What kind of startup gathering to host?


5

I'm in a town with a relatively young startup community and I'm looking to start having some kind of gatherings. It is a university town, and there is a quasi-state-run startup accelerator here, but their events are usually exclusive to their members.

I'm picturing kind of a social hour, maybe with a tech presenter, or maybe just a bunch of folks meeting at a bar to discuss ideas.

There are a lot of tech companies in town, so lots of programmers and web designers. With the university, there are lots of young people and research. The services of the startup accelerator are definitely more late-term, so I'm hoping to attract people that just want to work on new things and meet other ambitious people.

My question is: what kind of organizations are there that I should try to affiliate with to get this kind of thing started? Should I affiliate at all, or just spam Facebook and put up flyers around town? If so, what do I call it?

I've been on sites like the co-working wiki, Lean Startup wiki, etc. What others are there? Has anyone out there done this?

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asked Jan 30 '10 at 01:10
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Frederick Cook
301 points
  • Just wanted to add that I think this is a great idea ... increasing tech innovation and business starts all over the country (and world) is critical to a healthy economy. – Mark Beadles 9 years ago

3 Answers


4

You should use Meetup.com for getting the word out. Lots of people looking specifically for face to face meetings use the site.

Of course, do all the other social networking sites, but don't spam them. Just make sure people can find your info. Also go through LinkedIn. Lots business focused people are on there.

If you already have some contacts, or course, make some flyers, create a mailing list and grow that way too.

answered Jan 30 '10 at 02:29
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Gabriel Magana
3,103 points
  • +1 for LinkedIn. One thing that people love is free food, free speaker or free drinks. That's something to also consider. – Jarie Bolander 9 years ago
  • +1 for don't spam! – Coder Dennis 9 years ago

2

If you're interested and willing to start this yourself: Have you checked out MeetUp.com for your area? That's a good way to find people with similar interests without appearing 'spammish'. In my city we have a fairly large group that's associated with tech/lifestyle/entrepreneur, the sort of thing you're talking about.

There's a MeetUp group some folks have built (http://www.meetup.com/techlifecolumbus/ ) and a LinkedIn group associated with it too. The latter, a LinkedIn group, might also be an option for you as well.

As far as sponsorship, Microsoft, Sun, and even the New York Times will often sponsor local tech groups.

answered Jan 30 '10 at 02:37
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Mark Beadles
502 points
  • I'm trying to dig up sponsorship links for Microsoft and the NYT. – Mark Beadles 9 years ago
  • "Jinx" to gmagana :) – Mark Beadles 9 years ago
  • Lol! Great minds think alike :-) – Gabriel Magana 9 years ago
  • This is great, thank you both! – Frederick Cook 9 years ago

1

Fredrick - great idea! A few suggestions:

  1. Be prepared for the commitment - organizing events can take a great deal of time. There are a lot of benefits, but realize once you start riding this tiger it can be tricky letting go.
  2. Don't be afraid to charge. Pricing is a message. If you are going to get more than 10 people, you need some form of venue (be it university lecture hall or bar) and that will cost.
  3. Use Meetup for your logistics - they do it right.
  4. It's your baby - so you get to decide/promote theme. Maybe it's more IT orientated that Startup orientated. You decide - you buy the domain and put up the information page. You've got to start the parade - and then know when to get out of the way.
  5. Let me know if you want/need either speakers from either Microsoft or Google and I'll intro you.
answered Jan 31 '10 at 06:52
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Bob Walsh
2,620 points

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