How StartupPOP Got Started

National Tech Startup Pitch Events By StartupPOP

National Tech Startup Pitch Events by StartupPOP

If I were to tell you 3 years ago that we are expanding our operations to 12 US cities with National Tech Startup Pitch Events, I would have thought you were crazy.

At our very first event in the summer of 2014, I knew something was different.

We had been running events with CEO Space guys for almost a year, mainly having amazing remote speakers and meetings about online marketing and selling.  I was helping out and not running them, but helping draw some visitors in.

Those meetings were ok. The space was nice enough, but not really nice. The owner of the space let us have the events there, because he was trying to get business for himself.  That was a good symbiotic relationship.   The most we ever got to those events was 40 people.  That is a good showing actually, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for an online tech marketing related event.  And the place we had those events did not have enough chairs, so one of us had to rent about 20 and I had to bring 15 fold up chairs in my SUV.

Once that space owner said no more, I decided, maybe it’s time I run an event. I had been to 100 Startup, Tech, Venture Capital and Online Marketing events and conferences over the years.  There are groups in South Florida like Gold Coast Venture Capital (no more), MIT Forum, SFIMA, SFTA, iCoast who run events that I have been too.  How hard could it be?

I will give you something that makes me special to do this I did not realize at the time.  I had been a partner in the largest speed dating company in the US called pre-dating.com, which at one point was in 120 US and Canadian cities.  I was the programmer at the time, the tech partner, and did not actually run any events, so why would this be important.  Apparently working with the management of that company, Vince, Darren, Michael, Elizabeth, Sundrea, Eric and others over the years something had rubbed off.

An events need to be run properly.  It needs to be MC’d properly.  It needs to feel to the audience like it has a life of its own and a reason for existing. In other words it needs to be a good event experience.

And if I am running the event I decided to make a good event I would like to attend!  So I combined the concept of a Tech Startup Pitch with Networking.  To me it sounded easy to do.  But it wasn’t.  It was work.  But I enjoyed the work of setting up this event!  I guess I had passion for it!

So, when the day of the event arrived, to my surprise, we ended up having close to 120 attendees.  The startups pitched and the audience loved it. There were a couple silicon valley guys at the event, who told me this would have been an amazing event in silicon valley. That was a complement. Well, one caveat here.  We did not charge.  The event was free.  But that did not matter, because the event had a sponsor.  With that sponsor, we were able to run a free event!

Eventually we needed an incorporated company, we called StartupPOP LLC, to take revenue and to do business!  We got a website and we continued to do the same event every 3 months.

My mentor from CEO Space said to me don’t change a thing once you have it down.  So we ran the same event with a few minor tweaks a few months later.  In fact we have run these events every 3 months on average in Boca Raton for the past 3 years!

After 3 years I finally found out a few more things that were important that I never really understood.  We actually never made a profit on the events in the first 2 years.  But this past year we made some net income.  To me that is like taking a fantasy idea and turning it into a business.

Finally, we started to talk about events in other cities.  We started running events in Fort Lauderdale and Miami.  NYC has been on my target list for quite a while.  My brother has taken up the same cause and will be running his first event in NYC on April 26 at Mercy College in Manhattan!

Now we are expanding around the US creating National Tech Startup Pitch Event chapters on Meetup.  We have plans for events in Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Raleigh, Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, DC and finally we have a new chapter started in San Francisco.   Hard to believe that we are signing up people in SF. Sounds silly that a small pitch event started in Boca Raton, FL would appeal to silicon valley!  That just sounds not right! But we are doing it. It looks like National Tech Startup Pitch Events may become a reality.

If you want to monitor our expansion, just go to this link here:
https://www.meetup.com/pro/pitcheventplanners/

If you want to create a chapter in your city, contact me.  It does not matter if it is in Timbuktu, Paris or NYC.  If you want to be our national sponsor or local city sponsor for the year contact me.  Or just contact me if you want to chat about this!

It has been a blast.

Thank you for all that have helped us get where we are at!

Here are links to our next events in Boca Raton and NYC this month:/

Boca Raton: https://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/events/238060837/

New York City: https://www.meetup.com/StartupPOP-New-York-City/events/238494686/

Dan Gudema

StartupPOP
dan@startuppop.com

 

 

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