Articles Tagged SXSW
I just returned home to Washington, DC after an awesome few days in Austin. And by "awesome," I mean inspiring, game-changing, overwhelming and, well, FUN! Inspiring. Being at South by Southwest Accelerator, in the same room as dozens of innovative companies and accomplished entrepreneurs, was absolutely inspiring. Every presenter I met there had so much passion about what they were doing, whether to solve a real-world problem, to build community or simply to bring some happiness into people's lives.
We met Srini Kumar of Tinyvox.com , which converts your iPhone into an audio recorder, which can be converted to text or uploaded to Facebook. Micki Krimmel and NeighborGoods.net allows people to save money and resources by sharing stuff with friends and neighbors. (Who knew that people only use a power drill for 12 minutes in their lifetime, but most own one!) And Andy Pickett of QONQR.com , who had so much enthusiasm about their just-barely launched online game, and was so excited to hear POPVOX's story!
Game-changing. For POPVOX, our win in the social media category meant that the judges recognized the real-world problem we are trying to fix (the communications breakdown in and out of Congress) and our proposed solution. Moreover, our "nontraditional" founding team received a huge personal boost through the acceptance and encouragement from other competitors and participants at Accelerator. This added credibility is a game-changer for POPVOX, as we head back to DC and continue working on improving our site. Overwhelming. With thousands of participants flooding in and out of the conference center at the Austin Hilton and the Austin Convention Center, the setting for the Accelerator competition was rather overwhelming. Yet, Marci represented POPVOX on the stage with so much passion, grace and focus. The team is so proud of her! And then, we got invited to compete in the final round, which meant creating a second presentation in 24 hours! We hunkered down on couches in a quiet hotel lobby and worked straight through up till our presentation time! Josh, Marci and I worked on content, while William along with Shane (who was working remotely via Skype) worked on design and made certain that the slides conveyed what we intended. (See the slides at http://portal.sliderocket.com/AOHYB/POPVOX-5min .) Fun! This was the first time that Marci, Josh, William and I were in the same place at the same time! And I mean that literally. Despite our remote workplaces, it turned out that our team had a wonderful chemistry about us, even "off-line"! Inside jokes galore: "What is this, a school for ants?"; "Why don't you just tell me the bill you're looking for?" (in the moviefone voice); and the over-use of "hashtag." Ever carried a giant check around? And by "giant," I mean nearly five feet wide? Well, that's what we got to do for the first time in our lives! (You can assess the level of our excitement in this photo.)
At the end of the night, the POPVOX team (still giggling) tried to hail a taxicab with our giant check in tow. But the situation turned from silly to surreal when we ended up in a "karaoke" cab with black lights inside! (Was this all a dream?)
"Karaoke" cab aside, our trip to Austin was an amazing, unforgettable experience. We were honored just to be a part of it, and to win was just incredible.
All of us -- Marci, Josh, William, Shane and myself -- love what we have the privilege of doing every day. And together with our POPVOX users, we are building something that promotes a national dialogue with Congress around complex policy issues and celebrates democracy! How awesome is that!
March 17, 2011, Austin, TX ― POPVOX, Inc., a Silicon Valley and Washington, DC-based startup providing a neutral, nonpartisan, public platform for advocacy and legislative information, was named the winner in the Social Media category at the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at South by Southwest (SxSW) Interactive 2011.
Of more than 400 applicants, 32 semi-ﬁnalists in four categories were invited to Austin for a chance to demo their product in the two-day competition. The Accelerator culminated in a ﬁnal round of 5-minute pitches, in which 12 early stage companies showcased their companies in front of inﬂuential industry judges and a live audience. Judges for the ﬁnal round were Alfred Lin, Sequoia Capital; Paul Buchheit, YCombinator; and Mark Hinsbo, Vice President of Microsoft.
The SxSW stage is renown as the launching pad for revolutionary companies like Twitter and FourSquare. We were overjoyed just to be invited to present alongside the innovative companies and accomplished entrepreneurs in this year s ﬁnals, said Marci Harris, POPVOX CEO. The judges recognition of POPVOX sends a message that the startup world is ready for ﬁrst-time, nontraditional founding teams with deep understanding of real-world problems. That s good news for thousands of new entrepreneurs across the country trying to break though.
Harris, a former Congressional staﬀer, joined former lobbyist Rachna Choudhry and Josh Tauberer, creator of the award-winning GovTrack.us to build a free, nonpartisan platform for communication with Congress, channeling public input to pending bills. Users take action to support or oppose speciﬁc bills, send a personal message to Congress, and share their comment with others via social networks or email. Messages are delivered electronically to Capitol Hill and remain public on POPVOX in Bill Reports, with charts and maps assessing support as well as organization position statements, all sortable by state or Congressional district.
POPVOX just launched this week a campaign to crowdfund the development of an iPad app dashboard for Congress and government aﬀairs professionals through appbackr.com's social publishing platform. http://www.appbacker.com/apps/POPVOX/popvox-for-mobile.
POPVOX is a disruptive advocacy platform that meshes legislative data with individuals personal stories and sentiment. POPVOX delivers public input to Congress in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions and empowers users to leverage their expertise and numbers. POPVOX provides a legislative dashboard for Congress and government aﬀairs professionals with bill status information, customized tracking, bill-speciﬁc advocacy information, and real-time constituent sentiment and comments. For more information, visit: popvox.com
About the SXSW Interactive Festival
The 18th annual SXSW Interactive festival will take place March 11-15, 2011 in Austin, Texas. An incubator of cutting-edge technologies, the event features ﬁve days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to oﬀer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world of technology. Join us March 2011 for the panels, the parties, the 14th Annual Interactive Awards, ScreenBurn at SXSW, the SXSW Expo, Accelerator at SXSW and, of course, the inspirational experience that only SXSW can deliver. SXSW Interactive 2011 is sponsored by Miller Lite, Chevrolet, AOL, IFC, Pepsi, PepsiMax, Freecreditscore.com, Monster Energy, Microsoft, Samsung, AT&T and The Austin Chronicle. For more information, visit http://www.sxsw.com.
We are honored beyond words!
If you thought we were excited before...
We've moved through to the final round of the SxSW Accelerator and now we get FIVE WHOLE MINUTES to present POPVOX to the startup world. We are so grateful for all of the encouragement from POPVOX users, family, friends, and our wonderful advisors. We will be hunkered down today working our hardest to make you proud.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
POPVOX Advances to Final Round in SxSW Accelerator
March 14, 2011, AUSTIN, TX ―POPVOX, Inc., a Silicon Valley and Washington, DC startup designed by Washington insiders advances to the final round of the 3rd Annual Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW.
On Tuesday, May 14 the final twelve early stage companies will have five minutes to showcase their companies in front of influential industry judges and a live audience. Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, IBM, .CO, and Turner Broadcasting System, the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW honors four of the web's most exciting new innovations in four categories: Innovative Web Technologies, Social Media and Social Networking Technologies, Entertainment Technologies, and News Related Technologies.
“Advancing to the final round is an enormous honor,” said Marci Harris, POPVOX Founder and CEO. “We are not a typical tech startup. Our expertise is in the world of legislation and advocacy and we're focused on how technology can improve information flow. Yesterday’s selection shows that the SxSW BizSpark Accelerator stage levels the start-up playing field for companies that don’t fit established ‘patterns.' Our model is to empower individuals and improve the quality of information coming into Congress. It is heartening to see that recognized at SxSW.”
POPVOX is a disruptive advocacy platform that meshes legislative data with individuals’ personal stories and sentiment. POPVOX delivers public input to Congress in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions and empowers users to leverage their expertise and numbers. POPVOX provides a legislative dashboard for Congress and government affairs professionals with bill status information, customized tracking, bill-specific advocacy information, and real-time constituent sentiment and comments. For more information, visit: www.popvox.com .
About the SXSW Interactive Festival
The 18th annual SXSW Interactive festival will take place March 11-15, 2011 in Austin, Texas. An incubator of cutting-edge technologies, the event features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world of technology. Join us March 2011 for the panels, the parties, the 14th Annual Interactive Awards, ScreenBurn at SXSW, the SXSW Expo, Accelerator at SXSW and, of course, the inspirational experience that only SXSW can deliver. SXSW Interactive 2011 is sponsored by Miller Lite, Chevrolet, AOL, IFC, Pepsi, PepsiMax, Freecreditscore.com, Monster Energy, Microsoft, Samsung, AT&T and The Austin Chronicle. For more information, visit www.sxsw.com .
(For media inquiries, please contact Marci Harris, POPVOX’s CEO, at email@example.com.)
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