Banjo is strumming a new tune in social-media use

By Jon Swartz, @jswartz

AUSTIN, Texas - Not at SXSW, and feeling left out? (Or relieved?)

One app, which is fast gaining members and a reputation among tech's heavyweights, promises to transport you here, to vicariously experience the panels, parties and pandemonium.

Banjo(iOS and Android) delivers real-time content from any location in the world by aggregating information from publicly shared information on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and - recently - Google+.

"If you can't be in Austin or at a hockey game, concert or breaking news event, you can view photos, videos and comments from others at those events," says Banjo CEO Damien Patton.

"We're taking you to places you can't be," he says.

Banjo, which attended SXSW last year, is a long-term success story here. Last year, it had 900,000 members. Today, it's 4.2 million. This month, it inked a partnership with Google+ and shared the stage with Twitter at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

With more deals pending, it might lead to Patton fulfilling his life-long dream of getting back into NASCAR. The one-time chief mechanic in NASCAR started Banjo, in part, to return to racing.

"I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and be in tech, to impact people," Patton says. "And I'd like to get back into NASCAR. Banjo could get me there."


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