“I want people to meet new people,” said Cole Wollak, its organizer.
To that end, he had everyone introduce themselves to a stranger and chat for about five minutes. That got the room talking technology.
The 90 minute event also featured three speakers who gave five minute presentations on their ventures.
First up, Dirk Elmendorf, founder of Rackspace, gave an overview of his latest project, Trucking Office. The startup creates accounting and fleet management software for small trucking companies.
“Trucking is a highly fragmented industry,” Elmendorf said.
In the U.S., there are 10 million trucks on the road but the average company has five trucks.
“We focus on companies with under 20 trucks,” Elmendorf said. Right now, those companies are using paper, pencils or their wives to track their expenses, he said.
“We help the small businesses that are really the backbone of our economy,” Elmendorf said. “On the back end, we make their business better.”
While Trucking Office’s competitors use CD-ROM-based software, they do everything online in the cloud. They also make sure their software works well on mobile phones, iPads and any kind of mobile device since many of the truckers access it on the go, Elmendorf said.
To get the word out about Trucking Office, Elmendorf said the company attends trucking shows and takes out Google Adwords. The software starts at $20 per month for two trucks.
Then Troy Toman, vice president at Rackspace gave an overview of Open Stack, the operating system for the cloud. This Rackspace video summarizes the company’s push into the cloud nicely.
Grapevine founders Eric Larson and Richard Ortega gave the final presentation on their customer review aggregator aimed at the restaurant industry. The site culls customer reviews from ten different review sites such as Yelp, Google and Trip Advisers and then sends an e-mail alert to a restaurant manager once a new review is posted.
The site launched on July and has 22 customers so far.