South by Southwest kicks off March 8, and the Twitter sphere is already abuzz with all things #SXSW. As expected, a number of Portland startups are preparing to head down into the chaos, including Janrain, Cloudability, Esri (panelist), Jama Software, and Little Bird (panelist), as well as friends of Upstart Labs like Urban Airship (panelist), PIE, and Silicon Florist. We're sure there are a ton of other Portland-area attendees, too.
In the midst of a week of non-stop events, Carolynn Duncan of Portland Ten is running a Shark Tank event at Startup America's "A Celebration of American Startups" event on Saturday. The party will celebrate America's startups for their entrepreneurial spirit and is expected to have about 3,000 startups in attendance.
We don't think there's a better celebration Portland-area startups – and frankly, startups everywhere – could have. It's a thrilling time to be an entrepreneur, and the spirit is definitely alive. We won't be in Austin, but will be doing a virtual cheers to each of you on Saturday. From one startup to another – go team!
If you're headed to SXSW, here's a list of startup-related panels to put on your radar:
Friday, March 8
2-3 pm, Getting Started with Angel Investing
5-6 pm, Show Me The Money: Where to Find Funding
Saturday, March 9
7:30-11 pm, A Celebration of America's Startups
Sunday, March 10
11 am-12 pm, Starting Up: From Founding to Funding
Tuesday, March 12
11 am-12 pm, Not All Startup Accelerators Are Created Equal
Joe Stump is what you'd call a growth hacker. Our newest Upstart Labs partner is a serial entrepreneur with experience in marketing and development – and almost more importantly, fusing the two together. Joe recently led a seminar on growth hacking at Upstart Labs. Over thirty folks from various companies and startups in the Portland-area joined us to learn more about Joe's success tips. So what did we learn? From tracking people to tracking data, here's a glimpse into his go-to growth hacking toolkit:
- SurveyMonkey – Create and send free web surveys.
- Wufoo – Form builder that creates contact forms, web surveys and invitations so you can collect information, registrations and payments.
- Gooogle Forms – Send surveys or collect other information in an easy, streamlined way.
- Intercom.io - Customer relationship management and messaging tool for web businesses.
- Mixpanel – Advanced analytics platform for mobile and web.
- Sailthru – Analyze Big Data to generate informed, personalized communication with consumers across all digital channels.
- KISSMetrics – Online software for business analytics.
- Sprintly – A project management tool; like Salesforce for software developers.
- Optimizely – Website optimization through A/B testing.
- HubSpot – An all-in-one tool for in-bound marketing.
- Rapleaf – Provides marketing data including demographics and lifestyle data on consumer email addresses.
- FullContact – API that turns partial contact information into full contact information. FullContact provides data enrichment, de-duplication, normalization, and more.
- Mailchimp – Online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results.
- Rapportive – Provides rich contact profiles inside your email inbox.
Joe's talk at Upstart Labs was just a taste of the tactics he dives into in his "Growth Hacking for Everyone" class for The Next Web. The next class is held online on March 19, so you don't have to be in Portland or the Valley to join in. This two-hour presentation will cover the essential techniques to enable rapid growth. Go ahead, sign up. You won't be disappointed.
It seems as though Upstart Labs' first graduate, Chirpify, just can't stay out of the news. CNET, Digital Trends and AllFacebook are buzzing about Chirpify's latest release: In-stream social commerce on Facebook.
Yesterday, Chirpify announced that superstar Tim McGraw was using Chirpify to sell a special edition of his latest album through his Facebook fan page. Although it's not a huge departure from Chirpify's existing purchasing capabilities via Twitter and Instagram, this announcement is significant because it's one of the first ever in-stream Facebook commerce campaigns.
Even more impressive is the fact that the album sold out just hours after McGraw posted it to Facebook. If that's not a sign that Chirpify is moving in the right direction, we don't know what is.
McGraw clearly knows what's up. Visit Chirpify.com to see for yourself.
Sunday's New York Times Fashion & Style section featured an article about how the world of fashion is slowly jumping on the social shopping bandwagon. Sites like Motilo.com – where users can create and buy virtual outfits, The Love List from Marc Jacobs – which enables consumers to tell friends via social networking which products they love for friends to ultimately purchase as gifts, and finally, Upstart Labs alum Chirpify.
Chirpify brings e-commerce to Twitter and Instagram with the click of a button. It's a natural fit for the industry given that shopping is, by nature, social. However, the article explains that these advancements are big doings for the fashion industry, which is typically not framed for early adoption of technology.
So far, the results speak for themselves.
Chirpify’s “frictionless transaction” — there are no virtual shopping carts or baskets, as found on many e-commerce sites — has seen it turn 4 percent of its browsers into shoppers, according to its founder, Chris Teso, double the usual e-commerce rate of 2 percent.
Read the full article here, or sign up for
Chirpify.com to get started.
We've said it before, but Oregon is a truly unique place for startups. In Portland, accelerators and startups tend to favor collaboration over competition – and it's lead to an explosively successful startup scene. It's reasons like this, and many more, that we love Oregon. And so we couldn't be more pumped to help support organizations like Techlandia and the new Moregon Project, that want to help foster this entrepreneur environment right here in Oregon. If you're not familiar with it yet, the Moregon Project aims to bring local entrepreneurs together to collectively make Oregon the best state to start and sell startups.
Steve Case knows a thing or two about buying and selling startups in up-and-coming tech ecosystems. He found his own success in helping to build a startup ecosystem in Northern Virginia, and he recently wrote a guest post for The Wall Street Journal's Accelerators Blog about how this is the "dawn of a new era for U.S. entrepreneurship." Up until recently, startup entrepreneurs were basically required to be in Silicon Valley – but Case describes how times have changed. Startups can now be successful outside of the Valley, and are bringing innovation, job opportunities and economic growth to many other cities.
Portland is certainly in that boat. Tech entrepreneurs like Rick Turoczy and Skip Newberry have been carrying the tech startup torch here for years. They are truly the backbone behind Portland's startup ecosystem momentum. And now, Moregon is bringing entrepreneurs, investors and advisors together to build an even stronger foundation; one that hopes to replicate the success of places like Northern Virginia, Austin, and Boulder in fostering new companies.
Major props to Beth Lutz, the executive Director at Starve Ups, and Mitch Daugherty, Chair of OEN Board of Directors, and all the other incredible folks who are involved in Moregon. And stay tuned for more about this new project in the coming months. We're positive that it will make a significant impact here, and we're honored to be involved.
You know you've made it when Keith Richards tweets about you. Get the full scoop in Friday's GeekWire.
Rock on, Chirpify!