ReThreaded The Social Startup That Won The Most Votes At OneSpark [video]

ReThreaded,Social entrepreneurship,social startup,Florida startup,OneSpark,Kristin Keen

(photo: NMI 2013)

Last Wednesday OneSpark, the World’s Crowdfunding Festival kicked off in Jacksonville Florida. It was five days of creators, entrepreneurship, artists and startups. The creators, and entrepreneurs came from all different categories and all different walks of life.

During the opening ceremonies, led by voice of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brian Sexton, we were given a glimpse of what was to come. Sexton invited random creators to raise their hands and come up and pitch their creation, business or startup to the crowd. Each of the five creators had 90 seconds to deliver an on the spot pitch. One of those pitches was Kristin Keen the founder of Rethreaded.

Rethreaded is a social startup that puts women who’ve suffered some of the worst abuse known to humans, sex trafficking, human trafficking and prostitution, and gives them a new sense of life, and worth through business, artistry and employment. Keen spoke to the crowd with a genuine passion. She had spent five years of her life in India where she helped empower women who had suffered the same kind of abuse through teaching them to sew.

Keen told Florida’s First Coast News that when she got back home to Jacksonville she couldn’t sit still she wanted to do something to continue her mission, and that she did.

She started Rethreaded, which crafts children’s clothes out of used t-shirts. So not only is she putting women who need a lift up a place to work and be creative, but she’s also upcycling t-shirts.

Little did she know when she pitched her company on Wednesday afternoon that she would be the runaway vote leader at the end of the week. She also didn’t know what was in store for her just a few moments later.

rethreadedenvelopesAfter all five creators had pitched, OneSpark volunteers handed out sealed white envelopes. Sexton informed the crowd that in those envelopes (which we weren’t allowed to look in) were $1 and $5 bills, $1000 dollars worth. The crowd was instructed to find the creators who just pitched outside of the creator lounge tent and hand over the envelope. Like me, many of the crowd didn’t even look in the envelopes.

I had made a core group of new friends at OneSpark and silently we all took our envelopes and walked over to find Kristin. We weren’t alone. She won that contest by a landslide.

rethreadedhutThe OneSpark staff did daily updates at 5:30pm each evening to inform the crowd of who the biggest movers in voting were and sure enough on Saturday evening Rethreaded was the biggest mover.

Their OneSpark booth was a hut constructed out of used t-shirts, which made a great make-shift shelter when the rain came pouring down Saturday afternoon.

Keen was one of the greatest creators we met. She was extremely kind and humble and we’re pretty sure she wasn’t even expecting the win. I caught a glimpse of Keen in her hut on Saturday afternoon, tearing up telling a group of passerbys that she never expected the outpouring of support she received at OneSpark.

Naturally I was gunning for a tech startup to win the overall vote during the five days of crowd voting, but I couldn’t be more pleased that the top vote went to Kristin Keen and Re-Threaded, a social entrepreneur with a heart of gold. With the most votes, Rethreaded took home $6,768.42 of the $250,000 crowdfunding prize. Event registrants voted for one creator using the OneSpark app and the money was distributed evenly among the top vote getters.

You can see how genuine Keen is in her 90 second pitch below:

Find out more about Rethreaded here.

Here’s over 30 more startup stories from OneSpark.


Memphis Social Entrepreneur Sarah Petschonek Takes Volunteer Experience Nationwide

Sarah Petschonek,Confessions of a volunteer, Volunteer Bound,social startup,social entrepreneurship,Memphis statup30 Year old Memphian, Sarah Petschonek left her Nashville job in September of this year to return home to Memphis, Tennessee. Petschonek who has a socially motivated work background and a PhD, wanted to find a more impactful and meaningful path for her life.

Being a lifelong volunteer since childhood, and with the support of her family and closest friends, she did the most logical thing and went back to volunteering. This time around it would be different though — a mission.

For the entire month of November, including today, Petschonek worked each day, every day at a different volunteer organization. She blogged about each day of her journey on her website at

Along the way she volunteered helping children, senior citizens, homeless people, urban farmers, students and more. When local CBS affiliate, News Channel 3 caught up with Petschonek she was volunteering for SAVE an organization that provides vision services for students.

“Each time you volunteer you generate a ripple effect across the community and you create positive change in the world. You don’t have to be perfect in order to be the perfect volunteer. Whatever your talents and interests, you have the potential to inspire yourself and everyone around you!” Petschonek said.

Her volunteer days go back 22 years to when she was 8 years old. Her and her two siblings would pull a wagon around Jacksonville Florida, passing out fliers and collecting food for the needy.

With this 30 day stint coming to an end, Petschonek has decided to do the next logical thing and take her volunteer experience across the country. She will begin the next leg of her journey in Portland, Oregon and travel to Boise, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, Atlanta and back to Jacksonville to rekindle the youthful social entrepreneur that started this all.

Petschonek’s Memphis journey yielded media coverage from the prominent local media outlets.  Her blog is already averaging 30,000muv. All Petschonek hopes to do is inspire people to donate just one hour of their time, whether it be once a week, or once a month to whatever cause they can relate to.  The results are already amazing including a local law firm giving 10% of their revenues to the local food bank and many others giving personally with time, money, and resources.

Petschonek has launched an indiegogo campaign at to help fund the nationwide expedition.  While she realizes that a journey like this may be more comfortable in the summer months, winter time is when people, and volunteer organizations need the most help.

People can stay up to date with Petschonek’s nationwide adventure at her blog site and contribute to her journey through links on that page or directly at


Check out Sarah’s blog here

Support her on indiegogo here

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Sarah Petschonek will be here, will you?

Insider Louisville To Continue Spirit Of IdeaFestival With Call For Social Pitches

Insider Louisville,startup,startup contest,social entrepreneurship,social startup,Kentucky startup,IdeaFestivalIf you’re looking for a great startup ecosystem in the middle of the country to check out, Louisville Kentucky is one of the top cities on our list. Kentucky has one of the most active Startup America partnerships. They have some great acceleration efforts going on state wide, and they’ve brewed some great startups like Impulcity, WhyWait and Beam just to name three that fall off the top of our heads.

That’s why it’s no surprise the folks at Insider Lousiville are gelling off the success of the most recent IdeaFestival. Now that the festival is over they want to continue the forward momentum and spark innovation. To that end Insider Louisville is now calling for social entrepreneurs to pitch their startups for the possibility of investment, incubation, free office space and more.

In this blog post, Insider Louisville writes:

Give us your detailed plan for a self-sustaining, social-impact business based on the concepts of social entrepreneurism.

If we believe your idea has potential, we’ll get you face time with major philanthropists, entrepreneurs and economic development including Ted Smith, director of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government’s Department of Economic Development and Innovation.

If your business plan is viable, investors and management gurus will help you forge your idea into a working enterprise … a startup with a reasonable amount of time and capital to prove its worth.

Smith went on to say; “Idea Festival was the appetizer – bring on the main course and let’s take a social impact business to the next level.”

Ideafestival just wrapped up last week in Lexington Kentucky. The four day startup and innovation conference featured a wide variety of panels, keynotes and other resources for just about anyone in Kentucky at any level in starting their own business or startup.

As for this call to action by Insider Lousiville, they’re specifically looking for social startups. They are looking for ideas that echo the fundamentals behind startups like Waterstep, a Louisville startup that oversees water purification in third world countries, or the now nationally famous Tom’s shoes that donates a pair of shoes to children in need for every pair of shoes you purchase.

Insider Louisville says that they’re looking for ideas from anywhere and the right idea could result in the startup getting help to move to Louisville Kentucky to build it out.

“This isn’t just empty Chamber of Commerce sloganeering. This is a call to action at the nexus where capitalism meets practical, sustainable social change.” Insider Louisville says.

Ready to submit? Check the link below.


Source: Insider Louisville

Got an idea, email it to

More Kentucky coverage from Nibletz, the voice of startups “everywhere else”

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Who Was That Girl At The Wedding, Find Out With DC Startup SocialTables

Weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, even reunions can be a bit awkward. Sure the person planning the event knows the social make up of the guest, they may even have some great reasoning behind the way the tables were set up, but you don’t. You may strike a conversation with someone in the same business as you or maybe even a hot guy or a hot girl. Perhaps you feel awkward exchanging data at someone else’s wedding. Fear not, the web has you covered, in a startup called socialtables.

socialtables is a hot dc startup founded by Dan Berger. It’s much more than a seating chart tool. socialtables allows wedding planners, brides to be, Bar Mitzvah moms and anyone else planning a party with seating charts, to use their tool to do it. But wait there’s more…

socialtables allows users to set up a seating chart and then pull the seated’s seatee’s  (is that even a word), social data through to the socialtables website. The socialtables website can be accessed by guests. It’s up to the creator of the seating chart as to whether or not they open up the chart to guests before or after the wedding.

Berger tells NBC affiliate 5, that more users are opening up the seating chart after the wedding, which is as good. Now you can figure out just who that was sitting next to you. Typically we all put our best game faces on for a wedding, maybe you’ll check out that person on socialtables and find out they aren’t as cool as you thought they were. Or, conversely, you may find out that they have more in common with you than you think.

When the creator opens up the socialtables seating chart ahead of the wedding you can find out more about the people you will be sitting next to.

Berger told KSDK that the idea for socialtables came up after he attended a destination wedding and didn’t know anyone. More and more people are connected online in different ways now and socialtables is another way to blend the online and offline universe for just about anyone.

Crunchbase reports that socialtables received $500,000 in seed funding in May of this year.


Check out socialtables here

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Interview With Atlanta Slacktivist Startup: SocialVest

Before we dive into a great interview with an awesome Atlanta based startup, I get applause and a lot of flack from the term slacktivist. It’s definitely not a bad thing, and actually I’m hoping the term gets picked up. As busy as people are in 2012 “slacktivist” are the things that people can do without any additional, trying to actually contribute back to the community. Tom’s shoes for instance is a great example of slacktivism. Pubslush is also another great example of slacktivism.

I certainly don’t have the time to get out there and participate in relay for life races anymore or bake sales, although I am looking forward to selling girl scout cookies with my daughter. In the meantime though I am definitely a proud slacktivist and I love platforms like SocialVest. I’m that guy that always rounds up at GoDaddy and at Petco, why because it’s super easy and it helps. So check out this awesome Atlanta startup.

SocialVest is probably the easiest platform for a slacktivist or ok you don’t want to be a slacktivist, how about it’s the easiest platform for anyone who wants to make sizable contributions to a cause through shopping. After all you can only buy so many Live Strong bracelets at Radio Shack (are people still doing that these days?).

Once you register for an account at Slacktivist you accrue cash back awards from the 100s of retailers that are partnered with SocialVest. Then you take that reward money and select one or as many causes as you would like, out of over 1.5 million causes, to receive that bonus. Socialvest calls it “Purchase On Purpose” and it’s really really easy.

As they explain in the interview below, partner retailers give back up to 35% of a purchase (based on the retailer and their agreement with Socialvest) that money than goes into your reward account and is given to the causes of your choice at the intervals and amounts you choose. The more you shop online the more you contribute to the causes that matter most to you. Without doing an extra thing, period.

Pretty awesome right?

Check out the interview below and don’t kid yourself if you don’t have time to get out and do the volunteer things you want or write that check to the cause you love, sign up for Socialvest. It’s easy.

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Interview With Florida Startup: Yovia, A People Engine

Yovia is a new startup in Jacksonville Beach Florida. They call themselves a people engine that focuses on the people that make social media work.

Yovia takes brands, products, services and leverages them across a network of people who has signed up on Yovia. Yovia users can use their hard earned social capital for good. So how is this achieved?

Well after you sign up for Yovia’s platform you are presented with opportunities to spread the word about products, services and brands across your social graph and are rewarded. Your rewards can be in actual cash or free products or a combination of both. Exploring the Yovia site we found, and participated in several offers. The offers ranged from $6.00 for a 200 word blog entry to $.08 and $.15 for liking something or sharing something across social networks.

Yovia is a great way to drive brand engagement, and social engagement. There were news blogs that needed a like or share, and new services that needed signups. None of the offers seemed too outlandish and so far none have asked for my credit card information. It looks to be on the up and up.

Now eight cents and fifteen cents may not seem like a lot however if Yovia continues to grow quickly it will be easier to find higher paying offers and easier to complete more lower paying offers.

We got a chance to talk to Jalali Hartman, co-founder of Yovia in the interview below:

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Chicago TechWeek: RecBob Recreational Sports, Socially INTERVIEW

While here at TechWeek 2012 in Chicago we got to meet the CEO and co-founder of RecBob. His name isn’t Bob, we asked. We also asked if RecBob was related to Bob the builder, and although they look like they could be related, alas they are not.

What RecBob is though, is a way to connect people for recreational sports socially. It’s a way for coaches, players and parents to stay connected around their recreational sports. Need to collect dues, RecBob can handle it. Need to find a replacement player RecBob can handle it.

Their Motto: We Can Play It, Yes We Can,

ok not really, and the fact that I have a 4 3/4 year old is really starting to show.

RecBob is way more than league management. From our vantage point it’s like LockerDome for soccer moms.

John Schnipkoweit the co-founder and CEO left his position at Ovation to develop and grow RecBob,

I remember in the 80’s when my mom had folders of papers from all my different hockey teams and canceling practice for a snow storm involved hours on the phone. Those are just some of the pain points that RecBob can fix and at the same time make rec sports more fun and social.

Check out the video interview below:


More on Recbob here

Here’s our Chicago TechWeek Coverage

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Louisville Startup: Implucity Headed To Cincinnati Incubator, The Brandery

Louisville startup Implucity is headed to a 14 week accelerator program in Cincinnati called The Brandery. Along with a 14 week incubation period, office space and mentorship Implucity will receive $20,000 in seed capital.

Implucity is a mobile app that allows users to discover events, purchase tickets, invite friends to events and send photos. Co-founder Hunter Hammonds told the Business Journal that there were plenty of times that he wanted to go out but didn’t know what to do, Implucity solves that problem.

“We’re not trying to be a social network at all,” Hammonds said. “It’s not about who I am. It’s about what I’ve been doing.”

There are several apps in the exact same space, during their time at The Brandery they are going to really need to work on refining their secret sauce.

According to Hammonds and co-founder Austin Cameron, they’ve raised under $250,000 so far, and hope to raise over $2 million after their session at The Brandery.  Right now their secret sauce relies on the fact that Implucity isn’t a social network, it’s focused on the singular user to find events to do and then share.

“I think that’s something we can hit because the user experience is awesome,” Hammonds said. “It’s just a cool product for you to use. It’s not a social network so we don’t rely on your friends. We just rely on you wanting to do something.”


Check out Implucity here

Source: Business Journal

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Nashville Startup: Justapinch Wins Two Big Honors; Validates Series A Round

Justapinch, is a Nashville startup in the coveted recipe space. Although it may seem it’s the average recipe repository, they do boast the largest online collection of user submitted recipes in the world. In fact they have over 90,000 recipes available on the site.

Justapinch is a subsidiary of two year old American Hometown Media. As the company name suggests they like to build communities, like justapinch, that focus on user submitted content. That’s been a recipe for success so far for AHM and it’s CEO Dan Hammond (you see what we did there?).

How successful has AHM and justapinch been? Well they were recently named one of Nashville’s 25 most innovative technology companies by the Nashville Post. While that’s an honor in itself, Hammond was named Nashville’s Entrepreneur of the Year by both the Nashville Post and the Nashville City Paper.

Just five months ago the social media startup received a series A round of 4 million dollars. Nashville Capital Network’s Tennessee Angel Fund and affiliated angels, Tennessee Community Ventures, Limestone Fund, and Solidus Company participated in the round.

“The site’s fast growth, engaged user base and proprietary programming were key factors for our group’s investment decision,” says Sid Chambless, Executive Director of Nashville Capital Network. “We were also drawn to the strong management team and their successful track record in previous business ventures. These recent awards only reaffirm our group’s decision to support Just A Pinch.”

More after the break
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Canadian Startup: Wantser Is the Canadian Version Of Pinterest For Wants

Pinterest has caught on like wild fire. We’ve run several stories about Pinterest and it’s crazy valuations. We’ve heard lately that their active users have gone down however it’s still extremely hot. With Pinterest you can “pin” pictures on the internet. It’s been highly adopted by women who pin everything from the latest fashions, to art projects, home interior decorating ideas and even fashion.

Imagine if you will, pinning the things you want and then having access to the ways to get those things. If you see a fancy new purse on Pinterest instead of pinning it, you “want” it. Well that’s the idea behind Canadian startup Wantster.

CEO Ky Joseph and Chris Edelman a Canadian radio sales executive, started Wantster to do just that. You can simply download the Wantster “want” button to your browser, the same way some do with Pinterest, and when you see something you want, “want it”. With Wantster’s mobile app you can take a picture of something you want for later and put it in your “want” list.

More after the break
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Chicago Startup: iFindit Takes On Real Social Discovery

We’ve heard about hundreds of social discovery apps. You’re familiar with the type, punch in your account info for Foursquare, Twitter or Facebook and find people near you. That’s what we are used to when it comes to “social discovery”. Well there’s a relatively new startup out of Chicago that helps users connect with real their real “social” environment.

We’re not talking about finding new people who share the same interests as you. We’re talking about things like food, shelter and medical care.

Here’s how the founders of iFindit describe themselves on their web page:

The application aims to assist social workers, case managers, providers and residents.  iFindit was built to serve Chicagoans by providing quick information regarding access to food, shelter and medical care in their area.

More after the break
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