Seesmic’s Wild SXSW Rooftop Bash Goes Down in Startup History Follow Jan 01, 2008 · 3 mins read
Seesmic’s Wild SXSW Rooftop Bash Goes Down in Startup History
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The buzz around South by Southwest 2008 centered on Twitter’s explosive growth and its plans to monetize and evolve beyond a simple microblogging tool.

Riding on Twitter’s rising popularity wave was Seesmic, one of the first companies building a desktop Twitter client with added features for power users craving more customization and control.

Seesmic was the hot new startup launched by serial entrepreneur Loïc Le Meur, fresh out of selling his previous company Tictoc to French financial firm Kepler. Le Meur, an energetic and already well-connected blogger in the startup scene, set out to gather attention for Seesmic in the middle of lively SXSW conversations swirling around the 140-character platform’s future.

The Vehicle: An Unforgettable Rooftop Party

Le Meur decided to make a splash by throwing a buzzworthy bash atop Austin’s popular Mexican restaurant Iron Cactus. The crowd gathered on the sixth floor overlooking 6th street, surrounded by Downtown Austin’s glowing cityscape under a clear night sky. With the Tool concert blasting from across the street at the same time, Seesmic’s party captured a frenetic SXSW energy electrifying the air.

Cold beer flowed freely as dot-com era legend Jason Calacanis DJ’ed the event, cranking out thumping beats. Tech early adopters, bloggers, founders and VC investors all schmoozed over drinks, including Digg’s Jay Adelson, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Uber’s Travis Kalanick and young journalist Mashable founder Pete Cashmore. Tech influencer Robert Scoble roamed the party wearing a custom denim Twitter jacket given to him by the company’s CEO Evan Williams earlier that day.

Seesmic’s Platform Debut

Amidst all the fanfare, Le Meur used the spotlight to preview Seesmic’s nascent Twitter desktop platform that included features like multiple Twitter account management, filtering, analytics and data portability. Tech bloggers surrounded Le Meur eagerly examining the upcoming Seesmic product roadmap and alpha screenshots on his laptop.

Le Meur, clad in jeans and an iconic orange conference badge typically worn only by speakers and VIPs, exalted Seesmic’s goal to build a new type of social web desktop perfectly suited for consuming real-time Twitter content. He welcomed the diaspora of Twitter application builders pioneering consumer use cases for the young communications medium.

The Party Hits Iconic Status

Seesmic’s sensational Iron Cactus gathering entered SXSW myth and cemented Le Meur as a key character bolstering Twitter’s viral momentum. This event encapsulated a fleeting yet exceptional moment where stars aligned as developers, technologists, bloggers and founders came together under one roof (or rooftop) to celebrate an emerging Twitter ecosystem bursting with business potential.

It embodied Austin’s dynamic convergence culture fusing the independent music scene and counterculture roots with high-tech innovations birthing at the time.

Most importantly, it catalyzed Seesmic’s early startup growth. Just days after SXSW, Seesmic closed a $6 million Series A funding round led by Opus Capital. It rode the Twitter Application hype-cycle to fast user adoption. TechCrunch named Seesmic the best Twitter desktop client for power users that same year.

Before its SXSW coming out party atop Iron Cactus, Seesmic was just another unknown seed stage hopeful plotting to exploit Twitter’s new platform. But after throwing Austin’s wildest bash of 2008, Seesmic etched itself into Silicon Valley startup lore.

Today, Seesmic stands as one of the most legendary startup origin stories from a conference renowned for launching new tech eras, icons, and overnight sensations who’ve changed how we communicate.

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