You may or may not know about General Assemb.ly who has (not so quietly) become a staple of the tech & startup ecosystem in NYC, and most recently has expanded to London, Berlin, SF and beyond with classes, workshops, and an incredible space for technology, business, and design focused education.
If you know iStrategyLabs, you know we’ve helped grow the same scene here in DC through events like DCWEEK & the DC Tech Meetup. With the launch of our beautiful new space in Dupont Circle, we’re happy to announce that we’re partnering with GA to bring some exciting events to DC in just a few weeks:
For Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, we created a real-time social sweepstakes to give a way a new Windows phone for one lucky winner who used the hashtag #smbwhatsnext. Check it out here (keep in mind, this was built for a particular display, so it might look a little different on your Netbook running IE6).
For GE Aviation, we created a real-time social data visualization for a massive airshow in the UK. This web & mobile accessible dashboard was running from the first take-off to the final landing, showing a Klout leaderboard, Instagram pics, tweets, and a dynamic graph tracking the velocity of the conversation on Twitter – Check it out here!
For Mobile Future’s efforts @ CTIA 2012, we launched a custom data visualization for attendees on-site to see real-time activity pulling from Twitter & Klout. The visualization could be viewed from around the event, ensuring attendees could keep their finger on the social pulse.
With the 2012 Summer Olympics just moments away, we thought we would put a simple idea to the test: will top performance on the global stage (and taking home some hardware) boost the athlete’s Twitter following? By how much? Even those in the more obscure competitions? (Looking at you, archers).
There’s only one way to find out. We recently dove into the Twitter following of every U.S. Olympic athlete participating in the London games as a baseline, and will compare the total # and % increase of each after the games conclude.
NOTE: In order to balance our analysis, we’re leaving out the 3 professional sports with the highest following that are made up of athletes whose fame and following is generally based outside of Olympic performance (sorry, LeBron) — Basketball, Tennis, and Soccer.
Who’s in the lead so far? Well Mr. Phelps, you’ll have to enjoy the silver medal this time around. Take a look for yourself:
As “K St” symbolizes DC’s suit-and-tie wearing lawyer/lobbying face, it’s only fitting that Fortify.VC opened up their new accelerator right in the middle of the fray — representing the evolving ecosystem and continued rise of the DC Tech scene. I caught up with Jonathon Perrelli, to get a better sense for what The Fort is all about.
“Our Accelerator, TheFort.vc is one of the responses to filling what was a huge void in the startup ecosystem in DC. We have a very unique model for screening startups and a process that enables us to invite the promising teams to work with us everyday for six months while participating in both a mentor and guru-led accelerator program. Our process for selection of companies starts with Distilled Intelligence where Startups apply to pitch and will win prize money of $100,000 this October 11th and 12th in DC. (Applications for DI 2.0 open next week).
Our motto is ‘Founders Funding Founders’ and we have been there and done it, now we get to do it in a motivational and support role. Why DC? Our families are here. We love the city, we love the ecosystem that is being developed, and we believe that the long-term vision for DC has our city known as one of the best places to live a balanced life in StartupLand.”
Overview of The Fort:
I also sat down with several companies co-locating there, to get a better understanding for who they are, what they’re up to, and why they landed at The Fort.
Bennett Richardson on HIN.GE: ”Hin.ge helps young people meet dates through mutual friends on Facebook. You start by playing a matching game, (for example, select 1 of 3 friends who “last took the walk of shame”). Think of it as the Pandora for dating. Premium account gets you more matches, saves more matches, and allows you to see who’s saved you. While at HBS, Justin, our co-founder and CEO, saw a cute girl on campus and soon found out he had 12 friends in common with her. We’re focused on mobile app, hitting critical mass in DC to then expand & scale, wrapping up our seed round of funding, and of course some fun new product features.”
Joshua Konowe on UPPIDY: ”We search, store, and share text messages for free, completely in the cloud. I came up with the idea after I dropped my phone in the toilet :) The best part about working out of The Fort is the serendipity, you never know who you’re going to run into. In recent news, we just raised 300K and are raising more, as well as exploring more strategic partnerships.”
Shahab Kaviani on COFOUNDERS LAB:“Quite simply, we’re matchmaking for entrepreneurs, to help with the first and toughest obstacle: finding the right co-founder. We’re in currently in 6 markets and looking to expand to 12 with our proprietary algorithm that factors in city, skills & industry, and soon will include personality, values, goals, etc. We’re providing the tools and framework for building lasting relationships. The Fort has provided us with an instant focus group with a built-in target market, and we’ve benefitted from the workshops to the mentorship network — which has helped with product packaging, fundraising, and business development & partnerships. Recently, we acquired our biggest competitor, and are about to be the first graduate from The Fort.”
Dan Berger on SocialTables: “We’re dedicated to changing the way events are planned an attended. We started 1 yr ago as a seating chart app on Facebook, focused on guest engagement (I came up with the idea when I was invited to a destination wedding and wanted to see what girls would be there!). Quite simply, event planning sucks… people are still using excel, powerpoint, and sticky notes. We’re changing that with social planning.”
Ed Kim: ”It’s awesome to be around other startups at The Fort, to see them grow & develop. I’m new to startup scene, so it keeps my fingers on the pulse of the community. Being so close to other startups also means getting tactical support, with everything from business development to help with node.js.”
This week Embassy Suites Hotels became the first hotel brand in Zynga’s CityVille – players can now operate their very own ESH in order to earn in-game rewards and other perks!
In the social media marketing world there are very few concepts that are obvious home runs — but as Embassy Suites social agency of record, iStrategyLabs‘ job is to hit those balls out of the park when we see them. For this at bat, we developed an in-game brand experience where CityVille social game players could create and run their own Embassy Suites Hotel business.
For those who know anything about the brand — this is a big deal. They share touching stories of weddings, funerals, graduations and vacations on the Facebook page. People LOVE Embassy Suites. One fan recently said:
I really need an Embassy Suites Hotel two day stay as much as I need to breathe!!!
Now fans can have a virtually eat and breathe Embassy Suites Hotels while they’re at home or…um…at work.