How do you jam your big startup dreams into three days? Pitch your emerging company at TechCrunch Disrupt, the international startup showcase held in New York City this week. SwatchPop!, which earned an invitation after winning the “Pitch Off” event at the TechCrunch Atlanta Meetup, hit the Disrupt Startup Alley floor as examples of startup success in the South.
“From what we can tell, SwatchPop! was one of the only companies representing Atlanta and the Southeast,” says Kristen Yonson, co-founder of SwatchPop! (Paul Judge of Luma was there too.) “It was cool to represent an emerging startup market outside of Silicon Valley and New York, which earned our spot at Disrupt. It was also cool to say that we have national reach, but got all of our funding from Atlanta!”
Georgia natives and founders of SwatchPop!, Jessica McRae and Yonson, solve decorating dilemmas through their online service that combines the fun of picking out home decor with the practicality of paying for an interior designer consultation on a personalized budget.
“I think the best part of being there was the recognition we received from other founders, press, and large corporations that SwatchPop! is so much more than a cool idea. It fulfills a true need, and is a successful and profitable business,” says Yonson.
At Startup Alley, the energy was high as the crowd reviewed and judged every startup company to find a way to invest or partner in some way and SwatchPop! shined. “We made some really valuable B2B connections and were able to reach influencers and decision makers that we could have spent months trying to reach outside of this environment,” McRae says.
“We set up strategic meetings with a major home retailer and Kukun. We spoke with developers, banks, attorneys and potential customers alike. The environment was extremely positive, uplifting and collaborative.”
Yonson agrees that the energy was contagious. “Being at Disrupt was surreal and truly top notch. Smart, innovative and energetic founders were all over the place and in Startup Alley, we were instantly kin. There was so much to talk about, from common experiences and journeys to finding ways to collaborate and support one another’s businesses.”
With new connections and a growing startup, co-founders Yonson and McRae come back feeling accomplished and proud of Atlanta’s growing tech community.
“We were so proud to represent the Atlanta startup community! We found that while we were surrounded by startups from NY and CA, most people do recognize Atlanta as the emerging technology hub that it is,” says McRae.
The SwatchPop! founders share a play-by-play of what it’s like to be at Disrupt.
Day 1 | May 9:
SwatchPop! arrived at 7am to set up for our exhibit in StartUp Alley. We pitched for almost 10 hours straight with little time for lunch or time to see any of the conference presentations.
People from around the globe flooded Startup Alley; seeking to broaden their understanding of what it means to be a startup, how they can utilize us as a consumer, or find a way in to invest or partner in some way.
We were interviewed and demoed our product in a live stream by TechCrunch TV, BBC news, and Inc. Magazine.
Day 2 | May 10:
Since we only exhibited on Monday, we were able to explore and discover some really cool startups, find additional strategic B2B partners and listen to the presentations and Battlefield pitches.
We had a few follow-up meetings from the introductions we made the day before.
We were able to sit in and hear from Uber and Facebook, two companies that we align with in strategy and utilize greatly for marketing.
Day 3 | May 11:
Today is Hardware Alley, where people will be featuring their products. Jessica Alba is speaking about the Honest Company and the winner of The Battlefield will be announced. Unfortunately, we will miss it since we will be heading back to the airport. [Startup life back in Georgia calls!]