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Keep it short, get something sweet

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  • | 8:18 p.m. November 23, 2011
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Tampa area technology entrepreneur Tony Duda has an affinity for concise writing, and it recently won his firm a chance at some unexpected venture capital funding.

Duda, CEO of Talent Sprocket, a Largo-based human resources firm, read a tweet Nov. 4 from Raleigh, N.C.-based Southern Capital Ventures. The message: “Looking for a startup to pitch at Duke Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Conference on Sat 11/5. Best 140 characters wins.”

Duda tweeted back: “@jcaplin Talent Sprocket is a self-funded ready to rock hiring analytics tool actively spreading corporate hiring bliss. Ask our clients.”

The brief tweet conversation — messages sent over Twitter are fewer than 140 characters — was a hit. Duda and his firm won the coveted spot at conference, which gives startups an opportunity to deliver elevator pitches in front an audience of 400 investors and students.

Talent Sprocket is run out of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a business incubation outlet formerly called STAR TEC. Founded in 2009, Talent Sprocket uses a patent-pending online system to help clients create a database of the most qualified candidates for a given position.

“We aren't a placement firm,” says Duda, an executive recruiter for five years before he launched the firm. “We are more of a complement to firms' existing hiring practices.”

As far the last-day tweet to win the conference slot, Duda tells Coffee Talk he didn't have high expectations. “I was amazed that they tweeted me back that afternoon,” he says.

Duda had four minutes to speak before investors at the conference. He hasn't heard from any venture capital firms yet, but he says the exposure and networking was worth the trip, and the tweet.

Adds Duda: “The weirdest things can happen to you to get you traction.”


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