Local startup Feathr wins SXSW competition, plans move to Austin

Feathr, a Gainesville networking app startup company, won a “Relocate Your Company to Austin” competition at the South by Southwest expo in Texas over the weekend, beating out 300 other hopefuls for a spot at the table and four other Top 5 competitors for the prize.

Feathr is an app that started out as a digital business card service, but has evolved over two years into a networking service that allows conference goers to connect with each other, keep up with schedules, connect with speakers and follow up with each other, among other uses. The company is close to cash-flow positive, said co-founder Aidan Augustin, and the current focus is on adding value to conferences for exhibitors, sponsors, event organizers and conference goers by intelligently suggesting other attendees to speak to and panels to attend based on profiles and social media. Augustin called it the right exposure to the right people.

Seven out of the eight-person team will move to Austin between now and August, said Augustin, though the winning terms say that a core team of two to three employees have to relocate within two months.

Feathr’s relocation prizes include $100,000 in investments and up to $150,000 in services, including a year of free storage from Austin-based SpareFoot, a relocation package from Austin-based uShip, a one-year FoundersCard membership and membership in Austin’s Capital Factory incubator program.

Augustin said that the company had been contemplating a move to a city with a larger conference presence, but hadn’t committed to the idea. Austin was a candidate city, he said, so the company applied for the competition when they found out about it a couple of months ago.

“We love Gainesville,” he said. “It’s been an awesome place to start a company. We had access to UF and all of the interns and graduates it provides and a low cost of living, which was essential to getting us to where we are. But there are challenges, too, that can’t be solved overnight. It’s a small university town, and for the what we do there’s not a lot of conferences in town.”

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