7/6/12

A startup entrepreneur confronts many of the same challenges as artists and musicians.

It’s not necessarily a 9-to-5 job. And as they embark on a project with a vision in their head, they must figure out a way to convey it to others in a clear and precise fashion.

For John Jackovin, that’s one reason he will participate in the inaugural “Startup Central” at 80/35 Music Festival on Saturday.

“There is a synergistic value when you look at artists and entrepreneurs, a lot of which is predicated on creativity and engaging users beyond just the superficial aspects of things,” said Jackovin, who recently launched a Bawte mobile application aimed at connecting companies with their customers. “It’s a good match.”

For the first time, Des Moines’ premier music showcase will set aside room for the region’s up-and-coming startup scene. Seven companies, including Jackovin’s, will be represented at “Startup Central,” a four-hour showcase that starts at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Jackovin said a brand new company like his, which officially launched in May, will receive a tremendous benefit from an event like 80/35.

“For us to have an audience of people who have paid good money to come to the festival, it lets us reach some people outside of our normal circles,” he said. “It’s pure numbers and exposure.”

The effort is a way to showcase the startup companies that have grown in the region while pushing forth the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition’s mission of giving back, said president Justin Schoen.

Schoen said momentum for the event started to build about one month ago after discussions with officials from Technology Association of IowaDwolla and Silicon Prairie News.

“It’s a great platform where they can connect with thousands of potential customers and show the community what is going on,” said Schoen, a sales consultant with his own startup, two-year-old Ecomegy.

Schoen said he hopes to see “Startup Central” grow every year, using South by Southwest Interactive as a model. South by Southwest Interactive is a technology fair-like event that each year precedes one of the largest music festivals in the country in Austin, Texas.

Among the companies expected to appear at 80/35 are Electric Dream Machines, Freebee Cards, ShareWhere, Dwolla, Bawte, BettrLife and Locusic, a Pandora-like radio station that only plays local music.

Locusic Founder Jake Kerber said he received notice early this week that his company would be showcased.

“One of the most difficult parts of a startup is getting the word out and getting it out to people outside of your circles,” he said. “Just the number of people walking by can be pretty big. This whole concept could explode into something very big.”

Schoen’s father, Don, is part of the BettrLife team and will also be at the concert.

While a beta version of his company’s product is still months off, Don Schoen said he hopes to build some buzz around it in advance of its release.

“We want people to start understanding what BettrLife is all about,” he said.

For Kerber, the Locusic founder, the 80/35 partnership with startups is just another example of central Iowans helping each other out.

“The community in Des Moines around startups and the music scene has just been really great,” Kerber said. “Everybody knows if you can help other people in the Des Moines area, it ends up coming around. In other cities, it’s more cutthroat. But here, it’s about everybody helping everybody.”

Reposted from the Des Moines Register – DesMoinesRegister.com

 

 
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