Today’s Featured BizSpark Startup is Tagboard from Redmond, Washington.
Experts say if the hashtag is the next URL, Tagboard is building the next generation browser. For the Tagboard executive team, the idea goes deeper and wider than just technology. It delves into the very heart of what makes a community – and how that community works together.
It’s an idea so simple in concept that it began almost as a classic movie scene: Dishes clattering, people laughing and murmuring in the background and two guys, seated in a restaurant, drawing on a napkin on the table. Tagboard’s goal, they said, would be build tools to encourage the creation of online communities, put a spotlight on the best content and best voices out there, and turn a traditionally one-way, online conversation into a two-way dialogue – all by using the hashtag to unify the conversation.
“Tagboard allows people to see the entire hashtag conversation about a brand or a subject in one place,” says Josh Decker, CEO. “We pull it all in together and give users powerful redisplay tools to then host that conversation on their website or their mobile apps, and even on screens large and small – such as those in stadiums.”
“Hashtags are a great way of bringing people together around a shared interest, bringing siloed conversations into one place,” says Tim Shimotakahara, COO. “Historically, each discussion forum or social network just lived within its own little walled garden. With Tagboard, they all come together.”
Shimotakahara says the company joined the Microsoft BizSpark program during its early days, at a time when Tagboard was capital-constrained. Sean Sperte, Chief Product Officer, adds that nearly every startup struggles with taking its first step to find its real balance as a company.
“For us, BizSpark was one of those first steps,” says Sperte. “It was an immediate and confident step that we could take into the business world, with tools that were relevant and easy to use and immediately accessible. We could just start doing work and not worry about the logistics of what we were doing.”
Decker says that the BizSpark portal showed them all of the different tools that were available to startups, including servers, cloud access and technical education.
“We could see where Tagboard could potentially go,” he says, “even if some of the backend technologies weren’t important to us at the time. We knew we would have access to those and other things we needed as we grew.”
That growth is moving quickly as Decker and his team continue to follow the startup’s mantra: “Every community needs a hashtag and every hashtag need a Tagboard.”
“What BizSpark did for us was simplify something that could be quite complicated and expensive. It was turn-key. It was simple. It was fast. And it really, for us, was one less thing for us to worry about, which allowed us to move quickly in the market.”
Microsoft is helping these startups succeed through its BizSpark program. To join or see other startup stories, visit us at our website here. To listen to our startups, check out these podcasts on devradio here.
About BizSpark: Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps startups succeed by giving free access to Microsoft Azure cloud services, software and support. BizSpark members receive up to $750 per month of free Microsoft Azure cloud services for 3 years: that’s $150 per month each for up to 5 developers. Azure works with Linux and open-source technologies such as Linux, Ruby, Python, Java and PHP. BizSpark is available to startups that are privately held, less than 5-years-old and earn less than $1M in annual revenue.