here