Give us your elevator pitch:
Social Q&A is an event organizer’s best friend, improving how audience question-and-answer is conducted in almost any environment. Accessible from any Internet-enabled device, Social Q&A allows participants to submit questions, which can then be up-voted by other audience members, giving the event host or moderator insight into which questions are most important to the entire group.
What makes your company/product different from your competition?
When compared against other audience response tools, Social Q&A has four main differentiators:
- Traditional ARS are based around the concept of polling, where the presenter asks the audience a question. Social Q&A works by allowing attendees to submit questions to the presenter.
- A handful of audience response products offer a Q&A feature, but the functionality is very limited; typically, only the presenter can see the questions being submitted. Social Q&A allows attendees to not only submit questions but also to see the questions other people are asking, and vote up the questions they want answered. This provides the presenter insight into which questions are most important to the entire group and results in a higher quality and more valuable Q&A session for everyone.
- Many audience response systems are hardware-based, which requires you to rent a set of devices (clickers), pass them out to attendees and then collect them afterwards. Social Q&A is Web-based, meaning attendees can use any device with an Internet browser.
- Other ARS only allow for use during the live presentation (when everyone is in the same room). Social Q&A is Web-based, which allows for 360 degrees of engagement (before, during and after).
What is it like to start a company in the Rust Belt?
The Chicago startup scene is thriving. We’re fortunate enough to be in close proximity to many talented tech entrepreneurs at 1871. The relationships we’ve built in Chicago have carried us a long way.
Tell us about your fundraising experience in the Rust Belt?
At this point, Social Q&A is entirely bootstrapped. We’ve met with a number of investors based in the Midwest, but we’re not actively seeking funding unless there’s an excellent strategic fit for our business.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
The biggest lesson we’ve learned is the importance and power of distribution. Strong distribution can make or break a company. Adwords and social media advertising are hot right now in the startup world, and there are a million different blogs / articles / webinars out there that make it seem so easy to monetize on those platforms. I think a lot of new entrepreneurs just assume that online ads will be their core acquisition channel and don’t realize how much work it can take to profitably optimize those channels.
There are so many other ways to distribute your product outside of online marketing and direct sales, many of which are far more profitable and effective. Building a strong distribution network is the quickest way to scale.
What is the future for your company?
We see a large opportunity to integrate Social Q&A into other event apps or webinar-type products. The original purpose of Social Q&A is for live, in-person meetings and events, but there is a significant growth in the trend of virtual attendance happening right now. It saves attendees time and money while delivering an experience similar to actually being at the event. One of the current drawbacks to virtual attendance is the inability to participate, but Social Q&A can fill that void.
Anything else you want to leave us with?
We’re always looking for new strategic partners to help distribute the product – other event apps, meeting planners, etc. We’d also love feedback from users. Anyone interested in trying out Social Q&A at an event can learn more at www.socialqa.com