Caktus Wants to Make Music Discovery Social Again



It seems like everything’s going social these days. Just last week we wrote about Startup Bus company TrustVino, who is trying to put your friends’ favorite wine recommendations on your phone.

rsz_incontentad2The new music app Caktus launched on Sunday at SXSW, and they’re essentially doing the same thing with music.

You sign up through Facebook or Twitter (on your iPhone or iPad). In the app, pins are dropped on a map to show where your friends are listening to music. You can see the song they’re listening to by hovering over the pin, and play a sample or buy the track from iTunes. If you already have the song on your phone, you can listen to it in the app.

The company ran a 6 week beta with 50 users, mostly in the Indianapolis area. In that time, they saw 10,000 plays through the app. That kind of traction got them an invitation to launch and SXSW.

“The app came about because my brother always got to the bands first,” cofounder Dane Regnier told me when we talked at SXSW last weekend. “Once we moved away from each other, it just wasn’t easy to share what music we were listening to anymore. Caktus makes that a lot easier.”

Obviously passionate about what he’s built, Regnier was bouncing and talking fast, quick to explain features and data points from the app.

“We’re social-first,” he said when I asked about Spotify’s stream. “No one else did it that way.”

Most social apps bank on building a huge user base they can then market to. Caktus is going a different way by jumping on the Apple affliate program to bring in revenue.

Despite being “social-first” Caktus will have an uphill fight to battle other discovery methods like Spotify, Pandora, or basic word of mouth. Still, the app is beautifully designed, and like a lot of new music startups, independent artists and bands are a big focus for them. Those little guys can often get lost (or screwed) on the bigger platforms.

Check out Caktus on their website.

9 Simple Tips to Actually Meet The Right People at SXSW


P365x52-71: Cards

Learn Who’s Attending Ahead of Time

“Check in with people you want to catch up with to see when they’ll be onsite, and get on their calendars in advance. Once the event starts, send them a quick text or email to remind them about your meeting. Large conferences are too chaotic to ensure that you’ll just casually run into people. You have to make a concerted effort to ensure that the most innocuous of gatherings actually happen.”

Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

rsz_incontentad2Don’t Listen to the Talks

“Most speakers are covering material that can be found all over the Internet. If you want to meet people, hang out in the lobby and the hallways. Strategically position yourself in places that everybody has to walk through, which maximizes your likelihood of bumping into the right people. If you have friends attending, ask them for help with intros to the right kind of people.”

Emerson Spartz, Spartz

Leave Room for Serendipity

“You’ll want to line up some meetings ahead of time, but don’t forget to leave room in your schedule for grabbing lunch with the people you just met or sitting down for an impromptu talk. The benefit of being in the same place as a bunch of interesting people is that you can get very lucky and meet someone without any planning.”

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

Partner With Connectors

“The best way to meet interesting people is through a warm introduction. There are two ways to find introductions at events: through individuals or through brands. Figure out how to add value to an individual so he or she will take the time to make introductions. Similarly, you can volunteer to help a brand at the event so you will be around when others contact them. “

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

Get Exponential Introductions

“My strategy is to always meet a few awesome people early and ask them for the best one to two people they know that I need to know. Meet new people, then repeat this process as often as possible. With the right seed connectors, this can last through the whole event.”

Neil Thanedor, LabDoor

Book All Your Essential Meetings Ahead of Time

“When we send employees to a conference, we often have up to 25 meetings set in advance for them, along with specifically tailored agendas for each contact. By doing an aggressive email campaign before the conference, you can often confirm meetings well in advance so all you have to do once you’re there is go from appointment to appointment.”

Michael Costigan, Youth Leadership Specialist

Go Without a Schedule

“I have settled on the opposite of strategy — I just go and see what happens. If you go with a plan, you’ll struggle at SXSW because there’s no way you’ll stick to it. There’s no point in setting goals you can’t meet. SXSW is a week of serendipity. Who are the right people? You don’t know yet. Random meetings turn into meeting the right people.”

Andrew Angus, Switch Video

Be a Good Date

“There is a preparation process every time you’re about to go on a date: time, place, outfit and even a prospective conversation plan! That’s true of conferences as well. See what events are happening and who will likely attend in order to plan your agenda for a big industry conference. Select a couple of key events, meet some out-of-town business prospects and let the conversations start!”

Lauren Perkins, Perks Consulting

Forget Going to the Conference

“If you are seriously interested in only meeting people, forget the $600 conference badge — just go for the weekend to hang out. You don’t meet many people sitting and listening to talks, but if you know how to work the room over cocktails or know someone to get you into the right parties, then you will have accomplished your mission.”

Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

Thankfully, the best startup conference is currently only $150, but time’s running out on early adopter tickets. Join us and some great speakers and investors on April 30-May 2. Head over to to get yours now!

Tennessee Startup Bus Knows How to Travel in Style


“We’re not taking a Greyhound,” Steve Repetti  told me Saturday night at the orientation for the Tennessee Startup Bus. Well, that was an understatement.


Currently wrapped in the logos of sponsors LaunchTN, Jumpstart Foundry, and Crunchfire, the bus is regularly employed as a tour bus for rock stars and politicians. So, basically, it’s the perfect bus to host the building of the next hot startup.

rsz_incontentad2I’ve never been on the Startup Bus before. The first day was an amazing experience.There’s something unique about a bus full of incredibly smart people, pulled out of their comfort zones and on course to a huge competition.

Like the team who came back to the mentoring session with a half-baked that the investor mentors tore apart.

Like all startup pitch/hackathon events, we started the trip with people pitching their ideas and the crowd picking the ones they wanted to work on. Those of us on the outside were a little surprised by this one idea–an anti-social network social network–being picked. But, hey, the crowd picked it, and the team assembled, so maybe it would work.

It wouldn’t.

All the other mentoring sessions took about 30 minutes. We helped the teams refine their ideas, think through monetization, and identify next steps. An hour into the meeting with this one team, we were still going round-and-round about what the idea even was exactly. Everyone was cramped, tired, and stressed, and we were getting nowhere with this awesome team. At this point, it’s about 8:15, and thanks to the weather, we’re running an hour behind getting into Memphis. Things looked very, very bleak.

This about the time Startup Bus magic happened.

After ascertaining that everyone was at an impasse, with no way to make this project work and no new ideas to pursue, Repetti pulled them to the front of the bus and announced to all the buspreneurs that the team needed help back at square one.

“This isn’t failure,” he said. “You only fail when you decide to quit. This is how the process is supposed to work.”

All of the teams willingly put their own tasks aside to help the 4th team brainstorm new ideas. There was lots of hilarity and very few real ideas, but as the time passed, you could see the team go from defeated to hopeful again. Just the act of being back out with their fellow entrepreneurs, being encouraged, and laughing brought their spirits back up.

Finally someone said, “What about the emergency alert app that was pitched earlier?”

Lightbulbs went off.

The team reconvened with the mentors and talked through the logistics of the idea. The guy with the original idea, who was already on a different team, willingly agreed to let the team build out his idea and consult for them as they went.

Honestly, it was an agonizing 2 1/2 hours. You think stress is bad in a normal room, where you can walk away for a minute to think? Try it on a bus, where there’s nowhere to go.

There’s a lot of time left on this crazy trip. Sundays’s stresses ended well, and the team is re-energized and focused on building the best product they can.

But will Monday end as well?

How to Engineer Some Serendipity at SXSW



SXSW is one of the only times a year you get some of the smartest, wealthiest and most powerful people in the world all in one place in a relaxed environment. You didn’t really spend thousands of $$ to come to Austin to get drunk with a bunch of people you already know, did you? Engineering your own serendipity at SXSW isn’t that hard. All it takes is a little work, a little hustle and a little “luck” but it can get you the whole ROI of your trip in one night. I put “luck” in quotes because you create this by being prepared and placing yourself in the right positions.

rsz_incontentad2Right Place, Right Time

Take my Saturday afternoon and evening for example. At about 5pm I was “air traffic controlled” by one of my mentors, Larry Chiang, to a private mixer being hosted by Goodwin Procter taking place at Parkside on 6th. I arrived a little early to beat the line (always smart) and grabbed a spot at the bar to wait for the festivities to begin. While waiting none other than my good friend Suraj Kumar Rajwani, Founding Partner of Double Rock VC, sat down next to me with his friend Lou Kerner, Founding Manager of the Social Internet Fund.

Suraj gave me a glowing introduction then the three of us hit it off. It turns out that I was the first person Lou had ever spoken with that had previously heard about his semi-stealth startup. This is where you could call it luck that I happen to meet Lou and happen to know about his startup, but really it’s because I put a lot of work into knowing my space very well. In this case it gave me a little more credibility from Lou.

One thing to keep in mind is how you carry yourself when with people out of your league. Being kind and respectful is a given, but what is less known is the best thing to do is shut up and listen. This doesn’t mean be silent, but don’t try to dominate the conversation or talk a lot about your accomplishments. No one cares. Instead listen, learn and interject with intelligent answers and snippets when the time is right. Trust me this can go along way.

Go With The Flow

Anyways so after Suraj, Lou and I spoke for a little while, we began to mingle at the party. They made plenty of great introductions for me (thanks guys!) including one that led to a partner at Goodwin Proctor agreeing to speak about law for startups at our next conference. Score, closing deals at the party! At this point the mixer was winding down and I figured it was time to head our separate ways.

(Alpha males at events signal cues during networking parties. Asking if you are overstaying your welcome is great etiquette.)

Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The night was just beginning.

Suraj invited me to come with him down the street to the KPCB Startup Salon taking place at the Iron Cactus. This is where you throw all previous plans out the window and go with the flow. After we arrived to the Iron Cactus, I decided to take off from Suraj for a while because you never want a VIP to feel like you’re clinging to them. It was off to work the room on my own. I ended up meeting so many awesome founders, angels, and VCs. All the while, I never stopped hustling or trying to close deals.

Surely I had gotten the complete ROI of my SXSW in this night alone so far, but Suraj had one more trick up his sleeve. He said that Sean Parker was holding a private Spotify Party at ACL. I was very grateful to Suraj for telling me about the party but didn’t want him to feel burdened with another +1. This is where a little ingenuity comes into play.

Know the Back Doors

I had two options. One) try to BS and say I was meeting someone on the list or Two) sneak in. Ninety nine percent of the time I go with option one but this party was too VIP so I had to go with option two. I knew there was a back elevator that went from outside the W Hotel up to ACL. All I did to get in was take this elevator to the party and walk out like I was supposed to be there. It’s amazing what walking with confidence will do.

This party ended up being the pinnacle of my whole week. Hell, maybe my life so far. Once inside I ended up rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Coolio and of course Sean Parker. It was amazing. Now at a party like this, my previous advice about shutting up and listening comes even more into play. I gained a number of great nuggets of wisdom, heard some stories you just won’t anywhere else and found out Coolio was cooking dinner for everyone back in his room at 3 am. No, I did not try to attend, but if you caught any of Coolio on season one of Food Network’s Celebrity Cook-Off, you can bet those in attendance we’re in for a treat.

All in all, that night taught me you can never plan for what’s going to happen next at SXSW, but you can be prepared. Things surely would have been much different if I didn’t have someone like Larry helping me out, previous relationships from using similar tactics at other events, or didn’t know how to interact with VIPs. Engineer yourself some serendipity at SXSW next year by putting the work in beforehand and always having the right attitude.

Israel-based Samba Videos the Reactions to Your Videos



We’re big Snapchat users in my house.

No, no sexting over here. Around here Snapchat is mostly used for us to receive videos of college athletes doing stupid stuff like tackling each other over a video game controller. (My husband’s a coach, and for some reason the athletes think we want to see this stuff.)

rsz_incontentad2I have to admit, though, the guys’ Snapchat videos are pretty funny. More than once I thought they’d love to see Coach’s reaction as he watched yet another one.

With that in mind, I was really excited to see Samba’s release last week. The iPhone app lets you send video to your friend and records their reaction as they watch. Then, it plays the video back to you, with your friend’s reaction playing in a little circle screen. Check out the video:

[iframe src=”//” height=”450″ width=”720″ frameborder=”0″]

Obviously, right now the company is targeting college and high school students (and their coaches). Those are hot markets that everyone wants to capture. But, the app could be used for more poignant moments, too. Grandparents witnessing a special moment or loved ones announcing big news from far away. Unlike Snapchat, the videos don’t disappear. So, you can replay that sweet (or hilarious) moment over and over again.

Samba was founded in Tel Aviv by Barak Hachamov, Shay Erlichmen, Ronel Mor, and Oren Meiri. They do have competition from apps like Gigglemail and Dumbstruck, but Hachamov isn’t sweating it.

“We want to win the world in this category. It’s not going to replace anything,” he told Inc. “There is always room or a gap between services to give you an opportunity to bring something new that mimics human behavior.”

Samba had the great luck of debuting last week during the WhatsApp frenzy. With everyone looking for the new next thing, they seem to have gotten a nice boost in what could have been an otherwise normal launch day.

The company was also accepted to the SXSW Acclerator and will present on March 8th or 9th to the crowd at the annual festival.

SXSW Announces Startup Accelerator List, Leans Heavy on Everywhere Else



Earlier this week SXSWi announced the 48 startups who will present on stage at the 2014 festival. Of the 48 companies, 36 are from outside of Silicon Valley.

This year’s startups will compete in 6 categories:

  • Enterprise and Big Data Technologies
  • Entertainment and Content Technologies
  • Health Technologies
  • Innovative World Technologies
  • Social Technologies
  • Wearable Technologies

On Saturday, March 8, the companies will pitch to a live audience, including a panel of judges. Eighteen will be chosen to present again the next day to a new panel. Grand prize winners will be picked for each category. Winners will get 2 badges to SXSW 2015, prizes from the category sponsors, and the distinction of winning at the industry’s biggest conference.

“Over the past years of companies competing in SXSW Accelerator, 56% have gone on to receive funding in excess of $587M, and 9% of the companies have been acquired, so the judges are looking for truly innovative companies to raise the stakes,” SXSW Accelerator Event Producer Chris Valentine said in a statement. “All of the finalists have demonstrated the capability to change our perception of technology, and we now have to recognize the utmost potential within a very distinguished group of entrepreneurs.”

If the startups have to be top notch, the judges and emcees can’t afford to be slouches either. The emcee list is headed by John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, and the judges are a long list of successful investors and CEOs, including Scott Weiss of Andreesen Horowitz.

To check out all the startups competing at SXSW, check out the SXSW Accelerator page.


Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange “Comes” to SXSWi in March

 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Yesterday SXSW announced that controversial figure Julian Assange will take the stage via satellite interview on Saturday, March 8. He will engage in a “live conversation” with The Barbarian Group’s Benjamin Palmer.

On the off chance you’re unaware of this saga, Assange is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, started in 2006 but made famous in 2010 when the site posted American diplomatic cables containing classified information. Living in England at the time, Assange was served a European Arrest Warrant from Sweden on charges of rape and sexual assault. When his appeals to English courts were finally defeated in June 2012, Assange took refuge, saying he feared that Sweden was just trying to turn him over to the US.

Presumably, he will be addressing the SXSW crowd from his current residence in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Whatever your thoughts on the twists and turns of this case, the inclusion of Assange in the SXSW lineup is perfect timing. Since his publication of classified documents, Americans have become familiar with terms like PRISM, MUSCULAR, Edward Snowden, and the NSA. We’re also suddenly aware that before too long the government could even know what temperature we like our homes to be.

Considering all the discussion of privacy and government encroachment, it’s safe to say Assange’s session will be well attended.

You can find a full lineup for the 2014 SXSWi here.

Education Startups Have You Applied For LAUNCHedu At SXSW?

SXSWedu, SXSW, Startups, EdtechLast year when we decided to head down a little earlier than we traditionally do for SXSWi, we were quite surprised at what we saw with LAUNCHedu and SXSWedu.  For those unaware, SXSW hosts an entire conference a week earlier than SXSW Interactive, SXSW Music and SXSW Film. That conference, SXSWedu, celebrates education, technology, and edtech startups.

Like the SXSWi accelerator, SXSWedu has it’s own startup track called LAUNCHedu which functions almost like the SXSW Interactive accelerator.

The pitch and startup contest pits the best of the best educational startups from across the country against each other in front of startup influences like Mitch Kapor from Kapor Capital. Many VC’s and angels have found that SXSWedu finds startups on the cusp of greatness.

At last year’s event we met great startups like Common Curriculum, a Baltimore based company that has created an easy to use platform for teachers to develop curriculum. We also got to spend time with MatchBox, a startup that has put the college application process entirely on an iPad. We even got to spend time with Clever, the startup that won the K-12 category at LAUNCHedu. This company provides a platform that connects educational software providers with legacy student information systems and makes it all talk to each other.

If you’re an edtech startup and meet these requirements than you want to head over to the SXSWedu site before November 8th and register. 

It’s been said that SXSWedu is growing faster than the SXSW Interactive festival grew when it was first added. It falls the week before SXSWi in March.

Click here to see our coverage of SXSWedu


Bonfyre Is Back As The Official App For Everywhere Else Conference, And We’ve Got Two Tickets To SXSWi To Give Away

Bonfyre, St. Louis startup, Everywhere Else Cincinnati, startup conference, SXSWBonfyre, is back as the official app for the Everywhere Else Conference. Everywhere Else Cincinnati kicks off Sunday night with a welcome party open to the public.

St. Louis startup Bonfyre is a social engagement app that allows you to share thoughts, updates, information, and photos across a closed social network and then outward to your normal social channels including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

At Everywhere Else Memphis last February we used Bonfyre, and the attendees of the conference stayed in the Bonfyre and kept interacting well into the summer.

Bonfyre will allow entrepreneurs, startup founders, investors, panelists, and startup support to keep up with all the conference go-ers in the event’s own channel. In addition to Everywhere Else, Bonfyre was also been the official app for last year’s PowderKeg conference, OneSpark in Florida, and even for St. Louis Rams games.

Bonfyre keeps things going in an easy-to-understand and engaging platform. For Everywhere Else Cincinnati we’ll have two different Bonfyre’s. O will be limited to information about the conference, scheduling, maps, and important information from the conference staff. The other will be the Bonfyre the entire group will use. That’s where the fun begins.

Bonfyre and Nibletz have teamed up to give away a pair of SXSWi 2014 passes (passes only) for March 2014. The interactive passes will give you access to the entire interactive conference tract at SXSWi and many of the awesome parties. The passes have a value of over $1400! We will be looking for the most engaged and interactive Bonfyre user throughout the course of the conference.

So go download Bonfyre in the iTunes app store or the Google Play Store and then scan the QR Codes below to get into the Bonfyre’s. We’ll see you this weekend.

Use this QR code to get into the Info Bonfyre for Everywhere Else Cincinnati:


Use this QR code to get into the Engage Bonfyre for Everywhere Else Cincinnati:



Tech Cocktail’s Kira Newman Wants Entrepreneurs To “Audit Your Soul” At SXSW

sxsw, panel picker, tech cocktail, startup, entrepreneur

Kira Newman is a senior writer over at Tech Cocktail. She’s been covering startups and entrepreneurs for a while now and even took a trip across the world learning about how they do things in different cities. After covering hundreds and hundreds of entrepreneurs she has some great insight.

Newman has noticed that in the “just do it” and do it now, lives of entrepreneurs, they don’t take the time to “know thyself.” Many entrepreneurs know how important it is to know their customers, but they often overlook their team and themselves.

We are combing the pages and pages of the SXSW panel picker for 2014 to find some of the more interesting startup discussions vying for a spot in the SXSW lineup. Newman’s talk is definitely worth a vote.

Why is looking into your soul and knowing thyself important? This is Newman’s take from the panel picker page:

“Entrepreneurs who pinpointed their fear of failure would perform better than those plagued by unknown terror. Entrepreneurs who understood their personality quirks could build a more cohesive team. Entrepreneurs who consciously valued independence would make completely different decisions from those who valued money.”

During the two and a half hour workshop, Newman will go over ten important questions that every entrepreneur should ask themselves.

You can vote for Newman’s talk here!


archer>malmo Submits Two Great Startup Branding Panels For SXSW

archer malmo, am ventures, sxsw, panel picker, startupsThis week we will preview some of the best startup panels that are up for consideration at SXSW Interactive in March.  SXSW gets thousands of possible panel, speakers, book reading and other content submissions for their “panel picker”. If you’re a startup founder, entrepreneur or influencer with a startup related panel please email us with a link to the panel information at

archer>malmo is a Memphis based PR and marketing firm that’s been around for 60 years. They have huge clients like Pfizer, Verizon and RJ Reynolds. But they also work with startups. Not only do they do work for startups but they have a a venture firm called a>m ventures that invests creative capital into new startups, for equity (*disclosure Nibletz Media Inc is an a>m ventures portfolio company).

With their vast experience in startups and working with all kinds of new and young companies, they’ve seen and learned some great (and not so great) things that are definitely worth sharing with other startup founders.

Last year, they held a well attended panel called “When Bad Names Happen To Good Startups”.  The panel discussed the importance of naming and how sometimes that name that goes with that cleve URL may not be the best decision ever. They also discussed the ins and out and why’s of choosing a name. For most companies you’re stuck on it, or some version of it for life.

This year they are hoping to expand on that theme with an equally as important topic, branding. “When Bad Brands Happen To Good Startups” ”  Gary Backaus, Chief Creative Officer/Director and Justin Dobbs Creative Director at archer>malmo, were the speakers for last years panel and will also be speaking on this panel as well (if selected).

We get it. Whether it’s an investor intro, an online listing, or your elevator pitch, there are times when capturing your startup concept in a few words is critical.
But talking to customers? It ain’t one of those times.
Yet for some reason many startups continue to court customers with the same robotic sound bites used in their pitch.
And while a digestible “My Unique Feature” formula is fine for accelerator applications, in the real world, you aren’t pitching a business model or market niche. You’re pitching a product. And even the simplest, fastest, shiniest, funnest product needs more than a value prop and a clever name.
It needs a personality.
We’ll examine brand personality types, marvel at great ones, laugh at bad ones, and share some tips for uncovering your brand voice—one that’s genuine, true, and that offers your customers something no positioning statement can.  (they said on their panel picker page)
am>ventures Director and Everywhere Else Cincinnati speaker, Patrick Woods, has also submitted a panel for this years SXSWi panelpicker. Woods just got back from being one of the “mentors” for the new SXSW V2V festival in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Woods has a long background in PR and marketing with the past few years spent exclusively with startups. As the director of am>ventures he’s tasked with finding the startups that the firm wants to invest it’s creative capital in.
Woods also mentors through local accelerators, does office hours via Skype and Google hangouts and both writes and speaks on startup branding and marketing.
“Branding From Day Zero: Startup Brand Strategy” is the discussion Woods has submitted.
Branding. All startups have to do it, but no one really knows how. Punch “startup branding” into google and you’ll find checklists and 10-step plans that’ll tell you to “have a logo” and “be consistent.”
Startups don’t need tips and tricks. They need an understanding of brand strategy—what it means and why it matters. And ultimately, how to do it from the beginning.
Name, logo, t-shirts, stickers—these are all parts of brand, but what undergirds the whole system? Brand strategy. Startups usually skip this crucial phase. And it shows. I’m a hybrid ad man/startup guy who’s built brands for everything from an event discovery app to an AI system. I’ve seen tons of branding tools, but none specifically those starting from scratch.
This talk will explore a way forward specifically for startups. We’ll move past the tips & tricks and focus on a few actually helpful questions for building a great brand that resonates with your audience and build long-term loyalty.” Woods wrote on his panelpicker page.

You can vote here for “When bad brands happen to good startups”

and here for “Branding from day zero: Startup Brand Strategy”


If You’re Serious About Email Ditch Mailbox For Boxer, Launching Today

Boxer, Taskbox, Austin startup, Mailbox app, sxsw, relaunch, startup launch

Earlier this year the startup world was abuzz about the brand new Mailbox app. You remember, the one that made you download a countdown timer, and for most, wait several days before getting your hands on the app. However, people who get high volumes of email, quickly saw that Mailbox was a hype machine. The hype got so loud they quickly got acquired by the team at DropBox.

While all that was going on, tens of thousands of people descended upon Austin, Texas, for the annual Woodstock of startups, SXSW Interactive. It was there, at the Capital Factory and then on one of the startup stages, we found Taskbox. 

boxericonsmWe got to hear about the meat and potatoes baked into Taskbox during a pitch session focused on startups that were immune to the series A crunch. All the startups in that pitch session had an investment ask at the end of their decks, but we were just longing for a really good email app designed for people that actually get email.

Taskbox proved to be that app. In fact, the Taskbox team accelerated at Capital Factory which just happens to be founded by Joshua Baer, who made most of his fortune in–you guessed it–email.

After downloading, I discovered immediately that the team behind Taskbox had loaded the app with easy to use features, an appealing UX/UI, and had actually considered people who received a lot of email.

I receive anywhere from 350-500 fresh email messages a day that can’t be marked as spam. If I factor in “spam,” we’re closer to 1000.



So Andrew Eye tipped me off a few weeks ago. He told me that during SXSW he had met  Xoogler Jason Shellen. Shellen has a very strong background having worked with Google, AOL, and his own startup Brizzly. During their time together at SXSW, Shellen told Eye that he was working on something new called Boxer. Boxer had even simpler, easy to understand features. The Taskbox team quickly acquired Boxer and brought Shellen on as head of product.


Shellen helped the Taskbox team revamp the UI by flattening it and adding some features that I’m really excited about, like the ability to “like” an email. This feature will let the writer know “Hey, I’m not ignoring you.” Sometimes that’s all you need to say in an email: message received and understood! It’s like a 10-4 button.

Other features include:

  • Powerful swipe gestures to help triage, respond, and manage on-the-go
  • Inline profile images & helpful contact cards
  • Works with all your existing email accounts (including Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo and more)
  • Dropbox integration for adding files to email from the cloud
  • Adds elements of social tools to email to make email more fun and like-able again

While the Taskbox team had a great product to start with, in reforming and launching under the Boxer name, they’re going t take email to yet another level. They also added more heavyweights to their founding dream team. Adam Cianfichi. formerly with Accuvant and Ciphent, and Ian Ragsdale who worked with Baer on OtherInbox and also Skylist, round out the new Boxer team. Andrew is the CEO, Adam heads up Design, Ian runs Engineering, and Jason runs Product.

The app is gesture based (yes like Mailbox), but what you can do with the gestures is infinitely more powerful. You can swipe to earmark an email for a set later date, you can archive it, like it, use a quick response or add it to the “to do” list. They’ve also integrated a favorites list and the ability to call up all email exchanges between you and another person with a click of a button. It’s almost like a mobile email based CRM.

Currently, Boxer is only available for iOS. Find out more here at

Now read: Am I the only one on earth who thinks Mailbox Sucks?


Austin Startup Burpy Is The Latest In The Grocery Delivery Phenomena [video][sxsw]

Burpy,Austin startup,startup,startup interview,sxsw,sxsw2013We got a chance to catch up with Aseem Ali, one of the cofounders of Austin startup Burpy.

The Burpy platform allows you to order groceries, beverages, snacks/candy, beer, health and beauty needs, cigarettes, household essentials and more. Essentially, anything that can be purchased at WalMart can be delivered via Burpy.

“Our vision was inspired in the kitchen of a friend’s house on August 30, 2012. We were all gathered for a surprise birthday party and were busy baking a cake for the special occasion. Once we pulled the freshly baked cake out from the oven, we realized we didn’t have any candles! With decorations left to arrange and more guests arriving every second, there was no time for anyone to run out and get candles. This left us with a bit of a problem.

That is when the idea for Burpy came to life.

We created Burpy with the goal of uniting traditional “brick & mortar” stores with a 1-hour delivery platform to make shopping a breeze. Burpy’s unique service provides instant delivery of thousands of products whenever and wherever you want! Simply choose products from our easy to use website or mobile app, and we’ll deliver them to your location in a “burp.” If you use it in your home and it fits in a grocery bag, chances are we have it. Plus, our inventory is constantly growing so we’re always looking out for you.” their website says.

At the moment they are in a public beta in their home city of Austin Texas but Ali tells us in the interview video below that they plan on expanding to other big metro areas in Texas as quickly as possible.

This may be the way to go in terms of order and deliver startups. A few weeks back Zaarly shuddered their original “reverse Craigslist idea”, paving the way for Burpy and other similar services to succeed.

Now of  course we asked Ali why the name “Burpy” and he explains the answer in the video. All of the founders are students at UT Austin.

You can check out Burpy here at

Here are over 65 startup stories from SXSW 2013.

Rovio’s Angry Birds Makes Another Move Towards Disney [sxsw]

Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka and me at Rovio’s SXSW party (photo: NMI 2013)

Three years ago when we first met Rovio’s chief marketing eagle, Peter Vesterbacka, and he was talking about Angry Birds toys, balloons, books, restaurants, airplanes and tv shows, we thought he was nuts.

The following year when we saw him at the launch of AngryBirds Space at SXSW12 his vision was coming together. We had seen him speak throughout the course of the year as Angry Birds became more than a household name. At an event in Hong Kong Vesterbacka was talking about how they had to rip off the rip offs to keep up with the phenomena of Angry Birds merchandise.

Angry Birds, Angry Birds Toons, Rovio,startup,Finnish, Finland, SXSW,SXSWi,SXSW13At South By South West this year we got a chance to talk with Vesterbacka and Mack McKelvey a mobile marketing expert and consultant to Rovio. She told us that the company had recently taken over several McDonald’s restaurants in China and launching a separate game called Angry Birds McDonalds.

In the midst of all the startup and PR hype at SXSW, Rovio Entertainment hosted a swank pool party high atop Austin Texas. This time though they weren’t introducing the next wave of the game. They were talking about bigger and better. They were launching a new cartoon and media network that would stream through the Angry Birds apps. They also launched the Angry Birds network with several cable operators.

The apps alone give the Angry Birds network access to over 1.3 billion users (with a B).

The Angry Birds network will feature original content centered around the game characters. You can watch the Angry Birds network on the most recent versions of the game and on select cable operators.

You can find out more here.

Check out more of our SXSW coverage here.