Startup Atlanta - March 2010 Edition - Digital Tool Factory blog Startup Atlanta - March 2010 Edition - Digital Tool Factory blog

Startup Atlanta – March 2010 Edition

My studio experienceLast Wednesday I attended the StartUp Atlanta March event (on the web at, @StartupAtlanta on Twitter) where about 60 or so members of the Startup community mixed, mingled, and listened to 5 presentations by new Startups in Atlanta.

The community was quite nice (I saw a number of familiar faces, and met some new people too), and the Georgia Tech was nice enough to loan out the Georgia Tech Research Institute facility auditorium. I had a great time meeting everyone and Mike Schinkel and his volunteers moved things along well. It is impossible to overstate how important it is to keep these events running on time.

And now, the contestants! We listened to the presentations, and voted via twitter for our favorites, here were mine, recorded here for posterity. I judge startups by the following criteria, on a scale of 1-10 (higher is better). I thought I would share it here for the first time.

  1. Problem Solving – It can be a cool product, but does it make anyone’s life easier?
  2. Actual Customers – I am defining the customer as someone with both problems and money.
  3. Simplicity of Pricing – can the fees be described to anyone, do you need more information about the prospect before you can offer a quote?
  4. Chicken and Egg Problem – does the product require a lot of Customer A before Customer B becomes interested, and vice versa? This applies a good bit to middleman/broker type companies like E-Bay.
  5. Remarkability – that is to say, can someone who heard a quick presentation about it describe it to someone the next day, and have it be understood?

Note, I do not judge the passion of the founders, quality of marketing, execution etc. That’s too hard to judge based off of a short presentation.

And so, with no further ado, here are the startups from last night. I’m going to omit descriptions of the startups as those can be found on their websites.

  • Less Meeting – Jeff Steinke presenting – Short Version – a web based application that plays the role of a crotchety timekeeper enforcing the meeting agenda.
    1. Problem Solving – 10/10
    2. Actual Customers – 10/10
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 5/10
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 7/10
    5. Remarkability– 6/10 – I find it easier to describe the effect rather than the cause
    6. Total Score:38

  • Spitter – David Eckhoff presenting – provides real-time, relevant sports information (the wheat is separated from the chaff somewhere along the line)
    1. Problem Solving – 5/10 – Providing relevant information is going to be a relative thing for everyone, both provider and consumer.  If I were a bigger sports fan I might see the utility in this.  Seemingly it would be better used spinning off into politics or outright inside gambling tips.
    2. Actual Customers – 0/10 – Apparently they were not at the point of defining the people who actually pay money yet,  David Eckhoff is a capable guy, so I assume they do exist, but since they were not presented, I’m rating this a zero.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 0/10 – No pricing yet either
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 10/10 – no problem that I can see.
    5. Remarkability– 10/10 – “Twitter for Sports!” – It is a highly remarkable venture

    Total Score:25

  • Other Number – Andrew Johnson and Walter Duncan presenting – They provide a virtual PBX
    1. Problem Solving – 7/10 – Phones seem to be a solved problem, so I’m not sure of the benefits of having a virtual PBX, but it does seem like a cool product.
    2. Actual Customers – 6/10 – In my limited experience nobody ever wants to switch PBX systems.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 5/10 – Variable pricing!
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 7/10 – no problem that I can see.
    5. Remarkability– 7/10 – “Virtual PBX!” – which is easy enough for those who know what a PBX actually means

    Total Score:32

  • Chirbit – Ivan Reyes presenting – Online swapping of sound files for social media. Full disclosure, I’ve been friends with Ivan for the past several years
    1. Problem Solving – 8/10 – Chirbit does supply a way to move sound files easily, especially the recording of them.
    2. Actual Customers – 6/10 – Voiceover talent isn’t the largest market, but this would solve a lot of problems for them.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 0/10 – No announced pricing
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 7/10
    5. Remarkability– 5/10 – “Social Media Condiment” was how Ivan described it, but that doesn’t really tell the story

    Total Score:26

  • Co-Thrive – Rachel Orston presenting – Online task management with lots of cool email features
    1. Problem Solving – 7/10 – I’m still waiting for an application that insists on the active voice and won’t let you use adverbs. Their system does not fix the human problem of task management (that would make it a 10) – Their system does take it quite far.
    2. Actual Customers – 8/10 – they have actual customers! A wonderful thing for a startup.
    3. Simplicity of Pricing– 7/10
    4. Chicken and Egg Problem– 7/10
    5. Remarkability– 5/10 – The product is a well executed application of a simple concept (the best kind) but I honesty can’t think of a simple, accurate way to describe it

    Total Score:34

So, my rankings were LessMeeting, Co-Thrive, and Other Number.  I learned quite a bit from all of the presenters, particularly David Eckhoff.  I look forward to the next one!

Creative Commons License photo credit: juhansonin


This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog



Written By Steve French


One response to “Startup Atlanta – March 2010 Edition”

  1. Excellent writeup! Thanks so much for attending, and even more for writing it up so that others can learn about those startups.

    BTW, we are referring to the event as #OnStage and it is hosted by Startup Atlanta which is a (future) non-profit initiative acting as a catalyst to help grow the startup ecosystem in Atlanta. Startup Atlanta will have many activities beyond events, but #OnStage is a monthly event we’ll host.

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