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


DC Startup Keeps Kids Safe Online


In 2009 brothers Steve and Tim Woda lived the nightmare. Tim’s son was targeted by an online predator, leaving the family feeling vulnerable and fearful. Before the incident, they knew that cyberbullying, sexting, and online predators were a problem, but when it happened in their own family, the dangers of the digital world became very real.

Thankfully the child was unhurt, but the incident caused the two entrepreneurs to step back and think about the problem. We can’t keep our kids from the Internet, so how do we protect them while they grow and mature?

The result of this deep reflection was uKnow. The company creates tools that connect and protect families. Currently, their main product is uKnowKids, a parental dashboard that monitors kids’ various social media feeds.

The tools from the uKnow team utilize social, mobile, and location monitoring to help parents keep track of their kids through a single dashboard. They also offer a notification system to alert the parents if kids engage in illegal or dangerous online behavior. An added layer of analytics keeps parents updated on how their kids use social media and the web.

So, what’s the big deal? There are plenty of parental monitoring devices out there, and it’s easy enough to follow your kids on social media.

The team at uKnow thinks they’re doing it differently. “uKnowKids enables parents to ‘have their child’s back’ without constantly looking over his or her shoulder,” the website says. It’s watching out for them without being intrusive. uKnowKids was also the first monitoring program to offer several features including text slang translation, image monitoring of Facebook and Myspace, and activity and trend analysis.

The 4-year-old company recently completed a $2.2 million funding round and expect to announce a full series A in the coming months. uKnowKids is just the first program in their plans. Soon they hope to release uKnowFamily, which will keep every family member connected. They are also experimenting with a location app that will stand separately from the other two.

The Woda brothers aren’t new to startups or online safety. Prior to uKnow, they were both on the founding team of BuySafe, a software that allows e-tailers to provide a secure shopping environment. They’ve brought that experience over to uKnow and are now working hard to protect kids and families in the digital space.

As a parent myself, I admit I dread the day my kids are let loose on the Internet. It’s a scary world out there, and I’ll definitely check out tools like uKnowKids to protect them.


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.


Co-Founders Lab Heads To Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center Next Week

CoFounders Lab, Nashville Entrepeneur Center, startup event

When Shahab Kaviani sat down and had some time to reflect about his previous startup, HyperOffice, he realized that the cofounding team behind that startup drove its success. He admits that they bootstrapped almost the entire project. He also says in hindsight their timing was lousy, but the cofounding team kept the startup together.

Finding the right cofounders should actually be at the top of the priority list in any startup. CoFounders lab is one of many startups that look to match people with cofounders. FounderSync is one of those startups that uses an online approach. FounderDating uses a hybrid online offline approach merging an online community with in-person events.

Unlike other events that can turn out to be unorganized get togethers where  people only talk to the people they know, Kaviani has gone to great lengths to make sure that CoFounders Lab events are laser focused on one thing, introducing cofounders to each other.

Also unlike other events and startups claiming to connect cofounders, there’s no prerequisite, vetting process, or cliques you need to join to be part of the network. CoFounders lab goes beyond founder dating by cutting out all the superfluous clutter aimed at boosting egos and not connecting founders to help people build real companies.

CoFounders Lab is now headed to Music City USA–Nashville, Tennessee–next week on October 15th. They’re hosting their event at the brand new state of the art entrepreneur center and hope to connect founders with each other and get some real companies off the ground.

The event is Tuesday, October 15th starting at 6:30pm and it’s free. You just need to register here.

Make sure you mark your calendars for Everywhere Else Tennessee, the national startup conference focused on startups “everywhere else” pulls into Memphis Feb 17-19th 2014. More here.


1776 Connecting Federal Employees With Startups

1776, Government shutdown, startups, 1776

By now everyone knows that the federal government is in a shutdown, the first one in over 20 years. “Non essential” federal government employees are furloughed, or temporarily laid off, so that the federal government can save money. Although most predict the shutdown could be over by October 17th, others aren’t sure of the future beyond that. At this point, who wants Congress controlling your future?

One thing is for sure though, and that’s the fact that over 800,000 people are currently sidelined by this shutdown. The shutdown is affecting all kinds of skilled workers, ranging from grounds keepers to people with executive level skill sets. Tens of thousands of affected workers are those with IT skills, some who even have startup experience.

1776, the entrepreneurial hub, coworking space, and incubator in downtown DC is closest to all the action. On day one of the shutdown, they held a federal government shutdown open house/cocktail party where affected federal workers with relationships with 1776 and the startups housed there, came to mingle.

It was after that event that some of the 1776 community came up with an idea for a database aimed at matching displaced federal workers with startups looking for workers. The database, located here, is looking for startups to post job opening and for workers to post their skill sets and find a match.

If your startup has a paid or volunteer position open, you should post it. In some cases federal workers are looking for something to pass the time. In others, they are looking to earn some money on the side.

What a startup will hopefully get, is a skilled worker and maybe even a long term team member that may perhaps, transition to working for the startup when the furlough is lifted.

In addition to the database, DC entrepreneur and designer Mike Aleo, who previously worked at the White House as a designer, has created this site to keep people up to date with how long the shut down has been going on. Now he’s looking for resources for people who have been displaced.

As for the database itself, while it started in DC and DC has the highest concentration of federal workers, there are no restrictions or geographic boundaries. There are federal workers in just about every city across the country.

If your startup is looking for help now, check it out.


No Active Shooter At DC Area Mall, It Was Just a 16-Year-Old Viner





Matthew Espinosa, Vine, Tysons Corner, active shooter

Over the past two decades when the words “active shooter” are put together with “teenager,” it usually involves a suspect of some sort. That’s not what happened this weekend at Tyson’s Corner Mall in Northern Virginia.

Vine, the Twitter owned short form video app, has created huge internet sensations in the few short months it’s been on the market. People love Vine; they are addicted to making silly little six second videos th

at loop and watching the creativity of their favorite viners.

Vine has catapulted several teenagers into stardom, some of whom have hundreds of thousands if not millions of followers on the service. These teenage “Viners” like LohAnthony, Kayden Stephenson and Mathew Espinosa do little more than smile at the camera, sing  a little song or just talk about what they had for dinner. There’s not much you can do in six seconds, but it’s that short time frame which makes vine so addictive.

Some may remember Kayden Stephenson from American Idol last year. The 16-year-old Oklahoma City teenager has cystic fibrosis. His disease affects his breathing and also makes the 16 year old look a lot younger. He has a decent voice, but it was his story that won over the hearts of American Idol judges last year. Unfortunately he

didn’t last long on the show, but as soon as Vine was released he bulked up on followers. As for the other two, they are just normal teenagers with a sense of humor and a way with their peers.

Fast forward now to this past Saturday. Espinosa, who lives in Woodbridge Virginia, decided he was going to meetup with some of his Vine followers/fans at Tyson’s Corner mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the Metro DC area.

Although it was never revealed how many people Espinosa thought would attend his little meetup, over 10,000 screaming girls came to see the blonde teenager who bares a slight resemblance to Justin Bieber. Fox 5 reports that some of the girls came from over 5 hours away.

Espinosa arrived at the mall and shook a few hands and gave a few autographs. At one point mall security and police had to escort him out of the mall.

That wasn’t before curious mall goers were trying to find out what was going on, why all these teenager girls were at the mall. At one point someone got confused and said that they were shooting a video where all the fans had congregated. Well as you can see from the Fox 5 video below, shooting a video quickly became “shooting” and all hell broke loose.

People started screaming and running from the mall. Others started calling the police and the local news stations. The Washington DC suburbs have been on high alert since a gunman killed 12 and injured even more at the DC Navy Yard last week.

This is obviously the power of Vine that Gary Vee is banking on.



1776 Lands Partnership With General Assembly

1776, GeneralAssembly, DC startups, incubator, startup newsWith a name like General Assembly, you would think one of the  most respected incubator organizations in the country would have a presence in Washington, DC. But that’s not the case. PandoDaily’s DC based reporter Hamish McKenzie reports that “A couple of years ago, entrepreneurial educational institution General Assembly scouted Washington DC and decided there wasn’t enough startup activity to warrant starting a program in the city just yet.”

That seems to have changed now that 1776, the DC startup hub and coworking space founded by Startup Veterans Evan Burfield and Donna Harris, is up and running on all cylinders.

Since opening this Spring, there hasn’t been a dull moment at 1776. They’ve hosted Startup Grind, TechCocktail events, several hackathons, startup launch parties, and several other startup activities. They’ve also announced major partnerships with top educational publisher Pearson,and others. They’ve even announced a global startup challenge that will bring startups from around the world to Washington, DC for a tournament style final next year.

Now, General Assembly has given the nation’s capital a second look. They’ve decided to take up residency on two lower floors of 1776’s space on 15th street in NorthWest Washington, DC. The space sits directly across from the Washington Post which is in the process of being acquired by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

McKenzie reports that DC’s General Assembly will begin hosting workshops and short form courses as early as next month with their long-term curriculum kicking off in 2014. This marks the 9th General Assembly campus. They also have locations in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, London, Sydney and Hong Kong.

Burfield and Harris were influencers with Startup America before founding 1776 a short seven months ago. Harris was a director with the Startup America Partnership, and Burfield was the founder of the DC region for Startup America. They’ve attracted over 100 startups to the 1776 space. In addition to serving as a hub for startups in Washington DC they are also linking startups from across the country and around the world to the federal government which happens to be the largest enterprise client in the world. 1776 sits just four blocks from the White House.

Find out more about 1776 at 1776dc.com and General Assembly here.

Several DC area startups and founders are headed to Cincinnati later this month for this huge startup conference.


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.


StartupLand Sneak Preview And Panel At Everywhere Else Cincinnati September 30th

StartupLand, DC startups, The Fort, Fortify Ventures, Jonathon Perrelli

Justin Gutwein, the filmmaker and entrepreneur behind the documentary series StartupLand, will debut a limited edition special sneak preview to the attendees, startups, investors, and entrepreneurs at Everywhere Else Cincinnati.

The documentary series was filmed during the spring session of The Fort accelerator housed at Washington DC’s 1776. StartupLand takes a no-holds-barred look at the entire accelerator experience and then talks to the startup founders upon completion of the accelerator, shining a light on the ins and outs of the Fortify Ventures-backed startup accelerator.

The five teams that are chronicled in the series are:

LegCyte (DC) leverages technology to make legislation easier to understand. http://www.LegCyte.com

RidePost (DC) is an online marketplace connecting drivers and riders for safe & social ridesharing. http://www.RidePost.com

SnobSwap (DC and San Francisco) is an evolved marketplace where fashion lovers can swap, sell, or buy coveted pre-loved designer clothing and accessories. http://www.snobswap.com

TrendPo (San Francisco) analyzes the political world daily using news, sentiment, and social metrics. http://www.trendpo.com

The Trip Tribe (DC) has cracked the code on how travelers can have the experience of a lifetime. http://www.thetriptribe.com

Jonathon Perrelli, the Managing Director of Fortify Ventures and co-founder of The Fort, will be on hand at Everywhere Else Cincinnati. He and Gutwein will answer questions about the documentary, the process, and the accelerator.

StartupLand just completed a Kickstarter campaign to help with the costs of post production. Gutwein was looking to raise $75,000 for the documentary series and surpassed that goal by over $10,000.

You can see Justin Gutwein, Jonathon Perrelli, and some of the featured startup founders in a panel at Everywhere Else Cincinnati. Gutwein will also show a special  sneak preview of StartupLand during the conference. They hope to completely wrap up production later in the fall or in the early winter of 2013.

Get your ticket or startup village booth by clicking the banner below. For more information on StartupLand visit startupland.tv


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.


Pearson Supports Startup Land, Partners With DC’s 1776

1776, Pearson, DC, DC startups, EdTechIt is no secret that education in this country is in a state of flux. Scores are low, dropout rates are high, and standards are constantly being changed. There’s constant discussion about what education should even mean in this century. More and more people are homeschooling, not out of religious belief but simply to bring sanity to their children’s education.

Pearson is a big name in education. They produce many of the textbooks and mulitmedia materials used in our schools. The company has been publishing educational materials for more than 100 years. 100+ year old companies aren’t typically the first ones to jump on the startup bandwagon, but Pearson is leading the way.

pearson1Yesterday, they announced a partnership with DC incubator 1776. Through the partnership, Pearson will support and collaborate with edtech startups associated with 1776.

In a statement, 1776’s Evan Burfield said:

America’s education system is at a crossroads and a forward-thinking approach is needed to solve many challenges. Pearson is using technology to invent new ways of learning; and by working with organizations like 1776 and our startups, Pearson’s experts not only provide insights around data and technical integration strategies, they can advise startups on effectively penetrating and scaling in the education market.

Edtech is a rocky field, at best. With perhaps thousands of individual school systems across the country, mass adoption can be difficult. Each system has its own way of deciding which tools to use, teachers are often worn out with all the new systems to learn, and there’s always something new to consider. The one thing every edtech startup can guarantee: schools have no money.

Bureaucracy within the school systems rivals only the bureaucracy found in Washington, DC. That makes 1776, located in the heart of the capital, the perfect place to incubate. The folks in and around the campus know about bureaucracy, and they specialize in startups that may have institutional difficulties: energy, healthcare, government, and education.

This isn’t Pearson’s first dip in the startup pool, though. They’ve already partnered with 1776 to identify good candidates for their own accelerator, Pearson Catalyst. With their experience in education and 1776’s experience in startups, there’s a good chance we could see some great things happen in edtech.

1776 hosted the National Accelerator Demo Day earlier this month.


Tables Turn As Accelerators Pitch At National Accelerator Demo Day

Accelerator, Global Accelerator Network, 1776, National Accelerator Demo Day

Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776dc chatting with an entrepreneur (photo: NMI 2013)


Last week 16 startup accelerators from across the country took the stage at Washington DC’s 1776 coworking space, incubator and home to the Fort Accelerator.

Ark Challenge (AR), Socratic Labs (NY), BetaSpring (RI), The Idea Village (Louisiana), Village Capital (GA), Points of Light Civic Accelerator (GA), Venture Hive (FL), Capital Factory (TX), Alpha Lab (PA), MassChallenge (MA), VentureSpur (OK), Brandery (OH), New York Digital Health Accelerator (NY), Springboard Entreprises (DC) and TechWildcatters (TX) all got a chance to pitch the ins and outs of their individual programs on stage in front of over 100 other accelerator heads and staff members from across the country.

“Of course it was great being on stage with the other 15 accelerators, but after the pitches we got to mingle and network with even more accelerators and exchange best practices,” Brandery’s GM Mike Bott told us by phone. “There’s such a wide variety of accelerator programs out there today and we got to see a sampling of each one.” The Brandery is often ranked in the top 20 when it comes to accelerators. Their branding-focused program happens in the epicenter of consumer packaged goods and branding.

Jeannette Balleza, the director at Ark Challenge told Nibletz:

JIAC (Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge project) and Global Accelerator Network member, The ARK Challenge would not be in existence without public funding from the Economic Development Administration and Small Business Administration, so it was an honor to pitch to potential funders during the first-ever National Accelerator Demo Day alongside 15 others.


Not only were we able to shake the hands of our SBA partners, but we also connected in person with leadership at programs off the beaten path like the Points of Light Civic Accelerator of Georgia, IdeaVillage of Louisiana and NW Social Venture Fund of Oregon. Leaving the day, it was evident that innovation is geography-agnostic, and accelerator models, by necessity, look quite different from one region to the next, depending on ecosystem maturity. There was much more diversity, a big driver of innovation, than one might encounter at a typical tech conference, which was heartening.


With SBA and GAN at the helm, the tone was very welcoming (facilitator Patrick Riley kicked off the day asking the attendees to give two hugs each). Doug Rand of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy discussed pathways to make immigration more entrepreneur-friendly, shared a visa guide at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/eir and quotes President Obama on the importance of exercising out voices regarding immigration reform. The SBA held a panel on its “CCCI” programs: Capital access, Contracting, Counseling and Investment/innovation.


While short in length, the event proved to be fertile grounds for showcasing and learning from each program’s differentiators, making direct asks of foundations and public servants in attendance, as well as strengthening relationships offline at D.C.’s beautiful 1776.

Acceleration is a very important tool for startups, especially “everywhere else.” The National Accelerator Demo Day was the first of it’s kind, but there are plans for more events like this in the future. It parallels the kind of collaborative learning and exchange of information events that Startup America (now UpGlobal) puts on with their Regional Champions Summits, where people freely exchange best practices to help build better startups.

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