UberConference Could Save Your Startup On Conference Calls

UberConference, Startup Tips, startups, conference callingThere’s a reason that UberConference won the TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012 Battlefield, and continues to win awards today, like theInternet Telephony Excellence Award. It’s because they’re out to save their users money and headaches that often times come with conference calls.

Conference calls have often been the brunt of true frustration. Until recently conference calls meant dialing into a long, strange, and sometimes long distance number. Then you had to dial an equally as long passcode. This could be a pain sitting at your desk but even more of a pain when you’re mobile.

Another big pain point for people that require a regular amount of conference calls is sound quality. By the time the 3rd or 4th person enters the call it’s like you’re talking in a tunnel. With UberConference you get the benefit of HD audio calls from anywhere on the internet.

UberConference has put together a core feature set wrapped around a visual dashboard that makes conference calling a breeze. So much in fact  that lawyers are raving about it.

UberConference’s core features are free and for just $10 a month you can get UberConference Pro which rounds out a suite of sweet conference calling features.

  • Start a conference without having to enter a PIN
  • Schedule conference in advance
  • Automatically call participants at scheduled time (Pro only)
  • Schedule recurring meetings (Pro only)
  • Get a local phone number (Pro only)
  • Optional web display shows who is currently talking
  • Easily and quickly mute participants one at at time, or by group
  • Participants allowed conference before the organizer shows up
  • Record call easily with one button
  • iPhone and Android apps (free) let you easily start a conference from your phone

Then, after the call UberConference provides you with a report that details who was on the call, the exact times they dialed in, who was on first and who joined the call last.

UberConference allows the first 5 participants free. Then if you connect your social media channels you can get another 10 people on your call and uploading your contacts gives you two more spots for people on your calls.

You can learn more about UberConference by watching the video below.

After Two Years, St. Louis’ T-Rex Gets Even Bigger

T-Rex, St. Louis startups, startup space

Tyrannosaurus Rex is undisputably one of the biggest dinosaurs in the world. So naturally, St. Louis’ startup hub and incubator, called T-Rex, is just as large.

The T-Rex space in downtown St. Louis already houses 70 startups, five funding and mentoring groups, including the 630 Accelerator, as well as space for entrepreneurial and startup focused events. We’ve covered T-Rex startups quite a bit here at Nibletz.

Now, as the space celebrates its second year and milestones like growing from 6 startups to 70 startups, they’re naturally ready for a big expansion. On Tuesday they announced that they would be acquiring the Lammert Building at 911 Washington Avenue, also in downtown St. Louis, giving them a whopping 160,000 square feet for startup and entrepreneurial greatness.

“Our move to the Lammert Building will provide us with 160,000 sq/ft of space, which we need to continue fostering St. Louis’ entrepreneurial activity and bring more startups to the area,” said Jay De Long, Vice President of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and T-REX Board Member. “A more permanent home will also give us a focal point for new activities that were described in the recent Regional Entrepreneur Initiative.”

“The building will provide opportunities for us to deepen and broaden our mission, which will include a strong focus on digital design,” said Kevin Farrell, Senior Director of Economic Housing and Development for the Partnership of Downtown St. Louis.

As a sponsored project of the City of St. Louis, the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber, T-REX was able to fund its acquisition and renovation of the Lammert Building through a variety of partnerships.

The funding support includes New Markets Tax Credits allocated by St. Louis Development Corporation, which raised a $1.7 million investment by St. Louis-based U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. The New Markets Tax Credits financing enabled T-REX to acquire the building and maintain its ability to provide stable, low-cost, and flexible membership to startup companies. These funds will also provide initial funding for tenant improvements.

“Many non-profits and incubators operate with a debt that hinders or slowly kills their mission,” said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “Similar to the first round of a capital campaign, these tax credits enable T-REX to grow expeditiously and still fulfill its purpose of providing below market-rate space and services to startup companies.”

“T-REX is a game-changer in attracting entrepreneurs to the downtown St. Louis region,” said Otis Williams, Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Corporation. “Because we think that T-REX is a great approach to business development in our area, we have been supportive of its mission with creative financing opportunities, and we’ll continue to support it in the future.”

They plan on starting renovation on the building immediately and plan to move into the building in early 2014.

Find out more about T-Rex here.

T-rex image at top: rickety.us

Boston VC Files To Run For Governor

Jeff McCormick, Saturn Partners, Boston VC, Boston startups, Massachusetts Governor

(photo: saturnasset.com)

Massachusetts has a new candidate for the Governor’s Mansion. The Sentinel Enterprise reported on Monday that Saturn Partners founding partner Jeffrey McCormick has filed papers to run for government as an independent candidate.

McCormick founded venture capital firm Saturn Partners in 1994 to support early stage growth companies. Their portfolio boasts 35 companies that are still active. Crunchbase reports that the firm’s latest startup investment was Oregon-based Chirpify, a company that facilitates financial transactions via Twitter. Saturn participated in Chirpify’s $6 million dollar series A raise back in July. 

McCormick’s firm has a reputation of being hands-on in a good way. According to many online sources, including some of the companies that they’ve supported, Saturn lends their expertise in developing companies in a strategic partnership tied to their investment.

As for the governor’s race, politics is no stranger to startups. Techstars co-founder Jared Polis is a congressman from Boulder who uses his background in startups and investment to help champion legislation that will spur the economy through startups and small businesses.

In fact, McCormick isn’t the only candidate with ties to venture capital. The only Republican candidate at the moment, Charlie Baker, is part of the venture capital firm General Catalyst.

On the Democratic side McCormick is facing off against Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steven Grossman, former Obama administration Medicare and Medicaid chief Donald Berwick, biotechnology executive Joseph Avellone, former state and federal homeland security advisor Juliette Kayyem and Sen. Daniel Wolf.


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


5 Tips On Design From Dave McClüren Swedish Design Genius: More At Warm Gun!

500 Startups, Dave McClure, Warm Gun, Design conference, startups


daveswedish1. Design is color. And by color, I mean primary colors, everywhere.

2. Comic sans is so hot right now.

3. Design for conversion, not for aesthetic. So long as it adheres to point #1.

4. When your design induces seizures, you know its good.

5. Designers & startups are like Dolce & Gabbana. Put them together + its magic!

500 Startups is at it again with one of their awesome one day conferences for creatives, startups, and innovators. This time the focus is measurable design. 500 Startup’s Warm Gun conference takes place November 22nd, and you’ll get to enjoy intoxicating amounts of design knowledge from some of the best speakers in the world.

You’ve heard of Tryptophan right? That’s what makes you sleep the day away after Thanksgiving dinner. Well at this 500 startups conference, you’ll experience 500-o-phan, a chemical overdose of 500 awesomeness which will leave you napping the following day. Hence, the reason it’s only a one day conference.

In true 500 Startups fashion they’ve left the pikers on the side and promise only the hottest “gun slingers” and “hot shots”. You won’t find any posers, just people that know what they’re talking about in regards to design. Here’s the lineup so far.

Jared Spool, CoFounder and CEO UIE
Julie Hovarth, Designer, GitHub
Cap Watkins, Product Design Lead, Etsy
Joshua Taylor, Product Designer, Evernote
Andrew Watterson, Designer, Asana
Luke Wroblewski, CEO & Co-Founder, Polar
Carrie Whitehead, Product Manager, Zappos
PJ McCormick, UX Design Lead, Amazon
Joshua Porter, Founder, Hubspot
Marc Hemeon, Senior UX Designer, YouTube
Karen Hanson, VP of Design Innovation, Intuit
Frederico Holgado, Lead UX Developer, MailChimp
Michelle Haag, Director of Design, Ebay
Michael Boeke, Product Manager, BrainTree
Christine Tsai, Partner, 500 Startups
Christen O’Brien, Partner, 500 Startups
Frank Yoo, Mobile Product Lead, Lyft
Drew Domm, Design lead, Sosh
Cesar Salazar, Venture Partner, 500 Startups
Bjorn Jeffery, CEO & Co-Founder, Toca Boca


500 Startups is looking for startups that use design to dominate – consumer, b2b, they want it all. Are you transforming something mundane or necessary into beauty so stunning that unicorns weep? Are you using design to inform, inspire, and delight your users while watching your conversion multiply? Are you making everyone’s day better, one UX at a time? Apply for the Double Rainbow Double Unicorn Startup Design Award for a chance to rock the mic & score a 25k investment from 500 Startups.

Warm Gun is November 22nd at Hotel Kabuki 1625 Post Street in San Francisco.
You can register here.

And don’t forget about this amazing conference:


Introducing: Startup Community Leader Of The Year

Startup Community Leader Of The Year, Startup CommunitiesNibletz, the voice of startups everywhere else wants to know who you think the startup community leader of the year is. Who is driving entrepreneurship, innovation, and change in your community? Who is serving as a catalyst among the people in your community?

Now we love Tony Hsieh and Brad Feld, but they are very well known community leaders who actually speak about community leaders all the time. We want to know the names of the people in your area that we may not know. Is there a person who takes startups under his or her wing and helps them get to the next level?

Is there a startup founder that has taken his or her good fortune and spread it around the startup community?

We are taking nominees from now until November 15th. Just email your pick’s name and up to three paragraphs about why they would be the Startup Community Leader of the Year. On November 15th we will put the top 10 nominees up for a nationwide vote.

The Startup Community Leader of the Year will get a chance to speak at Everywhere Else Tennessee, February 17-19th 2014, free room during the conference at the Sheraton Downtown Memphis thanks to our friends at the Marston Group, and three extra VIP attendee tickets, one for whoever nominated that person and two for the winners friends, relatives or other startup partners.

Start sending your stories and  nominees to community@nibletz.com, and we’ll get the top 10 posted for voting by November 15th.  Remember we’re looking for strong community leaders in your local community and that’s about the only rule. Oh and you can’t nominate yourself.

The address for nominations again is community@nibletz.com. Don’t forget to add up to three paragraphs about why this person is your nominee for Startup Community Leader Of The Year.

Make sure you’ve got your ticket or Startup Avenue booth!

KC Startup Hoopla.io Is Causing A Ruckus In The Event Space

Hoopla.io, Kansas City startup, startups, event startupTo many the event space is an extremely crowded one for new startups. It seems everyone and their grandmother wants to challenge the stranglehold that LiveNation/Ticketmaster has on the event industry. Others feel that they are safe battling the likes of Eventbrite and TicketLeap, and then there are the dime a dozen startups aggregating events in your local area.

Well when we heard Kansas City startup Local Ruckus was pivoting to something new in the event space we were intrigued.

Basically the problem is that event repository websites are everywhere with none really having that big a piece of the pie. That problem stems from the content. Typically these event sites have a sentence or two about the event leaving potential attendees wondering what the event is really about. Without a more indepth look at the event itself, event organizers are leaving would be patrons on the table, or at least still at home.

Adam Arredondo and Matthew Marcus set out to change the way events are marketed and promoted by putting an emphasis on the content and content distribution.

Here at nibletz we must get 25 emails a day from entepreneurs and event organizers that ask us to publish their event. Well it’s hard to write five sentences much less 300 words on an event when all we get is the name of the event, date, time and if we’re lucky, cost. So unless we want to go digging through the internet to find the relevant information and build a story we have to pass on it, and it may have been an amazing event.

Marcus described Hoopla.io like this: “Many local businesses don’t have the time, money, or expertise to effectively promote their events. Publishers struggle to provide high quality, relevant local events to their audience. With a focus on content distribution, Hoopla.io solves both sides of the problem and will create a nationwide local events syndication network.”

In it’s previous life Local Ruckus was trying to do what many local event sites are doing. While it may not sound like it, Hoopla.io is offering a new, and definitely refreshing approach to local events on a national scale. Local Ruckus had hit a wall that other startups like Louisville’s Impulcity and Nashville’s Wannado have hit. That all changed.

“We had been working on our original startup Local Ruckus for a couple years now, and it hit us that Ruckus didn’t have the scalability or force of disruption needed to spread across the country like we had planned. With that epiphany, we knew we needed to change our direction, and change it fast. Hence, Hoopla.io was conceived and born in the span of two months. With Local Ruckus, our passion to help local businesses better promote their events, and consumers more easily discover local events, was always simmering on the back burner of our minds.  Hoopla.io was created when our goals and mission really started to boil. And everyone knows to take action when things start to boil.” Marcus said in an interview.

Hoopla.io has already received significant validation. They’ve already partnered with Kansas City corporate giant Sprint. They’ve also acquired over $100,000 in non-dilution capital, been named “Best Young Company to Work For” by Turnstone, and they’ve also been accepted into the Digital Sandbox program.

Hoopla.io  is also preparing to pitch in the semi-finals of the Miller Lite Tap The Future startup contest. The contest pits startups against each other in regional pitch offs judged by ABC Shark Tank Shark, Daymond John.  Miller Lite held their first semi-finals in Phoenix Arizona on October 15th. The remaining pitch offs include Atlanta, October 22nd, Dallas Texas, October 30th, Philadelphia , November 1st and Chicago November 5th. Hoopla is pitching at the Dallas event.

Find out more about Hoopla here.



1000s Of Startups & Small Businesses Vying For Super Bowl Commercial Thanks To Intuit

Intuit, Small Business Big Game, Startup Challenge, Super BowlIntuit, the small business leader in financial management solutions, is holding a pretty big contest for small businesses and technology startups.

The contest, which Intuit calls the Intuit Small Business Big Game, kicked off in August when all those interested in entering had to inspire the folks at Intuit and everyday people across the globe. That round narrowed nearly 100,000 entries down to just 10,000.

The remaining 10,000 companies are using their networks, social networks, friends, and families for an upvoting process. Those 10,000 companies are being dwindled down to just 20 which will be revealed on Monday, October 28th.

The next step in the Small Business Big Game Challenge will have Intuit’s 8500 employees and then a judging panel, narrow those 20 companies down to just four.

In November Intuit will reopen voting globally for the world to vote on the final four contestants in the Small Business Big Game. The company with the most votes will be chosen as the winner and receive a professionally produced television commercial to air on the national telecast of the Super Bowl in February.

The Super Bowl commercial will put the winner in front of over 100 million viewers, many who actually watch the game for the commercials. Last year’s Super Bowl fell just shy of the record for the most watched television program in history and was the third highest rated Super Bowl of all time.

You can stay up to date with Intuit’s Small Business Big Game here.

That’s not the only big thing for startups in February check this out.

Startup Communities Guru Brad Feld To Kick Off Early Stage Symposium In Madison

Brad Feld, Startup Communities, Everywhere Else, Madison eventThe Wisconsin Technology council has booked Startup Communities Author/Guru, Foundry Founder, and Techstars Co-Founder Brad Feld to kick off their “early stage symposium” event on November 5th in Madison. Feld will be speaking to the group of entrepreneurs and innovators via telepresence at 8:30am the morning of Tuesday November 5th.

As an added bonus all of the attendees to the early morning kick off lecture will also receive a copy of Feld’s book Startup Communities, which serves as the unofficial bible to building and strengthening your startup community/ecosystem.

Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he helped start Mobius Venture Capital and previously co-founded Intensity Ventures. Feld’s role in TechStars began in Boulder and has since spread to six other locations while helping to spark the growth of tech business accelerators nationally.

In addition to his investing efforts, Feld has been active with several non-profit organizations and is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, co-chair of Startup Colorado, and on the board of UP Global. Feld writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts, Startup Revolution, and Ask the VC.

“We’re excited to have Brad Feld address this year’s symposium and to help set the tone for a continued conversation about Wisconsin’s evolving startup scene,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the two-day conference.

The rest of the event will feature:

• Presentations by more than 20 companies selected for the Wisconsin Angel Network investors’ track. Investors from across Wisconsin and beyond will attend.

• The annual Elevator Pitch Olympics, which provide 90-second presentation opportunities for 15 or more additional companies. A panel of investors will judge the contest.

• More than a dozen panel discussions or plenary sessions featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.

• “Office hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.

• SBIR/STTR awards luncheon to recognize grant recipients from the past year.

• The annual “First Look” forum featuring selected campus-based technologies.

• Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.

• A first-night reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

More info on the event can be found here.

More on Brad Feld can be found here.


BetterWalk Leaves Memphis After Accelerator For “Greener Pastures” In Atlanta?


A basketball injury led three Georgia Tech students to disrupt a 5,000 year old device. Partha Unnava spent a summer on crutches after he broke his ankle playing basketball. While being unable to enjoy the summer because of his bum foot, he also experienced serious under arm discomfort, a pain he found that many who have needed to use crutches also experience.

So like anyone with a stroke of entrepreneurship in their blood, Unnava set out to re-invent crutches. Unnava turned to fellow biomedical engineering students Andrew Varghese and Frankie Swindell.  Better Walk set out to design a more effective crutch that removes force from a crutch user’s underarm area and reduces the amount of direct force through a user’s wrist.

After the three got together they applied to the Memphis based ZeroTo510 accelerator that specializes in medical devices.

In the previous year ZeroTo510 focused a lot on more technological medical devices. This year’s cohort took on not only BetterWalk, but ambulatory assistance device Mobilizer and a new light that allows surgeons better visibility.

Upon getting accepted into the accelerator, Better Walk received $50,000 in seed money. After wowing the crowd at the accelerator’s demo day this past August, Better Walk secured another $100,000 in funding.

Unlike all of the startups in the previous year ZeroTo510 accelerator, Better Walk went back home to Atlanta to continue working on their product.

“In Atlanta, due to the city being larger, the entrepreneurship community is simply larger. Because there is a larger community, there are more people working to promote entrepreneurship such as David Cummings, who, after selling Pardot, created the Atlanta Technology Village, a building filled with startups that creates a collaborative community for growth and learning. ” Unnava told Nibletz in an interview.

“Additionally, Georgia Tech’s biomedical engineering department (which our founding team is a part of) has begun a push to develop its entrepreneurship path with the new chair Ravi Bellamkonda who is helping to provide additional avenues for students interested in entrepreneurship other than the existing Flashpoint program and Venture Lab incubator,” he continued.

While Better Walk chose Atlanta’s thriving startup scene to continue to build, another startup from Atlanta chose the opposite path and has been very successful.

shawnrestoreAtlanta entrepreneur’s Ryan Ramkhelawan and Shawn Flynn started looking for programs and entrepreneurial communities outside of the Atlanta area in late 2011. Without direct ties to Georgia Tech, both gentlemen felt that their startup, Restore Medical, may have better luck in a new area.

The company, which has developed a system to faster, more thoroughly and more efficiently sterilize surgical instruments, was attracted to the growth in the medical device sector across Tennessee and specifically in Memphis. When the inaugural cohort to ZeroTo510 was announced the two quickly applied and were accepted.

During the 2012 Zeroto510 demo day, Flynn revealed that they already had a $3.75M purchase order. Just months later the company announced a $2.5 million dollar seed round from Memphis based investors. They also became the first startup out of the Zeroto510 accelerator to receive their 510 (k) status, which is a fast track to FDA approval for which ZeroTo510 has it’s name.

Restore Medical just opened a manufacturing and distribution facility in Memphis and they already have orders.

“The Memphis community has truly accelerated Restore to where it is today. Zeroto510 was the first accelerator of its kind in country and it takes real commitment to make a program like it successful. Job creation is heavy lifting but all the elements exist here in Memphis to develop a self sustained Eco system that will turn the economic development engine. Restore is glad to be here and is committed to doing its part in shaping a positive economic future,” Flynn told us.

Find out more about Restore Medical here,  Better Walk here and Zeroto510 here.


UpGlobal Partners With State Department, Google Doubles Down

Up Global, Google for entrepreneurs, startup weekend, startups

October is a big month for UpGlobal, the new entity created when Startup America and Startup Weekend merged back in May. Next week UpGlobal will hold its first regional Champions Summit under the new umbrella. Since its formation, Startup America held quarterly summits for their regional champions. Now, after taking the summer quarter off, the two days of best practices, town halls, and networking continue. This time around they will incorporate Startup Digest curators and Startup Weekend leaders when the conference opens next Tuesday in Iowa.

Leading up to the big summit, UpGlobal had two major pieces of news that will help further their efforts to empower entrepreneurs and their communities around the world.

The first is a partnership with the US State Department, formally announced by President Barack Obama in a videotaped address he made to the attendees of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  ” In partnership with Up Global, we’ll help support 500,000 new entrepreneurs and their startups around the world,” President Obama told the audience.

UpGlobal oversees these four key initiatives to help grow entrepreneurs across the globe.

  • Startup Weekend:  A 54-hour event that educates aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market.
  • NEXT:  A five-week course for early-stage startup founders to better understand their product or service, become ideal candidates for accelerators or incubators, and fully integrate proven entrepreneurial methodologies.
  • Startup Digest:  The world’s largest curated source of information, news, and resources for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.  All content is tailored to reflect the local community, and subscribers receive a personalized digest each week.
  • Corporate Connections:  A platform that builds connections between startups and corporations based on shared goals and industries.  The platform allows startups to develop corporate partnerships, mentoring relationships, client and vendor relationships, and licensing opportunities in new and meaningful ways.

UP Global will work with the U.S. State Department, with the help of the Department of Commerce and USAID, to bring programs like these to new corners of the planet, tailor them to the needs of specific communities, and help secure the resources and network to bring these efforts to life.  This collaboration will help achieve the objective of doubling the reach of entrepreneurship programs and resources by 2016 by:

  • Connecting:  UP Global and the State Department will work together to help establish new UP Global chapters in 500 new countries and augment existing resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Leveraging Networks:  The State Department will draw on its extensive networks in target countries to bring in local business leaders and prominent American entrepreneurs to reinforce UP Global’s programs and events.
  • Drawing attention to the cause:  UP Global and the State Department will coordinate to get information out about the entrepreneurship resources available through UP Global, including, when appropriate, through social media channels and outreach to local press.

The next big news for Seattle based Up Global was that Google, who has been partnering with Startup Weekend since last year through their Google For Entrepreneurs initiative, has doubled down and taken over as lead sponsor for Startup Weekend.

Upstart Business Journal said:

“…the Google partnership is especially powerful for the financial and technical support it can provide. UP is one of over 70 organizations that Google for Entrepreneurs has provided assistance to since formalizing a year ago. The entity within the search giant has been ramping up in recent weeks, announcing a new Google Hub network in seven non-coastal cities and plans to grow it to more.”

Google has replaced the Kauffman Foundation as the lead sponsor of the organization.

Find out more here and here.


Austin Startup Boxer Closes $3M Seed Round

Boxer, Andrew Eye, Austin startup, seed roundI was one of the  first people to dismiss the hoopla surrounding Mailbox, the wildly popular startup that provided what appeared to be a good alternative to iOS mail. They were able to get millions of people excited about the app by creating an exclusive sign up / invite list when you downloaded the app. When it was launch day you got to check your phone every few minutes to see how far you were away from getting one of the most overly hyped apps of all time.

Early on I thought I was the only person on earth who thought Mailbox sucked. I was quickly vindicated by fellow journalist Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider, who saw the same shortcomings of the Mailbox app for people who actually get and rely on email.

Luckily for me, shortly after the Mailbox dust settled (and they were acquired by DropBox), I met Andrew Eye at SXSW. Eye was showing off his new app, at the time called TaskBox. Now Taskbox was made for people that get a constant flow of email for work.  You can see some of the reasons I love Taskbox, here.

After spending some time with Eye at SXSW, we were one of the first media outlets that he called when they announced they had merged with Boxer, the latest startup created by Xoogler Jason Shellen, founder of Brizzy and his even newer latest thing, The Secret Agency. They quickly combined features and in June relaunched as Boxer.

Yesterday they announced that they had raised a $3 million dollar seed round led by Sutter Hill Ventures. In addition to having an excellent feature set, Boxer cites their open integration platform and existing integrations with Box, DropBox, LinkedIn and Facebook as keys to their future.

“As mobile devices have become our primary means of receiving and reading email, users have become increasingly frustrated with the primitive experiences provided by stock email apps,” Eye said in a statement. “Now, with the backing from Sutter Hill Ventures, Boxer can continue to execute on our strategy of extending the mobile mail experiencewith relevant third party information and interactions.”

Boxer has assembled a worldclass executive team and advisory board filled with proven entrepreneurs and industry veterans. Originally founded in 2012 by CEO Andrew Eye (former COO Ciphent Inc. 500 #16) and CTO Adam Cianfichi, Boxer added VP of Engineering Ian Ragsdale (former CTO at email startups OtherInbox and Skylist) and VP of Product Timothy Sullivan, (former mobile product lead at Zynga) in 2013.

“Mobile devices have changed the way we work, however the mobile inbox remains much the same as it was earlier this decade,” said Sam Pullara, Managing Director at Sutter Hill Ventures.“Boxer was an attractive investment opportunity because it opens the inbox to third party innovation, and a new era of mobile productivity.”

The Austin based startup launched out of the Capital Factory, which is led by Josh Baer, a pioneer in the world of email.

Download Boxer for yourself here, and find out why it really just works.




Barcamp Jonesboro = IDEA Tech Festival November 8th & 9th

Idea Tech Fest, Jonesboro startups, startup event, startup conference, BarcampBrian Rogers and the folks behind Barcamp Jonesboro have made a pivot, changing the name of Barcamp Jonesboro to IDEA Tech Festival. With that they’ve turned the event in to two days (this time around), featuring a startup pitch contest and a full day of presentations.

The IDEA Tech Festival founders plan on growing the festival event after event and hope that in the coming years it will turn into a week long festival including a festival, technology trade show, hackathons and more. They also plan on holding these events twice a year beginning in 2014.

As for this year, the first IDEA Tech Festival is about 3 weeks away, on November 8th and 9th.

November 8th kicks off IDEA Tech Festival with a startup pitch contest at 6:00pm at the Brick House Grill in Jonesboro. Investors, entrepreneurs, startup leaders and media will all be in attendance to see the best of the best of what Jonesboro’s tech scene has to offer. Up for grabs is a $1000 cash prize, and other prizes.

November 9th is dubbed “Tech Talks” and will be held at the ASU Delta Center. The schedule for Saturday’s talks can be found here. The event promises to bring great content for developers, entrepreneurs, freelancers and artists. Tech Talks will be in three different tracks; Creative & Marketing, Development & Technology, and Business & Finance.

This is a great step for Jonesboro’s tech and startup scene. Find out more here.

CB Insights: Silicon Valley Is The Only Relevant Market For Venture Capital

VCstory2Top research firm CB Insights released some very relevant and interesting data last week. The firm has been diving into their VC data to better understand fund performance and syndicate. In what they call one of their “more polarizing” briefs, they revealed that even today Silicon Valley is the most relevant market for venture capital. Silicon Valley is still producing the most exits.

Their latest data, measuring deal flow across the country, Silicon Valley still represents 52% of VC backed exits, leaving “everywhere else” with an improved, but still less, 48%.

VC, Silicon Valley, Everywhere Else, Rise Of The Rest, Everywhere Else Conference

When purely looking at the value of exits, Silicon Valley is still far ahead of everywhere else. When CB Insights analyzed the valuation of the top 50 exits in the country Silicon Valley companies accounted for 86% to the top aggregate exit valuations of those top 50 exits. In 2012 Facebook’s IPO accounted for a tremendous chunk of the 86% but once removed Silicon Valley still accounts for 54% of the aggregate exit valuations.

New York, Southern California, Massachusetts and Illinois trail behind Silicon Valley.

There are even investors who believe that New York is a waste of time.

CB Insights reports that at a recent dinner in NY hosted by Silicon Valley firm Lowenstein Sandler one VC said “New York is an irrelevant market for us as a venture capital firm. They went on to say that from the investor’s perspective allocating his firm,s time to New York or any other market outside of Silicon Valley was a waste of time.

But there’s hope.

Late last month AOL founder Steve Case announced that his Revolution Venture Fund had raised $200 million dollars that they were specifically going to use to back companies everywhere else. Case’s big mantra is “Rise of the rest,” and that is exactly what’s going on now.

There have always been investors and startups everywhere else. One of the fundamental problems we’ve found since launching Nibletz and the Everywhere Else conferences is that entrepreneurs and investors exist everywhere. The problem lies in the fact that the entrepreneurs believe that it’s best to move to Silicon Valley or in some regards New York City to grow their company. At the same time the investors either don’t know that there are good deals in their own neighborhoods or it’s just flashier to find an investment in a larger city or participate in rounds with Silicon Valley.

Investors like Mercury Fund’s Blair Garrou, Dundee Venture Capital’s Mark Hasebroock, and Drive Capital’s Mark Kvamme all see the value in finding startups worth investing in everywhere else, thus contributing to the rise of the rest. These investors are not alone. At our recent Everywhere Else Cincinnati conference, we had over 40 investors from across the country that represented over $1 billion dollars in deals across Everywhere Else. (Note we still consider New York Everywhere Else and obviously many others do too.)

Events like Big Omaha, Big KC, UpGlobal’s startup summit, and the Everywhere Else Conference Series all unite entrepreneurs from everywhere else to continue developing their own market.

The notion that innovation only happens in Silicon Valley is quite ridiculous. Cars were invented in Detroit. Air planes were invented in North Carolina (some may dispute that). The overnight package was invented in Memphis, Tennessee. In the overall landscape of things, everywhere else far outweighs the rest of the country as far as large corporations being founded and continuing to produce.