7 Insider Tips on Conference Networking Like a Pro


Seldom do successful startups begin with an inexperienced, untrained, disconnected leader at the helm. Rather, startup founders often seek as much information as they can from those with experience in their particular field. Smart startup founders will then seek to form a relationship with those thought-leaders so they can continue to glean insight from a proven company founder.

Nowhere does such information-downloading and opportunities for connection better occur than at a conference. In the following list, three conference junkies share their best tips for making the most of your conference attendance.

1. Do Your Research

Travel and media writer Kristin Luna echoes what Dave Delaney, Director of Strategy at TechnologyAdvice, shared in his interview on “How to Conference.” Use social media to do your due diligence on people you think you’d like to meet. Be sure to use Eventbrite’s open attendee list to see who will actually be attending the event.

Luna recounts her success with social media networking prior to speaking at a parent blogging conference as a non-parent. She contacted someone in the event’s Facebook group who provided insider information about the conference that helped her deliver her speech. That person later become a close friend. Luna also parlayed a Twitter relationship into a writing gig for Southern Living.

2. Party Down

Luna recommends hitting the bar after an event as well. As a sometimes event organizer herself, she knows the benefits of offering after-parties. They provide a relaxed and comfortable environment where people might be less self-conscious in approaching each other, and especially in approaching any keynote speakers that might be in attendance. Additionally, these post-conference mixers may be the only time you meet other people who’ve attended different workshops than you did. Take advantage of this time to personally connect with others.

3. Introduce Others

If you know two people in a room who don’t know each other but should, be the one to introduce them to each other. Luna calls this “good business karma.” Though such introductions shouldn’t necessarily be made for personal gain, Luna adds that you never know how you might ultimately benefit from having connected those two people.

4. Refrain from Instant Following

Chief Rippler at Ripple Central Steve Harper suggests refraining from instantly connecting with someone on LinkedIn following an initial in-real-life meeting at a conference. Harper believes that “some people collect LinkedIn connections like coins.” Why does Harper choose that path? Because he believes you should show your worth to that connection over time before forging a more professional connection on LinkedIn.

5. Plan Your Conference Time

Harper encourages conference-goers to have a game plan before attending. Know the workshops, breakouts, and can’t-miss keynotes you want to attend. Look at the speaker and/or guest list and know who you want to meet. Give equal weight to the content of the conference as well as your networking opportunities. Don’t be that person who “attended” the conference but was never seen in a breakout session.

6. Be Real

Deb Cole, author of the first book on Twitter and Marketing Director for the New Media Expo, encourages face-to-face meetings at conferences so that social media relationships can go deeper. While there was a time when some believed that IRL conferences would be replaced by digital conferences, Cole has seen the opposite to be true. When people use social media correctly—to connect with other humans—their real-life meetups at conferences take on a much more robust character.

7. Don’t sweat the cost.

Cole knows that conferences can be expensive, especially when long-distance travel might be involved. However, she looks at the expense in terms of ROI. If the total cost of attending a conference is $5,000, but she meets a new connection that turns into a $50,000 business deal, her ROI is through the roof. In other words, she can’t afford not to attend. Plus, even more than possible financial gain, the relationships she makes and knowledge she gains will likely serve her well for many years to come.

To hear more tips on conference networking, listen to the TechnologyAdvice podcast interview above with Kristin Luna, Steve Harper, and Deb Cole, hosted by Clark Buckner:

Everhour Hopes to Make Time Tracking Easy and Fun


time tracking tools

We’ve always said the best startup ideas are born from personal needs. The team at Weavora believe that, too, so when they created a time tracking tool for internal use, they figured they should share the love with everyone.

rsz_incontentad2Find out about Everhour below:

1) What’s your startup called?

Our company is called Weavora, founded in 2009. We’ve been specializing in web development and consulting and about half a year ago decided to start a startup within the company, and it turned out to be a second breath for the team.

2) What’s your big idea?

Our cherished startup child is Everhour, a time tracking and reporting web app. It embodies our idea of a tool somewhat geeky and so simple and lightweight that even developers (who usually hate tracking hours and time sheets) love using it.

Everhour helps to track hours and analyze them afterwards via detailed time reports. The app is equally great for tracking personal activities like education, sport, hobbies as well as work. It will be perfect for freelancers who need to provide clients with precise timesheets and company owners who want to track their team’s time. Creating time entries with handy @mentions and #tags is as easy as using social media and virtually takes no time.

Working on the app, we focused on keeping the functionality just to the point with no excessive features or tricky interface. We didn’t want to make a mistake of overloading Everhour with a lot of things that in the end would be redundant. Users value their time too much to waste it on getting their bearing in the app instead of starting using it for its purpose.

Moreover, we wanted to have business software that doesn’t feel fiddly or awkward, because often such kinds of tools lose in design and UX compared to apps for individuals.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

We are organization junkies to a certain extent, and since the company launch we’ve been searching for ways to keep track of the team’s work and have nice time reports. It was important for us to analyze time spent and provide clients with precise figures and be transparent with them.

We’ve tried out a lot of things and approaches such as non-tracking time (which obviously isn’t the best solution), Excel and Google Drive spreadsheets as well as many popular time management tools and services. But every time we used a new app, something was missing or wasn’t just fitting us. You know what they say – if you want a thing done well, do it yourself, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. We designed a time tracking and reporting app perfect for our team and realized we couldn’t keep it just to ourselves. We thought it would be great to let other people see how easy and pleasant timesheets could be.

4) Who are the founders?

Mike Kulakov (CEO), Sergey Staroverov (COO), and Yury Tolochko (CTO) are the founders of Weavora, fellow students and friends. By the time of starting Weavora, they all had had deep expertise and knowledge of the field which let them avoid lots of stumbling points newly launched startups usually face. Weavora was an opportunity for them to build a dream team and work on challenging projects in line with their vision.

5) Where are you located?

The beautiful city of Minsk, Belarus

6) What’s the startup scene like there?

The startup community has been growing so quickly and actively over the last couple of years that you may call Minsk a second California :) There are a lot of smart, talented  and adventurous guys here who are brave enough to bring their dreams to life. IT in general is really booming here with lots of our companies such as Viber, Wargaming, EPAM, MapsWithMe, Viaden, TrackDuck getting to the international level.

7) What milestones have you reached?

Over 1500 users have already joined us at Everhour and we’re extremely excited about it. We stick to the lean startup approach and have never intended to spend tons on advertising, so it has been the word of mouth in action so far. We love our users, are always ready for their feedback and new ideas and suggestions. The team has also recently released an updated version where we polished the interface even more to make projects, organizations, members and clients management maximum simplified.

8) What are your next milestones?

Next on our roadmap is releasing an iPhone version of the app. Lots of our users will be able to take advantage of tracking their time on the go while on meetings or at out-of-office lunches. We are also going to refine the design to provide a highly intuitive user experience. Besides, we’re thinking about adding some helpful integrations and API. And of course, we never stop improving the app performance.

9) Where can people find out more?

You can always get in touch with the team via Twitter at @everhour. Plus we have Everhour blog on time management and productivity. Our company blog  is for sharing our insights and experience of working in a small team together with some tech and industry topics covered. And for those having any questions on the functionality, there is a pretty extensive FAQ section.

Loveopolis Creates a More Social Way to Find Love



I’m convinced this sentence is either the greatest annoyance or the greatest hope to my single friends (maybe both):

“Oh, I know this guy/girl you just have to meet!”

rsz_incontentad2It’s fun to set people up, and if you’re single, having the endorsement of a friend helps you feel confident about your date. Loveopolis wants to bring those two good things together in one online dating platform.

According to Match.com, 44 million Americans classify themselves as “single.” Of those, 40% of those use online dating services.

Loveopolis will be playing in a big market after they launch, but will they be able to compete against the big companies and against more informal apps like Tinder?

Check out our Q&A with Loveopolis founder Jesse Epstein below:

What is Loveopolis?

Loveopolis makes finding love simple by letting you and your best friends decide who you should connect with.

Loveopolis was created to help people meet and connect online. We found that there wasn’t a way to truly give people an interactive, fun and social experience when it came to finding love…so we decided to build one.

Be sure to checkout our startup video on our Loveopolis.com splash page or view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps-n_IKt2dk

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Jesse Epstein, Founder & CEO.

A University of Vermont Grad earning degrees in both Business and Psychology. His passion for making things “more better” blended with his fascination of technology has led to some pretty big ideas, most recently Loveopolis.com. Former PGA Golf Professional and 2x World Long Drive Competitor.  Lives in Toronto, CA with his beautiful wife, son and two dogs. Follow him at angel.co/jesseeps

Where are you based?

Burlington, VT and Toronto, Canada

What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?

The startup scene is amazing in Burlington and growing fast!  You can read more about it here: http://www.loveopolis.com/blog/company-news/loveopolis-named-launchvt-finalist/

How did you come up with the idea for Loveopolis?

A friend of my wife was always asking her for feedback on her online matches to decide if she should actually meet up with the guy in person.  This was facilitated by my wife being emailed her friend’s username, password, dating site she was using, the guys name and how many pages in he was…and then a phone call to chat.  I thought to myself, that shouldn’t have to be done like that!   

How did you come up with the name?

Polis is Greek for city and our site all about a community for people to find love…throw them together and you get Loveopolis.  

What problem does Loveopolis solve?

At our core, we allow you to get feedback from your closest friends on matches before you actually meet them.  Layered with some awesome and engaging social features and robust privacy, we think we’ve got something pretty good going!

What’s your secret sauce?

Friends, not ph.D’s.

What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?

Getting a great product to market is challenging when your entire team has day jobs, families, and mortgages and is completely remote…it’s a lot of cranking through all hours of the night.  It’s also one of the funnest pieces to it…we’ve got an incredibly tight-knit crew!

What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?

Having to build a team capable of building a business, not just a product…then having to do it all over again when the first team fell apart.  I look back now and I could have never imagined having such amazing people on the Loveopolis team as we do now!  

What’s next for Loveopolis?

We’ve got a working alpha and are almost to beta, just wrapping up our designs and working through the kinks!  

Where can people find out more?

You can check us out at Loveopolis.com, follow us on AngelList @ angel.co/Loveopolis and read more about what we’re up to on our blog at blog.loveopolis.com.  


Inside Travel Guides Want You to be an “Insider” Anywhere


digital travel guides

Do you travel much? Not, dash to a city, have a meeting, and eat at the hotel travel, but real travel. The kind where you spend days in one place, exploring a new city and eating new foods?

If you haven’t traveled like that in awhile, you may have forgotten how stressful it can be. Where do you go in a new city? What do you eat? More importantly, what do you avoid?

The guys at Inside Travel Guides feel ya, and they’re using local writers to produce guides for cities all over the world. Right now you can download guides for cities as diverse as New York, Paris, and Reykjavik.

Check out our Q&A with Inside Travel Guides below, and get to seeing the world already!

1) What’s your startup called?

Inside Travel Guides

2) What’s your big idea?

Travel guides written by locals. We sell $10 travel guides to cities around the world that show you a day by day itinerary of what a local would recommend their best friend doing.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

The cofounders are avid travelers and want to see more people explore the world. The #1 reason people are not traveling more is because they feel lost. Our mantra of ‘never feel lost’ matches great information and a beautiful mobile design letting you explore.

4) Where are you located?

Boulder, Colorado

5) What’s the startup scene like there?

Thriving! We have built something special + have been named a startup capital.

6) What milestones have you reached?

We launched with 18 cities and 35 guides to some amazing places.

7) What are your next milestones?

A mobile app is the next big thing as far as the products goes. The community is currently voting on where we should build guides to next.

8) Where can people find out more?

Inside Travel Guides http://inside.co blog.inside.co twitter.com/inside_guides https://www.facebook.com/insidetravelguides


Featuring.me: Because Musicians Need To Make Money, Too

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about a startup that is innovating the booking industry. Today we’re featuring another music industry startup called featuring.me.

There’s no doubt that musicians–and artists across all disciplines–can often struggle to make money on their art. As great as the Internet is, it has also paved the way for expectations of free music, videos, and articles. However, if we continue to not pay artists for their art, we’ll soon find that we have no art to consume.

That’s why startups like featuring.me are great news. Maybe they’ll work. Maybe they won’t. But, eventually we’ll find a model that allows to creators to make art without always sacrificing those little comforts, like food and shelter.

Check out our Q&A with featuring.me below:


What is your startup called?


What does your company do?

Featuring.Me is a new online platform for interactive, customizable and adaptive music. At its most basic, fans can customize elements of their favorite artists music. Lyrics, melodies, stories, solos etc.; whatever means the most to them. Fully realized, Featuring.Me represents an entirely new art form – a paradigm shift that will change the way we create, experience, enjoy and think of music.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Featuring.Me is co-founded by Gregory Green and Felix Sedal. Greg has extensive experience in business, marketing and IT, and is a guru of “getting things done”. Felix is an independent musician and producer who moonlights as a medical doctor.

What’s the story of the idea? Where did it come from?

Featuring.Me was created after Felix and Greg serendipitously found themselves living together in Melbourne, Australia. Felix was in the midst of an artistic odyssey, exploring the notion of creating music that exists in a multitude of forms. Greg was completing his MBA at the University of Melbourne, studying the emerging wave of mass customization, and looking out for the right idea to nourish his entrepreneurial ambitions. One night, over a few drinks, Felix and Greg exchanged their respective visions of the future of art and business. From this, Featuring.Me was born.

Where are you based, and what’s the startup scene like there?

We were founded in Melbourne, Australia, and are now considering where the US home should be, either Nashville or Austin. Both would be fine choices, the hardest part is choosing!  Both have great things going for them.  With Nashville, there’s a great convergence of entrepreneurs, investors and visionaries, all happening within a relaxed and down-to-earth culture. Austin is the weird little city that is easy to love, has the creativity and technology that we are looking to foster.  So is it to be Music City, USA or the Live Music Capital of the US?  Watch this space for more!

What problem do you solve?

Featuring.Me is a vision of a sustainable music ecosystem and economy. It seeks to further the artistic relevance of music (to fans and artists alike) whilst creating viable new financial opportunities for all players in the industry. The problems we solve are myriad; how to offer extra value to consumers whilst ensuring that artists are paid fairly for their work, how to engage the growing number of fans looking for deeper involvement and interaction with the music and art they love, how to evolve the musical art form and business model in a way which is positive for all parts of the industry, how to allow artists to retain control of their vision within the emerging paradigm of mass collaboration, and how to create a true model of mass customization in music.

Why now?

The technology is ready, artists are ready, and fans are ready.  The music industry could do with a revitalization of the value of music.  An alternative to the commoditization of music as a meaningful art form.  Now is the perfect time for our platform where an artists fans are able to more deeply engage with the artists they love and the artists can better sustain themselves by spending more time on what they are good at, creating music.

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

The platform is up and working, with a number of patents around the technology. We are taking in revenue and onboarding artists.  We are currently private beta testing the fourth iteration of Featuring.Me with select artists and their fans. There is a growing core team of eight people working on the project, partnerships with several production houses and independent record labels, numerous artist signed on as supporters and content creators, and an increasing network of supporters within the music and business communities, in both Nashville and Austin.

What are your next milestones?

Always getting the next artist, the next studio or the next label on board! We are considering funding options, self funding has its benefits, as does finding good capital partners.  Our aim is for a broader invite only beta launch of the platform mid next year, with a preview showing at South By South West in March.

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

http://about.featuring.me or @featuringmeteam

Interview With California Startup: At The Pool, Casual People Discovery Platform

People discovery is a hot startup space this year. As you’ve heard time and time again it was the startup space dejour at South By Southwest back in March.  Startups like Ban.jo, Glancee, and Highlight ruled the roost on the streets of Austin during the interactive festival.

Now four months later, Glancee has been purchased by Facebook and the others are getting just passive traffic (I know some may disagree). One of the problems with people discovery applications are the in your face constant notifications that occur when you’re logged into one of the services. You get inundated with notifications about people you don’t know and sometimes don’t even want to know. There has to be an easier way.

Enter “At The Pool”

The Los Angeles startup offers you a once a day match based on interests and things you may want to do off line. Are you looking for new rock climbing buddies? Maybe you’re looking for new friends to start some pick up hockey? Maybe you’re looking to talk startups or even build a startup? Well At The Pool says there’s a pool for that.

Just what does that mean? Well we talk with At The Pool’s co-founder Alex Capecelatro to find out about their pool party. Check out the interview below:

Read More…

DC Startup: Veteran Central Shows Off Their Stuff At TechWeek Chicago

Chicago Techweek attracted a fair amount of startups form outside the windy city. VeteranCentral was one of those startups.

Veteran Central is a massive resource for veterans who are looking to get back into the work force the site includes job boards, resources for veterans getting jobs in civilian life, and places for jobs that hire veterans to source new employees.

We spoke with Daniel Weissharr who handles jobs and resumes for the Washington DC based startup, about Veteran Central. He told us that some of the key elements to Veteran Central are the resources. For example, if a veteran needs help creating a resume they can find help on Veteran Central.

Veteran Central goes beyond just jobs and also offers resources for health, benefits, housing, and money management.

Check out our video interview below with Weissharr and see what Veteran Central is all about: