I’m spending the day today at a fantastic event at the Egyptian Ballroom at the Fabulous Fox Theater in downtown Atlanta call Startup Riot (Twitter @startupriot #startupriot, www.startupriot.com or live feed at www.live.startupriot.com). This is the third annual edition of this local phenomenon where local startup companies can meet any number of potential investors, angels, VC’s or strategic partners.
Each of the 50 companies represented today have three minutes on stage and a maximum of four powerpoint slides to tell their story in front of the 400+ attendees. Then, each company has a display table in a separate ballroom at which they can talk directly to any interested attendees.
A really cool aspect of Startup Riot is that “service providers” (e.g. Law Firms, Accounting firms, phone companies, etc) who provide services to small businesses and startups are not allowed to solicit customers at this event. Man, that’s refreshing, and I applaud founder and organizer Sanjay Parekh (@sanjay) on this wrinkle.
So far, today, about halfway through the event, we have seen and heard about 20 presentations ranging from startups that haven’t really started yet, to companies that have been in existence for several years with established brands – even one who says they aren’t looking for money, but rather strategic partnerships only.
Couple of highlights for me were LessAccounting, who has developed an “accounting system in the clouds” for small businesses to use in place of the ubiquitous #Quickbooks. Allan Branch, founder of LessAccounting (@lessallan) had the best quotes of the day, “All accounting systems suck. Ours just sucks less,” and “Quickbooks Tech support is the number one cause of suicide in the U.S.”
The opening speaker, Bo Peabody, founder of Tripod.com and numerous other companies over the years talked about how to embrace humility in becoming an entrepreneur. He said, of entrepreneurs, “normal people go to work at companies like Procter and Gamble or Coke. If you’re an entrepreneur or go to work for a startup, you are a sociopath.”
There is also a tremendous amount of Twitter traffic flowing throughout the building, with live comments on presenters and companies, the lunch scene, and other aspects of the event.
So far, the event has been fantastic.
You can find out more at www.startupriot.com or follow @startupriot on Twitter.