Pelonkey at 2015 SXSW Interactive

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Austin, is it time to come back yet?

It was just a couple months ago that our CEO Nicole and social media intern Danielle hit the road in their swanky Chevy Volt, courtesy of Buick and Digital DC, and headed to Austin, TX to exhibit Pelonkey at SXSW Interactive. 22 hours of driving led them through Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, and parts of Texas where they met local talent, checked out the entertainment scene (or at least what they could see of it during their hour-long rest stops), and spoke to a few performers about their life on the stage.

Once in Austin, Nicole and Danielle hit networking events, parties after parties, and conferences meeting local and remote companies and representatives, their only goal to make sure that everyone knew the name Pelonkey by the time they left. Arriving with a fairly open game plan, the two also spent time in the convention center and on the city streets checking out talented performers (and not only musicians!) that make Austin the live music capital of the country.

The highlight, for sure, was taking part in the Monday night WeDC House event, which was the place to be. Pelonkey was the most sought-after table inside, passing out swag left and right, and DJ Neekola made an appearance outside, spinning between live acts as the evening’s host. A surprise visit and shout out from DJ Kool sealed the deal as the best night of SXSW! No doubt about it, Pelonkey will definitely be back next year.

Throughout all of SXSW and the journey traveling to Austin from DC, Nicole and Danielle had their GoPro turned on, gathering footage of daily events, parties, and interviews with local entertainment.

Below, check out our little photo diary of Pelonkey’s trip to SXSW 2015!

 

We started our drive bright and early on Saturday morning, March 14. Taking a car down to Austin instead of a plane allowed us the freedom to stop whenever and wherever we wanted to explore. We were out to discover any kind of local talent we could. After conducting some research and outreach at home before the trip, it turned out that hitting the streets yielded the best results. On Day 1, from Knoxville to Nashville to Memphis, the Pelonkey duo was uncovering talent and native flair around every corner. And also eating some crazy good southern BBQ while enjoying the sites!

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On the second and last exhausting and exhilarating day of the road trip (you try squeezing 22 hours of driving into two days without wanting to stop, drop, and nap), we were anxious to finally arrive in Austin. We took a pit stop in Little Rock and then flew straight on to Texas, where we only stopped for more BBQ (never enough) and finally arrived in the heart of downtown Austin. Our first party (and main event!) that evening was with Tech Cocktail at Maggie Mae’s. From there, we wandered the city streets, hopped to more bars and parties, made new friends, and soaked up as much of Austin as we could until 3am, running on fumes from little sleep.

        

Continuing with the motto “sleep is for the weak”, we were up and at ’em Monday morning preparing for a long day in Austin. The first half of the day was spent party-hopping, chatting up new people, plotting and planning the Pelonkey launch, and sniffing out free food & drink. Finally, after a focus meeting, it was time to get ready for the We DC House event, where DJ Neekola donned her pink ‘do to hit the decks and Danielle worked the Pelonkey table inside. We DC has been a great supporter of Pelonkey, and partnering with them for their SXSW event was just one of many collaborations to come. Thank you guys so much for helping to bring us to Austin and for putting on such a great party! You guys rock!

                        

The highlight of the night was when Neekola was blasting “Let Me Clear My Throat”, and DJ Kool himself walked over to say “Hey, that’s my song!” He grabbed the mic and gave Neekola and Pelonkey a shout-out, essentially rocking both the party and our world.

The last few days of SXSW, Nicole and Danielle did more of what they came to do: network. Beautiful Austin weather followed them everywhere, and introductions were made to individuals and companies from all across the country.

We are so grateful we were able to go to SXSW 2015, and we can’t stress enough how much we learned and how many great contacts we made. Pelonkey is close to launching, and the excitement we felt in Austin surrounding our venture and the tech culture in general was infectious! Thanks to everyone who helped get us to Austin, and we can’t wait to come back! 

              

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What we learned in Vegas at Tech Cocktail Celebrate

The Pelonkey Team had an amazing time out in Vegas this past week for Tech Cocktail Celebrate! We easily had the coolest booth at the expo, and Max Major and DJ Neekola tore up the pitch competition, impressing all the attendees, judges, and mentors with their passion and vision for the company.

We learned some very important tips and lessons from the many great speakers and panelists at the conference, including 1776 Co-Founder, Donna Harris! Some of these pointers that we felt were especially applicable for our company, we have shared below.

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1. Make your own path. We do not want to mimic or follow the rules and boundaries set by other companies, whether similar to Pelonkey’s goals or not. Pelonkey plans to completely revolutionize the event and entertainment industry, changing the way entertainers and party planners do biz together – that will take risks and traveling down the unbeaten path, a challenge we are more than excited to face!

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2. Be selective about whom you choose to partner with. The Pelonkey Team has worked very hard to bring our customers only the best in local partnerships for the company. We chose one of the most popular night venues in the city, Heist, to host our awesome entertainer events at; the Beat Refinery DJ school offers discounted classes and sessions to local DJs, who can also test to become Beat Refinery certified; Chuck Levin’s offers discounted equipment specials to Pelonkey musicians; Digital DC is our connect with the local DC government; EventsDC brings Pelonkey all the latest in events around the area as well as an in to the party planner side of things. We are always looking out for the best interests of our Pelonkey peeps!

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3. Know your audience and constantly customize your product to their needs. We want to know all the good stuff as well as what we can improve on here at Pelonkey – please reach out to us with any feedback! This site is for you all, so we want it to be the best experience possible.

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4. Be responsive on social media. Pelonkey’s company values focus our priorities on customer service. If you need something, we try to be as accessible as possible to your request, whether it’s in a tweet, email, FB message, text, you name it!

There are many other awesome tips we received from the pros at the Celebrate Conference, and we wanted to outline these four super important lessons we learned for all of our great supporters and users! Vegas was awesome, and we can’t wait to launch Pelonkey officially in early 2015! For more deets into what we did while at Tech Cocktail Celebrate, check out our previous blog post here.

Updates while in Vegas for Tech Cocktail Celebrate!

Pelonkey has been super busy while we’ve been at this fun conference! Tech Cocktail Celebrate has certainly not disappointed!

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DJ Neekola and Max Major wowed everyone at the expo yesterday, including the judges! With fellow Vegas magician Luke Dancy, founder of Social Mischief, the Pelonkey expo booth was by far the best of the bunch!

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With giveaways like Pelonkey shades, stickers, pens, Chuck Levin’s sponsored Go-Pro camera, headphones, and more, Pelonkey’s booth was blasting fun music, entertaining people with two magicians, handing out fun swag from our other sponsors like Events DC and Digital DC, and pitching up a storm to anyone within earshot!

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Neekola took full advantage of the speakers, mentors, and classes being offered throughout the day at the conference.

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With the Pelonkey team back here in DC tweeting and posting updates throughout the day, all the home fans were able to enjoy the Celebrate Conference just as much as the people in attendance!

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Pelonkey has had a marvelous experience being back in Vegas for Tech Cocktail Celebrate, and we can’t wait to announce the outcomes for the pitch competition! Stay tuned!

Pelonkey goes to the DC Crowdfunding Challenge!

Last week, the Pelonkey team headed out to attend the launch event for the DC Crowdfunding Challenge!

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Hosted by the National Crowdfunding Services and Digital DC with DC Innovates, the event wanted to raise awareness for the upcoming crowdfunding pitch competition and to harvest more DC Sharks.

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Pelonkey Advisory Board members Tony Cord and Max Major were in attendance, and Tony spoke on the basic goals of the Challenge on the Fish & Richardson rooftop.See what people are saying about the City’s efforts to help small, local businesses raise money!

Pelonkey Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Tony Cord

Tony Cord is our awesome connector and thinker here on the Pelonkey Advisory Board. Not only does he love to find interesting people and business to introduce us to, he is also very strategic about his advice. Years of experience in different DC sectors allow him to truly analyze Pelonkey‘s developments and figure out how to best help us reach the next platform of strong company formation!

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In addition to serving as one of our wonderful Advisory Board “cheerleaders”, Tony is on the board for multiple non-profits and organizations, including DC Innovates, which harbors the Digital DC Tech Fund, and the National Crowdfunding Services. Coming up is the first DC Crowdfunding Challenge, hosted by the National Crowdfunding Services, and Tony is very excited about it! In a format best described as Shark Tank meets Power to the People, “communities will be empowered like never before as the crowdfunding democratizes raising capital for projects, causes, and businesses, harnessing the power of social media and the Internet”.

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Tony has always been a go-getter and purveyor of helping people realize and accomplish their goals. He frequently volunteers in his community and promotes various local causes. Tony is also an angel investor and an entrepreneur, himself! He sees the need in the growing DC creative community for a business platform like Pelonkey, which will help so many entertainers get a better hold of their business and maximize on all the opportunity Pelonkey provides for them!

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When he is not working (rarely, he is always ready and looking for opportunity!), Tony likes to kick back to a nice glass of wine and cigar, preferably on a rooftop to watch the sunset with his guitar.

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Also a huge lover of beaches and the water, Tony aspires to travel the world. Enjoying his time with his four children and partner, Tina Palmer, Tony tries not to take himself too seriously and make sure he’s really living his life!

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We here at Pelonkey thrive off of Tony’s zest and energy! We are so proud to have him on our Advisory Board!

Digital DC teams up with Pelonkey for the Summer Kickoff Reception at Capitale!

Last month, Pelonkey provided two of our awesome DC DJs, DJ Costi and DJ Hi Def, to mix and mash up some super dope beats for Digital DC‘s Summer Kickoff Reception!

Hosted by Carlos Gray, Mayor Vincent Gray‘s son, the event brought together awesome people from the DC government, including 1776 mentor Erin Horne McKinney!

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Starting off the night was Pelonkey’s DJ Costi, feeling out the crowd with some upbeat lounge and house music. Halfway through, DJ Hi Def kicked into club mode, mixing in some hip hop and a little modern house. What a great vibe from the two of them!

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Capitale proved to be an excellent space for the networking party, which consisted of NFL Pro Sports, startups (mostly from WeWork, another event sponsor), and real estate members.

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St. Louis Rams Safety, Rodney McLeod, was in attendance with a few of his football buddies, attracting quite a crowd!

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With Lulu’s ice cream also in attendance sharing the delicious love, it was quite a successful event all around!

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Pelonkey was happy to be a part of the Summer Kickoff Reception!

@Pelonkey Founder&CEO @DJNeekola Attends @The_Digital_DC #Launch

Digital DC hosted its launch party on the rooftop of City Market on O St earlier this month. Mayor Vincent Gray chose this as a platform to help bring attention to DC as the nation’s forerunner city and leader in the country for tech innovation.

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DJ Neekola attended the launch to help boost awareness of her tech startup, Pelonkey, as well as participate in the growing interest of DC’s tech community, catching the attention of many VCs, angel investors, entrepreneurs, and many others looking into the city’s growing innovative business ideas.

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DJ Neekola had a great time at the launch event! Digital DC is a great initiative for startups like Pelonkey to gain recognition and get pushed to the right people who will really help take the business to the next level.

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Through all of the great resources right here in DC, entrepreneurs can boost their business to the world, making Washington a bright beacon of startup innovation.

Digital DC: http://digitaldc.co

DC Innovates: http://www.dcinnovates-us.org/tech-fund

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/digital-dc-to-debut-this-week-with-venture-fund-corridor-aimed-at-growing-tech-sector/2014/02/28/00962b0-9e57-11e3-a050-dc3322a94a7_story.html

Biz Journals: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/techflash/2014/02/gray-administration-plans-fund-tech.html?page=all

In The Capital: http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/2014/06/03/digital-dc-now-wants-startups-applications-to-decide-how-to-spend-1m/ and http://inthecapital.streetwise.co/2014/03/06/mayor-gray-announces-digital-dc-tech-fund-and-corridor-but-is-he-missing-the-point/

Tech Cocktail: http://tech.co/event/digital-dc and http://tech.co/digital-dc-2014-04