It’s high time Austin had its own crowdsourced map of its diverse startup ecosystem. That’s why we are launching Startup over Coffee today.

Why now? Over the past decade it’s hard to argue that any other metro area in the country has risen in the ranks of most every startup statistic as much as Austin has. We came in at #1 in the CNBC Metro 20: America’s Best Places to Start a Business in August. We cracked the top 10 on the 2016 Kauffman Index, which measures the entrepreneurial vitality of the 40 largest metro areas on the country. Austin also hit #1 on the Forbes list of The Cities Creating the Most Technology Jobs 2015.  

One of the keys to the success of Austin’s startup scene? A well-established startup ecosystem made up of all kinds of businesses, organizations and media!

Claim your spot on the Startup over Coffee map!

This map is intended to be crowdsourced and maintained by those who make up the Austin startup scene. From coffee shops to co-working spots and startup accelerators to media outlets, we want to democratize the map’s content in order to make it as relevant and up-to-date as possible.

For any organizations who want to claim their pin, it’s easy to do. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click your organization’s pin (you must represent the organization to be approved)
  2. Click ‘More Info’
  3. Click ‘Claim Place’
  4. Sign-in (you will need to create a MapMe account)

Any organizations that support the Austin startup scene not already on the map can easily add a pin by following the instructions found here.

But don’t just take it from us!

Our friend and local startup expert Paul O’Brien had this to say about the Austin startup scene:

Driving Austin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is the incredible diversity of creativity. Where places like Silicon Valley thrive as a result of their innovative technology entrepreneurs, Austin thrives because it’s the convergence of technology with design, art, music, architecture, gaming, and the experiences that we love. Finding success in Austin is a matter of finding your node; balancing your own resources and needs and finding the community ideal to what you’re doing.  Austin lives to work and our entrepreneurs are in coworking spaces, office parks, working from home, and in coffee shops throughout the city; connecting opportunities with talent, resources, and ideas.

Can you help?

Startup over Coffee is an attempt to capture the richness of that startup ecosystem and share it for anybody who is looking for a way to plug-in, network and contribute to the Austin startup scene. That’s why we need your help!

We hope you will join us in supporting Austin’s startup scene. Those of us who have been involved in it for the past decade know we would not be where we are today without a strong sense of camaraderie and selfless support from thousands of like-minded entrepreneurs, influencers and volunteers.

 

belgium-imageBelgium might be a small country, but it has a vibrant startup community with some pretty large ambitions. In cities such as Ghent and Antwerp, fresh talent is working on building companies which have the potential to disrupt entire industries.

Here are 10 Belgian startups that we selected — not necessarily on their revenue or the capital they raised —  for the potential they have to be genuine disruptors in their markets.

Box office crystal ball: ScriptBook
This company developed an algorithm that will predict whether a movie will be a box office success or a dud. Too good to be true? Perhaps. What is a fact, however, is that the ScriptBook algorithm is now being applied in different pilot projects by American film studios. The movies under study will be released in the next 12 to 18 months. If ScriptBook proves it can make a difference, then it is almost certainly a ticket to fast growth for the Belgian startup.

Site: www.scriptbook.io / Twitter handle: @ScriptBook_io

Uber for foodies: FLAVR
The FLAVR app creates a marketplace where food lovers can be matched with food makers. Think Uber for foodies. FLAVR launched in May 2016. It has managed to cover the entire Dutch speaking part of Belgium (over 1,800 home chefs registered) and is now gearing up for international growth. FLAVR has raised €650k seed capital and, having won International Accelerator’s pitch competition at SXSW in 2016, we know that FLAVR has the ability to whet the appetite of potential investors in the U.S.

Site: flavr.be / Twitter handle: @addflavr

Staircase to growth: GRAAH
GRAAH produces the first aluminum staircase in the world. The modern design staircases are not tailormade but put together in a modular way on site. Most of sales come today from the United States, but there are plans to grow in Europe in 2017. ‘Graah’ means ‘gladly’ spelled out phonetically in West-Flemish Dutch by the way, because these West-Flemings really love their stairs!

Site: www.graah.be / Twitter handle: @graah_stairs

Keeping score: neoScores
Several Belgian musicians — sick and tired of having to deal with paper scores — came up with the idea of building a music sheet application in 2009. Today neoScores makes it easier for musicians around the world to play, practice and perform music through its Gustaf app.  

Site: www.neoscores.com / Twitter handle: @NeoScores

In sync with your doctor: Andaman7
Walloon serial entrepreneur Vincent Keunen came up with his idea when his son was treated in the hospital and had a hard time obtaining any medical information on his condition. Andaman7 allows medical practitioners to share medical files with their patients. What makes this app unique is its ease of use and automatic synchronization between patient record (from the doctor) and individual medical file (from the patient). In 2016, Andaman7 scored a contract with the Liège university hospital in Belgium, allowing more than 500 patients to have a full copy of their medical information downloaded to their Andaman7 app. Andaman7 is also getting ready to set up shop in the U.S and plans to raise $5 million in 2017.


Site: www.andaman7.com / Twitter handle: @Andaman7

Oh, Canada!: Moovly
Moovly has built an online platform with subject matter experts to allow them to produce their own promotional video and animation clips. Any clips produced through Moovly can easily be repurposed for use in other marketing collateral. Through a reverse take-over of a Canadian company, Moovly is now traded on the Canadian stock-exchange.

Site: www.moovly.com / Twitter handle: @Moovly

Two Stella’s, please: Playpass
Belgium is the country of big music festivals. Think Tomorrowland and Rock Werchter. Playpass produces smart RFID wristbands for these types of events. A Playpass wristband can be used to enter a festival and even make payments for food and merchandise at the event. Since every festival has different needs, the functionalities of the wristband can be tailored accordingly.

Site: http://www.playpass.be / Twitter handle: @Playpass_EU


A place and time for everything: Chestnote
‘Think Snapchat, but then 100% the opposite’, founder Peter Wellens told Gazet van Antwerpen. Chestnote offers ‘contextual’ messaging, which means that through the app you can send a multimedia message that will only be delivered at a certain time, at a certain place. Brands will have an opportunity to pay for a service to reach users on the platform, and in March Chestnote wants to sell its technology to companies so they can then integrate Chestnote in their own brand apps. Recently Chestnote raised 650,000 euro to further fuel its growth.

Site: chestnote.com / Twitter handle: @Chestnote

Because school is cool: sCool
sCool, developed by Belgian startup Learningscape, is a Facebook-like experience for kids and teachers to use and improve their learning experience. Individual schools can sign up for sCool, which means that only teachers and students that belong to the school can create accounts, making it a safe place for children to learn online. Children can recommend books to each other, keep an agenda, get super creative with videos, and much more. sCool enables ‘flipped learning,’ which reverses the traditional pedagogical approach used in schools by delivering instructional content online and even outside of the classroom. It also brings homework type activities — traditional done without a teacher present — inside the classroom for improved hands-on learning.

Microsoft was so charmed by the startup’s technology that it allowed it to integrate sCool with Skype. Nearly 50,000 children currently work on sCool app in Belgium and The Netherlands.


Site: scooledu.org / Twitter handle:@its_scool

Going the extra mile: Parcify
Parcify offers a service through which consumers can have products they order online shipped to a unique Parcify address, not necessarily a physical address approved by the postal service. For example, when Parcify receives the product if notifies the client through its app. The client then decides when and where to have it delivered — even if it’s at a park, restaurant or street corner. How does Parcify manage that? Through the GPS coordinates of your smartphone! After Belgium, the startup plans to enter the Dutch market in 2017.

Site: www.parcify.com / Twitter handle: @Parcify

 

Did we forget any Belgian startups? If so, feel free to let us with a comment below or on our Twitter account at ManzerComm.

For those not familiar with us, we specialize in helping startups and established tech enterprises accelerate growth through a blend of digital marketing and PR.

 

For all the buzz and hype SXSW Interactive (SXSWi) racks up every year, it always seems to come and go with amazing speed. Which is why this year I thought it might help me make sense if I tried to put together a brief recap of the single greatest event celebrating startup culture on the planet.

For the whole article I wrote about SXSWi 2016, please visit CMS Wire.

 

If there is one thing that is a lynchpin for success in an early stage company it is human capital. In the early days of the life cycle of a startup tech company, a multitude of decisions must be made. What features should the product or app have? What distribution channels should be pursued – direct to consumer, resellers, 3rd party implementation partners, Amazon versus owned eCommerce? How to acquire customers? The list goes on and on.

One thing is clear, however, which is that no founder CEO has all the skills and knowledge to properly address such a broad array of launch requirements. The value of a CEO lies in establishing and maintaining relationships with others to make the best use of the company’s resources in pursuit of goals agreed upon by both internal and external stakeholders.  

Investors are one group of stakeholders with very specific needs. To a large degree economic incentives make them choose to invest in startups. Investors want a hefty ROI on their money, if only because they may only see one great return on ten startup investments at any given time. But investors often also have a psychological stake in the company in which they invest; very often they genuinely care about the fate of the company beyond its pure financial ROI. This is especially true of angel investors.

To forge, maintain and deepen the relationships with the different stakeholders, including investors, communication is key.

Communication breeds success

Investors from all over the country (be they venture capitalists, angels, family offices or others) have told me in hundreds of conversations over the years that the start-up companies that perform best for them are those that provided a regular stream of reports on how they are performing. This communication makes for a feedback loop that pulls in useful insights from the investors into the CEO decision-making process, making those decisions better.

Rick Timmins, Chairman of the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), analyzed the performance history of all  90 investments (through 2013) of the members of CTAN since it started 10 years ago. His data show that as a group, entrepreneurs that communicate on a regular basis provide a superior investment return relative to entrepreneurs that don’t communicate.

The value of CEO Inc.

The personal brand buttresses the efficiency of CEOs in communicating to their different stakeholders, including their investors. What makes a powerful personal brand? Transparency is a requirement. Actively engaging with stakeholders is another.

Prof. Charles Holloway, Director of Stanford University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies,  said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that one of the determining factors for entrepreneurs who failed to convince American VCs to back their endeavors is the way they worked (thus communicated) with their previous investors.

So clearly there is ample evidence supporting regular communication with investors, that it is not some kumbaya moment owed to an anxious angel or VC but a critical component predicting future success for startups.

Time to tango

Yet even as startup CEOs should consider improving their outbound communications to investors so do investors need to demand the communication flow. It takes two to tango, and if investors want to know that their money is being wisely used then they have to insist on CEOs coming up for air to give them concise, informed and objective updates.

I strongly agree with Aaron Harris in that CEOs should give monthly updates. The goal, after all, is to help the company be a success, and the investor is a key part of that process.

Bottom-line: the more CEOs and their investors work together the more times they will find the ROI they both seek in the startup.

This guest post was submitted by Joe Milam. Joe is the CEO of AngelSpan, an Austin based company that provides bespoke investor relations services for start-ups to maximize the value and return on that asset.

For many tech startups in Silicon Valley, and other tech hotspots like Austin, Boston and Seattle, the allure of getting into a popular tech media outlet like TechCrunch is too strong to pass up. In fact, when startup founders think about getting into the ‘news,’ it is often the implied target. And for good reason. With over 12 million unique visitors, TechCrunch is the undisputed Everest of tech media.

For those not already familiar with its history, J. Michael Arrington and Keith Teare co-founded TechCrunch in 2005 as an early player in a new crop of online publications totally dedicated to covering tech startups and their founders. What set TechCrunch apart from the other tech-focused media was its record of reporting breaking news before others could – especially high-profile funding announcements. Courtesy of a stable of prolific (sometimes irreverent) tech writers, TechCrunch eventually cemented its status as ‘king-maker’ in the eyes of the tech world.

The benefits of getting into TechCrunch may be universally known in the tech community but nevertheless here is a quick overview:

  • Startup buzz
  • First-mover advantage
  • Website traffic
  • Downloads
  • Investor awareness
  • Social sharing

With benefits like these it should not come as a surprise that getting into TechCrunch is a daunting task for a vast majority of startups. It used to be that if you raised a million dollar seed round you stood a good chance of getting a write-up. Nowadays, in the era of massive seed rounds, celebrity founders and unicorn valuations, the bar has risen higher than ever before.

But don’t despair. I have written a white paper that gives you the whole truth and nothing but the truth on how startups can leverage trends, titles and technology to improve their shot at getting to the top of the Mt. Everest of tech media. To download the white paper, please request one here now.