It’s just a couple weeks until the next version of SXSW hits the pavement in Austin, Texas. I still believe this will be a huge “badgeless” year and I keep betting that SXSW officials will eventually not allow access into the convention center at all without a badge.
If you are looking for parties, here are three great guides to help you find free beer, free bbq, free networking, etc. If you aren’t going to have a badge, make sure the parties you are interested in will allow badgeless access. And if you will have a badge, make sure it is with you when you head out to the parties so you can get into the clubs and bars.
Gary is the master of Gary’s Guide and he has an in-depth list of parties around Austin during SXSW. You will easily spot Gary around Austin as he wears a suit with a bright red tie.
Social event guide Lanyrd has an event guide as well. Their event guide includes parties and all other events during SXSW.
SXSHHH has a party guide for all of the free and unofficial events – they charge $5 for the list. RSVPster will register you for every party for $20 – so basically you will take a slot for every party even though you won’t go to most of them and you will block someone else from going – blah on that.
Republic of Austin has a party guide and all of the parties they have listed are badgeless events.
Lastly here’s a link to the official SXSW party directory. My guess is that all of these events will require an official event badge.
The latest installment of the ABC reality show Shark Tank hit the airwaves last night. You can read my full recap of the episode and all of my series recaps. Rick Hopper was the last entrepreneur on last night’s episode and he presented his creation, ReadeRest. The product is a magnetic clip for a shirt that holds a pair of eyeglasses.
Rick was seeking an investment of $150k for 15% of the company. Eventually he shook hands on a deal with QVC’s Lori Greiner for $150k for 65% of the company.
One of the interesting questions that surrounds Shark Tank is how long does it take from the filming of the show until the episode airs. Clearly there is some significant time between tape and air because the eyeglass holders have been on QVC since October 2011. My guess is that last night’s episode taped in the early summer of 2011.
This morning Lori presented the eyeglass holders, now called “Set of 3 Magnetic Glasses Holders by Lori Greiner” and the QVC host noted that about 15,000 orders were placed this morning alone. The item has 136 reviews and is “customer top rated”. Rick mentioned selling the holders for $10-20 each — QVC is selling a package of 3 for $25 including shipping.
Rick mentioned that he made all of the holders himself – Lori said this morning on QVC that the item is now made in a warehouse.
If you want to see how Lori presented the eyeglasses holder on QVC, click here then click the Videos link.
Lori talks up her QVC relationship on Shark Tank so it is good for prospective entrepreneurs to see her take a product from the television show to actually selling on QVC.
Below is a recap of the February 24, 2012 episode of the ABC show Shark Tank (episode 304). If you are unfamiliar with Shark Tank, the concept is simple – entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors and the investors have to provide at least the amount the entrepreneur is seeking for a deal to be completed.
Tonight Barbara Corcoran was replaced by QVC product creator Lori Greiner. Other sharks include: Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Damond John and Robert Herjavec.
Pitch #1 – Five Minute Furniture
Up first was inventor Jared Joyce presenting Five Minute Furniture. The basic idea is that Jared’s “special joint system” allows you to put together furniture like storage cubes or bookcases in 5-minutes. Jared was seeking $250k for 25% of the company, valuing the company at $1 million. The investment would be only for Five Minute Furniture not for all of the 79 other products Jared is currently working on.
Damond, Robert and Mark were not interested in investing. Lori Greiner and Kevin O’Leary offered $250k combined for 100% of the company and the patents and Jared would not be a part of the company. Jared turned down the deal and left the Shark Tank without a deal.
Update – Man Candle
The Man Candle didn’t grab a deal from the sharks last season. The founder was able to secure funding elsewhere and since the show aired, his sales have gone from $70k/year to $250k/year. The Man Candle candles are in 500 retail stores across America.
Pitch #2 – The Painted Pretzel
Raven Thomas was up next with The Painted Pretzel. The product is a line of chocolate-covered pretzels. Raven was seeking $100k for 25% of the company. Raven noted that she had $75k in sales over the past year plus $140k worth of orders she was unable to fill.
Mark Cuban offered 100k for 25% of the company and Raven accepted. Mark noted that he wants to push the pretzels at Mavericks games and at the Landmark Theatres.
Pitch #3 – Esso Watches
Ryan Naylor was up next with Esso Watches seeking $35k for 20% investment. The watch is made out of silicon with negative ions. Ryan is a SEO expert and uses the power of search to get customers to his website. Mark Cuban quickly called the watch a, “scam and joke”. Unfortunately Ryan was unable to secure a deal with any of the sharks.
Pitch #4 – ReadeRest
Last up was Rick Hopper with his invention ReadeRest, a magnetic clip for a shirt that holds a pair of eyeglasses.Rick charges $10-20 for ReadeRest. Rick was seeking $150k for 15% of the company.
Lori offered Rick for $150k for 65% of the company. Rick countered at 49% of the company, Lori declined that counter. Rick took Lori’s deal and walked out with $150k for 65% of ReadeRest.
Banking giant Citibank has announced the ability for customers to submit check deposits using their mobile device. In my opinion, for many years Citibank was the technology leader with better ATMs and overall a higher quality of technology. But as of late it seems other banks have forged way ahead of Citi. For example, both Chase and Bank of America allow mobile check deposits using their mobile apps. It’s great to see Citi catching up and I hope they can move ahead of the pack with regards to technology in the near future.
To use the mobile check deposit service with Citi, download the Citi app for either the iOS or Android platforms. Citi explains that the initial setup is easy – just load the app, click Services and then register for the mobile check service (you need your ATM card to register). After the initial registration you just take a photo of a check you want to deposit into your account and tap Submit and you are done.
Now if we could just get cash to instantly come out of our mobile phones and tablets!
Last week I noted that there will be a hackathon during SXSW. Two more interesting events have popped up on my radar that are worth checking out.
Startup incubators DreamIt Ventures and Austin’s Capital Factory are holding a series of “find a cofounder” dating-style events during SXSW. You can find all of the details and registration form here. The sessions will be held on Saturday and Sunday and it does look like you will need a SXSW badge to participate. The two accelerators will also be holding two co-founder panels on Saturday and Sunday.
On Sunday March 10, BarCampATX will be held at the Black Sheep Lodge. The event is free although they do ask for donations. I think BarCamps are the original “unconference” – there will be 45 – 20 minute sessions throughout the day. It looks like this is a badgeless event – so anyone in town can attend. The organizers ask that you register here. Here’s the overview for this year’s BarCampATX, “BarCamp is a general developer / tech un-conference with an open source slant. Topics need not be technical, so long as they relate to technology and/or development. This year’s theme is “Discover Something New” so new techniques, new apps, new ways of doing things are all great starting points.”
Below is a recap of the February 17, 2012 episode of the ABC show Shark Tank (episode 303). If you are unfamiliar with Shark Tank, the concept is simple – entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors and the investors have to provide at least the amount the entrepreneur is seeking for a deal to be completed.
Tonight Barbara Corcoran was replaced by QVC product creator Lori Greiner. Other sharks include: Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Damon John and Robert Herjavec.
Pitch 1 – The Last Lid
Created by husband and wife Melissa and Kevin Kiernan, The Last Lid is a “fabric garden trash can lid replacement”. They were seeking $40k for a 20% investment. The idea is that this fabric lid is a universal fit for any garbage can and it will keep out rodents and racoons. Damon John was the only shark left and after Kevin raised his offer to $40k for 60%, Damon jumped at the chance and the deal was done.
Update – Lightfilm
In season 1, Lightfilm scored a $100k investment from Damon John. The company was rebranded as “Power Decal” and recently signed a deal with Best Buy to carry the light-up changeable decal for your car.
Pitch 2 – The Ledge Pillow
Next up was Amanada Schlechter seeking $30k for a 25% investment in the Ledge Pillow. This foam pillow is made for women with large breasts or women with breast implants to help them sleep. The pillow is made for women who sleep on their stomachs and helps the woman stay uplifted while sleeping. The Ledge Pillow works for women with a C cup and above. Amanda has sold 83 since her launch in 2008. Lori suggested Amanda change the name of the product to something with “boob” in it.
Pitch 3 – Talbott Teas
Steve Nakisher and Shane Talbott presented Talbott Teas. Shane explained the teas as, “reinventing tea just like Ben & Jerry reinvented ice cream”. Shane and Steve were seeking $250k for 20%. The company had sales of $100k in 2009, $350k in 2010 and $500k to-date in 2011 (remember the show films way before it airs). Talbott Teas has been named one of Oprah’s favorite things and has appeared on QVC multiple times.
Kevin O’Leary offered $250k for 40% – Kevin agreed to a deal at 35% and the deal was signed.
Pitch 4 – M3 Girl Designs
Presented by the Bradshaw Family, Maddie, Margo and mother Diane, the family was seeking $300k for 15% of their jewelry company. Their first product, “snap caps”, is a magnetic bottlecap necklace for young girls. Now the company is looking to expand their product line and create global distribution. The girls created a company with $5 million in sales over the last 5 years with $1.6 million in sales last year and profit of $1 million. Maddie and Margo are both teenagers and the sharks noted that they are already millionaires.
- Kevin O’Leary offered $300k for 30%
- Lori and Mark Cuban offered $300k for 30% plus Lori will mentor the team and help them get on QVC
- Robert Herjavec joins Kevin’s offer at $300k for 30%
- Family counters at $300k for 30% with Mavs season tickets with Robert, Lori and Mark Cuban
- Final deal agreed to: $300k for 30% with Robert, Lori and Mark with an offer from Mark to sit in his owner’s suite at Dallas Mavericks home games
Tune in next week for another exciting recap of Shark Tank!
If you are heading to Austin next month for the SXSW 2012 event, you may want to check out the “app hackathon” that will be held on March 9, 2012. Hackathons have become the big thing in the developer space over the past couple of years. The event will start at 7pm and will run through Saturday morning at 9am. The hackathon will be held at the Austin Music Hall which is within walking distance of the convention center.
The event organizers note, “More than 250 developers will create unique new iOS and Android software and HTML5 apps leveraging the latest in application programming interfaces (API) for these platforms.” The event is sponsored by Zypr (they provide an API to create voice controlled mashups) and it looks like there will be a push to build applications using the Zypr API. I’ve never heard of Zypr – if you are new to it like me, check out Robert Scoble’s interview with Zypr’s parent company Pioneer. If you prefer text, here is an overview from Peter Bright at Ars Technica.
Register for the SXSW hackathon here.