Each month, new companies present for five minutes in front of their industry peers, who in turn grill them; sort of a tech version of passing the bar. These events are savage, but well intentioned sessions that test founders and their message.
The quality of the crowd’s grilling has driven SF New Tech’s toward becoming a place to test mettle. Which, in turn, has made Myles’ tech meetup into an industry defining launch pad. What started with eight people at the Mars Bar in San Francisco has grown into the largest and longest running tech showcase event.
Myles tells every presenter, “Do not forget to talk about your business model.”
Myles experience running hundreds of these events, has taught him that companies that focus on, coding or growth first and monetizing later, have accepted a challenging hurdle. This hurdle, Myles notes, portends to struggles and most of these companies are not around several years later.
The conversations Sandra and I have with industry innovators and influencers have repeated this same advice. The product, must be strong, however, being a doyen of coding does not typically equate to being the next big thing. Marketing, monetizing, talking to humans, and technical talent are all required to create the buzz that investors, innovators and talent are longing to find.
This combination is available at SF New Tech meetups. Besides the grilling, people from the entire tech ecosystem are in the room. They are looking not just for knowledge, but for the next project they want to be involved with.
Myles notes this results in companies: possibly find funding, talented coders find their dream job, and a marketer like Sandra is constantly meeting and making great new entrepreneurial partnerships. The access to the “petri dish” that early startups represent, allows SF New Tech to be the glue that binds the fabric of the Silicon Valley/SF tech world.
Jeff Lawson CEO of Twilio, came through SF New Tech in 2009. Jeff rocked New Tech by live coding for his demo and, at the end of his five minutes, every phone in the audience rang instantly answering the monetization question.
Jeff Lawson has since built a billion-dollar company and he graced the cover of Forbes magazine. His way of presenting, was unique and grabbed the attention of his peers. Now his company influence beyond just the SF Bay; it’s considered to be the next unicorn sending its stock to the top of everyone’s must buy list.
When your little meetup for beers creates this much value, others come wanting their own industry gathering event. Which led Weissleder to partner with, among others, Rabobank recognized that SF New Tech was an obvious partnership allowing tech based agriculture companies to meet and get grilled within their own ag ecosystem. This led to the FoodBytes events that happen all over the world creating a heartbeat far from the Silicon Valley.
This worldwide view has given Weissleder the proper vision to realize that innovation isn’t limited to the Silicon/SF Bay, it happens all over the world; and it’s happening fast.
Weissleder peers into the future and notes that “dinosaur” companies are recognizing that innovation is life. The list of, the disrupted, is long, but what does an innovative dinosaur look like?
The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Dodgers have always been ahead of their peers in the use of multi-media and technology. Now they are the only major sports team with a tech accelerator. This innovative approach allows the Dodgers accelerator to identify, support and invest in the companies that are designing the best sports based innovations. They’re out maneuvering teams on the field and in technology.
In an ever-evolving marketplace that favors what’s next, it’s good to be the guy with the beer, tacos and ideas. Here’s to you Myles for all the ideas you’ve helped launch.
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