Two young entrepreneurs based in St. Petersburg are making a mark with a tech startup, one conference at a time.
The platform EXMO helps convention and workshop organizers plan for an interactive experience with attendees in ways that a printed program won't allow.
I met team EXMO at the recent TEDx: Exploring the Past, Embracing the Future conference held at the Palladium.
The schedule for the daylong event came in the form of an app that attendees had to download on their smartphones.
Though the startup officially launched Oct. 9, by the time the first TEDx session started, the team had worked with about 100 conferences, workshops and festivals worldwide.
Todd Goldberg, co-founder of EXMO, met his business partner Karl White in Tampa at Startup Weekend Tampa Bay in November 2012.
Less than a year later, the team formed a partnership with Eventbrite — a global company that provides tools to purchase tickets or plan major events.
"We make events, conferences and workshops more interactive so they can be more organized," Goldberg said.
The platform is ideal for organizers wanting better ways to engage attendees, share relevant information, program changes and social media information, including hashtags, so they can get quick feedback.
"We're a virtual team," said Goldberg, when asked to describe the team. "Karl works out of Tampa, while I'm based here in St. Pete. We have an intern who also works here in St. Pete."
Although the app was a quick hit at TEDx, the EXMO founders are hoping to get the word out to more meeting and event planners.
"The problem we have is getting information about what we offer in front of convention planners and the people who can benefit the most from it," Goldberg said.
Though there are similar platforms on the market, EXMO offers a few unique perks, including ticket integration. The platform can also track ticket sales.
"We powered events of all kinds — workshops, festivals," Goldberg said. In Tampa Bay, they've done TEDx, Working Woman Conference, BarCamp and Life of an App events.
Goldberg said he's excited about the growing tech industry in the Tampa Bay area, adding that this area is great for startups. More information on the platform is available at getexmo.com.
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Along with the announcement that Trader Joe's is coming to Fourth Street came the fact that a few popular spots would be displaced.
But the news is not all glum. Some Sunshine City residents are practically giddy that at least two spots, Ringside Cafe and Casita Taqueria, have found new homes in popular locations in downtown and the Grand Central District.
Although some in the northeast corridor have complained about losing these neighborhood spots, Historic Kenwood residents welcome the addition of a new restaurant on Central Avenue.
When reached Thursday afternoon, owner Don Arvin confirmed that Casita Taqueria's future home will be at 2663 Central Ave.
"It's an old gas station and we're hoping to open in mid January," he said, adding that he's really excited and a bit frustrated with the short notice. Businesses in the Trader Joe's block were generally given until the end of the year to leave.
Arvin said he was really struck by how both the neighborhood and business district have reached out to welcome him to his new location.
Just a thought: By the time Trader Joe's opens late next year, there will be four grocery stores on Fourth Street between 38th and 27 avenues N and another Publix about a mile south at Third Street and Third Avenue S in University Village.
Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 893-8874. Follow @StPeteSandi on Twitter.