Let's Take This Startup Party to the Next Level
ExitEvent Welcomes Investors to the Social1.23.12
|For the uninitiated, ExitEvent started in 2009 as a full-fledged business, got shelved when I joined the management team at StatSheet, spent a lost week in 2010 as a free taco truck, restarted back in April 2011 as a lark, and then exploded into something I never could have imagined. |
And if 2011 was about bringing everyone together, 2012 will be about world domination.
I love saying that.
ExitEvent is now up to over 300 members, over 200 of which are entrepreneurs from about 150 startups all across the Triangle area (including Raleigh, who made a very public announcement last week that they were getting their startup act together). Roughly 100 of you show up every month to do nothing more than socialize. Two of you have won bullshit ping-pong trophies.
In other words, there's a lot of you. You're all very cool people, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to bring you all together just to watch it happen.
Some quick math (which we entrepreneurs are kind of good at) makes it obvious that there are right around 100 of you that aren't entrepreneurs. These folks are also very cool people and very valuable to the startup ecosystem.
However, keeping the Social entrepreneur-only wasn't only by design, it was necessary. Like I always say, there are plenty of other, better startup-related events around the Triangle at the rate of at least once a week. I know. I go to most of them.
Keeping the ExitEvent Social entrepreneur-only made ExitEvent unique, and allowed it quickly grow to what is now a certain level of critical mass.
But look, the ecosystem is evolving around us. If you ask me, and a lot of you do, it won't be long before the hype and the excitement about what's happening here won't be enough. Some would say that moment is here already. I say pshaw.
That's right. Pshaw.
But like any startup concern, leading means the ability to take the right step a split second before it makes sense to everyone else. Not a huge leap, again, this isn't the Valley, and we have short legs. Just a step.
That step is bringing the local investors into the Social. I've known a lot of them for a long time, and we're lucky to have an investor community that not only wants to integrate itself into the startup community, but is helpful and friendly when it does.
So what does this mean?
Well, it means exactly what it sounds like. Starting with the February 13th Social, you might bump into someone from Southern Capitol or IDEA Fund Partners or one of those other local institutions. They won't be holding court. Hell, they won't even be wearing nametags (we don't do that). They'll be having a delicious craft brew and enjoying everyone's company (we do that).
And much as I started asking the entrepreneurs how I should build this up without alienating them, I'll be asking the investors how to take advantage of their involvement without creating noise on either side.
The solutions will come naturally, be executed gracefully, and allow this party to carry on while stealthily becoming more and more useful with every iteration.
Damn, is my product a party?
Yeah. For now.
But as the website grows and involvement grows, there will be more down the road. Hype and excitement is just the first step.