SXSW 2016 Recap

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This morning we woke up, looked at the rain outside our window, and thought, We need something exciting to counter this dreary day. And then BAM! it hit us – we never recapped our 2016 SXSW trip! And now the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds, ready to join us in our happy nostalgia of getting weird for another year in Austin, TX.

Partnering with our faves at EventsDC and WeDC, we had Rex Riot, Mathias., JC Flores, & DJ Neekola perform at various times throughout the entire weekend-long event. The DJs provided dance music during the day while attendees mingled at the WeDC house, as well as a little at night. In fact, Rex Riot helped warm up the crowd for QuestLove at the crazay closing party. We had a big presence, wearing our Pelonkey tees all over Austin.

 

In addition to that, our CEO, Nicole, was able to pitch to a ton of tech people at the WeDC house at their Tech Breakfast, which included 1776‘s very own Evan Burfield. And (yes, there’s more!) Nicole participated in the WeDC startup showcase along with other DC innovators, such as our new friends at BlueCart, to spread the good Pelonkey word to other SXSW attendees. At the showcase, we had a booth for one day where visitors could come by, ask questions, and generally be wowed by all things Pelonkey. It was a hit, and we were able to talk to so many new people!

Let’s see… what else? We saw Chromeo perform (can we just get them on our platform already & be BFFs??), met the COO of TechWeek at the TechWeek party, mingled some more, party-hopped, explored the city, met DC mayor, Muriel Bowser, were featured on Buzzfeed’s SXSW promo, saw some Events DC friends – Ashley & Greg – and hung out and rocked the WeDC house from Saturday-Monday.

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A huge, gigantic shoutout to Julie, Damelia, and Tiffany for being awesome, as always, and running the WeDC show like the #bosses they are! Wow, the WeDC has made a baller name for itself at SXSW; it’s always the party and place to be! We are so proud to call them Pelonkey supporters and friends. D’awww, DC love, y’all!

We like to think of ourselves as seasoned pros now that we’ve been to SXSW twice…and really it’s just a matter of time before people are partying it up at the PelonkHouse with some kickass DJs, performers, and peeps. 2017, here we come! #DoYouPelonkey

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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! 

              

Pelonkey Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Steve Britt with LTB Law

Steve Britt is an incredible law firm partner who helps advise the Pelonkey team on all matters legal! In addition to being a great Pelonkey Advisory Board member, Steve also mentors a lot of early stage companies. Currently, he is mentoring a graduate of Acceleprise and a new inductee into MACH 37. Steve also advises an interesting NSA hybrid storage company as well as a Big Data play, run by the former head of SAP Mobile. He has just been invited onto the board of MIT Enterprise Forum.

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Steve knows how hard it is to build a good company, so he utilizes his “strategic negotiating skills” to provide Pelonkey solid business advice based on his knowledge and extensive experience. Even in his personal job commitments, Steve sees the importance of providing people something beyond just the hourly rate. He helps clients understand that there are usually ways to reduce risk while still achieving primary goals. Especially for Pelonkey, avoiding surprises is important this early in a company’s life.

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Steve’s main hobby outside of his work is to chase his precious 4 year old around his house (Here it comes, everyone! Let’s all let out a giant “Awwww!”). He also enjoys a good round of golf, preferably in Italy, which is where his wife will argue is the most wonderful place to travel in the world! As if he didn’t impress you enough already, Steve has eaten rattlesnake before! Ewwwwww, but cool!

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We are super excited here at Pelonkey to have the amazing Steve Britt on our team! He makes for an incredibly smart and intellectual advisor.

Pelonkey Board Member Spotlight: Victoria Michael

Our lovely Pelonkey Advisory Board member, Victoria Michael, is one busy lady! Not only does she serve as our fabulous public relations member for Pelonkey, Victoria also owns her own boutique PR company, VM Public Relations, that caters to all sorts of fun companies! Every client is a new adventure for her.

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On top of owning her own company, Victoria is also currently on the board and various committees for multiple organizations, including the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association, Washington Humane Society, the Make a Wish Foundation, Save the Children, the Gio Gonzalez Foundation, Second Chance, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, Becky’s Fund, Knock Out Abuse, the list goes on! Victoria has been on over 100 board/committees over the past few years.

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All of this expertise makes her an astounding Pelonkey Board member! Victoria thinks Pelonkey will help small businesses and artists attain some of the common support that all big businesses have at their fingertips, all in one easy-to-use format. Pelonkey will expand to many industries, beyond our current focus on the DC DJ scene. Victoria’s best skills are her ability to network, build brands, and create exposure for those brands. This is why her main role is to get the word out about Pelonkey and garner as much awareness for the brand as possible.

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Outside of work, Victoria loves to travel, try new foods, and indulge in sports! Growing up, she was a big football fan, but now she really enjoys all sporting events – her new favorite being baseball. Our hometown Washington Nationals is her favorite team, and Vicotira is a PR consultant for them! She has worked with all of our favorite home sports teams in some capacity, including the Washington Capitals, Redskins, Wizards, Kastles, and DC United. She loves them all! Secretly, Victoria roots for the Buffalo Bills when our home team isn’t playing!

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A very patriotic lady, Victoria Michael’s favorite bird is the eagle, and if she could only sit in one type of chair for the rest of her life, it would be a lounge chair. She loves the tropical beach life! And we love her! Pelonkey is proud to have Victoria Michael on our Board for all of our PR support.