I went to a big Startup Grind Conference in Silicon Valley last February. I saw it as an opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs. The conference was packed with entrepreneurs from all over the world including Australia, China, Egypt, and the Ukraine. I later learned that there are over 85 Startup Grind chapters in 35 countries. I also like to note that Startup Grind is sponsored by Google For Entrepreneurs.
Promotional posters littered the networking area with corny slogans like “Make Friends not Contacts,” making me wonder what I signed up for. With that said, I enjoyed the conference thoroughly and got a lot out of it. The format is pretty simple. There’s a "fireside chat" style interview with a featured guest (typically a successful entrepreneur) and networking with other entrepreneurs before and after.
The brilliance of this format is that the speaker doesn’t have to prepare anything and the audience has a more detailed and open insight to the experience of the successful entrepreneur. My favorite guest was Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit. In his interview, he detailed a low point in which he had to lay off employees and shared that at one point; they only had $17 in their bank account. Now, Intuit is a $20 Billion company and it’s inspiring to know that they encountered low points and overcame them.
The networking was amazing and there were entrepreneurs from all over. The theme of Startup Grind was entrepreneurs helping each other. In my various conversations, everyone had their own strengths. I found that I was able to give advice and recommendations to some and at the same time, received advice and recommendations from others that had strengths in other fields. From this one conference, there are a handful of people that I stay in touch with on a regular basis.
Near the end, I found myself wishing we had a Startup Grind Chapter in Sacramento. Sacramento is only a couple of hours away from Silicon Valley and our tech community is often overlooked. While SARTA (sarta.org) does a great job of promoting our Tech Community within the Sacramento Valley, I think that Startup Grind would be a good way to further promote our Tech Community outside of our area as all the sessions are videotaped and posted online. In addition, with Startup Grind's headquarters in Silicon Valley, we may have the opportunity to get notable speakers from the Bay Area. So, after much thought, I'm excited to announce I am starting the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind. I would like to thank SARTA and the Urban Hive for their encouragement and support.
Our Inaugural event will be at the Urban Hive on April 23rd. I couldn’t ask for a better speaker to kick off our Sacramento Chapter than the founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations, Dr. Pam Marrone. I am thrilled to welcome you all to join us at the kickoff event! There will be food, refreshments and great networking.
You won't want to miss it! See you there.