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Seattle consumer startups nab top positions in SXSW Interactive Accelerator

SEATTLE, Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, Seattle-based startups have claimed three of the eleven Social Technology slots in the highly competitive SXSW Interactive Startup Accelerator program.

Yabbly, the mobile community for smart, helpful shoppers and LikeBright, the social matchmaking service that helps you meet your friends' friends and match your friends up, were both named as two of the eight finalists in the Social Technologies category for the 5th annual competition. Additionally, Seattle-based DiscoveryJar, a platform for discovering and organizing video recipes, was selected as one of three alternates. 

SXSW Accelerator is the marquee event at the SXSW Interactive Festival's Startup Village, allowing the competitors to showcase their most impressive innovations to a panel of celebrated judges and a live audience. More than five hundred young companies applied to present their concepts in 2013, but Yabbly and LikeBright were selected to be among the eight finalists in one of the most buzz-worthy of the seven different categories.

Seattle's standing as the most represented city in this year's social category is significant according to Tom Leung, founder and CEO of Yabbly.

"Seattle is not conventionally considered a hotbed of early-stage, consumer-focused startups but there's an incredible amount of consumer-focused entrepreneurial activity percolating here in the Northwest," he said. "Yabbly, LikeBright, and DiscoveryJar participating in this year's SXSW Startup Accelerator is great evidence of Seattle's recent momentum in the consumer startup space."

These companies are eager to show the best and the brightest in tech what they've been cooking up for social networking.

"LikeBright's mission is to eliminate loneliness using the shared social ties that connect people, and we can't think of a better platform to share our mission with the world than South by Southwest," LikeBright founder and CEO, Nick Soman said.

"This is one of those opportunities you dream about as an entrepreneur, so we're obviously thrilled about the chance to share our karma-driven approach to how the world can make great shopping decisions," Yabbly founder and CEO, Tom Leung said. 

"Some truly ground-breaking and disruptive companies once stood where this year's 56 SXSW Accelerator finalists will pitch to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and press," SXSW Accelerator Event Producer, Chris Valentine said. "The bar has been set quite high – 47 percent of previous finalists have received funding, and 10 percent have been acquired. I am confident that this year's SXSW Accelerator finalists will bring equally exceptional and unique products and services to the table, with high potential to impact their respective industries."

About Yabbly
Yabbly is a Seattle-based collaborative shopping service that helps people make great purchasing decisions through shared karma and matched conversations between thoughtful buyers.  The company's iPhone app is currently one of the top 10 App Store search results for "product reviews" and has been featured in Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, and Pando Daily.  Yabbly's founders previously worked at Google, Amazon, and Target; current investors include the former general counsel of Facebook, CPO of Acxiom, and former CEO of Immunex.

About LikeBright
LikeBright is a Seattle-based social matchmaking service that delivers friend-vetted dates to the 95% of singles who don't date online. NPR's Lauren Silverman notes that the company is "achieving the impossible: an even balance between men and women." LikeBright's founders hail from Amazon, and the company announced new funding last month from Microsoft's Bing Fund and Dr. Galen Buckwalter, the scientific founder of eHarmony.

About DiscoveryJar
DiscoveryJar is Seattle-based social platform which makes discovering and learning new recipes a breeze. Users share video recipes with the community and as people identify their favorite dishes, DiscoveryJar suggests new recipes to try based on their taste.

About SXSW Interactive
The 20th annual SXSW Interactive Festival will take place March 8-12, 2013 in Austin, Texas. An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the event features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line-up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world of technology. Join us March 2013 for the sessions, the networking, the parties, the 16th Annual SXSW Interactive Awards, SXSW Startup Village, the SXSW Gaming Expo, the SXSW Trade Show and, of course, the inspirational experience that only SXSW can deliver. SXSW Interactive 2013 is sponsored by Miller Lite, Monster Energy, Esurance, IFC, Yahoo!, American Express, PepsiCo, Pepsi, Freecreditscore.com, Chevrolet, American Airlines, Oreo, AT&T and The Austin Chronicle.

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