Take a drive through the Midwest and you'll see a lot of a little. You'll see cornfields. You'll see flat farmland. And you will certainly see grazing cows. And although many people joke about the snoozefest that is endured while driving through the Midwest, it's that uneventful, flat farmland that has helped to jumpstart one of the coolest startups at SXSW.
Don't believe me? Take a look at AgLocal, a startup based out of Overland Park, Kansas, picked to pitch at this year's SXSW Accelerator.
Co-founded by Naithan Jones and Jacob McDaniel, AgLocal is a marketplace that connects independent farmers and producers with the demand of local businesses and consumers. AgLocal is made up of a mobile app as well as a website that aim to provide producers with better local options for cheaper, higher-quality meat. In other words, AgLocal brings "power to the meat lover."
"I am really looking forward to the energy, the creativity and the people at South by Southwest," said Naithan Jones of his anticipated venture. "South by Southwest is a hub of ideas. I cannot wait to spread the word about AgLocal there."
AgLocal is one of 48 contestants (chosen from a pool of 670!) to participate in SXSW's Accelerator on March 12-13 in Austin, Texas. The Kansas-based startup will compete in the Innovative Web Technologies portion of the Accelerator against Trapit, OneID, Scrible, Prism Skylabs, Viztu Technologies, BrandYourself.com and ZeroDesktop (a majority of which reign from California).
According to Jones, AgLocal is extremely unique to the other competitors in the Innovative Web Technologies category.
"We are not a tech company, we are a people company that uses technology," he explains. "We stand out and have the ability to be very unique because we have much more to educate people on. We are also one of the only companies in the Midwest featured at SXSW. This is a great opportunity to talk about innovation coming out of the Midwest. None of this would have been possible without the support we've gotten from Kansas City."
In addition to being honored as a contestant in the Accelerator at SXSW, AgLocal is also a featured startup for the Startup America portion of SXSW, which is to take place on March 12th in Startup Village.
But what's next for AgLocal after SXSW? Because the Midwest startup will be experiencing so much exposure down in Austin, the startup is preparing for big things during the remainder of 2012. According to Jones, AgLocal will continue to build by running hackathons, hiring new interns, collaborating with developers in San Francisco, finalizing products and closing major deals.
Best of luck to Naithan Jones and then entire AgLocal team during SXSW! We will be rooting for you from Kansas City!
How does Naithan Jones Think Big?
"I always ask myself what I can do that's bigger than myself. I want to work with people who understand a problem and have a desperate need to help solve it. That's my take on startups in general. I also believe it's important to take life seriously, but not yourself seriously."
-- Naithan Jones, AgLocal
Follow AgLocal! @AgLocal
Follow me! @AllisonThinkBig