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Just this past September his company launched on the TechCrunch Disrupt S.F. stage and a few weeks later revealed it had a million-dollar seed round from venture capital heavyweights like Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock, Kleiner Perkins, and others.
As far as innovation responding to a need, Zumper's goal will resonate with a San Francisco audience. Zumper's mission is to create a more efficient and transparent apartment rental market. Georgiades is building from the ground up. He's getting out there and cultivating the relationships with property owners, real estate brokers, and mom and pop landlords so that Zumper's listings are the most accurate and up-to-date. Zumper launched in San Francisco in September of 2012 (getting overloaded almost shortly after going live), followed by New York, and, as of last month, Chicago. It's no wonder he hasn't prepped for his pitch.
When entering new markets, Georgiades says, "It's a pure hustle." The name of the game is accurate data, and Zumper hopes to build listings where all of the information the user is looking at is up-to-the-second at all times. Goodbye crappy, text heavy, inaccurate listings. Where Padmapper succeeded was laying out rentals on a map. The problem: It scraped all its listings from Craigslist. Zumper has the map element, but all the listings are ones it has secured. So if an apartment is listed on the Zumper map, it's an actual rentable apartment. Not something that's been gone for a week.
For the British expat and former consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, the start-up culture is a new one to maneuver through, but one thing he has realized is that there is no time for waiting around. "One thing I have learned while [launching a start-up] is that you have to force serendipity. ... There is no time to wait for it," he says.
And he's adapted fast. As the conversation continues it becomes harder and harder to picture Georgiades' past life in a suit and tie. Let alone as a speechwriter/economic strategist for a conservative party in the British 2010 election. "I just knew I wouldn't last forever in a suit and tie," he says. At 31 years old he's shed his corporate uniform. The comfort of the hoodie suits him. Georgiades is looking forward to SXSWi's opening party at the Palmer Events Center in the evening. He and his team don't get much down-time at home. They are always flooded with work. It's good to be busy. They're definitely looking forward to some drinks.
Just as soon as he gets some rest.
On Saturday, it's wet out but manageable. The Koozoo street team got rained on a bit the day before, but it didn't prevent them from getting around. The Zumper crew, meanwhile, made great use of the free beer and booze at last night's opening party. After sneaking in a bit of a nap and some dinner, Georgiades was re-energized. He and his team were all smiles as they raised their drinks, cheersing to downtime.
It's a little past 10 a.m. and Ryan Singel, founder and CEO of Contextly, apologizes for being tardy. "The bike ride was a bit further than I thought," he says. Another bike commuter. Singel, former co-founding editor of Wired.com's award-winning Threat Level blog, is used to being the one asking the questions — not fielding them. Yet another first-timer to the Austin conference, he's got 40 or so company T-shirts in tow. They showed up the night before he flew out. "Do I just give them out to people who ask?" he says. It's a foreign concept, but his smile indicates he is looking forward to handing out that first one later on in the day.
Singel's journalistic ideals spawned Contextly when he got fed up with the difficulty he had linking his previous stories. The app is a way to provide publishers with tools that will increase retention by providing more relevant related-links content. As a plug-in for Wordpress, Contextly will give users the ability to set the content they link to using analytics to monitor which stories are most popular with the publisher's audience. Continuity in news is key, and giving readers better options will be a way to strengthen readership and limit drive-by visitors. Singel knows that Contextly won't catch fire here at the conference. That was never his intention.
The Atlanta native is here because Jennifer 8. Lee, New York Times alum and co-founder of Plympton, a digital literary studio, encouraged Singel to enter SXSW Accelerator. He had originally inquired about possibly being a sponsor at Lee's "Awesomest Journalism Party. Ever. III," which is exactly what it sounds like, but the costs were too high. Unless he wanted to work the door, which is something Singel hasn't done since his earliest days in journalism.
That initial interest snowballed into applying for Accelerator last October and now, here he is. "It turns out, this start-up competition is a lot bigger than I thought it was," he says. He just wanted to sponsor a party at Interactive for some visibility. But now he'll have two uninterrupted minutes with an audience that can boost his company probably better than any other group of seated people on the planet.