Where are you from originally?
Upstate New York, Hudson Falls specifically
What university did you go to?
What brought you to Austin?
Opportunities in the video game industry
What is your group’s mission?
Celebrate creativity, convergence, education and entrepreneurism in games, film and music.
What need does it fulfill?
Captivate provides a place for a variety of groups who do not have venues to showcase their work. By providing a low-cost entry point pre-seed companies can gain market validation, students can compete for prestigious nation-wide prizes allowing the colleges validation of their programs. Professors and teachers will have professional development and can interact with professionals, finding the support they need. Conference material will have heavy focus on career development, hands-on professional development, entrepreneurial skills and much more.
What exactly does it bring to startups?
In two words: Market Validation. Captivate has a unique system that will provide each exhibitor with real data that can be used to validate a product. Nowhere else can you get the opinion of thousands of people who have experienced your product for such a low price.
What type of startup would benefit from your group?
Any start up that utilizes digital media of any kind. Whether traditionally tagged as games, social, web, film, animation, education or music all of these start-ups have more in common than is often thought.
What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the initiative?
Getting everyone on the same page about what the conference will shape up to be and ensuring Captivate does not cross lines with SXSW and RTX. Our goal is to enhance the culture of the creative industries, not detract from any other operating group. Captivate’s offerings are distinctly different from other conferences. One of our goals is to feed start-ups into SXSW’s exhibition floor.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Make networking one of your Rocks. That is, figure out what types of people you don’t know and then go make them your friends. A strong network will connect you to resources, provide feedback and often help you out in ways you haven’t considered. I mentioned Rocks – you need to focus on the big stuff and keep it 2-3 at most. Any more and you’ll lose focus on what is important and miss opportunities.
What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?
The City of Austin, Chamber of Commerce, Texas Film Commission, Music Commission and Texas Entrepreneur Networks have all been extremely helpful in getting Captivate off the ground! Each organization has offered support and advice in some excellent ways. I recommend all of these groups to anyone.