Local business makes top five of Forbes contest

After an intense round of voting in September and a meeting with Forbes Magazine executives last month, the owners of a local business, Audissey Guides, have made it into the top five in Forbes’ “Boost Your Business” Competition. Audissey, a company that produces audio walking tours for iPods and smartphones, has its best shot at winning the $100,000 grand prize but needs your vote.

"Everyone helped get us into the finals of this contest," said Audissey owner Rob Pyles. "Now we’re asking the neighborhood to vote one more time, to help us bring the victory back."

You can find the link to vote at www.audisseyguides.com or you can vote directly at www.bit.ly/voteforaudissey.

“Every vote will help us,” said Pyles.

Whether in Boston, New York, or New Orleans, Audissey Guides works by just downloading a tour of a city for free from the Audissey website. You then simply walk through the city as local celebrities guide you through their hometown. It’s the next best thing to having a local friend actually show you around.

The company was chosen from thousands of applicants and advanced from the top twenty to the top five after a round of voting in September.

Pyles, and his wife and partner, Juliet, then traveled down to New York City to pitch their business.

“For the finals, Forbes Magazine flew us and the other finalists on an all expenses paid trip to New York City,” said Pyles. “There, each business presented their business plan to a panel of five expert judges, who were investors and CEOs. T

he judge’s decision will make up 50 percent of the final vote while the last round of online voting from the public makes up the other 50 percent.”

Audissey met with a presentation coach, in order to prep for the big Forbes presentation and had the chance to get feedback about its presentation, and make some tweaks that turned out to be helpful.

“Then, the following day was the big presentations,” said Pyles. “We walked into the board room, stared down the judges, and launched our presentation. It was like American Idol for entrepreneurs. I was just hoping there was no Simon Cowell.”

Pyles admits that he and Juliet were a little nervous at first but were still confident.

“We knew everybody back home was pulling for us,” said Pyles. “Even though we were in New York, we felt like we had a home court advantage.”

According to Pyles, the presentation lasted ten minutes and even during the Q&A session, where the judges had the chance to grill Pyles with questions the Audissey team successfully anticipated most of the questions.

“Nothing caught us off-guard,” said Pyles. “We walked out of there feeling good. Our heads were held high. We figured, win or lose, we gave it our best shot, and we felt good about it. No regrets, no complaints. And that was the way to do New York. We felt like stars, getting a once in a lifetime opportunity to pitch our business before these experts – with $100,000 on the line. And it felt good to have our idea, our hard work, and our creativity rewarded.”

Audissey has been hired by some of the biggest cities in the US, including Washington DC, Houston, Texas, and Boston. They have produced four different tours in the Boston area: the Boston Public Garden, the Downtown Harborwalk, the Fort Point Channel, and their tour of “Secret Boston”. Their Harborwalk tour features Mayor Thomas Menino in the introduction.

In the past six months, they’ve won three of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the distinguished MUSE Award from the American Association of Museums. Their audio tour of the Boston Public Garden also just won the Media Award from the National Association of Interpretation.

All of their tours are available for free on their website at www.AudisseyGuides.com.

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