Startups Startups Everywhere…and all come with a drink
SXSWi is famous for its geeked out parties and last night was an awesome kickoff to the festival. I signed up for the Austin Startup Bar Crawl and met up with a few friends (Liz from the Syracuse Student Sandbox, John from DeviceKnit and James and Shawn from Levlr) to explore the startup offices of this hospitable town. A number of startup businesses opened their doors to the early birds of SXSWi, letting us explore their awesome collaborative work spaces.
The first stop had ice cream. What more could you ask for? Well, ice cream, beer and some Dutch entrepreneurs.
The second stop at Conjunctured, a “coworking space” in Austin, had a dunking booth, but, as the host pointed out, everyone was more interested in the pizza he ordered than dunking him in a tank full of water. The space was located in an old house in which the pretty much every room but the kitchen was converted into office space. It was here we met a guy developing a way for people to get group travel rates by allowing users to create “trips” people can join. This allows young travelers to book hotels, etc. together, get a discount rate and travel cheaper (I’ll update when I remember what it’s called).
Then we all missed the bus, so we missed a lot of the other places on the Startup Tour, but we ventured over to the Gowalla offices on the other side of downtown Austin. Bikes hang from walls and the location-based service gave us a lot of swag, including a beer cozy that works like a snap bracelet from my childhood.
Liz and I ran into the Head of Recruitment and HR for Gowalla, who talked about her methods and some challenges she faced in finding developers. According to her, it’s more important for the company to recruit people who get the culture of Gowalla, even if they don’t have as much experience.
The Gowalla party was the place to be last night for entrepreneurs and startups. Everywhere we looked, someone was talking about their exciting new venture and it’s near impossible not to feed off their excitement, or maybe that’s all the free green tea I drank at Gowalla.