Courtesy: Lee Coursey
The crowd was already a buzz when the heavy doors from The Fox Theater’s famed Egyptian Ballroom opened at 7:00 a.m. Startups from various industries took their half of a 6ft table covered by a navy-blue table cloth. Presenters waited in line for coffee and tea from silver urns before putting the final touch on their displays.
Courtesy: Bill Denney
By 8:00 a.m., startups settled in as investors and attendees walked the floor. An hour of introductions created greater anticipation of what was to take place: 50 startups presenting four slides in three minutes all trying to earn the attention and admiration of the startup community — this was Startup Riot 2010.
Startup Riot’s founder Sanjay Parekh began the official start of the conference with a thanks to the sponsors and an introduction to the keynote speaker, Bo Peabody. There were many descriptions of the event and the presenting companies, two of the best include Paul Stamatiou’s and Lance Weatherby’s. The morning pitches ranged from the articulate to the in-eloquent with a mix of explicates and two faked diabetic falls.
The first round of pitches ended around 11:15 a.m. with a lunch breakout session titled “Lunch Chaos.” Options to dine were diverse: Engine 11 was our establishment of choice, however some attendees went with the more posh MF Sushi in Buckhead, while others took a stroll to the legendary Varsity.
The first afternoon session began at 1:00 p.m. sharp. Most people arrived after lunch to find some of Atlanta’s most influential media reporting. CNN, WXIA and the Atlanta Journal Constitution all added to the excitement.
CNN reports in the foreground while Bill Liss of WXIA interviews in the background.
The time had come. OpenStudy was the final presentation in the first session after lunch. Our CEO, Phil Hill, delivered a strong oration highlighting the problems OpenStudy solves, while giving a sneak peak to future growth strategies. A review of the presentation can be found here.
OpenStudy CEO Phil Hill speaks at Startup Riot 2010
The hand shaking and product demoing were almost too much to get attendees back to their seats for the third and final presentation session. The peanut gallery (balcony section) was attentive, hanging on every presentation, hoping to fill the BackNoise channel with something sticky…but, to no avail. The presentations concluded and the prize giveaways were the cherry on top — the only thing left was to grab a quick pint before heading back to work.
- Oliver W. Lancaster