SocialGrow Needs YOU, and Your Five-Star Vote to Win Boston’s MassChallenge Competition
On June 11, 2010, we submitted our application for the first annual MassChallenge competition. Winners will be determined by the highest number of points from the judges' scoring, local experts' endorsements, and the public's (that's you!) voting on each company's idea.

I am writing this blog post to share with all of you a little bit about the competition itself (including the fabulous prizes which will help Microsoft BizSpark SocialGrow to succeed!), SocialGrow's entry (as only entrants' one-sentence "elevator pitches" and videos are publicly visible), and instructions for how to register and vote on the MassChallenge website.

How do we register, and then how do we vote five stars for SocialGrow on the MassChallenge website?

To view SocialGrow's elevator pitch and video, and to vote five stars for SocialGrow in the MassChallenge, you will need to first register as a "Supporter" on the MassChallenge website, and then go to the voting page to vote five stars for SocialGrow.

Step 1:
Register as a "Supporter" on the MassChallenge website at: http://www.masschallenge.org/competition/get-involved/. Note that no password is required, and you do not need to fill in all of the fields, just the required fields marked with red asterisks: username, e-mail address, first name, last name, and Captcha.

Step 2:
Complete MassChallenge's registration process by clicking on the activation link in your confirmation e-mail to validate your e-mail address, and then vote five stars for SocialGrow at: http://www.masschallenge.org/competition/team-pitches/socialgrow-inc by clicking on the fifth star (i.e., the last star on the right). Note that you will be able to vote only once for each team.

What IS the MassChallenge?

Sponsored by the state of Massachusetts, and designed to give a significant economic boost to the state of Massachusetts, the city of Boston, and its redeveloping waterfront, MassChallenge is "the largest-ever global startup competition to accelerate the launch and success of high-growth, high-impact new businesses". MassChallenge (video) is "designed to help entrepreneurs transform great ideas into great companies".

There will be 300 semi-finalists, 100 finalists, and 20 ultimate awardees. Finalists will receive Massachusetts resources including mentorship, work space, strategic advice, and networking opportunities to further their businesses. Ultimate awardees will receive cash awards, business guidance, and PR and marketing exposure from winning the competition. The objective of all of the awards is to help each startup to grow into a successful Boston-based business, creating new jobs and tax revenues.

Ending July 11, the first round of judging will determine the semi-finalists. Judging will be based on the teams' submission entries, endorsements, and public voting (which is why we need you!). Ending July 20, the second round of judging will determine the finalists. Judging for this round will be based on the teams' in-person pitches. Ending October 15, the third and final round of judging determines the ultimate awardees. Judging will be based on teams' in-person pitches, with the winners being announced at a formal awards ceremony.

What kind of information was SocialGrow asked to submit for their entry?

Along with sharing detailed information on our founders (Marsh, Ken, and Gary) and advisors (Dean, Raju, Charbel, and Mike), we were asked what customer "pain" we were addressing, and how we were solving it. We answered: It is time-consuming today for individuals and organizations to manually invite people to join their social networks. The SocialGrow application scans their emails and allows them to invite others to connect across multiple networks. Additionally, Social media marketers are challenged with finding ways to quickly and cost-effectively build their audiences. SocialGrow's application helps marketers to exponentially increase the reach and impact of their brands’ messaging by growing their social media audiences. Note that every answer had a strict character limit to keep everyone crisp and to the point.

We were also asked how people currently overcome the problem SocialGrow's solution will address. We answered: They don't. Today you have to manually invite people, one-by-one, to connect with you on your different social networks.

And finally, were were asked why we thought SocialGrow would succeed. We answered: We are going to succeed because our vision is to realize the human side of what our technology enables — new connections between people that might not have otherwise happened. Each new connection truly has the potential to be life-changing. Our application enables growth, not just the number of people one has in their multiple online networks, but the value received from the richness of having a large, diverse network.

To view all of the MassChallenge teams' submissions, click here; to view SocialGrow's submission, click here; and to view the entry form with all of the questions MassChallenge asked entrants, click here.

If you have not yet already done so, please take a minute now to register on the MassChallenge site, and give SocialGrow a five-star vote to help us win the mentorship, advice, guidance, networking, and free office space!

Tweet this blog post now by clicking here (must be logged into Twitter): Tweet.

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Latest comment by Ken Herron


A BIG "thank you" to all of the members of SocialGrow's network who are helping us to "get out the vote" for SocialGrow in the 2010 MassChallenge competition.

Want to be added to our list? Vote for us, and then tweet this blog post (feel free to use our shortened URL: http://j.mp/ccsfyZ) to help us spread the word to get more five-star votes!

I encourage you to check out all of these great people who have voted for and/or endorsed SocialGrow, and then follow them on Twitter:

Frank Sunder Frank Sunder Solutions helps growing businesses get off paper and use the internet to cut costs, build revenues, and increase profits @franksunder

Tim Feeley The MacGyver of product management @tim_feeley

Laurie Garbarino Find, follow, and share the news with Pinyadda @Laurie_bot

Marsh Sutherland Boston's best business networker @marshsutherland

Jennifer Brand Leading a team of PR professionals who know how to use public relations to increase your revenues @ProfitablePR

Kristin Dziadul Inbound Marketing Analyst for Backupify, blogger, and freelancer @KristinEDziadul

Cheryl Burgess Creative social media marketing strategist @ckburgess

David Hardy Senior operations, strategic planning and business development executive @davhardy

John Kent Marketing professional @johnjkent1

Abby Fichtner Microsoft ISV, BizSpark Startup and Network Partner evangelist @HackerChick

Brian Johnson Microsoft ISV, BizSpark Startup and Network Partner evangelist @jMPNEast

Ira Feldman High technology business development executive (check out his blog: HighTechBizDev.com) @Ira_Feldman

Sanjay Jain Microsoft ISV, BizSpark Startup and Network Partner evangelist (check out his blog) @SanjayJain369

Valery Zelixon Find, verify, audit, and inspect global wholesale suppliers with SupplierEvaluations.com @PeerEvaluations

Larry Gregory Microsoft's Chief of Staff for U.S. ISV, BizSpark Startup and Network Partner evangelism @larrygr

John Appler President of rec.fm Recommend products you love, help causes you care about @JohnAppler

Raju Matta Senior Director of Engineering, TripAdvisor

Odette Pollar Owner of Smart Ways to Work

Ben Saren Co-Founder and CEO of CitySquares.com @Jbsaren @citysquares

Michael Troiano holland-mark @miketrap @hollandmark

Michelle Hipwood Chief Operating Officer of The Capital Network

Doug Moore Chair of the Boston Chapter of TENG

Josh Fialkoff Josh Fialkoff Consulting @JoshFialkoff

Akira Hirai Managing Director of Cayenne Consulting, LLC @akira_hirai

Lori Sloan CEO and Founder of Gen S

Jon Frisch T3 Advisors @jfrisch21

Martin Burns ReferralBonus Check out ReferralBonus' MassChallenge entry page @referralbonus

Michael Gaiss Highland Capital Partners @MichaelGaiss @HighlandCapital

Steve Snyder Partner and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Gesmer Updegrove LLP @GesmerUpdegrove

Nick Guttilla Gunderson Dettmer, LLP @GundersonLaw

Tim Weaver President/Owner, Practical Tactical, LLC @Tim_Weaver

Tim Ehrlich Partner, Gunderson Dettmer, LLP @GundersonLaw

Wan Li Zhu Fairhaven Capital Partners

Jules Pieri Founder and CEO, Daily Grommet @julespieri @DailyGrommet

Gary Lombardo Owner, Ascend Sports Conditioning @garylombardo @ascendsports

Emily Dunn Owner, Exemplar Law Partners, LLC @emdunn

Dave Paradis Unica Corporation @daveparadis

Rich Johnston CohesionWorks

Stacie Andrews Owner and CTO, Provado Marketing Solutions, Inc. @Provado

Geoff Mamlet Principal, New Atlantic Ventures Managing Director, Cambridge Innovation Center

Tole Khesin 3Play Media @3playmedia

Crystal Kaiser TERRALEVER @TerraleverGal @Terralever

Dean Peck Harris Managing Partner, Silvermine Marketing @deanpeckharris

Shelly Lipton Community Direct Inc.

Alexander Z. Shapiro Director of Worldwide IT Applications & Services, Acronis Inc. @acronis

Chris Hurley VP, Corporate Development & Strategic Alliances, Thinking Phone Networks @thinkingphones

Graham Brooks .406 Ventures @GrahamBrooks

Sherry Alpert Sherry Alpert Corporate Communications @SherryAlpertPR

Bill McCambley, MS, CSCS, PES, MT New Jersey's Top Personal Trainer @BillMcCambley

Mark Cestari CEO & Publisher, Travel New England

Carol McManus President & CEO, Ywait4success LLC @Carol_McManus

Bridget E. Murray Attorney at Law @bmurraylaw

Kent Huffman CMO at BearCom Wireless Co-Publisher of Social Media Marketing Magazine @KentHuffman @SMMmagazine

Patrick Fitzgerald Owner and Creative Director, Blue Dog Unlimited

Sarah M. W. Maston CEO, Pantomath @pantomath

Alexander Shapiro Chief Information Officer/Vice President Information Services Division, American Student Assistance

Cece Kent President, Cece Kent Where fashion meets pavement

J. Singh Co-Founder, ConnectScholar, Inc.